11 RPG Games Every PC Gamer Needs to Try: Page 3 of 11

The beautiful art of The Banner Saga
The RPG genre's "required reading"

9. The Fallout series (1997-2015)

Fallout New Vegas
Fallout's patented VATS targeting system, which has been in every game of the series.

Dark, gritty, violent. Fallout takes place following a nuclear war, and America is a wasteland where everyone is struggling to survive, and it's kill-or-be-killed. Fallout breaks away from the standard fantasy tropes of most RPGs by providing a grounded, realistic setting with some futuristic technology.

Fallout is broken into two eras, the classic and the modern. The classic games, Fallout and Fallout 2, are top-down RPGs similar to Baldur's Gate and other cRPGs from the late '90s. The modern era games, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4, are first-person shooters that retain the RPG elements and development of the classics. Whichever gameplay style you prefer, the setting, story beats, and many of the mechanics are the same. A highlight of those mechanics is the perk system, which grants special abilities every couple of levels in addition to your standard skills. These include anything from higher tolerance to the ever-present radiation in the world, to kung-fu mastery, to a mysterious guardian angel with a Colt .44 who randomly appears to blow away your enemies.

The game also had a unique combat system called VATS, which allowed players to target specific areas of the body while fighting, in hopes of disabling a weapon arm or blinding the enemy. The game pauses when you enable VATS, allowing you a breather in the midst of a fight. Different body parts have different chances of success based on your weapon and stats, and require a mix of strategy and gambling.

Accompanying all of this is an incredibly charming and often darkly humorous retro 1950s aesthetic, featuring upbeat doo-wop music and atomic-age design. The game's mascot character, Vault Boy, smiles and gives thumbs up as he demonstrates how to fire bazookas, heal crippled limbs, and disable bombs.

If you're interested in the classic series start with Fallout for a solid introduction to the post-apocalyptic world presented as a top-down RPG. If shooters are more your style, Fallout: New Vegas has the best story among the modern releases, and an incredibly robust modding community.

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Teacher, writer and story-gamer in Japan
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Overwatch
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect 2, Portal 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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