Fallout TV Series Review: 3 Reasons It’s a Successful Video Game Adaptation

Fallout TV Series Review: 3 Reasons It’s a Successful Video Game Adaptation

For so long, video game adaptations have been marred by less-than-stellar translations to the big screen. But it appears the curse is over thanks to successes like The Last of Us, Arcane: League of Legends and now, Fallout.

[Note: This spoiler-free review is based on episodes 1-4 of Fallout]

Fallout Review: What makes it worth watching?

Fallout captures the essence of playing the game

Fallout TV review
Fallout TV Series Review (Image: Prime Video)

Video games have never been an easy medium to capture, particularly one so driven by player choice, like Fallout. But somehow, Prime Video’s new series manages to capture all the hallmarks that make the game franchise great and repurpose it into something that is an epic TV series in its own right.

Fallout successfully encapsulates that feeling of wandering a post-apocalyptic open world where you’ll run into a random NPC hoping for assistance on your journey or be suddenly dragged off course by an odd side quest. The best part is that it manages to do this while still telling a narratively cohesive and interesting story. Even if you’re familiar with the Fallout games and can tell exactly where the story is taking us, there is still such a thrill in seeing it unfold on TV.

Everything from the set and costume design to the array of retro music choices feels so fittingly Fallout, but the best part is undoubtedly the tone. From the start, Fallout has separated itself from traditional apocalypse stories with its unique and satirical take on the genre. The creative team on Fallout completely understand their assignment and it results in the series being way funnier and graphic than you may at first expect. The humour peppered throughout the series is darkly funny and often juxtaposed with unhinged scenes of violence or moral and ethical complications, but it’s something that feels so tonally true to the games.

It has interesting characters and great performances

Fallout TV review
Fallout TV Series Review (Image: Prime Video)

It should be established that while Fallout is an adaptation of Bethesda’s video game series, it is not a strict adaptation of any one game. Instead, it is a new story set in the established world of Fallout, and this, it seems, was a wise move.

Much like the games, Fallout tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Earth, where nuclear bombs have obliterated much of the population, and 200 years later, those who remain fight for their survival and sanity in the wasteland that’s left behind. This time around, however, the player character has been replaced with three main storylines, all written sharply and each representing one of Fallout’s major factions that provide a different perspective into this wild frontier of a world.

One of these is Lucy Maclean, a vault-dweller who emerges from the picture-perfect all-American life of Vault 33 into the harsh realities of the post-nuclear wasteland to find her missing father. Ella Purnell plays Lucy with a real sense of innocence but with an underlying layer of strength and capability that makes her incredibly likeable.

Aaron Moten stars as Maximus, an ambitious and overlooked member of the Brotherhood of Steel, a militant medieval faction devoted to a higher calling of preserving tech from the old world. Maximus is a character who walks the line of morality and therefore can easily fall into the unlikeable basket, but the writing of the character and Moten’s performance manages to keep you intrigued.

The standout character of the bunch is easily Walton Goggins as the Ghoul, one of the wasteland’s famous irradiated enemy types. Goggins has a lot of heavy lifting to do in the series, shouldering the copious makeup and western cowboy aesthetic of the disillusioned ghoul along with the man he was before the bombs dropped; an old Hollywood movie star named Cooper Howard. The Ghoul is the harshness of the wasteland incarnate, a creature that no one would think twice about destroying in the video games, but Goggins makes the character the most interesting one of the series.

Together, this trio of characters, along with an excellent supporting cast (Moisés Arias and Kyle MacLachlan have to be applauded as well), guide you through an apocalyptic California that is thematically grim and decrepit in nature. But, just like in the games, it is a world that you are more than happy to explore.

It makes Fallout accessible to everyone

Fallout TV review
Fallout TV Series Review (Image: Prime Video)

I’ll be the first to admit that while I love the concept of the Fallout games, I’m just not very good at playing them. This has been a barrier to entry for me for years now, but finally, thanks to this series, I feel like I have a way into this franchise that so many people love.

Of course, there are easter eggs hidden throughout the series that are nice nods to the games and their lore, which will likely appease the many fans. But even if you don’t know what a Stimpak or a Nuka-Cola is, it won’t take away from your experience.

That is perhaps Fallout’s greatest success. It is clearly made with passion and care by people who truly adore and get this story. It manages to not only capture the heart and soul of the games but also makes it widely accessible for those who aren’t gamers or who are maybe too spooked by giant flying radroaches (ahem) to finish their journey.

Fallout has its hiccups – jokes that don’t land, pacing that is uneven in places – but for the most part, it is an incredibly compelling, deeply immersive and thoroughly entertaining adventure into the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

All episodes of Fallout stream exclusively on Prime Video on April 11 in Australia.


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