Fallout First Reviews: A 'Violent, Fun, Emotional, Epic' Video Game Adaptation, Critics Say

Critics say Prime Video's new series benefits from strong storytelling, committed performances, and a deft balance of tone, making it one of the best video game adaptations ever.

by | April 10, 2024 | Comments

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Fallout is the latest video game adaptation to hit the small screen. Created by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Graham Wagner, and executive produced by Westworld‘s Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the eight episode series, inspired by the hit game franchise from Bethesda Softworks drops on Wednesday, April 10 to Amazon Prime Video.

The post-apocalyptic series stars Ella Purnell as Lucy; Aaron Moten as Maximus; and Walton Goggins as The Ghoul. Joining them is an ensemble cast that includes Kyle MacLachlan, Sarita Choudhury, Michael Emerson, Leslie Uggams, Zach Cherry, Moises Arias and Johnny Pemberton, among others.

With nearly three decades of lore under its belt, the video game franchise has drawn a massive fanbase. Needless to say, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the new series. Does it live up to expectations? Here’s what critics are saying about Fallout:

How does it compare to the video games?

Prime Video’s TV adaptation of Fallout does something the games in the legendary franchise never have—put storytelling above all else.
Bernard Boo, Den of Geek

Fallout is the new standard for video game adaptations. This series is violent, fun, emotional, epic, and just plain awesome.
Alex Maidy, JoBlo’s Movie Network

Opting for a new narrative that simply takes place in the Fallout world, the series is a mix of adventure and puzzle-box mystery, with more than enough action scenes to satisfy the RPG faithful. It’s fun, and only occasionally overcomplicated.
Kelly Lawler, USA Today

Fallout takes the ideas of the games and crafts its own story in an already interesting world. Nails the satire, the wackiness, and about everything a fan could want.
Zach Pope, Zach Pope Reviews

Bodies fly, heads explode, and video game logic reigns triumphant.
Niv M. Sultan, Slant Magazine

How is the cast?

(Photo by Prime Video)

All of the performances are great; Purnell is a strong, loveably naive lead, while Moten delivers a fascinatingly, sort-of loathsome turn. Excusing the wonderful pooch that plays CX404, aka Four, Goggins is the runaway MVP, an agent of chilly, smooth-talking chaos somewhere between John Marston and Clarence Boddicker.
Cameron Frew, Dexerto

“I hate it up here,” Lucy mutters early on, and given the horrors to which she’s subjected, nobody could blame her. Yet her quest not only involves no shortage of carnage but also insights into her community and its origins, as well as encounters (some relatively brief) with a strong array of co-stars, including Moisés Arias, Kyle MacLachlan, Sarita Choudhury, Michael Emerson, and Leslie Uggams.
Brian Lowry, CNN

The Ghoul serves as the perfect foil for Lucy and Maximus, with Goggins deploying megatons’ worth of weary charisma in his performance as Fallout’s resident lone wolf, black hat archetype.
Belen Edwards, Mashable

Emancipation’s Aaron Moten and And Just Like That… standout Sarita Choudhury nail the determined, world-weary drive that propels their characters forward while Justified’s Walton Goggins gives one of his best performances yet as Cooper Howard, a mutated ghoul of a gunslinger who gives everyone a hard time with biting quips and searing bullet work.
David Opie, Digital Spy

How’s the writing and world-building?

(Photo by Prime Video)

The show’s creators have done such an impeccable job fleshing out the world of Fallout that it feels like the characters are treading stories and quests you’ve experienced yourself in one way or another.
Tanner Dedmon,

Story-wise, Fallout smartly eschews trying to adapt specific storylines or side-quests from any of the games, but rather concocts a new one set in the rich and familiar landscape.
Brian Lloyd,

There are plenty of Easter eggs, as you might expect from a video game adaptation, but Fallout manages to make them seem like part of the world, too. It all feels real and believable as pieces of a whole existence that these people have scraped together, which goes a long way toward helping the show’s humor land. Even the Easter eggs feel carefully designed to fit into the world and the lives of the characters, rather than drawing focus away from them or sticking out as a glaring distraction.
Austen Goslin, Polygon

Do the violence and humor work?

(Photo by Prime Video)

It’s strong, it’s goddamn hilarious, and it highlights exactly how to swing for the fences while still knowing where Homebase is. It may be a new series, but Fallout is an instant classic of the streaming age.
Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho? A Geek Community

A bright and funny apocalypse filled with dark punchlines and bursts of ultra-violence, Fallout is among the best video game adaptations ever made.
Matt Purslow, IGN Movies

Finding a tonal balance between the drama and the comedy is a razor’s edge, but Fallout makes it look effortless. As a result, spending time in this hardened world is as fun, engaging, and engrossing as the games.
William Goodman, TheWrap

It’s an equal parts funny and nightmarish show that, like its protagonist, isn’t content to live inside a projection of the past.
Kambole Campbell, Empire Magazine

Crucially, these laugh-out-loud moments of disbelief don’t detract from the harsh reality of this world, which is perhaps even more violent than you might expect, especially for newbies to this franchise.
David Opie, Digital Spy

Any final thoughts?

(Photo by Prime Video)


Fallout is a clever, twisted apocalyptic odyssey that soars as both a video game adaptation and a standalone series.
Lauren Coates, The Spool

For those who have never played the Fallout series, especially those of the time-strapped ilk who can’t just pour hundreds of hours into a game, they should give Prime Video’s Fallout a go.
Howard Waldstein, CBR

Fallout is both totally rad and an absolute blast.
Neil Armstrong,

The show’s clearly committed to being the definitive Fallout adaptation, a love letter to fans, no question, while still opening the vault door to welcome in just about everyone else brave enough to step inside.
Jon Negroni, TV Line

There’s really nothing like Fallout on television right now, and that’s ultimately a good thing.
Therese Lacson, Collider

Thumbnail image by Amazon Studios.
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