Reviews: Fallout Equestria
My favorite since Turnabout Storm
I'll admit, I probably began reading this fic many years after its prime. As of this writing, Season 8 of the actual My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV show is ongoing. That said, I think the story aged reasonably well. It's incompatible with current MLP canon, naturally, but the canon characters are still recognizable. I'd dare to say they're very much in-character any time they appear. Of course, it is up for debate exactly how in-character they are compared to how they are in the show even for when it was written, but I do appreciate that Kkat had made an effort to preserve these characters as they were, flaws and all. It was good enough to fool me, at any rate. The main narrative is no slouch either. Littlepip's journey, in my opinion, is quite a compelling one in and of itself, even without the pre-war investigation she takes us through. I find the characters relatable, even varying degrees of likeable, and I found I actually cared what happened to everyone, both pre-war and post-war. People say the ending was rushed. I'm not so sure I agree, necessarily. That said, I probably wouldn't know a rushed ending if it hit me, my past self, and some stranger in a silly outfit with a giant metal fist. Now, to address the elephant in the room; if you don't like dark – especially when combined with ponies – this story won't be your cup of tea. I like dark stories pretty much regardless of the form they take; ponies, aliens, super-powered hedgehogs, whatever. I'm verifiably a sucker for that; there is no such thing as "too dark" in my mind, and I love it when a story takes itself as seriously as this one does. What breaks deals for me is horribly inconsistent plots, and from what I can tell, this story doesn't have that; the plot is very well executed, and it's held my attention throughout. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, but I see why it gets the praise it does. This is a work that had ambition; it and the expanded universe that spawned from it has inspired me to try my hand at writing once again. Though I will admit, the consistent misspelling of "Cloudsdale" as "Cloudsdayle" (I initially wrote it off as Calamity's drawl, but no, that's actually how Kkat spells it throughout the story, even when Calamity's not talking) and various other errors that showed up made me ever so slightly irritated. The story made me sic so many times... It's a damn good read. Just understand what you're getting into if you're going to read it yourself. These really aren't your regular ponies.
Great Story, if Flawed
I learned about this fanfic through Tv Tropes while looking through the regular entries for the Fallout series. As an avid fan of fallout and MLP, I decided to give it look. For the next two months I spent every free moment during school hours and at home reading it, finally finishing the epilogue the week school let out. I love this fanfic, but I can see why some people would not. But first, why I liked the story. It was expansive and very detailed, with interesting characters and settings from both Fallout and MLP. I also liked the darkness of it. Let's face it, the world of Fallout is no picnic: serial rapists, murderers, junkies, slavers, mercenaries, and warlords are common throughout, along with constant despair and desolation. Although this is sometimes left in the background during the video games, this fanfic brought it all to the center stage. While some say this makes it far too dark, I found this depiction to be more realistic. I also liked Littlepip, despite her flatness at times. Sometimes this flatness was a benefit, as I could imagine myself and my decisions in the story. Finally, I did like the flashbacks to the pre-war times. In the Fallout universe, I am the guy who will find every holotape and note and explore every building, as I love the backstory of the world. Now, the complaints. The ending felt rushed to me, and while it was a good ending that tied up many plot lines and gave a nice finality to Littlepip's narrative, it was too short compared to the long game the narrative was playing in Acts I and II. Also, it might have been better if the story was broken up into episodes or books. The thing is LONG, and because of the many settings, characters, etc. it does not always have an overreaching arc or theme. I think that if it was broken up the story would have much clearer defined concepts. Overall, I would read this all again. I sometimes even come back to it and read a chapter or two. Although the author is no professional and the story is not perfect, it is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Never got the appeal.
I...I never got how or why this fanfic is so popular. This is (in my opinion) the world's most stupidest crossover fic, achieving levels of fail I have never seen before. Somehow, it misses all concepts of both sources. My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic automatically for even crossing it over with Fallout, and Fallout for missing the whole theme. Fallout was about looking at all the crap the world thrown you, yet still here's that light at the tunnel so bright, you don't care what happens on that journey towards it. Fallout Equestria missed these concepts by mile, turned back, then missed it again, as well as missed the broadside of the barn. Fallout Equestria has rape, grimdark characters, and other qualities that would make actual fans of Fallout to stare in their screens in awe and disgust. Littlepip is so unlikeable, she makes the Emperor look like St. Mary. She leaves her vault, just to meet her idol instead of more personal reasons, she becomes this unrelatable tough gal, despite literally vomiting at the sky, and just have no redeeming qualities to her actions, other then just moping around to it. And that's just the main character! I...I don't know how to put my disgust in words. I'll leave this review here. Maybe one day when I do know how to put it in words, I'll be able to expand this review. I know I can't dissuade you from reading or liking this fic, but, as a warning to new readers or actual fans of this, please play at least one Fallout game, and then look at this story again. Hopefully through my eyes.
Admittedly not for everyone, but worthy of the praise it's garnered. Consider giving it a look.
A pattern in the points of contention for Fallout Equestria that you're likely to find is that they're mostly subjective issues confined to a certain pre-existing viewpoint. While that doesn't make them any less valid, that's something worth being considered before coming to a conclusion on where you'll decide to stand with it. I'd like to balance this review section out by saying that I found Fallout Equestria to be a well-written and engaging story with likeable characters and phenomenal world-building. It's a trophy-piece in the Ponyfiction community that proved crossovers could be more than piss-taking troll-fics. Tonnes of other reviewers have gone over what made this story so good in ways that I couldn't achieve in this body of text, but suffice it to say, I cannot attest that any piece of praise for this story up to the most hyperbolic has ever been unwarranted. That said, nobody is wrong in disliking it. But flaws have a habit of being negligible for some and deal-breakers for others. Characters can be grating from a certain perspective and endearing from the next. This troper hasn't found more than two or three points against it that ever really struck me as problematic. But if you want to know whether you should read the story or not, I suggest you take Pannic's advice and only go as far as the story takes you personally. With the amount of praise in Fallout Equestria's favour, it'd be a misdeed to simply decide not to read it because of the points made against it. And if it never strikes your fancy, cool. So long as you gave it a chance.
Not Quite a Glowing One
Fallout: Equestria (FoE), by KKat, follows the adventures of LittlePip, a young unicorn living approximately two hundred years after the time of Friendship is Magic. In a direct parallel to Fallout 3, whose plot FoE largely mirrors, Pip has spent her entire life in one of many underground shelters built to safeguard ponies against the magical equivalent of a nuclear war. After breaking out in search of Velvet Remedy, her crush, Pip wanders what’s left of Equestria, builds a collection of allies, and ultimately takes on several villains threatening the world at large. As a sprawling adventure story, FoE has a broad and diverse setting. Littered with arcane technology, mutant creatures and tragic reminders of the world that once was, it's ripe for EU and AU content. Many Fallout concepts are neatly co-opted; the Big Bad combines the Affably Evil traits of President Eden and Lord Ashur, while the Master expy brushes off her mutants’ breeding problem with a cool “we’re working on it.” Ghouls, dual-wielding pegasus cowboys and forgotten superweapons add to the fun. Unfortunately, FoE is let down by poor presentation and questionable storytelling decisions. It takes twenty chapters for Pip to gain a long-term objective and the ending is a rushed mess. Despite the oft-lauded importance of virtue and hope Pip’s first response to anything she dislikes is to kill it, and both the characters and narrative bend over backwards to justify her actions. Chief in this is Homage, Pip’s girlfriend, who alternates between shilling for our protagonist, making sex jokes and fountaining exposition. The story takes itself very seriously, even when the situation is fundamentally absurd, and would benefit from lightening up a bit. Spelling and grammar errors abound, even in the five-volume hardback copies that fans are producing at great expense. In summary, Fallout: Equestria is a bold attempt to merge two diametrically opposed worlds. On some levels it works, while on many others it falls flat. Those intrigued by the concept can’t go wrong by giving it a try, and may also find enjoyment in the expanded universe. With that said, I feel that the fawning praise lavished upon FoE by its most devoted fans is both excessive and unwarranted. As is their reactionary rejection of criticism.
Not That Amazing
I came to this fic a stalwart Fallout fanboy, a fresh-faced pony enthusiast and a keen scribbler of literate nonsense, so I was fairly guaranteed of having some thoughts about it. Now, after the end? It was an emotional and thoughtful ride, that's for sure. But I don't think it quite deserves "universal acclaim". What bothered me most was the implementation of the Fallout aesthetic. Basically, the fanfic takes place in an Equestria that has been warped and hammered into a Fallout skeleton around which an MLP skin-bag has been fairly well draped. Laser weapons and flying battleships? I'm sorry, but I'm bothered by the idea that creatures that designed fish-shaped airships and the Friendship Express turned to designing high-tech, sci-fi weaponry, just like that. That's just an aesthetic issue, but as I continued to read, it just never stopped bothering me. Also, they shoot guns with their teeth. I've tried not to, but I just find that funny. Other than that, there are other gripes. The 1984 references were clever, but the Lovecraftian/Potter soul magic business was unnecessarily confusing and only seemed utilized on a whim. Littlepip will always strike me as a rather one-dimensional and boring protagonist to follow; not even the closing chapters and the events that followed made me care about her ultimate fate. The attempts to flash back to pre-war Equestria and explain how everything went to hell struck me as padding; call me picky, but I never really saw much of the show's rich personalities in any of their renditions here, which made their presence in the fanfic kinda bland and useless to me. I had other problems, but they aren't significant enough to mention here. But...I still kinda liked it. Fallout Equestria reminded me of the things I wrote as a teenager, and it had a kind of nostalgic appeal - like I was revisiting my early steps as a writer and my lifelong love of Fallout, to the more modern tune of the Friendship is Magic series. My experience of it was simple: I was always finding problems with it, but I've been there too with my own work, so who am I to judge? Just don't believe anyone who tells you that this fic deserves to be sitting on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf with a price tag attached. It's cute, and for a fanfic, it's great. But I know a lot of less famous writers out there who could have done better.
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 didn’t 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.
Simply amazing, and worth all the praise.
There is far far to little space here to fully sum up why I feel this way. For more detail, read my liveblog/review here But, in short, if I had to give a brief reason why it is so great and I love it so much, have a copy paste from some of my final thoughts and summation on it. What more can I say about Fallout Equestria that I haven't already? It is amazing, incredible, heartwarming, heartwrenching, sad, joyful. It can take you to the very brink of despair, without ever losing that last spark of hope that just maybe things will get better. All and all it is a truly epic story, in every meaning of the word. It is more then worth all the praise, all the accolades, all the love. Is it perfect? Of course not, and I pointed out quite a few places where things could have been done better. But, no work is utterly perfect. Is it for everyone? Again, of course not, nothing is. Clearly I am far far from alone in loving this story though. Nearly every aspect of it was done almost perfectly, some flaws, some mistakes, but they are small, tiny compared to the overall majesty and grandness of the story. And the characters, while they are one of the biggest points of contention, I found them all to be extremely relateable, likable, well rounded and just all around a thrill to read about. The only one I had some issues with and didn't like was Velvet Remedy at first, but once she got some development, she was right up there with the rest. All in all, I would highly HIGHLY recommend that everyone give this story a chance. Will it be for everyone? Of course not, but it is well worth the time to try. Give it a few chapters, if it isn't for you, then leave it. If you find yourself enjoying it, then stick around for one of the greatest, most emotional, and grandest stories I've ever read.
It's difficult to really lay down a criteria for how to recommend this story. It's very popular, but I think it has a few caveats. The first thing that bears mentioning is that it gets off to a very slow start. The overall plot isn't so much "slow-cooking" as "it takes twenty chapters to show up." The first few chapters in particular are very slow, as they largely serve to introduce the setting and are pretty light on character interaction. Basically, what I would say is this: read the first three or four chapters, and ask yourself two questions: 1. Do I find the protagonist, Littlepip, to be likable or interesting? 2. Do I like the action scenes? If you answer both of these questions is "yes," then you can proceed without fear, because it is unlikely that the story will really put you off until its final act, which is honestly, apart from a decent climactic confrontation with the Big Bad, an awful, awful mess. If your answer to either or both of these questions is "no," however, that poses a problem. I answered "no." If you don't like the action scenes, you're pretty screwed, as the story insists on resolving almost every conflict with them. It's one thing to overload the story with action, it's another thing when the action is completely boring, and there's only so many ways of saying "I shot him." More often than not, I found myself just skimming through the action scenes as they recounted Littlepip going through a succession of rooms, shooting everyone she hates, which she does quite a lot of. I found Littlepip was kind of a dick. This isn't itself so much of a problem, but it makes me less inclined to care about her frequent bouts of angst, and I found it quite annoying how every character (including the token pseudo-pacifist) went on singing her praises. By the end of the story I found I had absolutely no reason to root for her. The central party members who accompany her fare little better, as I found they were all unlikable in their own unique ways. The less said about Littlepip's love interest, the better. That isn't to say everything is bad. The author has a nice flair for detail, the backstory is pretty well-crafted, and the blending of the two franchises is done in a way more crossover fics should strive for. Sadly, I just couldn't bring myself to care.