Fallout 3 Review

Fallout 3

XBOX 360 PlayStation 3 Microsoft Windows

ESRB Rating: M

BBFC Rating: 18

PEGI Rating: 18+

OFLC Australia: MA15+

OFLC New Zealand: 18+

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Engine: Gamebryo (Oblivion, Warhammer Online, Civilization 4)

Reviewed on: XBOX 360

Spoiler Free

Mature Language (Keep in mind, this is an ESRB M rated game so kids shouldn’t be playing this in the first place)

The Review:

You’re suddenly awakened out of a nap and are told that your dad has left the vault, his assistant has been killed, and you’re next. Within 5 minutes you’ve left the only life you’ve known behind forever. The great expanse of the Capital Wasteland first greets you with a sign that points you to a scenic overlook. As you first set eyes on your new home you realize something, you’ve never played a game like this before, but that it’s a good thing, a really really good thing.

Bethesda’s Fallout 3 comes 10 years real time and 36 years game time (it takes place in 2277) after Interplay’s 1998 hit, Fallout 2. Along with a new location, new characters, and new missions comes a new game design. Gone is the isometric top down view and in is the first person view. Bethesda really went for more of an action oriented game than an RPG oriented game yet does not alienate fans of the first 2 games. You start out being born, and after questioning how two Caucasian parents could end up with a Hispanic child, you are soon witness to your mothers death.

Flash forward 1 year and your dad leaves you alone. As a future explorer you decide its best to escape your cage and wander around the room. The first book you come across is You’re SPECIAL. Flipping through the pages edits the SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck) aptitudes and will be with you the rest of the game. Flash forward to your 10th birthday and you’re thrown a surprise birthday party. You receive 2 main gifts, a Pip-Boy 3000 and a BB Gun, both of which will remain with you for the rest of the game (well you can get rid of the BB Gun but it doesn’t weigh much and does a significant amount of damage in comparison to some of the other weapons in the game)

Flash forward 6 more years and you find yourself taking the GOAT or the Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test. The results of this test are to show you what job you will have in the future but more importantly allows you to choose (or get assigned) three main skills. There are 14 skills that range from Lock Pick to Sneak and can be edited every time you level up. At every level up you also get to select one perk, which gives you a bonus in at least one skill set.

It’s on a fateful day 3 years later (you are 19 by now) that your dad leaves the vault for unknown reasons. You are led to believe that your life is in danger and the only way out is to leave everything behind. You grab what little possessions you have and find yourself in a new world, full of radiation-enhanced creatures, mutated humans, and hookers, lots and lots of hookers.

While certainly not the first FPS RPG game, it is the first game that incorporates a turn-based style action mode that a user can activate anytime called VATS. VATS stands for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System and gives users the ability to pause the game, select which part of the body to attack at, and then have the game attack for them.

I used VATS more often then not and despite my previous reservations, found that VATS was my friend and that I should use it as often as possible. VATS isn’t free however and costs Action Points which can be replenished over time or by the use of drugs such as Jet. Drugs such as Jet, Psycho, RadAway, and Rad-X all play in a significant part of the game and while they may help you temporarily you can easily get addicted to them if you take too many in a short amount of time. While a doctor can easily fix your addictions for 50 caps, you won’t find a doctor in the middle of the wasteland and will have to travel to a city to get healed and back on track.

Weapons are certainly not hard to come by in the Wasteland and with enough knowledge you can even make your own. While you don’t have to make any weapons yourself (I myself never actually made one and instead opted to only use what I found) there are bonuses for making your own as you can use what miscellaneous and otherwise useless items in the wasteland into your own personal ammunition. Weapons do degrade overtime and must be repaired over time. I did find this particularly annoying due to the fact that weapons degraded at a much faster rate than they would in real life (then again this game takes place in 2277 and isn’t trying to be realistic by any means) yet it did add a sense of realism that sets it apart from other FPS games.

The Wasteland itself is about 16 square miles and is similar in size to Oblivion (Bethesda’s previous RPG game). While it is in no way as large as Far Cry 2 (or for that matter True Crime: Streets of LA), the size is just right, and offers the ability to fast-travel to areas already discovered. While you may expect a nuked out area to be nothing more than dust and grime, quite the opposite is the Capital Wasteland. Cities (rather a group of buildings inhabited from everything from little children to super mutants), landmarks, and ruins scatter the Wasteland and do give the wasteland much needed variety.

Surrounded by open desert and small cities is Washington DC, complete with Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Capital Building, just to name a few of the more touristy spots. The city is large and plays just as much of a character as all the other NPC’s do. While you can traverse the city on the streets and alleyways there is a Metro subway system that you can also take (the subways of course don’t work however they provide an easy way to get from point a to b nonetheless). The subway systems are themselves filled with

Radiation in the Wasteland is just as much as an enemy as a Mirelurk or a Mole Rat (as expected though in a nuked out city). Radiation is most commonly found in water yet can be found in food, drink, and even in the air in some areas. Medications like Radaway will get rid of radiation and keep sickness in check. The pip-boy doubles as a Geiger counter and tells you how much radiation your are being exposed to and how much radiation you have suffered. Food is often a double edged sword and while it does replenish a small amount of health it also adds a small amount of radiation.

Let’s face it, just as in the real world, the wasteland is filled with horrible people willing to do horrible things, whether you give into a life of crime, killing, and stealing or follow your dads example of selflessness, virtue, and truthfulness is up to you. Nothing stops you from purchasing an assault rifle and absolutely tearing a city apart, killing moms, dads, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters alike but there is one thing you gain by being good, karma. Just as in real life, karma’s a bitch and having good karma on your side can help you out in some sticky situations.

Just as in Oblivion, there are several side missions and while I refuse to go into any detail due to the spoiler free nature of this review I can tell you that they offer a great variety and often are just as enthralling as the main quest itself.

Without spoiling the game I can tell you that the game’s plot is very solid and full of twists and turns. It is one of the most gripping storylines out there and does not disappoint. The end climax is amazing and if there had been the right conditions I may have orgasmed.

Fallout 3 keeps Fallout 1 and Fallout 2’s 50 and 60’s style graphics and is filled with robotic servants and 80’s style computer terminals. While some question why a world set 270 years in the future would look so retro I love the theme and found it very modern at the same time. Cars and electronic equipment litter the streets and buildings of the wasteland and remind me of what people in the 50’s would have thought to be the future.

The Nitty Gritty:

The game simply looks amazing. While other games may have skimped down resolution on textures on buildings and other non-focal points, Bethesda does a great job of making you feel just as apart of the wasteland as the player him or herself.
While they do a great job with the background elements I did feel the character animations lacked a sense of life that otherwise would’ve given this a 10/10 rating.
This being said I have seen gameplay on the PS3 as well as a high-end PC and can say that while the 360 and PS3 game look virtually the same, the PC is a major leap in graphics and if you have the rig to handle it, I would definitely pick up the PC version if the best graphics are a must have.

While there is no full on background music (which I love) the music from the radio is great and kept me company through more than one onslaught of Raiders.
The voice acting is top-notch and the narration by Ron Perlman is immaculate.

It took me 9 and a half hours to complete the main mission of the game, and the side missions add on hours and hours of gametime. To fully 100% the game I would expect the average gamer to take anywhere from 4-5 weeks.

Once you complete one of the many endings you should try all over again and get a whole new one, with new skills, new attributes, and a new attitude.

It’s rare to find just the right amount of action and adventure and role playing in a game, and Fallout 3 is perfection. Dare I say it’s even better than Deus Ex?

The game is amazing and is a must pick up for those that like FPS, Adventure, and RPG games. Fans of the first two and players totally new to the Fallout realm will find the game equally as exciting and exhilarating. This game is easily worth the $59.99 (£49.99 and €69.99) price tag and will not disappoint. I give this game the game of the month over Fable 2, Dead Space, LittleBigPlanet, Far Cry 2, and Jillian Michael’s Fitness Ultimatum 2009.

Game of the month:
Being October’s game of the month pits it in competition with the other game of the months to determine what will be my game of the year.
Game of the months:

January: Burnout Paradise (360, PS3)

February: Devil May Cry 4 (360, PS3)

March: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (360, PS3)/Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Wii)

April: Grand Theft Auto IV (360, PS3)

May: Mass Effect (PC)

June: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)

July: Soul Caliber IV (360, PS3)

August: Madden 09 (360, PS3 versions)

September: Spore (PC)

October: Fallout 3 (360, PS3, PC)

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