When it was announced a few years ago that Bethesda had picked up the rights to the Fallout franchise there was a lot of mixed feelings. For some, these were the same people who are responsible for the Elder Scrolls series and they were really excited to see what Bethesda could do within the Fallout universe. For others who were diehard Fallout fans though, they weren’t quite as excited. Bethesda was aware of this and did everything they could to make Fallout 3 the best game possible. Fortunately, they succeeded as Fallout 3 is a triumph in almost every sense. As soon as you escape the vault you are immediately presented with the vast world of Washington DC and the surrounding areas. You realize that anything you see, you can actually go visit and it briefly seems overwhelming if you really stop and think about it. Very few titles are this ambitious and for good reason. It takes an incredible team many years to create a completely open world where the possibilities are virtually endless. Not only that but graphically speaking, the world is absolutely beautiful on a high definition television. The apocalyptic wasteland looks incredible from the brush and dirt to the hollowed out buildings, cities and little settlements that you encounter throughout your journey. This is also another title where you will decide your fate. Will you choose to play as a good person who helps people or will you be a criminal who terrorizes them? Your choices will have far reaching consequences, including deciding who will associate with you. For every bad decision that you make your karma will go down. For every good decision that you make your karma will go up. Depending on what you choose dialogue choices will open up while others may close. I was in Moriarty’s Tavern in Megaton and tried to recruit someone but since I was too much of a good person, he wouldn’t do it. However, if I was a criminal and had a bunch of bad karma, he would have been more than happy to go with me and help me out.
For those who played through Oblivion, the gameplay is generally the same only more refined. Instead of swords and crossbows though, you have guns and various other weapons. Once you level up your character you will get to choose where the skill points are distributed and which perk you would like. You can build your character up as you see fit. If you want him to be really good with weapons you can build those skills up or maybe you would want him to be really good at hacking computers and picking locks. The choice is completely up to you on how you approach your character’s development. You are equipped with your Pip Boy 3000 which will allow you instant access to all of your stats and various other crucial data that you will need to know. This is also where you can select what quest you would like to complete next. There is of course the quests that help move along the main storyline, however, there are a whole bunch of side quests you could do that will keep you busy for a very long time. The first time I was in Megaton I received numerous side quests simply by talking to people around town. The more you interact with the world and the people inhabiting it, the more potential quests you will come across.
The combat in this game is pretty straight forward. There is real time combat where you can try and take out an enemy as they are trying to take you out or you can take advantage of the new VATS system. The VATS system makes combat seem a little bit more turn based, without actually making it turn based. When you use the system the action stops and you get to pick a part of the body you want to attack. You are also presented with percentages giving you an idea on how likely you are of successfully attacking that body part. Of course as you get to the higher levels your accuracy and other things will grow as well making it easier for you to take out enemies. There is also melee combat where you can run right up to an enemy and hit them with a blunt object such as a baseball bat.
Of course no game is perfect and this holds true for Fallout 3 as well. Going through the adventure you will tend to notice some graphical glitches. They can be kind of annoying, however, with a game this ambitious and expansive it’s not a surprise. It should also be noted that once you finish the main storyline, you can no longer do anything else in the game. Therefore, be sure to have a separate save file before you complete the final mission. Be sure to get all of the side quests done that you want to do beforehand. This isn’t something necessarily wrong with the game itself, it is just a poor design decision. You can play this game in either first or a third person perspective which allows for some more variety. I generally tend to play in the third person perspective. If you attempt to play it as a straight FPS you will likely be disappointed as the shooting at times isn’t really that competent. However this title wasn’t created to be a first person shooter title so not as much time was spent in that area. The enemy difficulty also tends to scale, so enemies that were tough a few levels ago, can still be tough now. While some people enjoy that constant challenge, others weren’t that big a fan of it in Oblivion and probably won’t be here.
Fallout 3 is a triumph in almost every sense. Despite some of its flaws it is a fantastic journey that everyone must experience. Bethesda nailed the look and you will be stunned by how incredibly detailed everything is. The cast of characters you will meet throughout your journey are definitely an interesting bunch and helps to keep you on your toes. How you shape the world and your relationship with it is entirely up to you.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network