It took me a while to get this review up and online. Yes, I had other media and materials that were coming down the pipe, but also, I just had trouble trying to stop playing Fallout Tactics. I'd load it up, intending to take screenshots, and then, two hours later, I'd forgotten I even had HyperSnap DX loaded! So, in advance, I apologize for the delays.
Fallout, as a series, is set in a post-apocalyptic landscape of war-torn America of the late 22nd century. Mankind is not thriving, but hashing together a brutal lifestyle that takes a page out of Mad Max. After enduring the total destruction wrought in World War III, humanity has taken to living as refugees and camps of survivors fighting to live from day to day. Radiation and exposure to a forced-evolution virus has also caused some to turn into veritable freaks of nature, spawning Super Mutants, incredibly strong and resilient warriors, as well as Ghouls, intelligent but with rotting flesh.
Fallout Tactics takes place between the events of the first two smash-hit RPGs. You fill the role of a fresh new recruit in the Brotherhood of Steel. Internal strife and conflicting interests have caused the Brotherhood to split off, and your faction has moved into the Midwest after flying over the Rockies in salvaged zeppelins. With the privilege of selecting amongst available recruits, you are tasked by the Brotherhood to perform assigned campaigns to quell fighting, obtain recruits, and recover technology to be salvaged by the Brotherhood.
The storyline doesn't quite matter as much as it did in other Fallout games. Basically, it's there to set the background scene and give the Brotherhood purpose. Your purpose, on the other hand, is simply to serve the brotherhood and earn its glory. Your actions and missions, however, will influence the future of the Brotherhood as you strive to earn your place among its ranks.
If you're familiar with Fallout, then the game plays just like Fallout, except you always have control of your allies. You can easily exchange inventory and ammunition with them, and move them singly or in groups. Fighting is managed similarly, depending on what fighting mode you use. Fallout Tactics allows you to play the game in one of three action modes: Independent Turn Based, Squad Turn Based, and Continuous. Continuous plays like real time. Characters can perform any action any time as long as they have the action points to do so. Squad Turn Based is turn-based combat, where all of your teammates expend their full action points, and then the enemy does so. Independent Turn Based gives each fighter sequence based on his statistics and allows him to expend all of his action points before yielding to the next individual.
Roachor - a remarkable example of a pathetic species.
Each gameplay mode has its advantages and disadvantages. Continuous is cumbersome to manage because the computer always has an inherent advantage in speed of issuing orders. To combat this, the game allows you to assign Sentry Mode to each of your fighters. Depending on the level of sentry set, your characters will ignore all actions, fire defensively, or actively pursue attackers. This helps you to keep your teammates from being sitting ducks due to lack of instruction. On the other hand, Continuous time affords you a better chance to land surprise attacks. With turn-based modes, if you fire on an attacker that does not notice you, he gets to return fire before anyone else can take an action. With Continuous time, you can lure the enemy into ambush traps and situations without having to use action points. In Continuous time, your action points are not used as you run - They simply stop recharging while you move. Continuous time doesn't get paused for you to stop and think, however, so you MUST know your hotkeys.
On the other hand, turn-based is often easier to manage since you don't have to worry as much about hitting the wrong key in battle. You can plan out your strategy more easily and take the time to check hit percentages and such. This is the mode I used during the majority of the game, since, while I normally enjoy real-time gaming, this game is complex enough to warrant using turn-based play. That's not to say that I dislike it - On the contrary, I enjoy it immensely. The only improvement I would make would be to give characters an AT sequence similar to what is shown in Final Fantasy Tactics, where some characters are faster than others and thus earn more turns than slower characters.