Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is a squad-based tactical combat game that takes place in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Fallout series. Whereas Fallout and Fallout 2 were open world games with freeform questing and exploration throughout, Fallout Tactics is structured into a linear progression of discreet missions with the open world serving merely as a transit space between missions.
Fallout Tactics adds some new features to the combat of the original Fallout games - the most different being the option to run combat in real-time (called "continuous turn-based" or CTB). The game also supports multistory buildings, three stance positions (standing, crouched, and prone), full control over party members, and a separate PvP multiplayer mode. In the final patch to the game after release, the developers included some of their own tools used in making the game to allow fans to make custom content for it.
From a storyline perspective, Fallout Tactics is not officially recognized as canon by current IP-owner Zenimax. However, parts of the game can be considered implicit canon as long as they do not contradict official canon.
Despite the confusing similarity between the names, there is no relation whatsoever between this PC-exclusive game and the console-exclusive action-RPG Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, aside from both using the Fallout franchise.
Unlike most of the Fallout games, Tactics focuses on the Brotherhood of Steel, a west coast group of pre-apocalypse soldiers that deserted the government upon discovering the vault experiments. The Brotherhood faced the wasteland with a surplus of technology, and quickly spread out over the west coast. They dedicated themselves to preserving science and technology, sometimes at the expense of the rest of the wastelanders. A minority within the Brotherhood wanted to accept the other wastelanders and they separated into their own group and were sent west in airships to destroy the rest of the mutant army. Many of the ships were destroyed in a lightning storm however, and the survivors were forced to land outside the ruins of Chicago. The Brotherhood established a relationship with the locals, trading their advanced technology and medicine for food and labor. The Brotherhood accepted new recruits, and quickly became a regional power.
As the game begins, the Brotherhood is trying to claim territory in and around Chicago, both through eliminating raiders and mutants, and offering protection to the locals. The player assumes the role of an initiate, a new member of the Brotherhood. The first task assigned to the player is to eliminate the raiders from the area along with a group of fellow initiates. The player succeeds, and becomes a full member of the Brotherhood. As a full member, the player learns the eventual goal of the brotherhood, to push west across the great plains and eventually arrive at vault zero, the nucleus of the vault experiment, where the most advanced pre-war technology can be obtained.
The next adversary of the Brotherhood are the Beastlords, a group of humans able to control animals, and have come to use Deathclaws as their slaves. The Brotherhood defeats their enemy, and pushes into west coast Missouri, a region known as “the belt”. Quickly after their victory, they encounter the remnants of the Mutant army they originally were tasked to destroy. The mutants proved a much more competent enemy, and the Brotherhood was overwhelmed outside St. Louis by the better armed and more numerous mutants. The leader of the Brotherhood, General Barnaky, is captured by a leader of the mutant army, Toccomata. The Brotherhood retreated, but remained under attack. A group of Brotherhood soldiers tasked to destroy a munitions facility instead stumbled upon a secret research facility intent on solving the mutant sterility problem. The soldiers take over the lab, intending to use it as a bargaining chip. A different squad, while defending the ghoul town of gravestone from mutant, stumbles upon a nuclear bomb. The squad defeats the mutants, and move the weapon to a bunker.
The Brotherhood learns through scouting that the mutant base is located in Osceolla, near one of the downed Brotherhood zeppelins. A squad of Brotherhood soldiers fight their way inside, and find a dying Toccomata. The mutant reveals that the general Barnarky was killed by an unknown western faction stronger than even the mutants. The Squad also finds Paladin Latham, one of the leaders of the Brotherhood presumably killed in the airship crash. The squad learns that Paladin Latham, after surviving the crash, challenged the leader of the mutants, Gammorin to hand to hand combat for control of the mutant army. Much to the surprise of the mutants, Latham won, assumed leadership of the army. Latham did however, sustain a head injury, which became infected and slowly drove Latham to insanity. Eventually he took the identity of Gammorin, and led the mutants against the Brotherhood. The squad kills Latham, however before he dies, he also warn of a western menace, claiming that only the mutants could fight it.
Some of the mutants joined the Brotherhood, and before long they discovered what the western menace really was, an army of robots originating from Vault 0, controlled by a computer known as the Calculator. A technology worshiping cult known as the Reavers are caught between the two factions, but after a brief period of fighting, ally with the brotherhood in exchange for an electromagnetic pulse weapon. The Brotherhood uses this new weapon to destroy a robot repair plant in Colorado, where they learn the origin of the Calculator. The Calculator originated as an experiment, beginning as a network of linked rat brains, but eventually evolved into a network of human brains. The job of the calculator was to act as the overseer of Vault 0. The Calculator became corrupted by the human brains, which turned the computer homicidal. Using its robot army, the Calculator killed many of the inhabitants of Vault 0.
The robots capture Bartholomew Kerr, a merchant aiding the Brotherhood. Fortunately, a Brotherhood squad was able to reach him before he was tortured into revealing Brotherhood plans. In rescuing the merchant, the squad also discovered the lobotomized body of General Barnaky. Using their recovered nuke, the Brotherhood plans to attack the robot headquarters at Vault 0. The plan succeeds, and two Brotherhood squads storm the vault. At the same time, a group of robots attack the Brotherhood bunker. The squad destroys the last of the robots, and encounters a cyborg General Barnaky. The cyborg does not attack, after being reminded of his promise to make the world safe. The soldiers then move on to the Calculator where one of four endings is possible.
After the player reaches the Calculator, and destroys its brains, the Calculator proposes that the squad joins minds with the computer in order to end the war. The character is given a choice to either destroy the Calculator, join the Calculator, or allow General Barnaky to join the calculator (assuming he is left alive).
- Ending 1: If the player destroys the Calculator, the Brotherhood will take over Vault 0. Despite losing its most advanced piece of technology, the Computer, the Vault still serves as the Brotherhoods headquarters. The Brotherhood grows, accepting new recruits and brings some order of piece to the wasteland.
- Ending 2: If the player made has a high karma, and sacrifices his self to the calculator, the Calculator outlaws discrimination against mutated species, such as Deathclaws and Ghouls and the wasteland benefits greatly.
- Ending 3: If the player has a low karma, and sacrifices his self to the calculator, the Calculator will still outlaw discrimination, however it will also assassinate the leaders of the Midwestern Brotherhood, and plan to do the same to the west coast brotherhood.
- Ending 4: If the player allows General Barnaky to join the Calculator, it will start a war against all mutated species, but the unmutated humans prosper.
Instead of using an open world design like the previous Fallout games, Tactics utilizes a level based design. In between missions, the player returns to a Brotherhood Bunker, where they are assigned their next task. The five Bunkers separate the game into separate chapters. Occasionally, the player can choose the order of the missions. Each mission has secondary objectives which can be completed for increases in rank and extra experience.
The first bunker the player encounters is the main base of operations for the Brotherhood of steel. The bunker is located outside of Chicago.
- Brahmin Wood :The player's first assignment as a Brotherhood recruit sees them teaming up with Stitch, a field medic, and Farsight, a sharpshooter, on a mission to liberate a small tribe from the tyranny of a raider leader named Horus. Secondary objectives include consulting with a tribal elder, locating a shaman, and freeing hostages.
- Freeport : The player's squad is tasked with infiltrating a raider camp under cover of night and rescuing the elder of Brahmin Wood, who has been kidnapped. There is a secondary objective to rescue the other prisoner, Ripley.
- Rock Falls: The player is tasked with attacking the raider's stronghold and killing all of the raider leaders, in addition to recovering a mysterious artifact. The player can also talk to a scientist, Diesoon, and rescue a captured tribal, Nanuk for positive karma.
The second bunker the player encounters is located in Illinois. It is here where the Brotherhood first encounters the Beastlords.
- Macomb: A Brotherhood supply vehicle has been separated from its caravan, and the player must fight through a raider controlled city to rescue it. An optional objective has the player retrieving a librarian's glasses.
- Peoria: The squad is tasked with recovering three fusion batteries from a subterranean pre-war storage area situated underneath a small tribal village. If the player can avoid tripping the defense systems and causing the automated surface turrets to massacre the villagers, the player will receive good karma and a fourth battery.
- Quincy: It is this mission where the squad first encounters the Beastlords. The player must rescue the mayor of Quincy and her daughter, who have been kidnapped by the Beastlords. Optional objectives include saving the rest of the hostages, helping some besieged ghouls, and preventing the destruction of the town's power generators.
- Mardin: Mardin is an underground system of caves home to the Beastlords. It is here that the squad has its final confrontation with the Beastlords, which ends with the player confronting their leader, Emperor Dar. The player can also choose to free the Deathclaw Matriarch, and thus become able to recruit deathclaws into their squad.
- Springfield: This is the bonus mission, installed after downloading the bonus mission pack. The mission involves protecting the mayor of Springfield from a group of anti-ghoul activists disguised as raiders.
This bunker is located northeast of St. Louis. It is around this bunker where the Brotherhood first encounters the super mutants.
- St. Louis: This is the first mission where the player encounters super mutants. The goal is to rendezvous with and evacuate three elite brotherhood squads who came under devastating surprise attack by super mutants. General Barnaky was among the three ambushed squads and is captured by the super mutants.
- Jefferson: The squad is sent to what is believed by the brotherhood to be the mutants' weapons plant. The player is tasked with destroying the plant by rendering its four generators inoperable. It is discovered that the plant is actually a secret mutant lab, and the player can choose to save it or destroy it.
- Kansas City: The player's goal in this mission is to defend a live nuclear warhead inside a church full of fanatical ghouls who worship it. For successfully eradicating the attacking super mutants, the player is given possession of the nuclear bomb.
- Osceolla: The Brotherhood squad invades the super mutant base with the goal to kill Gammorin, the mutant leader. A secondary objective is to save General Barnaky.
Located in Kansas, this bunker occupies territory where the player will first encounter Reavers, a faction of fanatical technologists.
- Junction City: The goal of this mission is to locate four robot parts, and also to defend Junction City against Reavers. The player can also convince Casey Barrett to join the Brotherhood.
- Great Bend: Here the player must destroy a group of robots intent on turning the Great Bend into a robot manufacturing facility. There is a secondary objective to find any human survivors and talk to them.
- Cold Water: The squad is tasked with eliminating a gang of bandits who have stolen three suits of power armor, and retrieving said armor. The player can also rescue an Adele Dudley, and kill a Brotherhood spy.
- Newton: In this mission you must rescue four of the Reavers leaders, and in exchange, they grant you an EMP weapon, which you also retrieve.
The final Bunker of the game, it is from here that the Brotherhood wages its campaign against the ultimate threat of the Calculator.
- Canyon City: Here the player's goal is to shut down a robot plant by destroying its power nodes. It is also possible to access more information about Vault 0 and the Calculator by using the facility's terminals.
- Buena Vista: The goal in this mission is to destroy the Calculator’s nuclear reactor. The player also destroys all the power nodes in order to shut down another robot plant.
- Scott City: In this mission the player storms a prison to rescue Bartholomew Kerr, an important merchant, but can rescue all the other prisoners as well. There is also a secondary objective to destroy four jamming towers.
- Cheyenne Mountain: Here the squad's goal is to deliver the nuke to the sealed gate of Vault 0. Once accomplished, the squad must take shelter a nearby bunker and detonate the bomb to create entry into Vault 0.
- Vault 0: A continuation of the Cheyenne Mountain mission, the player meets up with another Brotherhood squad and enters Vault 0. Their goal is to restore power to the lifts to reach the Calculator’s lair.
- Calculator’s Lair: In the final mission of the game, the player must simply destroy the Calculator's brains and make a decision that will determine the game's ending.
The gameplay in Tactics, as the name implies, focuses more heavily on tactical battles than the previous titles. Towns are replaced by Brotherhood of steel bunkers. The bunkers serve as a place to trade, heal, and receive missions. Each mission has a set of objectives that must be completed into to finish the mission and exit the mission level. Most missions also have optional objectives, which yield bonus rewards if fulfilled. At some points in the game, the player may choose in which order to complete a set of two or three missions.
Combat itself can be controlled in turn-based or continuous turn-based (effectively real time).
Fallout Tactics utilizes the same character building system as the other Fallout games, known as SPECIAL. The seven attributes are Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Each character has an assigned number for each stat between one and ten. The total number of points given to each character depends on their species, with humans getting forty total points, deathclaws getting forty one, and dogs receiving only thirty five. The seven stats each affect at least one skill, as well as derived statistics such as carry weight, critical chance, and armor class.
"Raw physical strength." Affects maximum carrying weight. Note: some weapons require a minimum strength to wield.
"The ability to see, hear and taste and notice unusual things." Affects sight range and detection of hidden things.
First Aid, Traps, Pilot, Lockpick, Doctor
"The ability to withstand punishment and physical exertion." Affects hit points and environmental resistances.
"A combination of looks, charm and leadership skills." Affects rate of promotion, which in turn affects the size of the pool of recruitable characters.
"Mental strength and abilities." Affects number of skill points gained per level up.
Outdoorsman, Doctor, Science, First Aid, Repair
"Speed, dexterity and the ability to manipulate small objects." Affects dodge chance and number of action points in combat.
Big Guns, Small Guns, Energy Weapons, Melee, Pilot, Sneak, Steal, Throwing Traps, Unarmed, Lockpick
"A combination of fate, karma and, in general, how the universe views this character." Affects critical hit chance.
Every three levels for humans (two for dogs; four for Deathclaws, Ghouls, and Super Mutants), the player can choose a new perk. The perks always have a positive effect, usually tweaking a stat. Examples of perks include Action Boy, which adds one action point, and Gambler, which increases the Gambling stat by twenty percent. Many of the perks can only be chosen by a specific race, after a certain level, or with certain S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats (such as an Agility of 5 for the Action Boy perk). There are a total of ninety available perks in the game.
During character creation, the player can optionally choose up to two traits. Each trait offers a reward as well as a penalty, with the exception of Bloody Mess, which ensures the most graphic death animations for every kill performed. There are also racial traits, which are only available to characters of a specific race. An example of a trait is Gifted, which adds one point to each of a character's SPECIAL attributes, but reduces all skill stats by ten percent and reduces the number of skill points gained at level up by five. An example of a racial trait is Tech Wizard, available only for ghouls, which grants a twenty percent bonus to the Lockpick, Science, and Repair skills, at the cost of one point of Perception.
Each character has eighteen skills which can be raised upon level up with skill points. The skills are represented by a percentage that can go from 0% to 300%. The higher the skill rating, the higher the chance of success for that character when performing an action governed by that skill. Each character will also have three chosen tagged skills, which increase at double the rate.
Some skills are influenced by one or more SPECIAL attributes. Additionally, some skills can be increased by using skill books, which are rare items found scattered throughout the game.
|Skill||Description||Associated Attribute(s)||Skill Book|
|Big Guns||Improves accuracy with big guns (e.g. rocket launchers, miniguns, etc.).||Agility|| |
|Small Guns||Improves accuracy with small guns (handguns, sniper rifles, etc.).||Agility||Guns and Bullets|
|Energy Weapons||Improves accuracy with energy weapons (e.g. plasma rifles, laser gattling guns, etc.).||Agility|| |
|Melee||Improves accuracy with melee weapons.||Strength|| |
|Unarmed||Improves accuracy with unarmed attacks.||Strength, Agility|| |
|Throwing||Improves accuracy with throwing weapons.||Strength, Agility|| |
|Doctor||Improves chances of healing a character using doctor-type items.||Perception, Intelligence|| |
|First Aid||Improves chances of healing a character using first aid-type items.||Perception, Intelligence||First Aid|
|Lockpick||Improves chances of picking locks||Perception, Agility|| |
|Repair||Improves chances of repairing damaged vehicles or machines.||Intelligence||Dean’s Electronics|
|Science||Improves chances of hacking or operating computers.||Intelligence||Big Book of Science|
|Traps||Improves chances of arming/disarming explosives without setting them off.||Perception, Agility||Maddock’s Tricks & Traps|
|Sneak||Decreases chances of being detected while in sneak mode.||Agility|| |
|Steal||Decreases chances of getting caught when pickpocketing.||Agility|| |
|Pilot||Improves handling and acceleration of piloted vehicles.||Perception, Agility||Zen & The Art of Piloting|
|Outdoorsman||Decreases rate of random combat encounters on the worldmap.||Endurance, Intelligence||Scout Handbook|
|Barter||Improves prices when trading with merchants.||Charisma|| |
|Gambling||Improves chances of success in games of chance and when gambling with merchants.||Luck|| |
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel has been re-released on several digital distribution services like Steam and Good Old Games (GOG.com).
The GOG version includes the following extra features:
- Manual in PDF form
- Hi-Res Wallpaper
- Fallout series wallpaper
- Reference Card
- Fallout Bible (205 pages) in PDF
- Original Soundtrack
- Intro Movie Concepts
- Item Icon packs
- Fallout Tactics Warfare
- Bonus Mission
- Pipboy Avatars
Original System Requirements
- Pentium II 300MHz
- 64MB RAM
- DirectX 7.0 or later
- 700MB of Hard Drive Space
- DirectX certified Video Card with at least 4MB of Video RAM, and must support at least 800x600 resolution, at 16-bit or 32-bit color
- DirectX certified Sound Card
- TCP/IP-based Local Area Network and/or 56K or better Internet Connection using TCP/IP