The sequel to Fallout starts eighty years after its predecessor. When the First Vault Dweller was forced from his home, he walked north until he found some new friends and founded a tribe in a suitable place. But some years after his death, the tribe is dying. The Elders decide that one of the tribe members, the "Chosen One", must find the salvation, a universal tool called G.E.C.K. (short for "Garden of Eden Creation Kit"). Sadly, the hero's only clue are the ancient disks the Vault Dweller has left, and the only equipment are his clothes and PipBoy. With courage and determination the proclaimed Chosen One leaves to save his village, unaware of the consequences his actions will carry.
Visually and gameplay-wise, Fallout 2 is very similar to its predecessor. Combat and character growth are handled the same way, using the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute system and relying on skills to customize the protagonist. The sequel's environments are more vast than in the first game, with more non-playable characters populating it. There are more varied dialogue options and ethical choices presented to the player during the course of the game, as well as new weapons, armor, enemies, and a few minor gameplay additions, such as a car the protagonist can drive.
Gameplay-related changes mostly involve the player character's companions. Characters who join the party can now level up, equip armor, and follow specific strategies, as opposed to the almost complete lack of control over party members in the first game. Some characters are also harder to recruit, requiring specific quests to be solved or a certain Karma level. Reputation system is added, which works similarly to Karma (good and bad deeds), but only within the same town or community.
The quests in the game are more numerous and typically involve more complex situations and larger scope. Fallout 2 introduces quests and moral decisions with mature subtext: the player can choose various lifestyles for the main character, including getting married and divorced, become a slave seller, a porn star, or join the mafia.