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The Best Fallout Games, Ranked

The Fallout universe is massive. And I don’t mean in terms of its map size. There have been 8 main Fallout games, if you include Tactics. It also had a VR game, a virtual pinball table, and a mobile shelter management game. And then there’s a host of tabletop and board games that fans of the series should definitely take a look at. Beyond the games there are also tons of collectibles, graphic novels, and even an upcoming Fallout TV series.

Whether you’ve joined thanks to the rejuvenated Fallout 76 or have been a long-term fan of the series, there is a lot of content to devour.

Best Fallout Games Ranked

When ranking the best Fallout games, you could argue that any of the top five positions could be swapped around. Without the original Fallout, there would be no Fallout 2, but Fallout 2 greatly improved on the original while still retaining its appeal. New Vegas is widely considered to have the best actual RPG elements, while Fallout 3 completely changed the style of game. Fallout 4 was more accessible and was the jumping on point for a lot of gamers.

So, with that in mind, below are all of the Fallout games and how we rank them.

Best Fallout Video Games

Video games are where Fallout started and where the majority of people play it. Although Fallout is apparently not inspired by the game Wasteland, it feels an awful lot like it. And if you get chance to play the Wasteland games you should definitely give them a go because you can feel the similarities.

1. Fallout 2

  • Release Date: 1998
  • Platforms: PC
Fallout 2 Screenshot

In a lot of respects, Fallout 2 was very similar to the original Fallout but it did improve on the original game by ironing out some problems and making the game more accessible. You can buy Fallout 2 for a couple of dollars, and with the trend for rereleasing and remastering games, we could see a return of the isometric RPG one day in the future. Fallout 2 is a lot more RPG than the more recent additions to the series.

2. Fallout: New Vegas

  • Release Date: 2010
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Fallout: New Vegas will be a lot of people’s top pick. It had an excellent storyline and some of the best RPG elements of any Fallout game. New Vegas is the wasteland equivalent of Las Vegas, and players take on the role of a courier left for dead. It has a ton of side quests and you can choose which factions, if any, you take on quests for, giving players massive scope to play how they want. It’s another title that may well see a remake in the future.

3. Fallout 3

  • Release Date: 2008
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Fallout 3 Screenshot

When I was first putting this list together, I placed Fallout 4 above Fallout 3. 4 has settlements and its combat is great, but it lacks the Fallout character that is a huge part of these games. Fallout 3 doesn’t lack character and while Fallout 4 might have added settlements, 3 completely changed the game style from 2D isometric to a 3D open world action-RPG. It also introduced the VATS system while still retaining a lot of the stuff that made Fallout 2 great.

4. Fallout 4

  • Release Date: 2015
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Fallout 4 has a lot of detractors, especially those with a long-term investment in the series. It feels more linear, despite being a massive open world game and still offering a ton of optional side quests. But, it did introduce the building of settlements and it took Fallout combat to another level. It probably also introduced a lot of gamers to the Fallout universe, which is definitely not a bad thing.

5. Fallout

  • Release Date: 1997
  • Platforms: PC
Fallout Screenshot

In many ways, the original Fallout should be top of the list. Without it, there wouldn’t be a Fallout 2 and without that there wouldn’t be a Fallout 3, and so on. But, while the game was exceptional for its time, it took the sequel to iron some out of the problems, and the modern games are vastly different in terms of their gameplay. With that said, Fallout was great and I still remember it very fondly. Which is impressive after more than 25 years. Both for the game, and me.

6. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

  • Release Date: 2001
  • Platforms: PC
Fallout Tactics: Brother of Steel Screenshot

I didn’t play too much Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, which is kind of odd because I love a turn based strategy and this spin-off was good. It is quite the departure from the main games, not only because it is turn based but it’s also obviously a lot more linear than players might be used to. It is a good game in its own right, but it feels like a big diversion from the main titles, and for that, it is found wanting compared to the rest.

7. Fallout 76

  • Release Date: 2018
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

I kind of feel like Fallout 76 could and should be higher in this list, but the problem is I tried playing it extensively when it came out. And when it came out, it was dross. It had no NPCs and no character. Since then, and especially since the Wastelanders update added NPCs and more quests, it has undergone some massive upgrades and Bethesda continues to add new content. I do occasionally try picking it up to play again, and I will put some serious time into it sometime in the near future, but my time with the game has been tainted by my first playthrough. And, for that reason, it falls way down the list. And, it isn’t just me.

8. Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

  • Release Date: 2004
  • Platforms: PS2, Xbox

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel was an odd departure for the Fallout series. It was essentially a dungeon crawler slasher and that massive departure could be why the game very much fell under the radar. There were plans for a second instalment in this off-spin, but it got cancelled, and that’s probably a good thing.

9. Fallout Shelter

  • Release Date: 2015
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Fall Shelter Screenshot

Honestly, as a mobile game, I found Fallout Shelter fun for a time, and it is a cool concept. Players take on the role of a vault overseer and have to manage the vault and its inhabitants. The problem is, while some of the content is fun, it becomes boring quite quickly. Worth a play when you’re on the bus, or sat on the toilet, especially as it is free to play, but don’t expect to sink many hours into it.

10. Fallout 4 VR

  • Release Date: 2017
  • Platforms: PC

Fallout 4 VR isn’t awful. In fact, it’s quite enjoyable while you’re blasting away at feral ghouls. But when you’re trying to do just about anything else, then it can feel awful. The pip-boy is difficult to manage, interactions with the world are limited, and it was hefty, both in terms of price and system requirements, on launch.

11. Fallout Pinball

  • Release Date: 2016
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U

I debated whether to include Fallout Pinball on the list. It is one of three Bethesda pinball tables that were included in Zen Pinball 2, Pinball FX 2, and Pinball FX 3, but it obviously isn’t a true Fallout game. But, I like pinball games and I did play Fallout Pinball, which is based primarily on Fallout 4 but with some elements from other games thrown in for good measure. It sits at the bottom of the video game list because it isn’t a Fallout game, it’s really just based on the universe.

Tabletop Games

Fallout might have started on PC before making its way to consoles and, at least in the case of Fallout Shelter, even cell phones, but it hasn’t stopped there. Below are the tabletop and board games set in the wasteland that are currently available. They haven’t really lived up to the success, critical rating, or popularity of the video games yet, but there is a new game coming soon that might change that.

1. Fallout: The Board Game

  • Release Date: 2017

Fallout: The Board Game is a miniatures-based board game with elements of adventuring, fighting, and character progression. It does a really good job of bringing Fallout to the tabletop via various elements of the game. The different factions have weak spots to hit during battle, as they do in the video games, and it is heavily based on factions. But, there is a lot of luck involved in how well you progress through the main point of the game, and with more than a couple of players it takes a long time to finish.

2. Fallout Shelter: The Board Game

  • Release Date: 2020
Fall Shelter: The Board Game

Honestly, this one completely passed me by, but if we’re going to include Fallout Shelter in the list of video games, we have to include Fallout Shelter: The Board Game. And it’s a shame it’s passed me by because it looks surprisingly good. It’s a worker placement game for two to four players with the aim of each vault overseer to get the most happiness out of their vault dwellers. It’s not overly complex

3. Fallout: Wasteland Warfare

  • Release Date: 2018
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare

Wasteland Warfare is a tabletop skirmish game, in a similar mould to Warhammer 40K. It can be played by 1 to 4 players and is actually better as a solo than a multiplayer. The game is heavily based on Fallout video games, which is great if you’re a fan, but it is also the game’s biggest downfall as a tabletop experience. While it is arguably better than most other tabletop wasteland experiences, it still isn’t great because it’s a skirmish game that plays best as single player and it’s kind of lacking in depth even as a single player.

4. Fallout: The Roleplaying Game

  • Release Date: 2021

Fallout: The Roleplaying Game isn’t inherently bad. It’s actually good fun, and it does bring Fallout to the table in a faithful manner. As it should because it is created by Modiphius Entertainment, who designed a tabletop game that the original Fallout game was going to be based on. That never really panned out, but Modiphius Entertainment has essentially brought that back to life with the roleplaying game. Fallout lovers will enjoy roleplaying as Codsworth or a vault dweller, but as a roleplaying adventure, there are a lot of better options out there.

4. Fallout: Warfare

  • Release Date: 2001

Fallout: Warfare came as a bonux with the special edition of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel and is very difficult to get hold of. But that’s OK, because this two player game is a skirmish game that, quite frankly, isn’t great. It’s a pen and paper game, which means if you can find a copy, it should be cheap, at least.

?. Fallout Factions (2024)

  • Release Date: 2024
Fallout Factions

Fallout: Factions is another skirmish game set in the Fallout world. We don’t know how good it is yet, because it hasn’t launched, but you can pre-order it and Modiphius claims that it includes streamlined rules and will be suitable for casual or more experienced play.

Thankfully there’s a lot of Fallout content there, because it is likely that the next main video game won’t release for at least another five years, after the next Elder Scrolls game. There will be mods and maybe we’ll see a remastered game somewhere along the way. There will certainly be at least one new tabletop game, because Modiphius is launching one later this year. But fans of the series have a serious wait on their hands for a new entry to the main series, and it will probably arrive on the next generation of consoles.

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