Fallout 3 Review: A Worse Fate

Fallout 3 is sadly disappointing. While it is a stand-up game with a lot of great and amazing aspects, there are many problems wrong with it: some obvious and some not so obvious. It’s an open world role playing game that offers an experience unlike anything else available on the market. The game is great but it does have key flaws in the way it currently is designed. Also previous Fallout players since Interplay days will ask themselves if this is a great game in general within the Fallout series? Not every time. The game is very rarely related to Fallout other than pure coincidence of wasteland, the name, and our lovely helper Pipboy with our perks. While the game defines a justifiable defense by a new well respected developer, it is just sadly at a loss of serious identity in terms of being a series and moreover a good game in its own respect.

Imagine a world in the 1950’s on the cusp of the atomic revolution and now imagine if thousands of nuclear bombs are dropped on it. That is the backdrop of the Fallout 3; It’s a unique post- apocalyptic future filled with atomic cars, robots, and computers, and a unsurpassed bleakness of tone that is always looming over your head. A nuclear war has taken away most of these technological comforts and thrown the world back into chaos. It’s a world that is somehow bleak, dreary, brutal and fantastic, and beautiful.

The game begins with your birth at Vault 101 where you are given the choice on what sex you want to be and many other traits and then quickly moves you through your childhood picking out pivotal events such as: your tenth birthday, the day you get your first Pip-Boy 3000 and your first BB gun. It is a clever way to create the character, but Bethesda needs to learn how to make it so you do not hear everyone in the room at the same time. The sequence was very annoying because of this. Aside from this, the origins of Vault 101 lie in being a bunker that was created to keep its occupants alive through the nuclear war that ravaged the surface. You quickly find out, however, this vault never reopened when the war finished. And this is where your father comes in.

At the end of your childhood, you awake to panic and alarms. Your father has opened the vault entrance and left Vault 101. With the vault in a state of panic, you leave the “safe” comfort of Vault 101 and search for your father in the unknown “ the wastes.” When the vault door cracks open and you step into the scorching sun for the first time, your breath will be taken away as the sense of awe across the wasteland becomes believable. No life, few buildings remain standing, most have fallen to the ground. In the incredible draw distance you’ll see nothing but wreckage, you can really grasp the sense of destruction that went on. Fallout 3 has the bleakest landscape seen in video game in years.

Right about the time you pick your jaw up off the floor from the landscape, the unavoidable sense of survival will pursue. The bombs did much more than just destroy the landscape. It left behind effects of radiation everywhere. Almost everything has been poisoned by radiation be it water or food. The struggle of finding “clean” food or water which heal you often is daunting. You will have to use medicine to manage the levels of radiation you take from eating, drinking, or wandering into area’s with strong radiation.

With the world in such bad shape, the pressure can make a good man – a bad man. The choice is up to you, you will have to decide the path you take and how you want to leave your mark on the world. If you want to be good, do good deeds. If you want to be bad, do bad thing’s, simple isn’t it? Save or ruins peoples’ lives. Keep in mind the world if filled with good and horrible people much like yourself, so choose wisely who you align yourself with. If you get lonely out in the wasteland, Fallout 3 allows NPCs to join you as you embark into the wreckage. You can choose an ally depending on where you stand with your karma. Don’t expect an ex raider to join you if you’re a goody to shoe. Also, you will be able to get a canine buddy to join you as “man’s best friend.” Remember the choices you make– be they good, or evil will have consequences.  You may take the high road and save someone. Resulting in hitmen trying to take you down.

For the role-playing leveling aspects from Level 1 to the maximum of 20, players will be able to level up through the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck) system. As time passes, you can pick the special skill you can master in. If that wasn’t enough, perks are available to your character such as better damage with small weapons or the ability to persuade kids into giving you valuable information with “Child at Heart.” With so much to tinker with creating your own unique and different characters through multiple plays.

Fallout 3 does combat right. More specifically, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS).  At any point during combat, you can call on VATS. This pauses the action and allows you to target specific portions of the enemy. Aim for the head to do extra damage. Go for the legs and slow down the creature. If you want you can blow up a persons grenade before they can throw it. Each attack through VATS is in slow motion to give it a more cinematic feel. Although, at time’s the camera can get busted up and hide a lot of the action, but more times than not it will deliver a awesome slow motion brutal attack. Lots of heads being shot off and limbs exploding.

One of the best feature of Fallout 3 is the monstrous weapon selection. From rocket launcher’s to a police baton, there are dozens of weapons to inflict damage on someone. Beware though: if you use a weapon too much, its effectiveness will wear down until you fix them or build new ones. There’s a wide array of weapons to pick and choose from, so you won’t become bored too fast with the weapon gameplay of Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 really shines in some places where it becomes easy to overlook the serious flaws and minor ones. First thing is first:  we have all come to expect in any game of this size and scope a few bugs here and there. Whether it be a graphical bug or a random game freeze. In all of these cases though, reloading the game was enough to fix any little minor bug that happened time to time and definitely nothing drastic enough to make me want to throw the game out the window. The environment in Fallout 3 is realistic, but couple it with bad voice acting and it just gets tedious.

Perhaps the worst thing about Fallout 3 are the quest markers. They are virtually missing for most of the side-quests, and trying to find any indication of side-quests leave it all to confusion of the dialogue. Some dialogues are vague, and others just make completing quests frustrating. For Bethesda this is not a great thing when aiming for a great RPG. Another far more obvious blemish you could say are the animations. They are about the only things in the game that make you feel like it is “a game”. The way people move is stiff and lifeless and sticks out like a sore thumb to the rest of the outstanding look and feel of Fallout 3.

Bethesda Softworks creates a stylized and convincing post apocalyptic wasteland, but comes short and fails when it comes to the perturbation of the actual product. It is an OK game in its own respects. Bethesda really payed attention to detail and created a game that has a believable environment. Unfortunately, it is a very clear definition of a bad product that does not really evolve. For one thing, it is not Fallout. While anyone can argue to not expect it to be, that is just the case. To not expect it to be a game of the very series it was created from just because it is a respected and completely different developer is a huge fault and flaw in itself.

Fallout 3 is just a watered down version of Oblivion when it comes down to it. There are not that many NPCs because apparently Bethesda “wanted to focus more on every character.” For the amount of times we have heard Pete Hines say that, we would be rich men. But in all honesty, it is all tomfoolery. Try telling us that when we see 50 different people look the same. Facts are they just did not want to add too many NPCs for time reasons. After having reviewed this for over 185 hours the last month, one thing is clear to us. Bethesda clearly took the trust in their name and applied it to Fallout 3 in hopes of making a great game from a previous success in Oblivion, not to mention using the exact same engine to save time rather than aim for quality. While the quality in Fallout 3 is there as a great game in some aspects, the humor compared to Oblivion just is not. Why are we now comparing Fallout 3 to Oblivion? Because we would honestly have to be lunatics to compare it to the Fallout series just because it has the same perks. The game tries to relate to Oblivion too much, and still does a mediocre job at it which comes off annoying.

Fallout 3 is a solid RPG nonetheless that offers a large amount of replay value and entertainment. It delivers fantastic combat system, a believable environment, and a great set of perks that never get boring. The deviation from the actual series and a large number of errors sadly degrade the gameplay value a lot and make Fallout 3 just an OK RPG in the end.

I'm all about one thing: reviews that are easy to understand and make sense of.

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