I don’t like Fallout 3 all that much. It’s ugly, it’s unwieldy, and the roleplaying is skin-deep at best. It’s not the worst game in the world, but it certainly is far from one of the best. I just found the whole experience to be so shallow and forgettable, to the point where I can only remember one spectacular character from the game. But oh man, what a character he is.
Liberty Prime is a robot of simple tastes. He likes democracy, capitalism, and liberty, and he hates RED CHINESE COMMUNISTS, as he will frequently remind you. All of his lines are booming, pre-recorded propaganda from before the nuclear war, but when re-purposed to fit a fighting machine, the hammy dialogue becomes some of the best pre-asskicking one-liners in gaming.
“Democracy is non-negotiable!” he says before throwing miniature nuclear bombs at a group of Enclave soldiers. “DEATH is a preferable alternative to COMMUNISM!” he continues, shooting a burst of lasers out of his eye to fry an entire squad. Liberty Prime’s presence in Fallout 3‘s conflict between the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel takes what would’ve been just your average climactic showdown and elevates it into a glorious curbstomp set-piece, where droves of enemies are annihilated by one giant, unquestionably patriotic robot.
Sadly, Prime’s role in Fallout 3 is a small one. After about fifteen minutes of gameplay, everyone’s favorite American AI is destroyed by an orbital strike, bringing the hulking robot to the ground. But the love of Liberty Prime was evidently not lost on Bethesda, as the robot makes a triumphant return in 2015’s Fallout 4, and this time he’s an instrumental part of the Brotherhood of Steel’s siege on the institute.
In the years that have passed since Fallout 3, the Boston faction of the Brotherhood of Steel has recovered the pieces of Prime to begin work on Liberty Prime Mk. II. So by the time the game’s wrapping up, Liberty Prime is rebooted and rebuilt, and like Fallout 3, he isn’t a big fan of communism to say the least.
While he may play a small role in both Fallout 3 and its direct sequel, he symbolizes a well of untapped potential for Bethesda’s franchise. Fallout‘s always had its fair dose of absurdity, and Liberty Prime is taking the inherently crazy concept and running with it, harkening back to the glory days of Frank Horrigan and the Master, truly imposing and creative characters that can still be darkly humorous. Only this time, Liberty’s on your side, and it makes one hell of a difference.
And, of course, he dies again after just two quests in action.
So while Liberty Prime’s role may be small in both games, but the impact he has left on gamers has been anything but. In the depressing, colorless wastelands that make up Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, he’s a beacon of wonderful absurdity who serves as a great reminder that even when the world dies, absurd fun can still live on.
If only the rest of the game took that motto.