Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)
Posted by Killer Turtle on Tue, 24 Feb 2009.
Fallout 3 is an action-RPG, and was released by Bethesda Game Studios. The Fallout series is set in a post-apocalyptic USA, where most of the survivors have either set up small settlements, become violent raiders, been mutated into ghouls or super mutants, or, like your character, have been hiding from the nuclear war in specially built Vaults. While the game is set in the Fallout universe, it takes place in Washington DC rather than on the west coast, where the previous games were set.
Having not played any of the previous Fallout games, I didn’t have any prior knowledge of the game’s storyline before beginning it, and also cannot compare the gaming experience of the different games. As far as not having prior knowledge beforehand is concerned, Bethesda have designed the game to include all the necessary information needed to understand what’s going on in the world. There are numerous things which link back to previous titles, but noticing them just adds a little something extra for players with prior experience of Fallout games; without having played them you won’t even notice you’re missing something.
Fallout 3 is based on the same engine as Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion. On a basic level, Fallout is very similar to Oblivion, with a similar interface and FPS style, but with more guns and less magic. Oh, and more wasteland and less grass as well. The stat system is different, and follows the SPECIAL system used in previous fallout games, but the main difference that I found, game play wise, is the VATs system. This allows you to target a specific part of an opponent, and let the computer take the shot for you, calculating hit and miss on a given percentage chance of the shot succeeding. This makes a number of fights a lot quicker, but you can completely ignore it if you don’t like it, which is nice.
The game is very enjoyable, and there is a lot of depth to the Capital Wasteland, as the DC ruins is now known. Non-storyline or quest related areas, especially the other vaults, have interesting things to discover within, and the quests themselves have a fairly wide range of tasks. The main storyline is interesting, but it is also somewhat on the short side, and while the game says that there are alternate endings available, each of these aren’t really too different to each other. It would have been nice to have a look at the results that your choice of actions has on the Capital Wasteland as well, but such an opportunity does not arise.
Another thing that the game allows is for characters to make good or evil choices. This can make a fair amount of difference to how people see you, but most of your choices will only have fairly local effects on the game environment. There are some pretty big choices in there, but not too many. Dialogue with other characters is often quite amusing, and you can get a number of different options for ways to respond during them.
While the game is fun to play, I have found that it frequently glitches. This is a problem I noticed with Oblivion as well, so it may well be a problem with the game engine. Either way, when people want you to guide them to the Lincoln Memorial, and start walking in exactly the opposite direction for half an hour (the end of that time being when you reload the last save) it can get rather tiresome. Some aspects of it also seem hastily done, for example the best armours in the game, the T-51b Power Armor, and the Prototype Medic Armor. The location of the former is in a highly secure vault. All well and good, except that the button that you press to open its container is labelled for the Prototype Medic Armor. Things like this should really have been fixed before the game was released, although to my knowledge they still haven’t been rectified.
Overall, the game is fun, the graphics are good, and I suppose the music is good if you like 1940s stuff, although I prefer to just listening to the ambient sounds. This is a very good game, and I would recommend getting it, however, due to its short main story, numerous bugs, and the fact that I’m not a massive fan of a completely silent main character, within the action-RPG genre I’d still prefer to play Mass Effect.