Bethesda has worked on games set in deep space, the middle ages, and even the Caribbean but none of them satisfied my fancy as much as nuclear wasted Washington, D.C. Which is where Fallout 3 takes you this holiday season.
The year is 2277, 200 years after the bombs fell and 30 years after Fallout 2. Ya ya ya! We know (Well some of us do). Radiation, robots, nukes, and anarchy. If you haven’t at all got a clue about the Fallout universe, do yourself a favor and Google. I have a lot to go over and the back story, at this point, is the least important.
You start the game a new born vault dweller and grow up through a tutorial that’s so well implemented you’ll forget the game was teaching you how to play. I’m not one to dive deep into character creation mechanics mainly because it’s next gen gaming and you should know what to expect. (Not to mention I try to “dumb down” my reviews) You get Skills and Perks, during level up, and it’s not very difficult to understand these elements when they are introduced. The Dev team did a great job of sarcastically explaining everything.
The story in Fallout isn’t very confusing. It’s actually pretty simple. You reside in a nuke safe vault with your dad and others. Dad runs off when you get a bit older. You run off to find him. A few twists and turns then it’s over. That’s not at all why this game is probably going to be game of the year. What makes Fallout 3 great is the stories you craft while interacting in its world. While the main quest does come and go fairly quickly, the stories during your play through will solely rely on you and how deep you want to dive into the universe. While there are several end sequences, this game should be enjoyed as it’s rolling along for there are no blockbuster endings here. Do yourself a favor and explore every inch of Fallout 3’s D.C first. The side quests are all very interesting and never got boring. Take care of your dad’s needs there after and you’ll be much more satisfied.
Fallout’s presentation is great. Graphics, while not ground breaking, look good. Particle dust effects and explosions look amazing. Character models are highly detailed. A negative note : NPC animations are very poor but don’t distract you at all from the overall experience.
Music is of 1930’s origin and fits in very well with the art design of the game. The vibe is great. The sounds of the 30’s in the background during bloody gunfights put a needed damper on the grim and depressing post apocalyptic universe. Think of the mood Reservoir Dog’s gave you when Steelers Wheel’s “ Stuck In The Middle With You” overlaid a cop torture scene. Voice acting is also top notch. Rarely do I remember hearing similar NPC voice overs which is a nice addition.
Walking, talking, and everything here works as good as the next game. Controls are tight in and out of battle. Previous Fallout games used a start stop battle game play system which fit well on PC. You play Fallout 3 in first person. Shooting and looting in real-time. Bethesda also put together a more strategic battle option in the game called the V.A.T.S system. Simple enough V.A.T.S allows you to pause the action and pin point who and where your shooting. You use AP (action points) as a regulator for how many actions you can perform while in the system. Real simple. I found it very useful considering real time gunning isn’t as easy as many other FPS games out. With a little practice you will be pausing action in V.A.T.S, taking cover in real time letting bullets fly, and jumping cover right back into V.A.T.S to take a final, head popping, shot off. It brings a little more depth to gunplay and really saves this game from being a “ I can’t seem to shoot a friggn’ thing” nightmare.
There are RPG elements here but they all seem to be well hidden. If your not into RPG don’t look away. The only thing in Fallout 3 that seems anything like an RPG is the Skills and Perks….and MAYBE the inventory system. None of them require you to understand anything as complicated as any D&D game and that makes it so much more accessible to an average gamer.
As stated earlier Fallout’s main quest is fairly short. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a crap-load of game to play here. There are 80+ locations to explore from subway stations, city blocks, towns, caves, abandoned movie theaters, and makeshift villages. There are 20 bobble head dolls that boost stats to collect. 20-30 time consuming side quests. None of these are redundant. All of them get accomplished in sheer enjoyment of turning the next corner and waiting to see what’s happening and who’s doing what. Hours and endless hours of enjoyment await the adventurous.
In closing: Fallout 3 gave me an open world that never got stale. Its a deep role playing game in a polished FPS presentation. It makes you feel like everything you did in game effected the world around you. It allowed you to make decisions that tell a story that only you could tell. It places you in one of the most memorable game atmospheres on console. I know there are poor NPC animations but……that being my only complaint…it’s barely an issue. I suggest you play this as soon as humanly possible. It won’t disappoint. Promise.
Can I play Fallout 3 now!?
Awesome Honorable Mentions:
- Your pip boy broadcasts radio stations. These radio stations have hosts that broadcast news that relate to you and your actions.
- You have a choice of a few NPC companions.
- You can create weapons. Among some are explosive soda bombs and flaming teddy bear launchers.