Reviewed: November 19, 2008
Released: October 28, 2008
War is hell and the aftermath can be worse or just a walk in the park for the right people, welcome to the aftermath of the war that ravaged the earth. Fallout 3 is the continuing saga of the inevitable what if scenario of a global war and how to survive afterwards.
Fallout 3 from Bethesda Softworks is the third in the Fallout series of role playing games set in a post apocalyptic world with plenty of all the right things. Starting with great gameplay and continuing to realistic and well done graphics and star studded audio with the right mix of sarcasm you end up with a winner.
Fallout 3 is set in the year 2277 in Washington D.C. with the world going to ruin and you in the middle of it, your mission is simple find your father. If you have not played the previous games in the series you do not need to worry as this game is complete and you won’t miss a thing not having played them, I surely have not.
Fallout 3 starts you off in your new role in the world as a baby from the first person view seeing your daddy for the first time. Through the first few minutes in Fallout 3 you set up your character in a unique set of questions and then your first role-playing that develops your characters personality and traits.
Once you have chosen your characters looks you run through a series of short role-playing scenes that determine your characters abilities and temperament. The skills you use are made through a test but you find out afterwards you can bribe the teacher and change the results anyway.
Your skills are a laundry list of abilities like lock picking or big gun handling that will make for easier work in fighting and finding things but others like speech and barter will help you in your missions even more. While the game has plenty going for it in terms of great scenery and well planned storyline it all boils down to missions and getting things done in that story.
The missions can be as easy as you want them to be or very complex by how you approach them as well as which direction you want your character to work in. You can take the less tactful road and do things the easy way, which is with brawn or be more diplomatic and less messy.
The more you advance in diplomacy and talking things out the more your character raises your karma and other attributes relating to good and more things open up that require less brute force. Missions can be easier by helping people but harder by having large groups such as slavers against you but there are more here that tend toward the good that may be more helpful to you in the long run.
A decision that is kind of surprising opens up at the very beginning of the game that illustrates this point nicely, a bomb is sitting in the center of the first town you can trade in and you are given the opportunity to blow it up right off the bat. This would of course destroy the town and any missions of opportunity there but what a choice to be given, your very own nuclear detonation in the beginning of the game.
Your story is a simple one; find your father and why he suddenly left the Vault you were residence of without telling you anything. Your whole mission boils down to finding him and the reasons why but it’s that mission that has such depth and appeal.
While you will not mistake this game for a first person shooter you do get a good opportunity to turn any enemy into goo with various weapons only dreamed up in this kind of technological mixing bowl. The game does FPS gaming all right but there is a slower response that will be obvious when you first pull your weapon and try to blow away an enemy bot that tries to take you out.
The game does not have a realistic response for handling weapons and firefights but the first person aspect using the V.A.T.S. system does make up for things. The VATS or Vault Tec Assisted Targeting System allows you to pause combat and target specific areas of an enemy so you have more control over combat.
Need to talk to that creature before wiping it off the face of the earth just blow off the legs and ask it a few questions before getting rid of it. This makes for a slower system in combat but a more fun way to deal out death in the end and a great addition to the high tech gadgets you can get.
This combat pause may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is fun to play with at least a few times and makes for a great way to handle some rather troublesome enemies at times. Other than the unique combat the game does well with handling your skills and personalities but this all boils down to choices you make throughout gaming.
Fallout 3 is all about choices and how you approach everything you do from the start, you can get more things done with niceness but it is fun to be bad here and there and quicker sometimes. You can build your party with new team members easily with being good but it is easy to not have any choice as well depending on your answers to questions during the game.
One example is Dogmeat who you meet early on in the game and can be civil to in order to gain his trust or treat him like he looks and never get the chance to have him trust you. This matter of choices is the main gameplay feature and determines the entire game from start to end with everything you do from simple conversations and larger things like blowing up towns.
Fallout 3 does a great job with its environment and the looks of things with the devastated landscape and general ruined look but there is a nice mix of high tech gadgets as well. The weapons look and handle just fine with satisfying audio effects and good looking textures but other effects look just as good.
Creatures have some odd looking post apocalyptic radiation poisoning and have the obvious scars and such but other people will be just normal and even good looking. This mix of mutant and fresh from the beauty salon carries over to many aspects of the game for a fresh and unique experience throughout your stay in Fallout 3.
Graphics look good and effects for things like your bots that you are forced to take out look very realistic and well done. Some of the people you talk with are not the best with mouth and body movement but for the most part things look very good and are well done overall.
Textures and graphics throughout the game are well done with plenty of variety in that war torn look but you can also have some surprises. One such great looking effect is picking locks with its view of a regular tumbler and you using a screwdriver and hairpin to pick it.
The lock and tumbler could have been a picture shot from someone’s door and the movements of the device being used look very realistic even when you break the hairpin. This attention to many different aspects of the game throughout make it an overall well made game and one that is well worth playing through.
The game does a great job with all its effects and even the voice acting is top notch with actors such as Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman. The sound effects are great and add very much to your terror filled adventure that makes for a great game.
Fallout 3 does something that many other first person perspective role-playing games do not with its actual work to level up. You need to actually perform meaningful tasks to get anywhere and not just kill off mindless animals or run around collecting things lying around. Like in other role-playing games you cannot just go mindlessly around performing simple things or doing away with lower life forms to get easy experience.
Combat here is tough and you have to find things to kill in order to get anywhere so there is no random multitude of animals to pick off for a few easy level ups. Lock picking, bartering and quest completion will fulfill your level requirements but you actually have to work at leveling up here.
Missions can be easy and are easy to find but you have to actually talk to people and get things going to get anywhere but its how you go about things that adds to the variety included in the story. Like at the beginning you can choose the low road and take out settlements or go about your affairs with civility and gain friends that will help you in your quest.
The main mission will not be completed in a short time and it will take a lot of exploring, talking and mission completions to finally get things achieved. You can also revisit Fallout 3 by earlier saves and take things in new directions once you have completed it to start off a new story but with totally new story driven aspects.
How you handle things from the very start will determine how things occur and using different tactics and even your answers to questions will determine the outcome of larger issues later on. Of course you can run through the game again using a different temperament or just explore the countryside and work on all those side missions as well.
You will have plenty to accomplish in side missions and just exploring the world that Fallout 3 has been made into with plenty of additional things not required by the main story. Just like previous role-playing games that were great they have included plenty of additional content that has nothing to do with the main story.
Fallout 3 is a great game and one that depends a lot on story driven adventures but includes all the right mix of adventure, combat and character building for a great game. This is easily the best new role-playing game that will give you dozens of hours of additional gameplay along with the already lengthy required adventuring.