The 10 Best 'Fallout' Games, Ranked

Bethesda Softworks / ONE37pm

Considering the first Fallout game, released a quarter of a century ago now, was a spiritual successor to the 1988 game Wasteland, it’s fair to say that that game and the entire series have overachieved massively. Today, the Fallout games make up, unanimously, one of the best series in gaming. Of course, with the many high points in the series come moments that even the most hardcore Fallout fans feel it’s best to forget. That makes ranking the games a lot of fun, so that’s what we decided to do. Below is a list ranking every Fallout game ever released – that means not just main series entries, but spin-off games too. There are ten in total, so while you continue the lengthy wait for the next mainline Fallout game, check it out below and find out what are truly the best Fallout games (and worst!) of all time.

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Best 'Fallout' Games

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Bethesda Softworks

10. 'Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel'

  • Release date: January 14th, 2004
  • Platform(s): PS2, Xbox
  • Developer(s): Interplay Entertainment
  • Our rating: 4/10

To say that Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel wasn’t received the best would be a little bit of an understatement. A lot of the entries on this list are highly debated amongst fans of the series, but fans pretty much unanimously agree that this game is the worst Fallout game to ever be released.

The game doesn’t even feel quite like an RPG, which is many people’s problem with it. The main issue is that none of its features stand out in any way possible. The missions can get repetitive, the combat isn’t dynamic at all and none of those kinds of features are even backed by a story that makes it worth seeing to the end for anyone who’s not an absolute hardcore Fallout fan.

Perhaps the game’s main saving grace is that the campaign can be tackled with a friend through its co-op mode. There are also still some interesting characters that have made fans fall in love with Fallout too. But overall, it’s one that most would rather forget.

9. 'Fallout: Pinball'

  • Release date: December 6th, 2016
  • Platform(s): Android, iOS, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
  • Developer(s): Zen Studios
  • Our rating: 5/10

Late in 2016, a mini table pack called Bethesda Pinball was put out and one of the three tables on there is a Fallout table that’s mostly inspired by Fallout 4, but contains elements from older games too.

It places fairly low on this list, but that’s more so because it’s a pinball game as opposed to the fact that it’s a bad game per se. In fact, many Pinball FX fans claim that the table here is a good one, especially considering the low price point.

The Fallout table has a bunch of references to the games, including rollovers that spell out VATS, Nuka Cola-themed kickbacks, and various perks.

8. 'Fallout 76'

  • Release date: November 14th, 2018
  • Platform(s): PS4, Windows, Xbox One
  • Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios
  • Our rating: 6/10

Bethesda made some…bold decisions about Fallout 76 that did irreversible damage to the game for many. They’ve since updated the game and fixed some major problems with it, but it was too little too late for most. Had that not happened, it could well have been even lower on this list than it already is.

The game launched without any human NPCs and had a bunch of technical issues. The former made things feel weirdly empty and the latter meant that even those that didn’t mind the first problem would struggle to sit with the game. As we said, most of that has been tweaked by now, but some other major issues like gamers’ complaints about gameplay purpose and the overall tone of the story and side missions with everything just feeling a little bit meaningless.

After updates, the game certainly improved, but still falls short of some of the heights that the series hit in all of its prior years. Regardless, fans are still heavily anticipating the next Fallout.

7. 'Fallout Shelter'

  • Release date: June 14th, 2015
  • Platform(s): Android, iOS, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
  • Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios, Behaviour Interactive
  • Our rating: 6.5/10

That Fallout Shelter was announced just the same day that it came out and likely had some low expectations being a mobile-only game on release certainly helped it get a better reception since people didn’t have any time to get hyped for it. In all honesty, it only places at #7 on this list because it deviates from the RPG format of the best Fallout games, and it's a construction and management sim, but it does that quite well. Shelter outperformed commercially right on release, with the demand so high that some couldn’t even access the app.

The game sees you build your own vault and look after those that dwell in it. You’re directly responsible for their quality of life and that makes it a fun challenge to make sure that they have food, water, and power. There are microtransactions here, but it’s a pleasant surprise that you won’t feel like you need to pay at all to get ahead here.

At the end of the day, this is a spinoff that doesn’t have much to do with the main series and no one’s claiming it’s the best game in the series, but avid Fallout fans will appreciate it for what it is; a fun offering that extends the world that they love so much.

6. 'Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel'

  • Release date: March 15th, 2001
  • Platform(s): Windows
  • Developer(s): Micro Forté
  • Our rating: 7/10

Not to be confused with the aforementioned Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, this game came around three years earlier and was the first spinoff in the series after the first two main series games. It’s mostly considered non-canon, but it’s a game that Fallout fans from that era of the series have mostly played and been able to enjoy.

The main reason it has a ceiling is that it’s a turn-based, real-time tactical game, as its name suggests. It pulls back on the role-playing that Fallout really shot it out of the park with and takes a more focused look at combat instead. It does that pretty well, but any kind of deviation from the feel of the main games is always going to be met with some mixed feelings.

Overall though, it’s a good game. It marked the first time that a Fallout game featured multiplayer support and the story still feels like something true to Fallout, so it gets a 7 out of 10 for us.

5. 'Fallout'

  • Release date: October 10th, 1997
  • Platform(s): Mac OS, Mac OS X, MS-DOS, Windows
  • Developer(s): Interplay Productions
  • Our rating: 7.5/10

The game that started it all. Fallout kicks off with you customizing the "Vault Dweller," a character who you eventually learn is living in an underground shelter nearly a century after a nuclear apocalypse. The initial learning curve can be a little rough, especially for people playing for the first time, but once you get past it, it’s as rewarding a Fallout experience as any.

If you do have the chance to play this game now, twenty-five years after its release, you might also find that the isometric perspective is a little dated for you now. On the contrary, though, you’ll also be pleasantly surprised about how many of the game’s most beloved features are already present here. The game boasts great and engaging conversations with NPCs, the special skills system, the karma system, and more mainstays of the legendary series.

All in all, it may not have aged the best, but it’s the one that kicked everything off and has held up in various ways where many others from the 90s wouldn’t have, earning it the number-five spot on the list.

4. 'Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game'

  • Release date: October 29th, 1998
  • Platform(s): Mac OS X, Windows
  • Developer(s): Black Isle Studios
  • Our rating: 8/10

Fallout 2 came about a year and a half after its predecessor. It follows the "Chosen One," the direct descendant of the Vault Dweller from the first game, and is set 80 years after those events.

It took what made the first game great and, as all great sequels do, build upon that in subtle ways so that no one could ever deny that they weren’t improvements. For some, these changes were too incremental, but looking back, Black Isle did exactly what it needed to take the next big step in the series. Less is more, as they say.

The world was larger, the writing was better and the quests were more fulfilling. The role-playing aspects here are great and unlike the first game, there’s no limit on completing the main story, which encourages exploration and in turn improves the overall experience. The main criticism around this game at the time of its release was to do with its bugs, but that doesn’t stop it more from standing up to the test of time as one of the greatest games in the series and for many, their favorite.

3. 'Fallout 4'

  • Release date: November 10th, 2015
  • Platform(s): PS4, PS5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X
  • Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios
  • Our rating: 8.5/10

Fallout 4 is set in Boston, more specifically an area referred to as "The Commonwealth." The main story takes place in 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after "The Great War."

After you’re rushed to a fallout shelter, you witness your wife get killed and your child gets kidnapped. Before you can do anything about it, you’re frozen and wake up a while later, immediately set out to find your child.

For most, it’s a moving story that provokes thought and keeps you genuinely invested the entire time, although some have contested that you’re not given enough time with your family to be engaged to the extent that the game requires. It also adds some more action to the mix, which RPG fans might not prefer. But that’s a big reason that the game is the perfect entry point in the series for newcomers. It’s great to just jump into and appreciate on its own.

2. 'Fallout 3'

  • Release date: October 28th, 2008
  • Platform(s): PS3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Developer(s): Bethesda Game Studios
  • Our rating: 9.5/10

To call this game revolutionary not just for the Fallout series, but gaming at the time is not an overstatement. There’s a reason it was 2008’s Game of the Year for so many publications and that’s what puts it at #2 on this list.

The game does away with the 2D isometric graphics of the previous games, switching that out for 3D gameplay and real-time combat. This change amongst others by Bethesda in the first game they developed for the series ushered the series into a brand-new era that would change it forever.

The great story and the smaller stories that accompany it, the introduction of VATS, and the rich environment really bring the game to life and help it get its status as not just one of the best games in the Fallout series, but one of the best open worlds experiences out there.

1. 'Fallout: New Vegas'

  • Release date: October 19th, 2010
  • Platform(s): PS3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Developer(s): Obsidian Entertainment
  • Our rating: 10/10

When you realize that Obsidian Entertainment had to make New Vegas on Fallout 3’s engine in a very short amount of time, it’s even more astounding that they were able to make one of the best RPGs of all time.

Your mileage may vary and truthfully, you can rearrange the top three of this list however you like and you’ll get little to no debate from those that fully appreciate all three games, but Fallout: New Vegas stands out amongst the pack for us because it hits the mark on everything that Fallout fans love about the series, old and new.

The characters are memorable, the dialogue is hilarious and the decisions you’ll have to make will have you pulling your hair out. If you’re not hooked by the game’s opening sequence, maybe gaming just isn’t for you.

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