Friday, April 21, 2017

Fallout Shelter (Xbox One) Review

Fallout Shelter is a free to play game  Originally released in June 2015 for iOS and was later ported to Android Mobile, Windows PCs, and Xbox One. In Fallout Shelter, you play as the "Overseer" and need to guide the survivors in their struggles in the post-apocalyptic world.

Gameplay in Fallout Shelter is pretty simple, you need to provide the survivors with clean water, food, and protection from the outside world. You'll start off with few survivors and you can add more people through by finding people in the wild, sending out a radio signal that draws people to your vault, or by making them the old fashion way. Before continuing on I want to address the pregnancy thing. Of course, men and women have vastly different experiences during pregnancy and the game also has differences between the sexes. The couple will go behind the curtains while baby-making. When finished the man comes out and goes back to whatever he was doing. The women on the other hand changes into comfortable clothes covering a noticeable baby bump. The woman can still work at any job in the vault but will not fight anything that gets into the shelter and smartly runs from the room until the danger is gone. Sounds great right?? The part that puzzles me is that when the women come out of the bedroom she has a huge frown on her face like she just made the biggest mistake of her life.

See the frown, that's the face a pregnant woman makes on the way into Planned Pregnancy.
Moving on, as you add more people you'll need new to build new structures to handle the new people. You'll staff the buildings with the dwellers that are the best use of their skills. This game continues on the Fallout tradition with each character using the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. S. stands for Strength, P. for Perception, and so on. Characters can be trained in each of the skills and the skills go from one to ten with ten being the highest. Another way to increase a character's skills is to wear clothing that improves the character's skills.

Each structure like the water plant, the diner, etc. can be upgraded three times at the cost of money. When upgraded you get better production and storage from them so you'll want to upgrade them when you can.

Every once and a while your vault will be raided by human raiders and numerous different creatures. You'll want to staff the entrance room with a good fighter who has big guns. When the battles take place the fight will last for a set time even if both sides have fighters alive. When the time is up the bad guys will run to the next room and so on until they run out of the vault. They will then head left until they reach the elevators and go down to the next level and start again and so on until one of the sides has no fighters left.

The last thing about the vaults is that as your level goes up new rooms are unlocked including workshops. In these, you can build better weapons and clothing but also themes that will give a room a new look. Gameplay-wise they serve no purpose but it's something you can do to pad out the game length a bit.

That's basically how the vaults work so let's move to beyond. You can send out some of your vault dwellers to search the countryside for caps, supplies, and new people to bring to the vault. As most free-to-play games have a set it and forget it gameplay Fallout Shelter does this as well. Once you send out your people their interactions are handled by the computer with you only getting to choose when they can come back. Sometimes when a dweller finds a building you are allowed to enter the building and fight the battle. You'll find truck stops and stores to look through just like in the regular Fallout games.

No comment.
The other thing to do in the wild is sending your people out on missions. At first, you can only take one mission at the time but the Overseer's office can be upgraded to allow you to play three missions at a time. These missions are another set it and forget it gameplay with it taking your dwellers so many hours to walk to the mission and the same time to walk back. When they get to the location you control your people again. Now when I say you "control" them I was being just using colorful words. What you actually do is pick the room for them to enter and to heal them. You can also switch their clothes and weapons if they find better stuff during their missions.

Sometimes the missions will have prerequisites before you can attempt them. Basic stuff like each person having to be at a certain level or the crew having to have wear matching outfits. These missions are where you'll find the blueprints, weapons and clothes, caps, and more. One of the big ones is Nuka Cola which will be one of the most important things to collect. Nuka-Cola can be used to speed up missions, weapons, clothing, themes, and when someone is learning a new skill. If a group on a mission is one hour away it will cost only one bottle but if they are ten hours away it will cost many bottles.

Your characters can be killed in the wild or in the vault if something gets in but don't worry because you're the "Overseer" and can use caps to bring them back to life.

That's how the game plays but let's talk quickly about the game's aesthetic. As I'm sure is completely obvious the artwork is done in the "Vault Boy" look that you see on the information in the regular Fallout games. I think this game definitely benefits from this as it sets it apart from other games while still drawing in people that haven't played the other games. The music also sounds like it's from the other Fallout games, which it probably is.

The other thing I found that I liked was the humor. When you zoom in on people you can see what they are talking about and often they had something funny to say. I also like them talking about if the "Overseer" is real and if he will care about their well being.

Now as is with free-to-play games Fallout Shelter can have things purchase for real money. The two big ones are lunch boxes and Nuka Cola. I've already mentioned the cola so let's talk about the lunchboxes. You'll want them as they give you tons of great stuff including the top dwellers with very high S.P.E.C.I.A.L. The lunch boxes are the only way to get the legendary dwellers which suck. At the end of my game, I had four of them and I wasn't going to spend real money to unlock the rest.

When you first start the game you'll keep hearing a few notes every once and a while and it took me forever to figure out what it was. When you hear them stop what you're doing try and find the "mysterious stranger", that is if you're early into the game as the later players won't need the help. If you can find him he'll give you some caps for your efforts which can be a big deal when you have very little money.

When I caught him here I got 610 caps.

I think Fallout Shelter is a good free-to-play game and made even better than it's based in the Fallout world. While there are chances to pay for things you can do everything the game has to offer without spending a dime. I give Fallout Shelter a 7 out of 10.

For more Fallout, you can click here to read my Fallout 3 review.

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