I need to make a confession: I'm not a Fallout 2 guy. For as much as I love Fallout 1 and New Vegas, the second game's pop-culture reference-filled and prurient style always grated on me. But maybe my relationship with Fallout 2 isn't doomed. Perhaps all I need is a new perspective. Literally.
The Fallout 2 Remake 3D (via PCGamesN) from Polish developer Jonasz Osmenda offers exactly that. Transplanting Black Isle's opus into distressingly immediate first-person, the mod uses the original game's assets to recreate environments like Klamath, Arroyo, and the Temple of Trials in exacting detail. Of course, those are assets made for an isometric game in the late '90s, so basically everything becomes an unparseable mess of pixels when you get close to it, but it's nice to see familiar, post-nuclear faces like 'woman in jacket' and 'hunched bald man' again.
The whole thing is in incredibly early stages (and may never get past them, if Bethesda's lawyers have anything to say about it), so right now it's more of a tech demo than a proper game. The bizarre wedding of Fallout 2's original mechanics—where the turn-based combat was regulated by each participants' pool of action points—with a first-person point of view is… difficult to adjust to, for example, and the map you can currently explore turns to infinite nothingness at its edges. Actually, the more I write about it, the more it sounds like Morrowind, so maybe Fallout 2 Remake 3D is already the greatest game of all time.
Still, it's a valiant effort, and it's always cool when passionate fans try to keep games alive even when their parent companies have moved onto bigger and more lucrative things. I'm reminded of efforts like Daggerfall Unity and OpenMW: Open-source reimplementations of the old Elder Scrolls games that make playing the classics a breeze on modern systems. Those fan projects don't use the game's original assets, they're just alternative engines you can slot those assets into yourself (from the games you already own). Crucially, that makes them un-lawyerable, at least for now. That kind of thing might be a more long-lived direction for a Fallout 2 revival to go in, even if Osmenda's work is genuinely impressive.
I hope someone picks up that torch. In a world where we have Enhanced Editions of Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale keeping the old Infinity Engine games alive, it feels increasingly strange that Bethesda hasn't done something similar for the beloved classics in its own stable. I suppose leaving it for the fans to sort isn't out of character, though.
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One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.