I picked up Fallout 3 last week and spent a good portion of Sunday playing it.
I wasn’t sure what I’d think about the transition from a top-down ISO turn-based game into something that looks more like a first person shooter. To be honest, I’m still not sure what I think about it – but I’ll say this: Bethesda did a damn fine job with the game!
The thing that struck me the most was how incredibly detailed and bleak the graphics were. The older Fallout games had to rely a bit more on, well, imagination. Bethesda took the game genre, background feel, and everything and just welded it right on and did an incredibly good job. Everything from the game introduction through to the playing and wandering around in the wasteland was a tremendous visual experience. All the tech continued the 1950’s style “hi-tech” look and they kept it going all the way down to the nitty-gritty details.
The wasteland is, as you might expect, relentlessly hostile. Even more so than the previous games for my view on it – Fallout 1 and 2 seemed to be mostly “nothing”, where this environment is fairly well populated with mutated creatures, raiders, or marauding robots ready to take you out without a second thought.
I haven’t gone too far into the game as yet – there’s (I suspect) a LONG way to go with side quests and just wandering around the wasteland, seeing what’s out there. I’ve done a few minor quests, opened up a few other storylines, and started to learn a bit about the combat. (Where learn is my subtle way of saying I’m slowing learning not to “die” so damn fast). The combat system is a very elegant fusion of turn-based “action points” setup and First Person Shooter. I switch back and forth between the two and haven’t really settled on a style as yet. My primary consideration so far has been to learning that frontal assaults will primarily waste your aim – sneak, snipe, and take as many aimed shots as you can to conserve what you’ve got, cause there’s never enough of it out there.
The graphic violence is, well, graphic. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of the gory details, but it does seem to be a part of the genre from Fallout 2, and I’ll admit it’s quite satisfying upon occasion.
Guns are easier to come by than I expected. The second game in the series had a very distinctive lack of them to me, at least compared to the first. This seems far more like the first game in that respect – it’s not exactly a never ending supply of guns and ammo, but they’re to be found more easily than I expected at the beginning of the game.