Good, But Deeply Flawed (Spoilers)
One thing that Fallout Equestria must be admired for is its ambition. To make a fanfiction this long, combining two radically different franchises together, is a great undertaking, and the author clearly has a deep love for both franchises with the backstory, nods, and jokes relating to the canon of the two.
That said, the fanfic is good. But not great.
The fic's biggest strength is that its plot is well thought-out, and for a story that acts as a mash-up of plot elements from the main four Fallout games, it is very coherent and these elements work together well. The O Cs
are diverse and most are likeable, and at their worst they're inoffensive. The fic has minimal spelling errors, which is pleasing. It doesn't get as creative as it could, it leaps fully into the "magic can do anything" category with the Fallout world being recreated perfectly and given a hoofwave that it's magic, not technology, but at times the story tries too hard to conform the Fallout world to work in MLP.
The flaws that hold it back are major ones. The first is that the backstory of how Equestria became like the pre-war Fallout world is a far more interesting story than the plot in the present. The Mane Six take on government jobs, they're driven apart by their responsibilities, and their own flaws pervert their good efforts into evil. Given that they are the characters MLP fans know, the story of their actions during the war is much more compelling than LittlePip's journey.
The fic's largest problem is that it is far too dark, especially in the later chapters. Many characters both canon and OC die pointless and gruesome deaths, action scenes are often graphic with the blood and gore, and moments that should be happy and triumphant feel hollow and empty. As LittlePip says at one point, "I didnít feel the least bit victorious. I felt like I had managed to mitigate failure."
LittlePip herself is a flaw too, all that stops her from being a straight Villain Protagonist is her guilt for the evil acts she commits. And the last quarter or so has Ending Fatigue with three climaxes piled up so hard even the characters want to rest.
So, again, the fic is good. But it is not great. While its message of looking for light in the darkness is well meant, it is not well conveyed, and in that it doesn't carry the spirit of Fallout or MLP as well as it should.
... No, couldn't disagree more with the last half of that. While yes, the past story is one of the fic's best parts, the present one is every bit as good, and half the appeal and draw of the past one IS just how little we see, the mystery, the wonder at what else we aren't seeing. Making the majrity of the story about that would ruin some of it. Plus, as said, the present one was just as good, if not even better in parts.
The fic, while having some dark bits, is never overly dark. The 'gore' is pretty tame after the initial few chapters, and whenever we do have some of the darkest chapters, it's always kept from sliding to deeply by something, some glimmer of hope, some good still to be found even at the worst, and over and above that, pays off with some of the greatest moments in any story I've read. Which shine all the better, are all the more amazing for the contrast.
The Fic uses darkness perfectly, never reveling in it, never using it for it's own sake, never simply being dark just to be dark. It uses it to highlight the light, to make friendship and hope shine all the brighter in comparison. To show just how strong the virtues and heart of the show truly are. By testing them, putting them up against this darkness, and watching them burn it away.
As to Li'lpip.. all I can say is, what? Villain? Evil?... not even close. Everything, EVERYTHING she does is for others, to try and save other ponies from pain, suffering, death. To make the world a better place for everyone. While always keeping in mind the lesson of Redeye, always striving to make sure she doesn't go that far. Doesn't fall into causing pain and suffering for innocent ponies "for their own good". Is she perfect, oh hell no. But she is truly a hero, willing to sacrifice anything and everything just to save a single other pony. Always fighting to end the darkness, pain, misery.. to give Equestria a chance to be restored. Nothing she has done is outright evil. Questionable, maybe, but always it was done for the right reasons. (Okay Arbu not so much, though even then, killing them all was pretty damn justified, just not how she did it.) Was it always the best choices, no, but it was always the one best possible choice she could think of. Always the one she felt would save the most ponies from suffering and pain. So no, she is no where close to any sort of villain, or evil. She is an outright hero. Perfect? No. But nonetheless a true Hero.
11th Sep 13
I found the fic indeed often was dark for the sake of dark. The attack on Friendship city, the destruction of Canterlot and with it Stable City, the death of Steelhooves, the very existence of Arbu. The Enclave's arrival particularly heralded a lot of pointless death and violence. Star Sparkle seemed to be introduced only to give greater weight to the destruction of Stable City, the body horror of Canterlot is repulsive, action scenes regularly describe heads being splattered and people being burned to death and blood flying like a sprinkler hose. And let's not get into the many gruesome ways the author thought up with to kill the canon cast.
A major part of the fic's dark side is that it goes out of its way to demonstrate that the diamond dogs and alicorns are not mindlessly evil and that the raiders, slavers and Enclave are not beyond reason and some have families they care about. The problem with this is that when you humanize the enemies of Fallout, you make the hero seem more evil by contrast when they casually slaughter those enemies without hesitation. I have no problem with humanizing the enemies in this adaptation, but if you show the enemy is not a mindless murderer, how am I to take it when the hero starts acting like one against them?
Yes, Little Pip is self-sacrificing, but she is also a short-tempered pervert who is quick to resort to violence and makes hasty decisions without considering the full weight of her actions. And she is aware of these flaws, but makes little effort to correct them. Arbu, yes, cannibals can burn and I wiped out Andale too. However, Little Pip massacred families in a bloodthirsty rage, many times in front of their children, traumatizing them for life. Being guilty about it after the fact does not change what she did, nor does everyone agreeing they need to die in a very heavy-handed attempt to convince the readers she is justified. And this does not touch on the other times she gets angry and resorts to violence to solve her problems, then feels remorse afterwards. I was disgusted when she murdered Autumn Leaf, he helped her save innocent lives, he was Calamity's brother, lying helpless on the floor, and she flat murders him. Who is she to decide who is fit to be spared and who should die and who can or cannot be redeemed when she is no better than Autumn Leaf and only marginally better than Red-Eye and the Goddess?
Now, the dark elements being used to reinforce light and hope, the problem is I never saw that. Particularly when the Enclave arrived, there was no hope. Canterlot was destroyed, Friendship City is attacked, the Enclave is systematically wiping out the Wasteland's people and those lives cannot be regained. I was fully expecting Ditzy to be killed off when she became more prominent, the fic had gotten so dreary. Steelhooves was one of the fic's best arguments for light in darkness, he was full of hatred for a lot of things including himself, but he kept going on and trying to do what was right in Applejack's name. And then he died, no heroic final stand or sacrifice, no symbolic death. The wasteland just all of a sudden won, surprise attack, he's dead. And finally, Little Pip's final sacrifice did not seem heroic to me. It seemed she was disgusted with herself, tired of living, and rather than commit suicide saw this final act as a marginal attempt to make up for all the evil she had caused.
And that is the message the fic gave me, struggle on in dark times and keep hoping, but sooner or later you can't hold it back anymore and the darkness will either win or beat you down to the point you just can't take it anymore.
11th Sep 13
11th Sep 13
There was always hope, always some light in the darkness. Canterlot being taken out, okay that was bad. Friendship city? Even in the middle of the attack we see that no, not all pegasi are with the Enclave, yes there are those, within the Enclave itself, who still will follow what they feel to be right, who refused to simply follow orders when they knew it was wrong. Giving time for many of the ponies to evacuate, saving some from what would otherwise have been a total massacre.
As to Li'lpip. Again she is NEVER anywhere close to them. Everything she did is the best possible outcome she could work out. She never, outside Arbu, killed JUST because she was angry. Even then, it was still justified, just not the way she did it, or her letting her anger get that in control of her. But rather, what made he that angry is why. Because the only thing to push her that far, is someone killing, harming, hurting, in some way being a threat to others. A threat, that in the Wastes, there is only one way to stop. There are no laws, no courts, no jails, nothing. If a creature is determined to harm innocent ponies, there is only one way to stop them. Same with Autumn. Who else would she take him to? How would she even get him there without a pretty damn high risk of him escaping. Specially with the Wonderbolts still out there after them. What he did alone warranted it, but that was NOT shy she did it. It was because of all the pain, all the suffering and death he would continue to bring to innocent if he was let free.
No her final act was... not even close to that... it was one final attempt to do exactly what she had tried to do since she left the Stable. Help as many ponies as she could. Save as many as possible from suffering. All while knowing full well how easy that is to go to far, leery of having that power. And yet, through everything she's done, proving she's the best pony TO do so.
The Mane 6. Yes there best efforts failed to stop the war, and in some cases made it worse. And yet, yes hey were always doing what they felt was right, they simply made mistakes, lots of them. Because this entire thing was something nopony had ever dealt with. They didn't have a history of war to draw on, didn't have mistakes of the past to avoid. And so ended up making them. And yet, even in there biggest failure, there were still seeds of hope. If not to stop the bombs, then to restore Equestria afterwards.
Rarity- Though her attempt at restoring the bond between the mane 6 failed, costing her most of her soul in the process and requiring her to give in to the temptations of the Black Book. It was not a failure. Those figurines, those pieces of her soul, each baring a part of the essence of one of the other mane 6 as well, endured. Lasting, being a reminder to anypny who found one of what those mares were, what they stood for, why they were the greatest heroes Equestria ever had. Aiding those that needed it a they could. Without those, without that echo of the mane 6 helping her, Li'lpip would not have made it as far as she did, and even worse, would have fallen to the temptation of the black Book. Even though they failed to reunited the Mane 6 as they were, they did end up helping to save Equestria
Rainbow Dash- Her grand project, the grandest and most important project any Ministry worked on save one. Not being activated in time to aid in the way it was supposed to. Yes, used to help the Enclave hold power. To keep the pegasi above the clouds, separate, isolated. Perverted in it's intinons by those to scared to try and aid the rest of ponykind. Yet, in the end, also the key to their downfall. As well as to restoring the Wastes. Without the SPP to control the weather so easily, those left would have had a much harder time.
Fluttershy- Megaspells in and of themselves were not a mistake. Mearly a tool. The very first one ever created was used to heal, selflessly and fully, any being that was injured. Fluttershy's only mistake was in being to naive, to trusting, TO idealistic. In beleiving that the issues could be solved so easily, and that noone would find another use for her gift. Would pervert it from a tool of protection and healing, to one of destruction. And yet, even though it was Megaspells that ended Equestria as we know it, they were also used to save it. the SPP, the GOE, Even the worst perversion of her gift, a balefire bomb, ended up saving Equestria from The Goddess.
Applejack- Yes, she was betrayed by ponies she trusted, but survived, and those that plotted against her were dealt with, were stripped of their power. And she kept on going, doing her best to help ponies. To encourge others to develop ways to help them, both survive in combat, and in everyday life. Her hardwork, dedication, and character and inspiration. And yes, even her greatest feat, The Steel rangers, were perverted by others, twisted into a mockery of their intent. becoming the worst monsters in the Wastes. Yet, he legacy, her TRUE legacy lived on. Leading the Applejack's rangers. ponies wearing her armor, putting it to the use she intended. Saving ponies. Rebelling against the greedy, selfish, uncaring monsters that had taken over, fighting for the right to help everypony. becoming the greatest force for good in the Wastes.
Pinkie- Lost in her drug addiction. Knowing it was hurting both her and her friends, yet unable to admit it, to stop. because while it hurt, it still let her help others, to see what was going to happen, to stop it. Though the greatest one, she couldn't stop in time. And though, in the end, she realized just how much harm she was doing while thinking she was helping, began to turn around, to stop what she had started. It was to late. Yet, in the end, she still helped save Equestira. Though she did the best she could to stp the bombs. She prepared for the worst. Even though her PTM use nearly destroyed her before the bombs fell even, it still gave he insight, some of which she was neglecting, for willfully ignoring. But at the end, her self lies laid bare, forced to confront the truth of what she had become, That which had hurt her, still helping, showing her what was to come. And though unable to change that, she made sure to leave a way for others to help. To show the way, show how to end the darkness of the Wastes. Everypony left behind seeds of hope. Seeds that would help Equestria to Flourish again. Pinkie's was to guide the way. To show where they were, help Li'lpip see the truth, as she had seen it at the end, in that mirror that laid her soul bare to her.
Yes all the mane 6 left seeds of hope. Even their worst mistakes having something good come from them, even if much later. All of them. Save Twilight. Twilight left not a seed like the rest. No, Twilight left behind the Gardens, in which those seeds could grow.
No, despite the darkness of the setting, of the past, of everything that says it should be, FOE is not a dark story. It has darknes in it, oh my yes. But it is never ABOUT the darkness. It is about light, and hope, and how no darkness, however complete, how ever thick it seems, can EVER truly extinguish the light of hope. How even in the worst times. In the pitch back of night, in the hour of the wolf, there is still hope, still some good that can come of it. And no matter how heavy the darkness gets. Sometimes, all it takes, is just one tiny spark of hope to banish it completely.
And that attitude is why I don't think this is a dark work. There is a dark aspect to it to be sure. Just about everything we see emphasizes those darker aspects. But in the midst of all this, [the main character] is lamenting that things aren't different. Trying to find a way to overcome the darkness in all of this. In essence, we've learned that it's a dark world, but the story is focused on one person who doesn't think that it should be.
11th Sep 13
11th Sep 13
11th Sep 13
So a defense against, and refutation of your accusations to the fic is ignored completely rather then at all addressed. Alright then. not even going to try defending your position on the fic, got it.
11th Sep 13
I accused nothing, I gave an opinion. You tell me flat I am wrong, and I've seen your comments on the other reviews so your behavior is not a surprise. If you're gonna post essays complaining every time someone disagrees with you on this story, then what point is there in attempting to discuss it with you further when your bias is clear and nothing I say will change your mind?
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