This week, Bethesda's next entry in the Fallout series was released. It's been met with mixed reactions, both from intrigued players and diehard fans of the series.
We're still pushing through Fallout 76, and you can expect a fully scored review from Mike sometime in the near future on it. (God speed Mike!) As for the rest of us, well, we're also playing Fallout 76. For this week's community question though, we're blinking away from the nuclear wasteland to look upon... other wastelands. So what about you, what's your favorite non-Fallout post-apocalyptic game?
I guess Wasteland 2 would be cheating, since that series is essentially old-school Fallout again. I'll go with Darksiders and Darksiders 2, both of which actually take place after a version of the Christian biblical apocalypse. Darksiders follows the Horseman War, accused of starting the apocalypse in the first place, while the sequel is about his brother Death, taking place roughly at the same time as the first game's events.
The first game plays out in linear fashion, with heavy inspiration from adventure games like The Legend of Zelda, while the sequel open things up a bit and adds a dose of RPG goodness to the experience. Combat and traversal controls are pretty tight, the upgrades are interesting, and the general aesthetic of both games is what sets them apart for other similar fare.
I wouldn't say either game is the best of their generation, but they're both good enough to jump into. Unfortunately, I'd watch out for the PC port of Darksiders 2, as it has a few bugs that linger even today.
Post-apocalyptic Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still one of my favorite game locales. I've already written an in-depth look at what makes Hyrule's apocalypse "perfect," but to sum things up, Breath of the Wild's overgrown and near-empty Hyrule might be closer to a "realistic" apocalypse than people give it credit for. Nature reclaims space in a hurry when we're not around to tramp on it, which is why Breath of the Wild's iteration of Hyrule is so beautiful. Still, Nintendo manages to insert significant pockets of sadness and danger into its world. The closer you get to Hyrule castle, the epicenter of the Calamity, the grimmer things become. In a way, receiving that contained reminder makes more of an impact than a world of ashes would.
I'm gonna go ahead and say Nier: Automata, the one post-apocalypse so advanced it could be considered a post-post-apocalypse.
I'm gonna refrain from spoiling anything here, but basically in the world of Nier: Automata, aliens have taken over Earth and the humans decamped for the Moon and created androids to reclaim Earth for them. It's really lazy on their part, honestly. Anyways, the sad androids must now battle the sad robots in a war for humanity but of course director Yoko Taro went ahead and injected the whole thing with existentialism and emotions. Jerk.
I'm gonna go with Breath of the Wild, as much as I'd love to talk about why Nier: Automata rules again or why The Last Of Us is only really good if you play on Survivor mode. I think what makes Breath of the Wild special is that it's a unique post-apocalypse, and it also doesn't have zombies. While I do have issues with parts of it in retrospect (the lack of cool dungeons and boss fights, namely), as a post-apocalyptic game with a dash of survival, it measures up as one of the very best games not only of The Legend of Zelda series, but of the past decade.
One of my favorite side quests, I think, cements what makes Breath of the Wild's post-apocalyptic Hyrule so lovely. It's when you come across a group of people building a town, and you can build a house there. It shows that a post-apocalypse is not only about losing everything and living in the shadow of the past: it's about rebuilding your lives from the ground up too. By the long quest's end, you get a bustling new town to visit. It's really nice. I wish more post-apocalypse games focused on that element of the end of the world: rebuilding. Hilariously, this is also pretty much the theme of Fallout 76; shame it's super boring.