Review by KyuubiNaruto666
Fallout 3... Why the 3? This is more of a reboot than a sequel.
First and foremost Fallout 3 is an exploration based, role playing game, set in the first person. So if you like your adventure or exploration game, especially a role playing game to be point and click you won't find much to love in this title. As well if you're a rabid fan of the Original Fallout, and Fallout 2 you're in for a let down, and most likely won't like this game at all. However if you've played games like Oblivion and liked it, you'll find a lot to love. Also if you're a First Person Shooter fan you'll find that this game has a depth, and scope most other first person shooters don't achieve.
The World: The interaction with the world in Fallout 3 is standard for a game in today's physics heavy gaming world. There are a mind numbing number of non-player characters you can talk to, and the voice acting isn't perfect, it still pretty good. The characters all seem to be involved in the world in their own way, and will even greet you as you walk by. This good is weighed by some bad, as a lot of the side characters come off as bland, without much personality. There are tons of places to explore, loot, interact with, and find quests at. Although sometimes the places feel under realized, isn't much of an issue on the whole. There are lots of locks to pick, which have a nice little mechanic with them. On top of locks you can hack computer terminals which adds depth and is fun when you get the hang of it. Add those to all the various puzzles you run into leads to a game with some great depth. This all adds up to some amazing immersion, which only is occasionally fractured, like when you leave the vault and you're asked to verify your character. Although it's unintentionally funny that you can change pretty much anything. Like starting as one sex in the vault, and then changing to the other as you leave as if you were a closet transgendered person.
Combat: The combat in Fallout 3 is pretty standard first person shooter fare, and can sometimes feel like a grind. Even if you enjoy systematically tearing enemies apart, you're going to find a lot of them, and this can sometimes feel draining. Well that is until you get in to the V.A.T.S. Aiming System, which for those of you who remember previous fallout titles is very similar to aimed shots in those games. The V.A.T.S. Aiming System allows you to stop the game and take precision shots at selected enemies. Which brings up why Real time and turn based combat should never be mixed. The V.A.T.S. System feels a bit like a cheap shot, but if you can get over that the kills you can achieve with are always entertaining to see. Also the shooting is very deep in it's depth, but the melee leaves a lot to be desired. All in all the combat is competent but can feel tiresome.
Character & Inventory: Starting off you'll notice that the Pip-boy can be kind of clunky, but useful. The Pip-Boy allows you to check your stats, skills, perks and character status. As well as manage your inventory by using, equipping and un-equipping , or dropping items. Also you can manage active quests, radio stations, notes, the world map, and local maps. However each category such as items, has a separate main button on the Pip-boy, and having no noticeable keyboard shortcut can male the Pip-boy feel unfriendly to the user. Also the mouse requires some finesse to use in a lot of the menus, which adds to an unfriendly user interface. Though once mastered navigating the menus becomes quick and easy. Another way that your inventory is managed is through trade screens. Though they're are two of them they're essentially the same. The difference being that if you're trading with a person you'll be getting paid for selling items, and be paying for the items you take. Corpses, and storage have the same dynamic for item management. You can take or leave items, and seemingly to a limitless extent. The level up menu stands out being in two phases. The first is skills, which you can add to and subtract from(you may need to cheat for the latter), then when finished you go to the next menu. This second menu is the perks menu in which you can add perks. Now not all of the perks you get from leveling up, some you get from side quests. Perks can improve certain skills up to their maximum, or change certain dynamics. Like Strong back lets you carry more weight, and Commando improves V.A.T.S. Effectiveness. It is a shame that your skills max out, and they don't improve from just using them. It would have been nice that as you progressed tasks based in your skills got easier. There is also a level 20 limit which feels stifling.
Main Story & Sub-Quests: The main plot is rather uninvolved, and is set in stone, though based on your Karma there multiple endings it all ends pretty much the same. Also without certain Down-Loadable Content you won't be able to play after the main plot ends. The main plot is also plagued with a few plot twists you could see coming if you were blind. The plot's main quest is pretty straight forward, and doesn't have any variation which is a shame. On the other hand the sub-quests are quite satisfying, and give you lots of ways to complete them. Also to get to the bottom of sub-quests you'll find your self lots of options in just how far you want to take the actual completion. These can also fit in to your gameplay style. All this seems a bit backwards, the least they could have done is linked different endings to how you handle certain parts of the main quest giving you some good leeway. Especially it would have been nice to be able to avoid some of the cliche plot twists, and change how some scenarios ultimately pan out.
Graphics: The graphics in Fallout 3 are really amazingly good, and even almost three years since it came out the game looks good. In fact it hardly shows it's age. Also even on the lowest graphical settings the game still looks pretty damn good, although there are some textures missing here and there it's still playable this way. The scaling for graphics is ptetty good, and will let you enjoy the game on an older low end machine. But if you don't have a Gaming Rig you can bust full graphics out on you're be missing out on some of the more stunning visuals.
Music: The background music is kind of benign, and that's not actually a bad thing because that means you're not going to notice it unless you actually listen for it. On the other hand if you decide to pop on your radio you're in for a treat. A lot of the radio music can really improve your mood if you're in a depressing situation, and you get some fun announcements on top of it all. Also for the fans some of the songs that play on the radio will be heavily reminiscent of previous titles.
Voice Acting: The voice acting is pretty good when compared to most video games, and feels involved. Most characters will be able to make you feel emotionally involved. Weather you want to fill them full of lead, or fall in love with them. Though this immersion point is cracked by the occasional deadpan character whos voice actor totally phoned it in, it's not a major flaw.
How it stands up to previous Fallout titles:
Fallout 3 feels more like a entire reboot of the series then a sequel, and it really shows just in some of the major differences. Fallout 3 is much better then tactics, but sort of falls down compared to the original two before it.
The Good: The first person view gives you a good idea of just how vast the wasteland is. The V.A.T.S. System is amazingly entertaining. There are lots of characters to interact with, and tons to do in the world of Fallout 3. What it lacks in the textual flavor of the previous games it more then makes up for with visual style, and it accurately portrays the feel a Fallout game should have.
The Bad: Almost all of the dark humor has been stripped from this installment, and that's especially true for flavor text. Flavor text is virtually nonexistent in this one too which is a shame. This game has been heavily cleaned up, by that I mean sexually. Surprisingly there is no sex in this game except the hinted sex between your mother and father in a holo-tape. Which is nearly unheard of in this day and age. It's also a shame because in the previous games not only could you get some ass, but you could be gay if you wanted. This game had the expectation of that and more. It's a shame you couldn't play as a bisexual, gay, lesbian, or even a transgendered character in this game. That makes it feel kind of shallow. The mass of items in this game is also significantly smaller, which makes it feel lacking. The lack of motor transportation in this game is also a glaring flaw, especially seeing as how vast the waste land is. Leaving you only the option of a long walk, or a brisk run. Most notably the monologue on how you assisted the various settlements you traveled to being missing makes the game feel unfinished compared to its forefather.
Replay Value: Depending on weather or not you're going to download the Down-Loadable Content it varies. But Also with all the character options, reactions to non-player characters, and side-quest flexibility you may find your self returning to this one quite a few times.
In Conclusion: a lot of people say that Fallout 3 isn't a worthy successor to it's previous installments, but this is patently untrue. Fallout 3 a more then worthy addition to the Fallout family. Though it's somewhat short, and it has its flaws. If you're willing to look past it's minor imperfections you'll find a stunning gem, and although it doesn't live up to it's fullest potential it's still an amazing stand out. Though different from the previous titles, it's just as good as they ever were. If you played the original games, coming in to this one with an open mind, and a willingness to look past it's shortcomings you'll feel just as at home as in Vault 13. If you're looking for a good game, it's hard to top this one. Fully recommended for both fans, and non fans alike.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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