Great until the final missions.
I don't care if Fallout Tactics isn't Fallouty.
I don't care that Fallout Tactics isn't an RPG.
Most people seem to care a great deal about those two areas. Fallout Tactics is a squad-based strategy game set in the Fallout
universe. It takes place between the first and second games, but takes place in the Midwest rather than the West Coast. While not an RPG, FT does use the SPECIAL attribute system and the other RPG devices used in the Fallout games. At times, FT feels like it could be an RPG, with your squad acting as a party, but the linear design and lack of conversation options will remind you that this is a combat centered game.
FT supports three modes of gameplay. A turn-based mode similar to the original games, a squad turn-based mode (where all your members move then the enemies move), and a real-time mode called the continuous turn-based mode. Each method has its advantages, the turn-based mode allows for complete control over your squad while the real-time mode makes for white knuckle game playing.
There are 20 primary missions in FT and they show some variation early on in the game. One mission has your squad escorting a supply vehicle down a sniper alley, another one has you defending a town. The best mission involves a series of hostage rescues which must be carried out covertly or the enemies will sound an alarm.
Fallout Tactics preserves the wide range of weaponry and armor, it favors combat centered characters, although you'll want a medic along most missions. They also have a number of vehicles. Sadly, only a few levels actually allow for vehicle use, usually they only help in getting around the map faster.
I loved the early part of the game and disliked the end. At the beginning, you can only withstand a few hits. Caution and stealth are rewarded, once you get towards the end of the game, your characters are basically tanks. Enough shots will kill them, but it's rare. Level design reflects this too. Early missions are varied, later missions are all about combat. Early missions seem to have more avenues towards completion, but end levels are extraordinarily linear. My biggest complaint is that missions never deviate from what is stated in the briefing. Some games (Tie Fighter comes to mind) had missions that varied wildly from the briefing, you had to use your best judgment and play it by ear, not here.
Squad members are personalized by portraits, but don't have any personality. At least in the earlier Fallout games they used floating text to communicate. Because they aren't personalized, it really doesn't matter which ones you pick. Even the nonhuman characters that open up don't matter. Mech Commander
, flawed as it was, personalized the characters with animated faces and messages. Also, while in turn-based mode, you have complete control, there is no control in real-time. Fallout 2
had a customizable combat option of members of your party, I wished that I could have told Jax to stop hitting me with the damn Uzi. Also it would have been nice if they had the initiative to heal themselves or switch weapons if they ran out of ammo.
Bandaging isn't funny! Performing first aid a lot does NOT turn people into mummies.
Enough with the random encounters! I would have loved to have adjusted the frequency of random encounters.
Four endings is nice, but getting the best ending is so hard I consider it a major bug!
WORST MANUAL EVER! Fallout games should at least have kick ass manuals. This one sucked. Cheaply made, lacks vital information, and has many typos (as the in-game text has too). "Levle 9"?
The game has a tough guy option that gets rid of in-mission saves in return for much more experience. While missions are very long, I can see using this option for all the extra xp BUT this game tends to crash so keep that in mind if you choose that option.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line, Fallout Tactics is mostly good, and well worth the $20 I paid for it. It isn't an RPG, but were you pissed when LucasArts released Dark Forces instead of another X-Wing game?
Oh, get the latest patch (God help you if you need the 80 meg one) the game will still be buggy, but at least it's playable.