Game Review: Fallout 3
Release: October 28, 2008
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
MSRP: $59.99 (PC $49.99)
ESRB Rating: M
Fallout 3 is the third major game into the Fallout franchise, with the first two released on the PC and the Mac in 1997and 1998. The previous Fallout games were developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay, but when Interplay when bankrupt Bethesda stepped in and bought the rights to the Fallout franchise and changed a lot of the direction of the game, but left enough of the core elements to keep the hard core fans of the franchise happy.
Fallout 3 takes place in a post nuclear United States, in the Washintion DC area. The year in the game is 2277 and you start off the game as a young boy that lives in Vault 101, a fallout shelter. The game begins at birth and flash forwards using minor mini-missions, where you establish your character and skills selecting the traits you feel will be the most important for your style of gameplay.
Let’s get into the gameplay now as it is the most important part of any game, and this is where I feel Fallout 3 puts itself above the crowd of games this year. The game actually starts when you leave Vault 101, you leave the only place you ever know in search of your father who left due to unknown reasons. Once outside the vault you go on a quest to find out where he is and try to find out why he left you. In the world outside the vault you will encounter many different types of enemies and situations that will use the skills and traits you’ve built your created character with. You will use skills such as lockpicking, sneaking, speech and small arms, and as you conquer enemies or complete quests you will earn experience points which will then will allow you to improve your character in the game by improving skills, as well as earning perks.
One of the features that you will use most in Fallout 3 is its new targeting systems called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). What V.A.T.S. does is it allows you to essentially pause the game in realtime, and actually target specific body areas. V.A.T.S. shows you the individual health for each area along with the likely percentage of chance you have to actually hit that area. The most enjoyable part about V.A.T.S. is when you use it and actually destroy that area, for instance, if you cripple the leg, most of the time your enemies’ leg will actually get blown off in a bloody mess. It is even more enjoyable when you do the same thing with headshots. The term “horrifically bloody” does not fully describe what will ensue when you get a critical strike on a headshot, nor can I fully describe the awesome feeling that follows.
This game does so many things right it is kind of hard to know where to start. Probably the best thing about Fallout 3 is the story. Once you start the game it’s so hard to put down because you just want to know more about what is going on in the world outside Vault 101. There were so many times I would tell myself “Just one more mission or task”, only to still be playing four hours later because of how addicting the game is. The graphics are some of the best I have seen on the Xbox 360 and I’m a huge fan of the art style that is all around the world. The audio in the game is done in Dobly Digital and Fallout 3 really uses this, and if you really want to get the full experience you need to be sure you have a correct setup as the game audio really immerses you into the world.
Fallout 3 does not really have too many flaws which hurt the game. In fact, I would almost say that this game is almost perfect, almost. The biggest negative think about Fallout is the amount of time that you will have to put into the game, but you can not really fault Fallout for this as it is a RPG, and an amazing RPG at that. For myself, I accrued a little over 20 hours of gameplay to finish the main story and only a couple of the many side quests. For the casual market this will be an issue, that and the complexity of the game. Flaws are just not something that I noticed in Fallout. I had a single game freeze, the load times were on par with most other games. My only real complaint is the lack of a flashlight. At times it would be hard to see and the only thing I could do was to raise the in-game brightness . As you can see, I am reaching for a complaint as there are few with this game.
(Edit: please ignore the whole flashlight issues. Apparently gamers like myself need to start reading the video game manuals. I do feel better knowing that I wasn’t the only one because reading online this seemed to be a common issue.)
Steve’s final say: Fallout 3 is a game that should be in almost every gamers library, with the only exception to this being if you are anti-RPG. The gameplay is rock solid and if you package that up with amazing graphics, audio and one great story you know you will be in for what many will call, Game of the Year.
PN GIVEAWAY ALERT: Ok, so you read Platform Nation’s review of Fallout 3 and I just want to let you all know that we are giving away some very cool Fallout 3 swag, the swag includes an actual bottle of Nuka Cola, a Fallout 3 survival guide, and a SimTek 1000 (a Fallout 3 Viewfinder). If you are interested in how to win, just check out our forums here, and all the info is in the thread titled “Fallout 3 Swag Giveaway”.