Review by dragon0085

Reviewed: 11/03/08 | Updated: 11/05/08

From an old school gamer, and someone who loved the first started off cool

I initially gave this game a 9 for the quick review, but upon further review, it only deserves a 3 (based on GF score, otherwise it'd be lower.

Well, the epic battle of 'Fallout Purists' vs the new school crowd is finally coming to a head with the actual game now out, anyone on the boards knows what I'm talking about, and it is from this stand point I'll offer my review.

For those of you that want the punch line: If you like new RPG’s (a la morrowind) and like FPS’s/Halo, you MIGHT like this game. If you are an old school Fallout purist: know this is definitely NOT fallout, and if you only enjoy RPGs you won’t like the game play mechanics at all along with the run-and-gun style of play. If you play shooters, stay away as well, the combat is bad, and you will hate the stats, trust me, RPGers will hate these stats as well.

First, I am an old school gamer, graphics don't matter to me as long as you can see what is going on, and I think that generally older games are better then today's when game had to be good instead of hiding behind graphics. But onto the actual review of this game, viewed through my impression as the game opened and continued.

Everyone probably knows by now, this is a 1st person game (the 3rd person view is extremely odd and generally useless) This is a little disconcerting, but you adapt to it fast enough. My only complaint, is you are basically playing a shooting game, and the controls are a little rough using a key board, a controller would be a welcome addition to put in.

Anyway, the character creation system is gone, you kind of do it through stories (at first, you will 'hate' this change, but its not that big of a deal in the end). The game starts rapidly enough after a few flashbacks, and the intensity rapidly draws you in. I was surprised at this, and was already feeling the effects of "oh my god, I just shot that guy!"

The conversations feel a lot less consequential hen in previous games. You will be picking things that sound cool, and suddenly they are mad at you. Also there are tons of "filler" line about "so what's new here" "oh nothing" that you have to ask everyone to find that small little plot thread you are looking for. It doesn't feel like the first two where you thought carefully about what you are saying.

I’ll explain a little of how game play goes down. You are running around in first person mode, and it is like a normal shooter game, but as time goes by your action points recharge and you can activate what I call “turn based mode” part of combat. You use you ‘turn based points’ to get free aimed attacks akin to the old fallout games. After these free ‘turn attacks’ it is back to real time battle. Because of this, stats like agility and gun skills can be ignored completely if you want to only play in 1st person mode, otherwise, treat them as a bonus to combat.

Let me be blunt, my exact reactions were like this:
First 30 mins: "Uh, First person mode? This is not cool"
Action starts: "Whoa! This is actually pretty cool! Man VATS is weird, but pretty cool cinematicly"
Hour 1-2 "This game is pretty cool, I mean its a FPS but still kind of cool"
Hour 2+ "Man, what the heck am I doing playing this? This isn't fallout, its morrowind with guns, and I hated morrowind, kotr, oblivion etc." That's when it hit me, I went for thinking this is ok, to just totally disgusted with it. So repetitive, not engrossing anymore, and just a really bad shooter with a joke of a RPG system.

Additional, stats are gone. Oh they are still there, but they just have little to do with anything. A 6 in four key stats is all you need for all but one perk, and each stat does as little as the next.
Intelligence? A small bonus at the beginning for 3 skills, and 2 skill points per level after that. That’s it. There is no massively changed dialog like FO2 for being stupid or a genius.
Charisma? Totally a useless stat, just check the message boards for “charisma dumping” meaning you put a 1 or 2 in there, because it maybe is used in a few plot points and is otherwise useless.

See the problem is that as much as it tried ( I wonder how much they did 'try'), to be an RPG. It just isn’t. That is the crux of the problem. Its as if we took a bad version of doom with bad controls, spice up the graphics, and slap some non-vital “Stats” to it to call it an RPG. It just lacks depth. Either you play it as a pure shooter (dealing with the problem its not that good of one) or you try VATS a bad attempt at trying to add a turn based element to it. The cinematics are cool, but you soon tire of watching heads roll after every slow motion shot.

The environment is engrossing, initially, leaving the vault was extremely cool and a very good/engrossing experience that touched my old gaming heart. It’s a pain looking so close to everything to find items, but I suppose it makes a more realistic experience. Hearing simple American jingles as you come out into the world was powerful. As to the longevity of a shooter/rpg hybrid, we will see. But know this, from my old school bias, this gamer was highly impressed with this game, only initially. It’s not “Fallout 3” but it still is a really cool apocalypse game for about the first hour or two…then you realize you are only running around in a bad combat system gunning people down in the exact same colors of landscape over and over. The game is a bad shooter, and a non-existent/wannabe fallout clone in terms of RPG standards.

Graphics: Good, but not important to me.
Gameplay: Starts off really cool, but soon grows extremely repetitive, boring and uninspired. This is the most important thing to a game, and it falls really short after you get over the initial wonder.
Sound: Bad. The jingles early are a fitting, good, ironic touch. But it plays for about 10 minutes and then loops over and over. Not a good touch.
Control: Weak. Even with a controller, the combat is really simplistic and aggravating for a FPS.

Conclusion: Honestly, if you actually like Morrowind,KOTR and its ilk, you’ll probably froth at the mouth for this game. If you like RPGs, or even Shooters for that matter, I’d stay away. Maybe rent the game, the first hour is cool. Then you realize you are playing a bad game.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)

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