Review by Morinel
Fun, but nothing we've not seen before (literally).
If you've ever played the first two fallout games, and/or is predecessors or spinoffs, then you know the story. There was lots of hype buzzing around the game, and speculations. I, for one, thought it was going to be nothing special (i.e., The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion with guns). If you've ever played Oblivion, you will almost immediately see similarities. The game, however, is pretty fun to play. Though it has some flaws, the gameplay and story make up for it immensely. I will go over certain aspects of it:
Aesthetics and load (i.e. Graphics, Sound, & System Requirements):
Probably the thing that would stand out most if it were released a few years earlier. Anyway, the graphics are very nice, but it's nothing not seen in many other games released. On the higher settings, the PC specs can be a bit demanding, but it looks pretty stunning. There are also numerous tweaks you can make in the .ini file which allow you to gain speed with little visual loss. Even on the lower graphics settings, the game still looks very good. Though there are occasional graphical glitches, they are small enough so as to not take many points away.
The sound is also pretty good, and realistic sounding, but I haven't really payed too much attention to it, so it's not anything special.
Score: 8.5/10 (Summary: Graphics are good, but nothing special. Also, it may strain older computers to the breaking point. Occasional but minor graphical glitches from my experience. Sound is also nothing too special).
Mechanics, Package, and Control:
The game mechanics are also nothing TOO special, having borrowed the game engine from the previously mentioned "Oblivion." The controls are easily customizable to your play style and easy to learn. The new V.A.T.S system also allows two ways to play depending on your style: Run n' Gun or Strategy. Both are pretty much balanced, as V.A.T.S requires "Action Points" so that you have to wait before doing the special moves. I also have to admit that the camera is pretty cool.
The menus and interface are pretty good, and has been redesigned from the ground up from "Oblivion." It looks pleasing to the eye, and is easy to navigate after you've gotten it down.
As for the "SecuROM" problems, Bethesda has assured people that it is nowhere as intrusive as it was in "Spore." I haven't had any problems with it so far, so it's alright with me.
Score: 10/10 (Summary: Good and customizable controls, easy to navigate menus, no problems with installing and/or SecuROM).
Bugs and Glitches (i.e. Stability):
There have been numerous bugs reported for the game. As of this time, there are (of course) no patches released to fix them. The only thing I can say is that I've not run into any major ones (e.g. The birth scene lockup bug). However, since there have been lots of reports about them, I'm going to say that you may experience problems with the game. So far, there have been workarounds, such as downloading a save game that puts you at the end of the vault (so you don't experience the bug), but that causes you to miss the whole first part of it, and the backstory. I have, however, run into minor gameplay glitches and graphical glitches. For now, until a patch is released:
Score: 5/10 (Summary: A few reported major, game-breaking bugs. There are also a few minor bugs and graphics bugs, but nothing that will ruin the experience by too much).
As the game is new, I'm not going to give out spoilers. I will, however, give you a little bit of detail. If you've played the previous Fallout games, you know the backstory. Basically, and exchange of nuclear weapons left the world in ruins. People fled to "vaults," where they have lived for many years underground, never venturing above ground. Basically, the protagonist finds himself (or herself) leaving the vault to look for his father, who you were told at the beginning "ran away." Having to flee the vault, whose overseer is looking for him/her (for whatever reason), the protagonist finds themselves in the ruins of old Maryland, near the old American capital: Washington D.C.
Score: 9/10. (Summary: The story is well told, and holds up roughly to the previous Fallout games. Some old Fallout characters also make appearances.
The game is pretty good, but as I've mentioned, nothing we've not seen before. There are also lots of bugs reported in the unpatched (original) version. The score may go up if these bugs are fixed in future patches, but right now, they are too numerous and game-breaking to ignore.
If you want the game, you can either:
1) Buy the game now and hope it works well. If it doesn't, then hope for a patch, or look for a workaround to it (I mentioned one above to a serious bug).
2) Buy the game when a patch comes out. Hopefully soon.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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