My Time in Bethesda's Fallout Shelter

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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My Time in Bethesda's Fallout Shelter

One of the biggest surprises of E3 2015 was Bethesda's revelation that it had made a completely different kind of Fallout game: Fallout Shelter. This resource management vault simulation was weak sauce compared to the grand buffet of graphic and plot excess that would be coming our way this November--which can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned--but after trying it anyway, I found myself surprisingly pleased with this little title.

Some have called it a shameless cash grab, a title that's not only incorrect, but is also downright scurrilous. The game is being given away at no charge, for one, and though there are microtransactions involved, this is no pay-to-win title; the purchase options just provide a few extra resources, the kind that can readily be had within the game itself just by playing it and accomplishing various challenges.

Though admittedly, this isn't the kind of game I play often, my time with it was still sufficiently enjoyable. I doubt I'll come back to my Vault often--the resource management gameplay tends to require a certain kind of mentality to enjoy, and I don't think I do--I could see playing it in 10 minute increments every so often. It's not a bad game, keep that in mind, but it's a very specific kind of game that not everyone can get behind.

In a way, I'm glad this game exists. Give everyone a little taste of new Fallout and give the crew out at Bethesda a little something new and different to work on, a sort of palate cleanser to wake up the senses for the next round. Indeed, it won't be so long before said crew will need to start work on the next Elder Scrolls title, and they'll need a little something to break up the tension between rounds. If it gives Bethesda a little extra cash to work with going into the next major game, then so much the better. I don't have much problem with little, branded casual games joining the fray to raise cash for the next round; we all know the kind of problems that triple-A producers have had of late with costs going ever higher while returns don't match.

Yet I'm also a little unhappy about this; how much time could they have shaved off Fallout 4's development if they hadn't put it into this instead? Could we be getting Fallout 4 in October? September? How much time did this goofy little vault simulator cost us?

Still, all told, it's a decent ending. We'll get our Fallout 4 soon enough, and in the meantime, a little taste of something different just to perk up the senses ahead of the launch. Fallout Shelter will be no replacement for the wild manic excesses of gunplay and plot that Fallout 4 will present, but it will be a nice diversion to distract from a wait that would feel way too long at even half what it is.

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