Fallout Shelter PC Review; Giving Meaning to the Bethesda.net Launcher

Three months back, Bethesda Softworks released its own native launcher, simply called Bethesda.net Launcher. With a promise to “push the boundaries of what is possible in games,” the new platform initially housed just the Fallout 4 Creation Kit. A couple of weeks back, Bethesda Softworks released its massively successful free-to-play mobile simulation game, Fallout Shelter, as an exclusive addition to the launcher.

Having invested so many hours in the Android version of the game, I figured this to be the ideal opportunity to not only get a feel for the Bethesda.net launcher but also see how different Fallout Shelter can be on PC.

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Unsurprisingly, Fallout Shelter plays exactly the same on PC as it does on my smartphone. A major distinguishing factor, though, comes in the blessing of being able to use a mouse. Instead of pinching the screen to zoom in and out, I’m now able to have the scroll-wheel do that annoying job for me with ease.

The PC version also comes with Hotkeys. You can use the series of F-keys to access the Shop, Storage, Survival Guide, Objectives, Wasteland, etc. The Build/Upgrade screen can be brought up by pressing “B” and other keys allow you to cycle through the rooms. Considering Fallout Shelter’s gameplay design, micromanaging our keystrokes isn’t going to help us in any way. Nonetheless, the introduction of Hotkeys is still a welcomed addition.

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Knowing that Fallout Shelter was first released on smartphones over a year ago, it’s safe to say that anyone interested in the game will have already played it on either iOS or Android. Hence, those jumping from their smartphones to PC will be disappointed to know that the Windows version features no “Cloud Save” feature. It has to be asked as to why Bethesda decided against incorporating cross-save or cross-play functionalities. Being able to import our Vaults from the cloud would have been a great feature.

While I personally have yet to give it a try, some users have said that it’s possible to import the save files from Android to PC. That being said, it would have been more feasible if Bethesda had simply included an option to bring our beloved Vault(s) over. It also seems unlikely that the developer intends to give us this feature, since the game’s FAQ mentions how the studio intends to keep all operating systems separate.

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Fallout Shelter on PC comes with the recent Update 1.6, termed by the developer as the “biggest update” for the game yet. There’s the new “Overseer’s Office” which allows you to send your dwellers on quests, “Nuka-Cola Quantum” that can be consumed to immediately finish crafting or return dwellers to the vault in an instant, and finally two new monsters – Radscorpions and Ghouls – that deal both physical and radiation damage.

Questing is Bethesda’s way to curb the monotony that follows once your vault is operational, allowing you to send groups of dwellers outside the Vault to take on new challenges. This has you discovering and experiencing new locations such as abandoned buildings and unknown vaults, taking on bosses and unearthing legendary loot. The new combat mechanics allow you to instruct dwellers of your own choosing to attack a specific target. Another minor addition now brings up icons above your dwellers who are near death; clicking these icons will immediately heal them, a welcomed addition during combat.

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In all honesty, the release of Fallout Shelter on PC seems more like Bethesda’s way to test the Bethesda.net launcher. Aside from the Creation Kit, it’s the only game present on the launcher. The developer could have used this opportunity to add some new content to the game, perhaps even new features to take advantage of the PC platform. I could have gotten an Undo feature at least.

Fallout Shelter remains the same game as we’ve come to experience on our phones and tablets, less a couple of crashes that I’ve experienced so far. Don’t get me wrong; the PC version isn’t bad in any way. It’s still a great sponge for you to sink in a good amount of hours. However, Fallout Shelter has arrived on PC a year later, bringing no new significant changes. We were expecting a bit more.

Unless you’re interesting in starting afresh, I would suggest you to keep improving your vaults on your phones. That being said, there’s one advantage of having a windowed version of Fallout Shelter on the side of your screen all day long. You don’t have to worry about battery life.


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