Review by Evernight57
Don't let the fanboys get you down... this is a great game!
(Note: I am making this review assuming you know the basics of this game - such as basic story, and gameplay elements - if you have never seen/read anything about this game please go elsewhere for a review.)
I just wanted to make some quick points about FO3. This game is not FO2 circa 2008. It never was meant to be. Perhaps this game should have been called "Fallout: The Capitol Wasteland" or something to that effect; because the 3 in the title seems to bring out all these FO1 and 2 fans thinking its the second (or third I guess) coming. Let me just review this game in the vacuum - without the expectations and hype. FO3 is not Oblivion and its NOT FO2 - although it borrows heavily from both.
First off - the detail-per-square-foot in this game is EPIC. There is more detail to this game than Bioshock, COD4 and STALKER - and the world is bigger than all three and almost completely open.
From the Raider outposts filled with junk, to the schools and libraries still strewn with desks and books. There are houses and farms and diners to stumble across. I will say that Bethesda used the same texture palette far too much however (Didn't I just leave a factory that looked just like this??) There is a good mix of both Urban and Rural environments - although I think most people will stray close to the urban environments.
My only quip about the world is that (mostly in urban areas) the game doesn't seem as "open" as one would hope - many many buildings are closed and boarded up and arbitrary junk piles block streets all the time. That really isn't very fun Bethesda!
The sound effects are great and music is quite good. The guns sound great and the background music does a great job of conveying the appropriate mood. The radio on the other-hand is probably the thing that disappointed me most. 2 whole stations broadcast and each of them have about 30 mins of audio before it repeats... pretty good for most games - but for a game that is going to take me 40 hours to complete and then play through at LEAST 2 more times.... that isn't going to cut it. Where is the user-radio station? and why are there only 7 songs left in the world? and why do they suck? Where is all the 50's hits - Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and The Coasters. There is no rights to those songs anymore as far as I know.
There are a great many voice actors in this game giving each character (even all the non-quest related ones) a unique feel. That is a pretty great achievement in its own right. Some of the characters are quite memorable and others sound sort-of disinterested (probably a by-product of 200 years of suffering in the wastes). Liam Neeson does a passable job as your father which I liked and felt a decent bond with. I do understand where a few ppl have said that the characters are a bit shallow... I get that, but I don't feel it hinders the game in any way.
Bethesda has really got a great leveling system as well for FO3. The SPECIAL system allows your early shaping of your character and giving you 15+ skill points to spend every level lets you really spread the wealth to multiple skills without you becoming proficient in all of them. The perk system is just fantastic: you get one perk every level and they range from minor skill increases to fun game quirks - like a guy who shows up on occasion in VATS with a .44 magnum and kills things for you. Or the perk that increases your chance to hit people in the head or even a perk that allows you to EAT PEOPLE!
The most important thing about this game is the FUN FACTOR. Is it fun to play? Hell yes!
From exploring the wastes and coming across raider camps and little sections of people just trying to make it to making your assault on the mall (which has become one of the coolest real-world recreations I think a game has ever made). Every part of the world has its own fun factor. I can't go through the review without talking about VATS.... the game pauses and assesses all the targets in the vicinity and give you a chance to hit each one in locations on their body. Got a psycho with a sledge coming at you?.... take out his legs and watch him limp at you. Got a guy who is about to fire a missile at you?... shoot the launcher right out of his hands. Or how about that super mutant that is about to Brett Favre a grenade at you?.... shoot the grenade while its still in his hand and blow his whole arm off. I and many other people were worried that the game was going to get repetitive and slow if you had to use VATS all the time to slow the action down, but I will assure you that using VATS in all its glory is fun time and time again. Every fight is different, every enemy needs a different strategy to kill. And you get to watch it from about 100 different angles.... bullet-cam or overhead or even watching your character grit his/her teeth while they fire off 50 rounds from the Mini-gun. I have actually had a lot of fun sniping in real-time as well. I just want to let every on know.... liquidizing a raider with a shotgun from 4 feet away in slow-mo never really gets old.
Anyway, in closing, I will say that this game is fantastic, not perfect, but close. There is just so much to it and it just begs to be played numerous times.... which I very much plan to and you should too.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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