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  • Writer's pictureRua Fay

"Fallout" as Reviewed by a Super Fan

My journey with the Fallout franchise began in the fall of 2016. I was twelve years old, raking leaves in my backyard when my little brother excitedly ran up to me with a copy of Fallout 4 from the local GameStop. After the backyard was clean, I rushed inside to begin my first play-through, and ever since, it has been my favorite video game of all time. In the following years I would discover the other games in the series like Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. I was the kid who attended seventh grade wearing my "Vault 111" t-shirt from Hot Topic, and had a model Pip-boy on my bureau. My love for the franchise has never waned over the years, and when I heard that Amazon would be making it into a TV show, I was apprehensive and nervous. I didn't want my favorite game to go down the same path as 99% of other video game to screen adaptations. Three days ago, the Fallout TV series was officially released on Amazon Prime, but does it live up to the expectations of a lifelong fan?

When the first trailer released for Fallout, I did not think it looked very good. Amazon Prime has gradually been making a name for itself in the world of original movies and TV shows, but I couldn't help but feel nervous. Friends of mine were practically shrieking with excitement, but I couldn't help but think it looked cheap. It's also no secret that video game adaptations do not have a good track record. Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, World of Warcraft...you get the idea. I didn't want Fallout to join those ranks. But aside from some of the graphics, I thought the cast looked promising and it was nice to see that it was being produced by game developer, Todd Howard. I just remember thinking "please don't be bad, please don't be bad..."

When the show was released in full, I watched the entire thing in a matter of hours, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Contrary to what the trailer made me believe, it's clear that the film had a large budget. Amazon spared no expense when it came to production design, makeup, costumes, and sets. The way the vaults look are nothing short of amazing. And I was right to be excited about the cast, Ella Purnell, Aaron Moten, Moises Arias, and Kyle McLachlan all give great performances, but the crown jewel of the entire show is Walton Goggins as ghoul, Cooper Howard. He gives an incredibly complicated and nuanced performance, reminiscent of the characters you would meet in New Vegas, I really cannot give him enough praise. I appreciate how much the plot takes inspiration from Fallout 3, one of the most beloved games in the series. The premises are nearly identical, but modified enough to not feel like a total rip-off. In addition to that, the final episode contains a plot twist that is definitely worth waiting for and will make you see the entire series differently upon rewatch!

The absolute best part about the Fallout series is how many references are sprinkled in for fans to point out. I had an absolute blast seeing all the little easter egg, ranging from surface level to obscure ones that only the most obsessive fans will notice. This especially applies to the soundtrack, which is easily one of the strongest elements of the entire show. Fallout is a series that clearly appreciates its fans, and its nice to see as someone who has been playing these games since my childhood.

Overall, Fallout is an action-packed and extremely cool show for any geeks out there that have been dying for years to see this franchise make its on-screen debut. But that does not mean it's not without its flaws.

Despite being a lot better than I thought it was going to be, Fallout is not perfect, which is to be expected for a show in its first season.

First off, the plot can feel meandering at times. I was amazed by the twist ending and the last episode as a whole, but before that it feels very loose and difficult to follow. It tends to bounce around between before and after the nuclear war, which actually works very well, but the B-plot surrounding Norm McLean and the secrets of Vault 31 was just not at all interesting enough to keep my attention. It's actually kind of shocking to look back and see just how little was actually accomplished between episodes 1 and 8. Granted, a lot of screen time was dedicated to exposition and character development, but it didn't have the same strong, central story as the games.

I also do not like the way they introduced and handled the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood is a faction that has been present since the very first Fallout game in 1997. They play a substantial role in the series and if you were to solely be introduced to them via this show, you would have absolutely no idea who they are, what they do, or what they stand for. In the games they are a hard-core, powerful, militaristic, borderline fascist organization, with extremely high standards for loyalty and commitment. In the show they're only seen as a small pseudo-army, and their values are really anyone's guess. I usually enjoy Johnny Pemberton as a comedic actor, but when I picture a BoS soldier in my head, his character is not it.

The most noticeable problem with Fallout for me are the outdoor environments, they are inconsistent and feel like an afterthought. Within a few hours we see characters travel from sprawling, barren deserts to random lush forests that look completely untouched by a nuclear blast. When I think of Fallout I think of a dry, dead wasteland, certainly not any lush green trees. When the trailer released, a lot of people seemed to have a problem with how Cooper Howard the ghoul looked, the main complaint being that he didn't look gross or decomposed enough, but I disagree, I think the makeup looked good and believable.

Debuting with a shockingly high score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's safe to say that Fallout has been a success so far, and it'll go down in history as one of the better video game adaptations out there. It seems as though ever since The Last of Us came out, video game movies and shows have been given a fair shake by critics and audiences alike, so maybe this is the dawning of a new era for video game content on the big screen.

All-in-all, Fallout is a perfectly solid TV series that will surely please fans and hopefully convince some new viewers to check out the games for themselves. It has a great blend of drama and comedy that will leave you eagerly waiting for the next episode. And it left off on a pretty substantial cliffhanger so let's hope that season 2 is just over the horizon!

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