Fallout is arguably the most popular RPG franchise of all time. This inimitable and unique post-apocalyptic atmosphere makes a similar experience hard to find anywhere else. This also applies to storytelling – the stories presented in these games (with a few exceptions) are engaging and multi-threaded stories filled with interesting characters. To this day, I remember the Master from the first game, and the Enclave became a cult villain. However, in my personal ranking, Fallout: New Vegas ranks first on the list, which, in my opinion, has the best storyline in the series. But why? Let me explain.
Well, the whole story takes place in the Mojave Wasteland in a post-apocalyptic world, where three major factions are fighting for control of the territory: the New California Republic, the first major democratic state known from previous parts of the series, created after a nuclear war, Caesar’s Legion, a military organization created in the shape of ancient Rome, and New Vegas, or, as the name suggests, Las Vegas in a post-apocalyptic version, run by Mr. House. The protagonist is a courier working for Mojave Express, who once had to carry a very important cargo to Vegas. Unfortunately, on the way he is captured by bandits led by a mysterious man in a plaid suit. The parcel was stolen, and the courier was shot in the head and buried in the ground. However, luck returns to our hero, because a robot named Victor digs him out of a shallow grave and takes us to the nearby town of Goodsprings to be collected by a local doctor. After waking up with a dock and giving our courier a name, appearance, main characteristics, abilities and additional traits, we can go to the wastelands. For the first few hours, the story revolves around these events, and we have to find out who these bandits were, who was the man in the suit who shot at us, and what the mysterious package was.
The truth is that the game was rigged from the start.
In role-playing games, the plot is tied in the first hours, and sometimes even in the first minutes, so that the player has an immediate motivation to act. Some evil organization wants to take over the world, the main character’s village is on the verge of extinction, and so on and so forth. However, the problem starts later when we take control of the protagonist. The plot tells us about a big threat that needs to be stopped as soon as possible, but (as befits an erpeg), when we start playing, we do everything except contain this threat – and we do hundreds of side quests, visit dozens of locations, build settlements or play mini -games – and the world remains as it was, without any changes. This doesn’t mean the stories are automatically bad, but it’s a kind of hard-to-remove dissonance that makes the narrative and purely gameplay elements argue with each other and take on the plausibility of these worlds, despite the fact that such stories aren’t very original and have been played a thousand times. Luckily, the New Vegas story didn’t have this problem, because in this case it’s much more personal.
This is a huge breath of fresh air from previous Fallouts. We’re not burdened with some big rush to begin with – instead, we have personal scores to settle. Even if we are not at all interested in the contents of the mysterious package, for proper motivation it is enough to find the person from whom we received a bullet in the head. And even if, by some miracle, we are not interested in it, ignoring the main plot and doing other things no longer spoils the narrative layer, because the main plot is a completely personal matter that we can decide when we want. Thanks to this, we have the right reason to travel around the big world and at the same time we get a satisfying and coherent story.
You must hurry, chosen ones, otherwise our village may perish at any moment. Seriously. So it will be. I don’t invent.
This can also be seen through the lens of the player’s character. In the previous parts, our character was immediately someone special – the savior of the orphanage or the chosen one, who was the only hope of the village, and this only added fuel to this fire of dissonance. Here our character is nobody and starts almost from scratch, we do not bear any responsibility on our shoulders, which means that the player does not feel any pressure and wherever we go and whatever we do, it all comes down to our personal path and history. in the wasteland In previous games, we immediately became someone great, a person who was supposed to change the wasteland forever, but here, if we want to be someone like that, we have to work for it ourselves.
The last is what I personally call the “second act” of the game. Well, at some point in our story, you will have to join one of the three factions mentioned earlier and help them gain complete control over the Hoover Dam, the great hydroelectric power plant, the only one operating in the entire wasteland. The very fact of choosing the last faction that we can hold onto distinguishes New Vegas from previous parts, in which the path through the main plot was quite linear and, despite different endings in side locations, there could only be one final ending for our character. But that’s not all, because we can choose a secret fourth faction – our own. That’s right, we can run an independent Vegas ourselves and take all the power from the dam.
The Hoover Dam is a place to be won for others… or for yourself.
In the previous parts, there were no other options than to save our shelter or village, even if we were not at all interested in their fate, because we either did not get to know them at all, and therefore did not get close to them, or considered them complete freaks. Here we can go either way: do you want this democratically great country to win? Here you are. Would you rather the mysterious Mr. House win with his army of robots? No problem. Or do you want Caesar’s brutal Legion to take over? Go ahead, continue. And if you don’t want to fraternize with anyone, that’s okay, because you have options to get it all for yourself and declare yourself completely independent of anyone.
And that’s basically the main reason why I think the best storyline in New Vegas is total unrestricted freedom. We can be who we want, with whom we want and how we want – the absolute essence of role-playing games.
What do you think? Do you share my opinion or do you think that the plot is better in another part of the series? If so, which one? Let me know in the poll and feel free to comment!
What part of the Fallout series has the best main storyline?