What are the best fallout games?
Since debuting in 1997, the Fallout series has become one of the most well-known post-apocalyptic games of all time.
Its popularity has only grown since 2007, when the franchise’s rights were acquired by Bethesda, leading to the first 3D Fallout games.
However, some of these games have unquestionably been better than others, and today we’re ranking them all!
The Best Fallout Games
To create this list, we considered the gameplay, fan response, legacy, and sales data of every game in the Fallout franchise.
This has allowed us to pinpoint which games in the series are the best and which ones have fallen behind the others.
So, grab a Nuka Cola and prepare for a trip through the wasteland with our list of the best Fallout games:
9. Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel
Kicking off our list, we have Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, an action RPG published by Interplay Entertainment in 2004.
Unlike previous games, Brotherhood of Steel was released for the Xbox and Ps2, the first game in the series not exclusive to PC.
As a spin-off, this game was the first attempt to bring the Fallout series to home consoles, and well, it tried its best.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is very different than the other games in the series, and the gameplay is very linear, as opposed to having an open world.
In the beginning, players can choose between three playable characters, with three more being unlocked throughout the story.
Each playable character is a member of the Brotherhood of Steel, and the overarching plot centers around remnants of the Master’s army from the original Fallout.
One interesting thing is that one of the playable characters is Cain, a ghoul, making this the first and only time that players have the option to play as a non-human.
That aside, it seems like this game was developed to be as edgy as possible, which, when coupled with the repetitive gameplay, is this game’s undoing.
However, it is delightfully cringy at times, which is simply hilarious, and for that reason alone, it’s worth playing, in our opinion!
8. Fallout 76
Released in 2018, Fallout 76 is the series’ first foray into multiplayer, and it serves as a prequel to all other games.
Set 25 years after the bombs fell, this game is set in West Virginia, and it features a huge open-world map that is four times the size of Fallout 4.
Along with having one of the biggest open-world maps, this game allows players to team up in parties of four or play solo.
While 76 started off with no NPCS anywhere, this has since been changed with major updates like Wastelanders and Steel Dawn.
Since its launch, Fallout 76 has undergone a lot of changes, with some features being taken away and new features added in their place.
Although it feels a lot like Fallout 4 in many ways, 76 is a game that is constantly in flux, though that hasn’t stopped it from having loyal fans!
The subsequent updates adding new content and NPCs have definitely made 76 more popular, with over 11 million copies being sold by 2021.
If you have friends to play with, it is definitely a fantastic Fallout game, and even solo, there is a lot to enjoy.
However, if you’re a fan of the previous solo RPGs, you may not get too much enjoyment out of this Fallout game.
7. Fallout Shelter
This free-to-play construction and management simulator is a great way to kill time, and it can be played on Xbox, PlayStation, and mobile devices.
While it started off as a mobile game in 2015, it has since grown in popularity to become one of the most popular Fallout games ever made.
In Fallout Shelter, players have to build their own vaults and manage them as the Overseer.
This is easier said than done, as keeping vault dwellers happy and alive is a lot harder than it looks!
Dwellers have their own SPECIAL skills, and they can level up over time to increase their health and usefulness.
However, in order for them to level up, you’ll need to carefully balance resources like food, water, and power so they don’t die.
Although it doesn’t have the exciting shoot ’em-up post-apocalyptic action of other Fallout games, Fallout Shelter is addictively fun.
6. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood Of Steel
Released in 2001, this turn-based real-time tactical RPG revolves around a squad of Brotherhood soldiers fighting a difficult war.
While set in the Fallout universe, Fallout Tactics doesn’t tie into or continue the story from either of the previous two games.
It is also set in the ruins near Chicago, Illinois, in the American midwest, as opposed to the west coast where the games had taken place so far.
Here, the Brotherhood of Steel branch that had split from the other in California must struggle to survive and wipe out an array of various threats.
Players take control of an Initiate and go through the game helping the Brotherhood in its various campaigns.
However, combat is a lot different than what you’ll find in the best turn-based PS5 games or even the earliest Fallout games.
This game has three modes of combat: Continuous Turn-Based, Squad Turn-Based, and Individual Turn-Based, the type used in the original games.
In Continuous mode, all combatants can perform actions at the same time, with AP regenerating based on their agility skill.
Squad Turn-Based is similar, with each unit being given a turn where everyone in that team is able to act.
While it is an initial learning curve, once you get the hang of it, combat in this game is incredibly fun.
Although Tactics is often overlooked, it is an overall great game that we definitely wouldn’t mind getting a remaster of!
5. Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
Developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay, Fallout 2 picks up 80 years after the events of the first Fallout game.
In Fallout 2, players take control of The Chosen One, the grandchild of the first game’s Vault Dweller.
Similar to the events of the first game, players are sent on a quest to save their small village, only this time, instead of needing a water chip, they need a GECK.
Like the previous game, players can customize their characters, SPECIAL stats, and skills while also picking unique traits.
While your main goal is to find the GECK, players will stumble on the remnants of the U.S. Government along the way, the Enclave.
Fallout 2 does a great job of fleshing out the world of Fallout and expanding on how events after the first game played out.
Although the turn-based combat is extremely similar to the first game, it doesn’t feel out of place or clunky in any area.
Aside from the Temple of Trials in the very beginning, Fallout 2 is an exceptional game, one that went on to heavily inspire Fallout: New Vegas.
Easily one of the best post-apocalyptic games of all time, the original Fallout doesn’t get nearly as much love as it deserves.
This game kicks off in Vault 13 with players assuming the role of the Vault Dweller, tasked with finding a water chip to fix the vault’s water supply problems.
Played from an isometric perspective, this turn-based game is extremely open-ended, and it doesn’t believe in handholding like many modern games.
Once players leave the vault, it is up to them to hunt down leads and explore the wasteland around them.
However, even once the water issue is fixed, a larger threat looms on the horizon; the super mutant army created by the Master.
After finding a water chip, players will be asked by the vault’s Overseer to find and stop the source of the mutants.
There are many different ways to go about doing this, some of which can have devastating effects on Vault 13 if you’re not careful.
Considered one of the best RPGs of its time, it’s a shame that this game is often overlooked today in favor of modern Fallout games.
While it is a lot different than the gameplay of newer installments, if you get the chance, the original Fallout is definitely worth playing!
3. Fallout 4
The second of the Bethesda Fallout games, Fallout 4, is set in and around the city of Boston on the east coast.
While the game starts off the day the bombs fell, players are soon thrust into the post-apocalypse as the Sole Survivor.
Having been placed in cryo-sleep, the player character wakes to find their son kidnapped and their previous life in ruins.
After venturing out into the Commonwealth, players can track down leads to try and find their son, help various factions, and explore the huge open world.
Along with an improved manual aiming system, Fallout 4 also introduces a settlement-building system and a voiced protagonist for the first time.
VATS has also been tweaked to merely slow down time instead of stopping it entirely, like in previous games.
The skill system was also overhauled entirely, removing skill points in favor of perk points that can unlock new abilities.
Moreover, players have the chance to romance certain companions, a feature that earlier games lacked.
Although the RPG elements were more simplified and not everyone enjoyed the voice acting of the protagonist, there are always mods to solve these issues!
Even on consoles, mods have been made available for Fallout 4, giving it an insane amount of replayability and customizability!
2. Fallout 3
Released in 2008, four years after Bethesda acquired the rights to the franchise, Fallout 3 was the first game in the series to feature 3D graphics and real-time combat.
One of the best Xbox 360 games, Fallout 3 is set in the Capital Wasteland, the area around Washington, D.C.
It follows the story of the Lone Wanderer after fleeing Vault 101 in search of their father, who left under mysterious circumstances.
This search brings players into direct conflict with the Enclave, remnants of the U.S. government who want to use the Wanderer’s father’s work for their own purposes.
Fallout 3 brought back the SPECIAL system from earlier games, as well as stats, though traits were left out.
There is a ton of content jam-packed into Fallout 3, not including the content added from its five DLCs.
However, like the previous games, a ton of content requires players to go looking for it, such as Oasis, a location far to the north where the story will never lead you.
A lot of the world is also vast, dust-swept, and foreboding, which really delivers an eerie sense of loneliness while traveling between locations.
Unlike Fallout 1 and 2, which auto-traveled characters between places, here you have no choice but to experience the oppressive lack of life in the wastes.
Despite not taking first place on our list, Fallout 3 is still a gem of a game and one that everyone should play at least once!
1. Fallout: New Vegas
Taking our number one spot is, without a doubt, Fallout: New Vegas, an incredible game that was created in just 18 months.
This game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment since Bethesda was busy working on Skyrim at the time.
However, this development team included many former members of Interplay and Black Isle Studio, the original creators of the series.
Thanks to them, New Vegas has a lot of callbacks to the original games and was heavily inspired by the team’s ideas for their never-created Fallout 3.
Set in the Mojave in the area around Las Vegas, this game kicks off with the player character, the Courier, being shot in the head.
This throws players into a power struggle between the mysterious Mr. House of New Vegas, the democratic New California Republic, and the brutal Caesar’s Legion.
Iron sight aiming, weapon customization, and an expanded crafting system, were added, along with a hardcore mode that adds hunger, thirst, and sleep meters.
A reputation system was also included, having been brought back from Fallout 2 and previously left out of 3.
Unlike Fallout 3, the Mojave is much more full of life, especially in the area surrounding New Vegas, with the strip itself offering a number of casinos.
While it wasn’t as well-received at launch as Fallout 3 was, it has since become critically acclaimed as one of the best modern RPGs.
Today, Fallout fans are still asking for a New Vegas sequel created by Obsidian, though this seems unfortunately unlikely.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best Fallout games and learned something new about this decades-old franchise.
With the impending release of the Fallout TV show, this series has seen a resurgence in popularity, and for good reason.
The world of Fallout may seem bleak and irradiated, but it is filled with rich characters and deep lore that has kept fans enthralled for decades!
Here’s a quick recap of the best Fallout games:
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Fallout 3
- Fallout 4
- Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
- Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
- Fallout Shelter
- Fallout 76
- Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Which Fallout game do you want to play first? Leave a comment below.
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