Fallout 3

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.

3 thoughts on “Fallout 3

  1. I really enjoy V.A.T.S. I think that aspect of the game is excellent and is a welcome change from Oblivion — manually targetting Fireballs blows.

    However, I can’t help but feel that Fallout 3 is Oblivion with a different set of textures and some interface improvements. A lot of the problems of Oblivion plague Fallout 3. For example, it’s very easy to talk accidentally corner someone in a dark corner, forcing you to spend five minutes going through deep dialogue trees staring at an NPC’s eyes glowing creepily in the dark.

    Fast travel back is a very welcome change, but it’s still ridiculously difficult to get find your way around, and there isn’t really a way to get unstuck if you’re lost. The game doesn’t offer much in the way of clues when trying to find your way around. It was frustrating and annoying in Oblivion and it still is in Fallout 3.

    I have to say I’m decidedly disappointed with the game. I don’t feel like Bethesda really made Fallout 3 its own game — it feels very much like they pulled the IP of Fallout into the world of the Elder Scrolls games. The game, IMO, deserves a bit more respect than that.

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  2. I’ve been playing this a lot lately. I like it. My hopes were resting on either Fable 2 or Fallout 3 as the game of Q4… Fable was good but Fallout is better. Although it has it’s faults.

    The wasteland is my favourite character of the game. It can be very intense out there. Combat however is a bit silly, the VATS system is incredible prone to abuse. You just bum rush the enemy so you get within point blank range and fire two or three shots into that Supermutant’s head via VATS. Very very silly and utterly unrealistic. Long range combat is far more dangerous because the enemy is a far better shot than you (either via VATS or normal point and shoot).

    I do like the RPG aspects of the game: leveling (some perks are hilarious) and inventory management (yes I like that part of the game!). But the game is so similar to Oblivion. Not surprising considering it uses Oblivion’s game engine – but sometimes it does feel like Oblivion with guns (and giant radroaches).

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  3. Damn – I didn’t even clue in to the bum-rush thing. I mean, I was bum rushing, but then I’d just get mown down because I’d get all excited and wouldn’t active the VATS to annihilate my opponent. Going to have the think on that.

    Something else I missed – pressing and holding “B” will activate a flashlight on the pip-boy 3000. Wish I’d known that when i was down in the subway tunnels getting eaten by giant fire-spewing mutant ants. Would have made finding ammo and other goodies a hell of a lot easier.

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