Oxhorn — Telling the Stories of the Fallout Franchise
Oxhorn

There are a number of YouTube channels out there focused on either a specific game, franchise, publisher, or genre. I call them “game coverage channels,” which are great for those with more specific tastes in games. In this case, Oxhorn is a Fallout channel, which already makes it interesting for a CRPG fan like me. However, what makes this one stand out among its counterparts is its sheer quality.

Many of these game coverage channels are rather middling, opting to post regular content by regurgitating news and updates that you could get wind of on social media anyway. (This is true for just about any Overwatch-centric channels, but that just comes with the territory.) Oxhorn is one of the exceptions, instead focusing more on the lore and stories in a franchise known for depth and choice.

Oxhorn Channel Review

Out of all the Fallout-centric channels out there (there are a few), this one is the best due to how the man Oxhorn does each video. Not only does he have a good voice, personable disposition, and a talent for storytelling, but he also puts a lot of work into his videos. That makes his upload schedule look even more grueling when you realize it.

This channel is best if you are a Fallout fan who likes to read the Fallout Wiki every now and then. He does content on all the major Fallout games, including the first two titles, and he doesn’t outright criticize any game. It does look like he just loves the Fallout franchise, whether it’s Interplay or Bethesda, and that’s a good thing for viewers as they can just focus on the lore.

The first Oxhorn videos I watched were those of companions in New Vegas, namely Veronica, Cass, and Boone. Fallout: New Vegas is widely accepted as the best of the “modern” Fallout games, mostly due to its developer Obsidian Games (with employees coming from the remnants of Interplay and Black Isle). Therefore, telling a good story with that game should be easy enough. However, how he told those stories had such depth and color that I then looked at his videos on other Fallout games.

Fallout 3 is dreary. For its time, it seemed alright. However, for those who played Fallout 1 and 2 before, Fallout 3 was a facepalm moment. For me, it was half-okay and half-bad. I like how I could explore the world in first person—which I still think is the “truly proper” role-playing experience (I’m a Morrowind fan, yet I’m also a fan of isometric CRPGs)—but Fallout 3’s way of doing things is deeply flawed.

Oxhorn’s videos on Fallout 3 makes it look less bad. The same goes with his videos on the shallow puddle that is vanilla Fallout 4 and its DLCs. It’s not that gameplay is not important, but that channel is all about story and lore, and those are big parts of the world-building marathon that is Fallout.

One thing I’ve noticed with how he retells the stories in the games is that he doesn’t do so in a completely neutral tone. A lot of times, he talks about what he thinks of the current situation and how it lines up with his morals. If he thinks something is wrong, he’ll tell you about it.

For instance, in Fallout: New Vegas, he’s not shy about his allegiance with the New California Republic and how monstrous other factions like Caesar’s Legion and the Fiends are. In other videos, he sympathizes with NPCs who are in bad positions and expresses sadness when there are no good solutions to problems.

While he does go about with the morality of the choices in the games, as is the focal point in the franchise, he does show what happens when you choose to do other things. He’d show what happens when you just kill everybody or slag an NPC off, but then shows you what he chooses as his actual decision. You get to see as many of those possibilities through his lens.

Perhaps it makes more sense how he could make such good narrative videos of such a great franchise when you find out that Oxhorn himself—whose real name is Brandon M. Dennis—is an author who has published a novel back in 2012. As a writer who is still trying to find his footing and hoping to get a book published sometime in the future, I find his body of work as encouraging.

I’m not saying I’m just as talented—if not more—but I can certainly do something at a fairly similar level if I work harder on it. In the meantime, I’m still binge-watching his amazing videos.

Other Comments

With my recent event vlogs and having watched Oxhorn’s videos, I’m wanting to do let’s play videos again, but with a twist. Instead of just straight-up gameplay with commentary, I may want to combine various approaches to make videos that are more like tours of the games I’m playing. It’ll take a bit more work, but I do think it may yield something substantial that I’ll be able to sustain.

I’m thinking of either uploading let’s play videos on the main channel or creating a separate let’s play channel (again) when Fallout: New California finally comes out. I tried doing a let’s play series on the Skyrim full conversion mod Enderal, but it didn’t pan out well due to how dull it turned out to be. Maybe I’ll revive that series if ever I actually do play that game all the way through. Perhaps I can do a playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas from my perspective and give my thoughts on its stories with a format that drags as little as possible.

The thing with the type of let’s play videos I have in mind now is they require a good bit of knowledge in the game to begin with in order to work well. I’ve found that I’m no good with doing blind playthroughs since I tend to be quiet most of the time and take time to experience new games. (Not to mention I get lost easily in a lot of singleplayer games.)

If something comes out of this idea, I’ll post about it here and on social media as soon as I can. In the meantime, I’ll be watching more of Oxhorn’s videos—as well as those of FudgeMuppet, Camelworks, and SorcererDave—on my way through this experience of reigniting my interest in playing the Fallout and Elder Scrolls games.

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