With all of the Fallout hoopla going on as of late — side story, I bumped into a guy at a park wearing a Fallout tee and I was like “cool shirt!” and he was like “hey have you heard of the new game?” and I was like “yeah, we should be best friends forever!” and he was like “i think i hear my wife calling my name…” — I’ve gotten into this weird and unexpected post-apocalyptic gaming vibe this month. Not only am I going through Fallout 4, but I reinstalled Fallen Earth, which you might remember from back when I was an absolute raving mad Fallen Earth fan who wouldn’t shut up about this game.
It wasn’t just Fallout 76, however. I’ve been meaning to revisit this game for a while, but its “barely hanging on” status under GamersFirst’s management was an effective repellent. And then last month, another company acquired GF and all of its games and started to make talk about rebuilding Fallen Earth. It’s actually kind of exciting, especially if you’ve always been rooting for this dark horse of an MMO.
So I figured it was time to go back, if only to say howdy and see if the magic is still there. I rolled up a new character (I don’t even think I know what my old account info is at this point) and jumped right into Sector One.
If you’ve never played (or even heard) of Fallen Earth before, it’s pretty much the closest thing we’ve had to a Fallout MMORPG for a long time now. It came out back in 2008 or so and wasn’t exactly a smash hit — more of a deep sleeper hit. It was messy and a little complicated and not always the best-looking or -animated game, but after I pushed myself to get to learn it, I found that it was a pretty amazing sandbox that let me live out my wasteland scavenger fantasies quite well.
Exploring and fighting and questing is all part of it, to be sure, but what makes Fallen Earth different than most MMOs is that it is highly, highly dependent on gathering and crafting as a core gameplay loop. Yes, this is the modern survival game genre done a while back, but it hit that sweet spot of what most post-apocalyptic gamers were seeking. We wanted to make our way in this harsh land.
Plus, you know me. I don’t really craft that much at all — except when it came to this game. Then, I couldn’t get enough of it. Fallen Earth’s crafting was addicting for three reasons:
- You could craft MOST anything in the game without having to specialize
- You actually used what you made
- You crafted in real-time (whether online or not) no matter where you were in the game
Seeing the crafting timer count down while I was doing other activities always felt satisfying, and I got a rush of that right when I started this character and was told to make bandages and ammo. The memories!
As I said, Fallen Earth can be messy. It’s a big, big world that has all sorts of weird respawn rates and camps of bad guys where the corpses pile up faster than they can dissolve. Sometimes you just get this old school clutter like above, but after a while, it becomes part of the game’s atmosphere. You can’t always pull one mob at a time or spend forever looting bad guys in safety.
It’s been years since I’ve played — about five at least, according to the last time I was blogging about it — so I really thought I would have forgotten everything. But I guess my brain’s long-term storage is still functioning and ticking along, because I had one of those memory cascades during the first half-hour of play. I remembered the sounds, the weird UI, the way to do combat, the crafting, the AP system… pretty much all of it. Just flooded right on back and I was in the swing of things.
And of course, when you play Fallen Earth, you have to stop every once in a while to gaze at the skybox and feel small and insignificant. Moon!
Back when I first started playing Fallen Earth, it took a long time before you were able to make and use guns (I think the default ranged weapon back then was a pathetic crossbow). Now the game dumps a wide selection of weapons in your inventory and lets you start shootouts the second you are able to craft ammo.
If you play, I strongly recommend ranged over melee for two reasons. First, you can do headshots for extra damage and that just rocks. Second, enemy mobs can literally be blown away (or back a few yards) when you deliver the killing shot. It’s a lot of fun.
In my short session, I also stumbled upon the vaults and was reminded of the quirky and limiting inventory system. You have weight and slot restrictions, and if you decide to dump stuff into vaults, you have to know which type you’re using, as some only work across a single sector (a large zone) and not the whole game.
Anyone else playing Fallen Earth or heading back? I saw some interest on Massively OP as of late and figured that I might not be the only one.