Wednesday, December 5

Fallout Shelter

I played on: PC
I paid: £0 (free to pay)
Available on: PC, Mobile
Notes: N/A

Any fans of Fallout new and/or old are aware of Vault-tec and their end of the world vaults. Fallout Shelter offers fans a chance to build one of these vaults for themselves. I love Vault-tec as well as their infamous 122 vaults based around all of America. Hearing that I could design my own vault in a game similar to SimTower was very exciting however the reality is far from that concept.

The basic idea of the gameplay is that you have 3 meters you need to keep full. Power, food and water. You do this by building rooms using caps and then assigning people called here vault dwellers to these rooms. Each dweller will have 7 skills based on the S.P.E.C.I.A.L system in the main games. These are Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and lastly Luck. The power plant requires strength so any dwellers with a high strength skill should be assigned to work there. You do this for each room as well as a defence team of up to 2 dwellers on the door and any raiding parties you want to leave the vault. This all sounds good but the issue comes in with the waiting times which can be up to and over 24 hours. Of course, you have ‘micro’ transactions ranging from 99p for 1 loot box to £99 for 1000 skip items. The entire game is slowed down to beyond a crawl without Quantum Nuka-Cola’s to skip wait times. This is obviously an attempt to make players spend more on microtransactions in order to play the game at a speed anywhere near enjoyable. Without these Quantum Nukas, you will be left waiting, turning the game into an absolute bore. The Vault-Tec lunch boxes which act as loot boxes in this game work just like gambling. You pay 99p for 1 and hope to get something useful but normally end up with mostly junk and 1 useful item. The graphics and music all try to make this as exciting as possible but honestly, once you look past the simple effects it’s all really dull. The best possible outcome is that you get a good vault dweller that will slightly speed up the wait timers in 1 area of your vault. Besides that, you’re left once again waiting for something, anything to happen.

Relationships are only possible between men and women for the purpose of reproducing and increasing your vaults population. This is very heteronormative with all people within your vault being heterosexual and cisgender with no exception. While I understand the gameplay reasons behind this it really would not have been so hard to fix. Maybe any homosexual couples could improve your vaults overall happiness level or allow children to improve skills before adulthood. Women unable to birth children could also fill this role or gain a boost in other skills making them useful elsewhere in the vault. The facts remain that not everyone is cisgender and/or heterosexual and any game based on human behaviour should reflect that. If they don’t then it’s as fundamentally wrong as saying all humans are white. In a similar fashion having only cisgender heterosexual people ignores and isolates a large number of players. Besides the anti-LGBT nature of only having cishet people, there is also an issue with how this portrays women. Seeing as you unlock rooms by increasing your vaults population the most valuable thing your female inhabitants can do is become pregnant. This connection to population and progression turns your female vault dwellers into nothing more than breeding stock. This is a very demeaning and horrible way to treat any person and here all women are subjected to it.

Lastly, your vault will be attacked by Raiders, Radscorpains and so on. I guess these are supposed to offer a break from the monotony of just waiting for a number of resource timers to tick down. What they end up being is both annoying and monotonous at the same time. Besides equipping your vault dwellers with outfits and weapons there is nothing you can do to prevent or fight these. So you just end up with around 5+ minutes of not being able to progress or do really anything. Besides that major annoyance if any of your vault dwellers get killed you need to pay caps to bring them back to life. But that’s not all, while these attacks are happening you will be constantly losing resources. So instead of being a fun distraction all that really happens is that you watch your dwellers die, resources disappear and hours of gameplay wash away into nothing. I was 1 room away from unlocking every room in the game in an effort to 'complete’ this game for this review. However, then I had two Deathclaw attacks within 20 minutes that took all my food and wiped out most of my vaults population. I could not afford to revive them all so I just quit. I did nothing wrong. I played the game correctly for 9 days spending a total of 11 hours in this awful game. Then I had all that progress destroyed for no reason. It was getting a low score anyway but now I can’t see that this unfair game designed only to push players into the microtransactions deserves anything other than a 1 out of 10. Avoid this game.

Recommendation Rating: 1 out of 10.

1 comment:

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