But Wasteland was always my favorite.
It was a post-apocalyptic RPG, where you played a squad of desert rangers tasked with bringing order to the chaos and ultimately saving the world. Witty humor, beautifully written jokes and plot points, and vast improvements over the Bard's Tale engine that had already wasted so many of my evenings. Bard's Tale III was a wonderful game that kept me hooked from world to world, but Wasteland kept me hooked and replaying the same world over and over again. What originally hooked me on cybersphere were the Wasteland references.
My first play through was rather rocky. I wandered north into Darwin Village, way out of my league. Then I tried to actually assault the Citadel instead of get around it. Finally, I found challenges appropriate to my level, and ultimately fought through the Las Vegas sewers through a painful war of attrition. When all was said and done, I was proud to have beaten that game. One summer, I played Wasteland over and over and over again, resetting the game world and keeping my characters. I had it down pat, and could cut shortcuts to beat the final area in no time at all. By the time the summer was over, my characters were a group of grizzled veterans who could walk into Vegas and beat the Scorpitron apart with their bare hands.
Years later, I was excited to hear about Fallout, the spiritual successor to Wasteland. Sure, there had been the Wasteland sequel Fountain of Dreams, but we'd all like to forget that one. Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 both came out during my initial time at drewuniversity as a student, and I played through the latter in my quadmate's room while he and his girlfriend watched television. From the epic intro, I was hooked.
Beautifully stylized, full of the irreverent Wasteland humor, and open-ended in the way only the best of Ultimas were. Slaughter bad guys across the field as a sniper, sneak in and turn their own guns against them, talk your way past them, go in guns blazing, send your faithful allies in, whatever. You got to explore, come up with solutions to problems that might have been different than your friend also playing the game, and experience consequences for your actions. The endgame movies, telling you what happened to the local area due to what you did, were freakin' awesome.
The two games came out in the late nineties, then we waited. A long time. The dumbed-down tactics came out, which I enjoyed playing just because it was Fallout. We had our moments of hope. After Van Buren died, the population became angry. Moreso because all they had to play was a dumbed-down advertisement-filled console adventure game that seemed an insult to everything Fallout was in their minds. Oh were they pissed. Impossible to placate, probably. We got a teaser, the tenth anniversary passed, and today Fallout 3 is released.
The fanboys won't be pleased. I've already read their rabid angry comments on sites such as NMA. Every time someone complains about hardware issues or DRM or their game crashing, the angry rabble yells a bit more. Even a seemingly loving tribute such as this one is picked apart for its factual errors and the narrator not sounding excited enough. Even if Fallout 3 was released with the ability to fix the economy, peak oil, and climate change? They would still be pissed that some plot element they thought was cool from Van Buren was left out (or included (because they're impossible to please)).
While rabid fanboy graye is probably shirking work to play his copy today, my Amazon exclusive collector's edition doesn't arrive until Halloween. And it's arriving a bit too close to WotLK. But I'll give it a chance, expecting no more than fun, yet secretly hoping for a game that at least tries to follow the theme of the originals. There's a shot that might happen, and Bethesda has proven their ability to do open-ended well. Worst case scenario, I've already played this. And just like watching Episode 1 after seeing the Star Wars Holiday Special, things just don't seem that bad once you've sunk that low. If things are that bad, I might just forgive Molyneux and give Fable 2 a shot.