Review by Lucavix
Want an Objective Review?
Fallout 3 was one highly anticipated game, and it was both loved and hated intensely before it was ever released. Thousands if not tens of thousands of people had their minds made up about whether or not this would be a good game before they ever even played it or read their first review.
Unlike Spore, and Fable 2, this game wasn't intensely hyped by it's developers as something it was not, instead this game was simply pitched and marketed with the occasional slip up from Todd who was way over enthusiastic about the number of endings the game would have. I'll be breaking the review down into the traditional sections, with an explanation for the score I give each sections.
Fallout 3's Gameplay functions much like that of Farcry 2 and Oblivion. You start out in an underground vault that works as a basic training exercise before being dumped into the capital waste, which is truly massive. A lot of time will be spent walking across vast expanses of barren waste between unexplored landmarks, or participating in a rushed story that makes little sense.
An additional problem is that children are bullet proof which ruins the immersion and seems to add magic to a magic free world. While you can purge entire towns of all adults and animals the children can't be purged by any means other than using a cheat or a mod. You can, however, kill at least two children by destroying an entire town completely in a much more offensive and non-PC way than using your mini-gun, given that there are still Hiroshima survivors. There are also at least two children that you can enslave, and one 16 year old that you can enslave with the implicit understanding that she's going to be a sex slave, which makes me wonder why children were made immune to ammo in the first place.
Though the problems mentioned above clearly detracts from gameplay, there are a multitude of quests and encounters, as well as interesting areas to explore, and the game is very rich with interesting content and characters. The combat is much like that of any first person shooter with optional hack and slash elements, and your skills and stats effect your weapon accuracy and survivability. The V.A.T.S. system allows for some bullet time attacks that can devastate your opponents.
The overall gameplay gets an 8 out of 10
Story & Quests
The Game's main plot is full of holes and makes little sense, the story is like Swiss cheese that's been aged long enough to have a putrid odor. Still, the characters you encounter have a lot more personality than any of the Oblivion characters, and the side quests are often quite good with multiple possible outcomes.
The game has a total of 6 endings, none of which are particularly satisfying and none of which mention the consequences of your actions during side quests. However during side quests you often see the immediate consequences of your actions, if only in the way characters react to you.
Main Story gets a 4 out of 10
Side Quests get an 8 out of 10
The PC version of this game has some seriously wicked graphics. Some will be unable to run the game at optimal settings on their PC, and I feel truly sorry for those people because they're really missing out. The Wasteland comes alive and feels very real, the explosions are fantastic, and the way bodies can be ripped apart is both gruesome and epic.
There are occasional clipping problems, guns that magically clip through legs or backs in some places, but these graphical glitches are few and far between. Levitating pottery and decorations are my biggest graphical gripe, when taking an object off a shelf other objects on it will sometimes float an inch off the shelf. Aside for those two small problems however, the Graphics in this game are above standard for 2008, with full water reflections, decals, visible objects from up to 2 miles away, and great graphical atmospheric settings.
Graphics get a well deserved 10 out of 10
Stellar sound and excellent voice acting make this game's sound more immerse than any I've played in the past two years. You can hear footsteps, the way characters talk is realistic (well, except for a few characters), and two of the vaults have very eerie sounds. The game's sound often has a retro feel as well, often the music in this game is pulled straight out of the 1950's as the world of Fallout, though progressing technologically, failed to progress very much culturally due to massive wars. In Fallout, the Cold War wasn't a Cold War.
Sound gets a well deserved 10 out of 10
As a Fallout Game:
Ouch, now this part hurts. Fallout 1 and 2 would allow you to kill children, and from then on be a known Child Killer who would be hated and hunted for destroying the Wasteland's most precious resource. Fallout 1 and 2 had dynamic endings that provided a graphical representation of each area, and a monologue explaining how your actions there effected the world. You could play through Fallout 2 without ever firing a single shot, without killing a single person, if you so chose.
Unfortunately, Fallout 3 is not this sort of Game. Fallout 3 is an excellent game but it's far more restrictive than Fallout 1 and 2 ever were. After you start the game's final quest there's no going back and after the game's over, it's over. When you see the ending none of your actions will receive any mention. You can do horrible things in this game and still get the best possible good ending if you make the right choices and get enough Karma. Worse, there are no Karma perks and your actions in one town won't effect how you're treated in another town.
Also the dialog in the game for evil and good choices are often poorly represented, evil choices are rarely as evil as they are immature and stupid, and some of the "good" decisions are just self sacrificing stupidity without consideration for other "good" options. In Fallout 1 and 2, you could make some truly sinister dialog choices that reflected a more mature and methodical evil. You could be intelligently and intentionally wickedly cruel, using tact and cunning and manipulation to get your way with horrible outcomes for NPCs, and this is missing from Fallout 3.
Still Fallout 3 kept the setting, the background lore, and much of the general Fallout theme. That scores it a couple of points it wouldn't get otherwise.
As a Fallout Game, Fallout gets a well deserved 4 out of 10
I WOULD make it lower, but the game is every bit as Fallout as Fallout Tactics
This game appears to be shaped up for Game of the Year, barring some serious competition by other games that have yet to be released. If Fallout 3 Doesn't get Game of the Year, it will doubtlessly be ranked high on the list and get a more than honorable mention. I have detracted from this game due to some of it's flaws, the most serious of which I perceive to be the Main Story and the Ending. However, Fallout 3 is an excellent game, well made and well deserving of the 120+ hours it will steal from your life if you let it.
Overall Fallout 3 gets a well deserved score of 8 out of 10
I only wish I could have given it a higher score, but this IS supposed to be an objective review.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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