Review by cowflipper
I know Fallout, Sir, and you are no Fallout.
Oh how I have waited for this game! How I had been lifted up in the past, only to be let down. But all of that has changed now. Fallout 3 is upon us, but there is a new developer, a new wave of technological development, and a new creative team. How has it gone? What has become of Fallout?
Unfortunately, this game is a poor sequel to the classic, though put together solidly, it fails to be the game I wanted it to be. I wish I could say that the long years since Fallout and Fallout 2 have left me with a memory that the original games were better than they actually are, but that's not true. I played though both games since August and so I have a very fresh idea of what made Fallout such a great game.
I think what is most missing is a real feel for what's going on in this game, a real depth to the story that pulls you in. After about 20 hours of game-play I found only one NPC that will tell me anything of the history of what has happened. In fact, most NPC's you encounter have very little to say to you, but then again you have very few options with what you ever get to ask even the most important characters. Gone too is the chance to parley with almost anyone you encounter in the game. Where intelligence and speech were a huge factor in the previous two games, Fallout 3 seems to have very little use of them.
I had heard the Bethesda wanted to "clean up" some of the darker more profane aspects of the series, but I don't how when they have put such a focus on cannibalism and profanity. Not to mention the Ghoul Meth Lab and Vampire Cult. Though each of these things seem on par with a Fallout game, they really seem like bad sci-fi rather than the tongue-in-cheek fare that was characteristic of the classic series. Of particular distaste is the mutilated bodies at most of the raider bases, not because it's disgusting, but because there's no explanation behind it. Are all the raiders sadistic murderers or are they psychopath cannibals? Again going back to how mute the background scenario is in this game.
What Bethesda did capture was a pretty solid shooter game. This stands pretty even with FarCry and Half-Life 2 as adventure shooters, and that's what Fallout 3 should be called. Shallow on the story and detail of life, deep on the violence and the graphics. I am immersed in the game, I will play it for many more hours, but F.E.A.R has more depth of story than Fallout 3. It has plenty of neat bells and whistles in how you interact with the environment, the detail of the floor-plans, and even the new targeted killing system (V.A.T.S), but it surely doesn't have the hundreds of random quotes and allusions the previous games did.
So play this game, it's fun, but if you're expecting a real sequel to the classic franchise, you'll just have to wait.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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