Fallout Games Ranked According to Ratings and Reviews
Is the Fallout franchise on your "to play list"? Which are the best Fallout games to start with? Check the Fallout installments ranked according to ratings and gamers reviews!
The Fallout franchise has been around for more than 20 years now and during its long run it has proven as one of the most versatile and creative games in at least of few of the computer game ages. With a big diversity in genres that the series has spread across, it would not be an easy task to say which installment is the best of all the different entries. We did our research through the vast worlds of the wasteland in search for the most prominent and well-done Fallout games ranked according to ratings and this is where our quest has led us.
It could be difficult to compare all these different games and their mechanics or design, but the one thing they all got in common is the expansive storyline they all share in the alternate universe story this vast and rich in dangers world has to offer.
So put on your steel armor, sync your pip boy 2000 and open up a Quantum Nuke Cola, because this time we are going on a dangerous quest through all of the vault remains in search of the best Fallout game. Also if you have not yet played the series, beware of spoils ahead and… one more quick question; Where have you been these last two and a half decades, closed in a vault somewhere? Now, let’s begin with some of the back-story.
An atomic alternate universe, where everything went very wrong…
The awesome world building and story starts in the middle of 20th century as humanity faces world conflicts and the introduction of nuclear power and atomic energy. In 1945 was the so called “Beginning of the end” moment as Nuclear power was used to decimate whole cities and then the divergence event happened in the 50s and the history of the world took a new direction and turn for the worse.
What is different in this timeline is that for some reason we did not invent transistors so early on in our technological era, so we started using these newly discovered sources of electricity for every piece of technology and definitely not only weapons. This becomes so widely spread that all households have an atomic TV set, toasters, lamps and even domestic helper robots (cleverly named Mr. Handy) that are probably equipped with mini nuclear reactors powering them. Due to this the setting looks like a future version of the past with aesthetics from a period somewhere in the 50s but finely mixed and blended with elements of innovative technological, but somewhat rather bulky, advancements and things did look promising for some time, but sadly it did not last too long.
Mega corporations; such as Rob.co, Nuka Cola, General Atomics and perhaps most importantly Vault Tec, emerged in different industries and started introducing questionable practices in society through decades of rapid development that sucked dry the planet of most of its important and precious resources. Thus the Resource wars began in the middle of the 21st century.
Entire nations got devastated and announced bankruptcy, while others plundered the lands and conquered them in the name of “Democracy”. Whole geo-political regions turn on each other and the world seems to get more and more fragmented, the UN falls and disbands while the US and China are fighting over the last few oilfields that are left underwater and located somewhere in the region of Alaska, and by doing so consequently triggering the Great War in the year 2077, that lasted just a few hours.
War, war never changes… or does its scale, perspective and reach only differ?
On October 23rd 2077, a massive exchange of nuclear missiles between the two super states takes place and most of the major cities of both sides get struck by the bombs, causing an enormous disaster that humanity has not yet seen. Nobody knows who shot first but the civilians in the US are instructed to seek refuge into the many security bomb-shelters that have been constructed by Vault Tec and get locked in them as the world is getting more and more polluted with great levels of radiation.
Each vault in the system of shelters has its own programmed timing to open and a supervisor that oversees that the inhabitants follow the procedures. In some of them there are G.E.C.K (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) units provided as well, as these capsulated casings are able to restore nature in case of atomic winters.
As it turns out there is also a vault-specific condition that the dwellers must oblige with in order to potentially survive and get out one day. Some of these conditions may include a variety of traps, experiments and cause conflicts among the dwellers. Everyone awaits their Reclamation day, when the vault’s sealed doors would open up and the inhabitants must go out and restore society, in what’s left of the unknown to them world. But what is out there strikes terror in the minds of even the bravest.
A lost and destroyed world that is bleak and poisoned.
Monsters, zombies and mutated creatures roam the once lush lands that were covered in forests, the cities are mostly abandoned and in ruins, with a few exceptions of course that still have population in them. The rivers have been poisoned and the soil is so irradiated that no vegetation or crop manages to grow in these harsh conditions. As vaults start opening, it becomes clear that the different stipulations have caused defects, exterminations, riots and mutiny in many of them, so not everyone survived their stay behind the big, numbered, cog-shaped gates that sealed the vaults. The reality of this world looks grim, desolate and deadly to anyone that is not prepared to face great danger in order to get to the few “safe” havens left in the states.
When traversing through the maps and environments in all Fallout games you would get glimpses of different ages and eras, as the Fallout lore spans over a few hundred years. The characters you get to play as are usually unnamed vault dwellers that for some reason have reached the surface; you may encounter members of the various guilds and fractions that fight over the resources and lands. How well you blend in with them will set your fate (out of many possible variants) and journey through the wasteland.
In this review we are not going to focus on things such as the Fallout board game or the Bethesda Pinball table inspired by and themed after the Fallout IP, we would rather direct our attention towards the various more memorable PC, console and even a mobile phone video game release that happened during the 20+ years of history that the series has amounted.
Now that we have that out of the way here is our selection for the best Fallout games ranked according to ratings and reviews.
In many reviews across the internet this entry is usually found in the “worst” end of the chart, probably because when it first landed in 2018, it was really broken and buggy beyond belief, with a lengthy list of issues that made the gameplay so overwhelmingly difficult to navigate and practically rendered any potential good experience null and void. This was also the first title to gravitate more around the online multiplayer possibilities of the franchise and this is considered the reason it did feel really empty and desolate due to the lack of NPCs and enough interactivity without many players online.
It is a good thing that the fans and Bethesda Softworks did not give up on the game that easily and tried to rectify it with a 2020 updated edition that had many if not all of the major glitches removed or reworked. The studio also added the so requested NPCs to the mix, listening to the fandom and this move finally made the game much more enjoyable for players.
The title also introduced many new elements and story details that people had tons of fun with, but it never really stood up to the pedigree of the previous entrees before it. This is why it is at the tail end of our chart, as it is a part of the series that deserves a chance now that it has been fixed for the most part. When played as intended in the introduced Wastelanders storyline or with a group of other people, it could have its great moments and the graphics are really crisp, but as most people would agree and say “it is still a MMORPG”.
Fallout Brotherhood of steel
Brotherhood of steel was released back in 2004 and for its time it did look like a pretty well-designed overhead beat em up game, even though it had replaced the release slot for the much awaited back then Fallout 3. It shifted the genre and gameplay formula quite a bit from the early more open-world and quest-based storyline games filled with multiple choice conversations and outcomes. The game was much more linear and fixed in its story but it retained the general feel and atmosphere of the wastelands. It came out between the Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, making fans a bit anxious as it did step out of line a bit.
Playing as one of the six different members of the Brotherhood of steel did bring some much needed variety of going through the levels. The main protagonists all have different skills and stats, some are stronger and others are stealthy, faster or more agile with their own skill set and arsenal, so there is something unique about each character that would make the game feel slightly different every time you try it out when choosing another member of the brotherhood, so replayability is relatively high with this one. Storywise it also introduced many new characters and locations to roam and explore, but it did not have that signature openness to it that made the franchise so popular with the first two games.
It definitely is not a typical Fallout experience and another thing it has is a very interesting mode that was introduced in this entry did stand out, as it had a cooperative mechanic, which allowed for a 2 player team playthrough with a friend, making it worth checking it out for an afternoon or two, depending on how many character combinations you would like to try out.
A mobile phone game entry in the Fallout series that is to say the least making a difference in the pace and gameplay style, as it is from the point of view of a vault overseer managing your own population of dwellers and trying to keep them alive and safe in a sandbox type of experience. All of the events happen inside your assigned vault and you must develop and protect the premises.
The game is free-to-play and rarely asks you for real-life funds, so do not be worried for your credit card going depleted with this one, but we cannot guarantee the same for the air and water levels in your assigned vault, so make sure to track all the internal systems are in check and order. Disaster will not be far away and invasions, assaults and other wacky game mechanics await your quick reaction and precise thinking.
This sweet little mobile gem is surely going to be interesting for a wide range of players, from hardcore fans looking to immerse themselves in the role and have a vault of their own, to younger newbie players that are not that familiar with the franchise and the rest of the series as a whole. The design is not that gruesome as the other entries on the list, but still somewhat retains the visual appeal and darker humour of the greater story.
When Fallout 4 was about to be released in 2015 all of the fans of the series had great expectations for an even better title than the third installment, and Bethesda Game Studios did a pretty outstanding job at crafting a worthy award-winning FPS sequel that had improved on the graphics and visual eye-candy aspects of the game.
In this one you exit vault 111 as either a male of female character that you are able to create and customize in your liking, but with one very fixed detail - you are looking for your lost child, which actually brought up some heated debates about whether there should be any such main plot components in the series or it should all be open and without a specific direction for the progression. In general you could change and modify almost everything else, so one element of the storyline may remain as a constant and act as a pillar. Such high customization levels are rare in other games like Fallout 4, so this one takes the cake in this category.
You traverse through radiation poised settlements and are able to even create your own one and live in it. Give your gear, armor and weapons enhancements and upgrades introducing a dose of personal touch and feel to your character. And while you are able to construct better equipment and have more precise shooting mechanics, in its scenario it feels as a more straightforward and linear experience with not as many choices and scenario variation. This is far from not having any, as there are plenty of things around to be found and discovered, but your end destination is much clearer and set in the distance. A nice addition to it was the “Nuka-World” expansion that had so much fun packed and heavily branded moments.
It all starts here folks, the game that brought everything in this adventure. As the original game from its time it really does have breakthrough elements that have influenced the whole RPG genre, the rich story, various scenario outcomes and dialogues really did bring the spotlight to this classic.
Your objective is to maintain and protect Vault 13 and keep its systems running as well as fetch parts and do quests in the outside world full of monsters and ghouls. Even though it might look dated today to younger fans it is absolutely worth the shot to go back to the roots and go old-school for this one. It has the original skills system, an awesome branched story and multiple approaches to beat the game. Depending on your behavior and in-game actions your karma would change and this has stayed as a cornerstone all through the series.
It is inventive and very creative character is what people fell in love with, the story seemed different and the turn-based combat was something typical back in 97. It had the feel of a visual novel that you actually have control over and the possible combinations of dialogues with NPCs were many times hilarious. The only thing that fans are divided about is the time limit mechanic that acts as an urgency signal since your vault’s chip would fail after 150 in-game days. Some find that restrictive and others are enthusiastic to bring things in order as fast as they can, looking for better and faster solutions to resolve conflicts. A definite good choice if you want to play the Fallout games in order.
The original Fallout 3 had to release not long after the previous titles, but it got canned abruptly and Black Isle had to shut down, the rights over the IP got into the hands of Bethesda and they stirred up the formula quite a bit… so much so that the entry became a more modern open-world experience, that transformed into a blend between a third- and first-person shooter views, and a very good one too. It had stayed loyal and true to the lore as well as the setting of the series so far, but that perspective switch both excited and shocked fans a bit.
The developers had depicted the scale of destruction quite well and also brought the atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world the Earth had become from the previous entries so well. Making tough choices is simply embedded in the fabric of the game and no matter where you go, there would surely be a task at hand for you. Your moral compass and karma system still navigate the unfolding of events and the way you are able to interact with the expansive open-world, but one of the biggest deals for this Fallout game was the assisted targeting system that made shooting at enemies so much interesting.
The fractions and political matters in the story are deep and immersive, the resource would not be enough for all, so whose side would you be on and will that keep you alive in this franchise-changing entry?
The next Fallout game we are going to have a look at is very often described as a goofy but great role playing game, with a high replay value, breaking the 4th wall a lot and that it could at times even be absolutely ridiculous, it still is praised and regarded as one of the best entries in the series ever, even though it is just the second game released back in 98 by Black Isle Studios.
Fans usually point out that it actually expanded on and further polished the formula from the original Fallout 1 game. It kept things mostly the same with some of the more irritating mechanics removed, but also bringing in a few new and exciting features. It really shines in many departments, such as plot, soundtrack, complexity and support companion characters to name just a few, that supersede its predecessor and set in stone the place of the franchise among the very best of its genre and on a extensive 20+ year long journey in the industry.
The storyline choice tree grew at least a few times and the possible outcomes became much more complex and interesting as you progressed through the barren lands and demolished ruins that once were great cities. You play as a vaultdweller who is a direct relative of the character from the first game, which was set 80 years earlier and are referred as “the Chosen one” – the person who would restore the land by retrieving a G.E.C.K unit from vault 13. As you can probably figure out things quickly start to become chaotic and you must manage with the Enclave and the other guilds that cross your path as best as you can, which would mean taking a variety of hard decisions and accept alliances that would affect and also lead you to one of the many options for a final ending. In short a solid classic RPG that is fun and is worth to run though a few times.
Fallout New Vegas
Although it is not something easy to claim, everyone’s favourite (or at the very least comes nearest to it) seems to be Fallout New Vegas, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, which is described as an extremely strong entry in the series with the immense ways you are able to develop your character, story and gameplay, the hidden secretive parts that you can discover and so much more. A perfectly balanced hybrid between all the different types of genres the IP has gone in through the years.
In New Vegas the Hoover dam is fought over by the different factions that are trying to dominate the region, those being the New California Republic (NCR), Caesar’s Legion and the robot squads of the mysterious Mr. House. They all plot and bet against each other and have a different vision for the once City of sin and how business should be conducted around these radiation-soaked parts of the world.
You are in the unlucky shoes of a Mojave Express courier that goes at the wrong place in the wrong time, while carrying a precious chip and getting shot in the desert. From the start you are able to decide on some major choices that would distinctively take your playthrough in a specific story and even determine whose side you are on or whether to even take one at all. No matter you allegiance you are going to have the opportunity for plenty of side quests and perhaps the most interesting element here is that even though you go off the main plot path, it still gets affected by your behavior when you are away from it. This is also the title that takes the prize Best Fallout game according to our humble research.
With so much done in the series up to now, we could only wonder what a new Fallout game would bring to the table and is there going to be a Fallout 5 title ever. One thing is for certain though – it would be wonderful to learn more about this alternate reality story in this dark and drenched world.