Immersive action and addictive character progression may be the core mechanics that shift the post-apocalyptic RPG gears. Better said, games like Fallout are often time-consuming titles for fans eager to escape to another world.
However, Bethesda’s Golden Age seems either gone or at a temporary halt. So, while we wait for their next immersive RPG, let’s pour our gaming obsessions towards the best Fallout alternatives.
Selecting Games Like Fallout
Bethesda bought the franchise’s rights from interplay in 2004. They turned it into an action-oriented 3D title for mainstream audiences instead. Before that, though, it was more of a niche product.
The first two games, plus various spin-offs, were turn-based RPGs with a top-down perspective. They focused on choices, branching paths, and dark humor.
Subsequent Fallout titles retain the storytelling style and the humor while altering the gameplay. Our choices consider fans of either old or new Fallout games.
That said, selecting games like Fallout requires us to identify its elements:
- Genre: Fallout is an open-world immersive RPG. Newer games are action-RPG shooter sandbox, whereas older games are classic turn-based RPGs.
- Map Design: Each game features an open world that encourages exploration. map markers will only appear getting information or visiting a place.
- Setting: The stories happen in a post-apocalyptic USA, after a nuclear war in the ’50s. These are wastelands with remnants of a retro-futuristic technology.
- Immersive: Everything in the game retains the retro-futuristic design. That includes the music, the interface (the Pip-Boy), the locations, and more.
- Storytelling: Fallout games don’t follow each other. Instead, they share the same setting but happen in different parts of the USA and at different times.
- Humor: The connection between these games is also its humor. It’s dark, often obscure, and even nonsensical.
- Exploration: Players can go anywhere on the map for loot, quests, side quests, lore information, and companions. The mobs’ levels limit exploration.
- Companions: Most Fallout games also feature companions. These are NPCs you can recruit to travel with you. They have a loyalty-based system.
- Choices: Players can make choices leading to branching paths and multiple endings on either side quests or main quests.
- Branching Questlines: Moreover, players can follow different quest lines to finish the game how they like.
- Factions: Post-apocalyptic groups have different agendas, and you can either help them, oppose them, or stay neutral.
- Side Activities: There’re tons of side content with fully-fledged narrative, choice mechanics, and NPCs.
- Loot: As Fallout games evolved, Bethesda added more loot-based elements. Players scourge and fight for loot they can use as gear, supplies, or crafting.
- Crafting: Likewise, newer Fallout games allow players to craft items like weapon mods, med-kits, and gear upgrades.
- Building: Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 also allow players to gather scrap they can use to build structures on their bases, like a survival-craft adventure.
- Survival Element: Newer Fallout games force players to manage hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness and similar.
- Combat: Newer Fallout games feature third-person or first-person combat. Classic titles feature turn-based combat.
- Character Progression: Lastly, the character progression is hefty. Players level up and unlock skills, level up stats, and earn “perks.”
Games Like Fallout should feature a mix of the elements above. As you see, it’s mostly the standard formula of Western RPG games, alongside the series’ unique retro-futuristic twist.
Games Like Fallout
- Developer: inXile Entertainment
- Publisher: inXile Entertainment
- Release Date: August 2020
- Platform: Linux, MacOS, Windows, PS4, Xbox One
After Bethesda bought their franchise, Interplay, Fallout creators founded a new studio. As inXile, they released the Wasteland trilogy, a series of post-apocalyptic turn-based RPGs with a dark sense of humor, and several factions.
These are the spiritual successor of the OG Fallout. These games mix the classic squad-based RPG with a Dragon Age-like character progression and Xcom combat. The result is a masterful and rare title, with a legacy of over 30 years across two series.
You play as a party of 6 “Colorado Rangers.” They level up to unlock skills, stats, perks, and gear. And you can do it alone or play the entire story-driven campaign in co-op. You also upgrade your “tank,” the vehicle you need to explore the open-world State and reach the different locations on the map.
Then, you recruit other NPCs for your party of 6 rangers, some of which react to your choices. You explore the maps to interact with other NPCs from a top-down perspective. During combat, you fight on a grid, where moving, shooting, or using items and skills takes turns.
The story follows a group of soldiers trying to restore order to a freezing Colorado. The story revolves around a family drama and local gangs and deals with democracy vs. ruling with an iron fist to ensure order. You’re to choose factions, paths, and choices that lead to different areas, NPCs, questlines, and endings.
Red Dead Redemption 2
- Developer: Rockstar Games
- Publisher:Rockstar Games
- Release Date: October 2018
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Windows, Google Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the ultimate open-world immersive RPG. It’s also a shooter where you play as an outlawed cowboy in a story focusing on gang loyalties and rivalries.
You play as Arthur Morgan. Your enemies as bounty hunters, authorities, and other gangs. Alongside your horse, and a wide arsenal to unlock and skills to learn.
As an outlaw, you hunt, steal, murder, collect bounties, trim your hair, maintain your weapons, and much more. There’re tons of immersive side activities, most of which happen through in-game immersive menus and features.
For example, visiting a gun store means seeing a literal magazine to select the weapons you buy. And whenever you’re ready for the main story, the game rewards you with an amazing questline, music, voice-acting, and graphics.
Overall, RD2 is one of the best games in the genre. Moreover, the current version of Seam also awards free access to Red Dead Online. The latter is an MMORPG with a shared world where you can pursue various paths and professions.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Developer: CD Projekt Red
- Publisher: CD Projekt Red
- Release Date: May 2015
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows
Our third choice is one of the most popular RPG games recently. Wild Hunt follows Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, in an original story-driven plot. He wants to find her surrogate daughter, Ciri, by following her clues on a lengthy main questline.
By original, I mean the games are a non-official sequel to Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. Still, the developer captured the lore, the characters, and the stories down to perfection.
So, the open world is massive. Geralt, as a Witcher, can develop various skill trees (magic, gadgets, and sword attacks) to defeat his enemies. Combat is akin to souls-like games, as you block, dodge, parry, and use skills in third-person.
The story is massive, and the number of fully-fledged side quests means hundred of playtime hours. Most of these are about hunting monsters, Geralt’s responsibility as the Witcher. Monsters require different skills to defeat, as they have unique strengths and weaknesses.
So, if you’ve been playing Fallout games for the quality of its choices, stories, worlds, and lore, The Witcher: Wild Hunt is an easy pick. Both side quests of main quests brim in quality, amazing places to see, and cinematics to enjoy.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
- Release Date: November 2011
- Platform: PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, Nintendo Switch
Skyrim is one of the most relevant open-world immersive first-person RPGs. It’s another Bethesda title, sharing many design elements with the Fallout series. It’s also the latest single-player entry of the reputed Elder Scroll series.
You play as the Dragonborn in a high-fantasy medieval land, Tamriel. You choose one of the available classes and progress as a character in any of the dozens of skill trees available. Then, you can join guilds or factions, steal, hunt, craft, dungeon crawl, and explore.
Exploring is quite significant. The world is massive and full of non-marked places to see. Every scenario holds stories, lore information, loot, potential rewards, and potential side quests.
The story is great to see as well. The Dragonborn, a legendary hero, must learn special “Dragon Shouts” to defeat an elder dragon and save the kingdoms of men. Either way, Skyrim remains.
Lastly, just like Fallout 4, Skyrim still has a player base with about 20K daily players. These are single-player games, so the stat speaks of how relevant Bethesda is and how important mod support is to keep a game going.
The Outer Worlds
- Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
- Publisher: Private Division
- Release Date: October 2019
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Obsidian won a massive cult following after their 2010 hit, Fallout: New Vegas. Their next game was The Outer Worlds, an open-world, sci-fi FPS RPG that takes many elements from Bethesda’s series.
You wake up in a colonist shape decades after your flight. You find yourself amid a corporate conspiracy to destroy the Halcyon colony. As you’d expect, your choices and actions can determine the future of the factions.
That opens up a player-driven RPG. There’re many branching paths in the story and tons of side contents when you deviate from the main trail. Your choices develop the story, character, companions, and endings.
The game also incorporates “flaws” as a core mechanic. The game tracks your shortcomings to add buffs, debuffs, and perks. That’s an additional character progression system of top-leveling up and getting better gear.
You also meet companions as you explore colonies, and they have loyalty systems. Alongside the rest of its elements, The Outer Worlds feels like Fallout in space.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
- Developer: Larian Studios
- Publisher: Larian Studios
- Release Date: September 2017
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS
Original Sin, alongside its sequel, appeals to the classic RPG fan. These are turn-based RPGs with systems akin to Dungeons & Dragon board games. That means your character stats affect every part of the experience.
Outside of combat, the game works through dialogue boxes. You explore the world, interact with the environment, and make appropriate choices in the box.
Then, when you’re in combat, it’s a turn-based RPG. Combat may be overwhelming, though, as there’re several classes and dozens of skills. Luckily, you can take all the time you need to decide every step.
And while the combat is deep and tactical, the story is rich and full of lore. You’re to combat against The Void, darkness your group of four heroes can defeat.
Lastly, the game reacts to your choices, character builds, and even character class. That adds a lot of replayability to the title on an already lengthy campaign. It’s as time-consuming as RPG games can be.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
- Developer: GSC Game World
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: October 2009
- Platform: Windows
The STALKER series delivers immersive, survival first-person shooters. Call of Pripyat is the third entry, but you don’t need much prior knowledge to understand the story.
The setting is The Zone, the wasteland around the Chernobyl explosion site. It’s a highly contaminated area where “stalkers” visit to find rare psionic artifacts. You play as Agent Degtyarev, who’s investigating a lost military convoy.
The map is not open. Rather, there’re various interconnected, wide areas you can explore. In most locations, you’ll combat against mutants, weather conditions, and other humans in first-person.
You’ll need to manage status effects with special medical supplies, weapon maintenance, radiation, and other survival stats. Also, you’ll need to deal with the scarce trading system, where even information has a price.
Overall, Call of Pripyat is a survival shooter for fans of the Fallout wasteland setting. It’s a familiar location, with similar shooting mechanics and enemies.
- Developer: 4A Games
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: February 2019
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Linux, SteamOS, macOS
Metro Exodus is the latest entry of the Metro saga. Unlike previous games, the areas are more open, making the game feel less linear and more like a sandbox. Yet, as before, Metro Exodus is a great story-driven survival horror FPS.
The setting is also familiar, as it’s another post-apocalyptic first-person shooter. However, it takes the immersive features up a notch, as there’re no in-game menus or interfaces.
So, if you want to craft or see the map, you’d be using items, like a paper map, in real-time. If you run out of ammo during battle, you’d need to take cover, craft a grenade, and keep going. That also makes it similar to The Last of Us.
In 2036, many years after a nuclear war, you’re leading a group of survivors to create a settlement above Moscow’s metro tunnels. You play as the leader Artyom, and the journey takes you to various interconnected, vast areas to find new life.
The story is reactive, and so are the enemies. You go towards different endings, but your experience can vastly change depending on how you approach situations.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
- Developer: Bioware
- Publisher: Electronic Wars
- Release Date: May 2021
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
The Legendary Edition is a 4K remaster of the Mass Effect trilogy. These are not similar to Fallout, but Fallout fans could easily love the sci-fi saga. And I would know because these are my favorite gaming franchises.
Mass Effect follows Command Shephard, leader of a team of aliens and humans fighting a lonely war. Whereas the rest of the Galaxy don’t believe them, they hunt an ancient threat, the Reapers, an AI race. They present themselves as sentient enemies of all organic races.
These games broke boundaries because of the choice mechanics. Your choices on side quests or main quests carry over towards different endings and sequels. The several main storylines can end in many different ways, depending on what you have done since the first entry.
On top of that, the character progression is nice, although the action was barebones in the first game. You choose a class, level up, unlock skills, and find better and better gear. These are third-person action-RPG sci-fi shooters.
Lastly, the game design is open, but maps are linear. That means there’s a main hub (your ship), where you choose either mission you want. However, the assignments are smaller, mostly linear areas full of combat and loot.
Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition
- Developer: Guerilla Games
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: February 2017
- Platform: PS4, Windows
Even though there’s a new Horizon game already, we’re sharing the Complete Edition, as it’s available for PC users. But if you have a PS4 or PS5, we recommend Forbidden West instead, an improvement upon the first game.
The setting is a post-apocalyptic future. It’s thousands of years after a worldwide war destroyed civilization. Humanity lives in tribes, but they harness the technology of mysterious robotic creatures roaming the land.
That opens a Monster Hunter type of game. In third-person, you fight monsters and humans alike using proper tools, weapons, and skills. You level up to learn skills on different threes and buy better gear as you play.
Additionally, you scavenge the land for crafting resources and fighting. Combat (with bows and spears) is fast-paced, and every enemy you defeat rewards resources to build back your ammo. Moreover, enemies have different skills and behaviors.
Lastly, Zero Dawn is more like The Witcher 3 than Fallout. Even a “Focus” ability works like The Witcher Sense to find clues. Still, its open-world, immersive RPG formula is right up the alley. Moreover, Aloy can travel the land with parkour-like abilities, making moving across the land feel awesome.
- Developer: CD Projekt Red
- Publisher: CD Projekt Red
- Release Date: December 2020
- Platform: Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
After a disastrous launch, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally in a state we can recommend. I played the game on launch, and I enjoyed the story, the setting, and the mechanics. Even though I recognized the bugs, I still pushed through to see the end of the story.
It’s still not a stress-free title, but the performance is up to the standards a AAA title deserves. That said, Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure immersive RPG you play in first-person. It should be a step-up from Fallout 4, but sadly the city is not as interactive as we’d hope.
You play as V; a customizable mercenary is looking for fame in Night City. A heist-gone-wrong leaves V at the brink of death, with the data from a stolen chip dripping into his mind. The data turns out to be a deceased rocks-start and terrorist, Jhonny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves).
The story becomes a matter of life and death. V and Johnny must work together so V’s body can survive his mind’s corruption. It’s up to you who stays in the end. Sadly, the number of side quests takes the urgent factor out of the game.
Lastly, combat relies on a wide arsenal of high-tech weapons, multiple skill trees, a complex level-up system, melee weapons, and hacking abilities. Overall, it feels fast-paced, sci-fi, and often challenging.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Developer: Bioware
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: November 2014
- Platform: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Dragon Age Inquisition is the latest entry of Bioware’s high-fantasy saga. It’s an equally lengthy and immersive RPG, but it has a different setting. Instead of a bleak wasteland, Inquisition has a high-fantasy medieval open-world.
You play as The Inquisitor, the unforeseen inheritor of a power capable of closing “breaches” to the other world. You become the leader of an army, a faction that will restore order to the world by defeating the evil arch-demon.
If you’ve never played a Dragon Age game before. It sounds like a typical fantasy story. And it is. But if you’re a returning player, or if you give it a chance, you’ll find there’s much more. In particular, the game revolves around your relationship with your companions and the world. Your choices and actions shape the world.
Then, there’s combat. This is an action RPG where you use your skills and your attack button in real-time. You unlock skills, skill trees, gears, and locations as you level up. You also play as a part of a 4-team squad, and you can pause the game to give orders to your companions.
Lastly, the game has a hub, where you decide the areas to explore, or talk to traders, crafters, and other NPCs. You can go to any area you choose, in any order, but only if you have the proper level. These areas are fairly open and encourage exploration.