Fallout 3 Review

19 11 2008

First off I would like to apologize for the late review.

Admitantly I have been lazy these past few weeks of holida
ys (bliss) so without further ado I present to you my Fallout 3 review.

Fallout 3 was originally developed by Black Isle Studios a studio owned by Interplay Entertainment, under the title of Van Buren. That was before Interplay went bust and the game was left in limbo and the rights to develop Fallout 3 sold to Bethesda Softworks famous for the Elder Scrolls titles.

Van Buren did though reach a workable tech demo before Interplay shut Black Isle down. The development of Fallout 3 did not start until July 2004 but major development only took place after the release of the fourth installment of Elder Scrolls – Oblivion.

Bethesda decided to make Fallout 3 with a focus on non-linear gameplay, solid story and obligatory black humor – similar to its predecessors Fallout and Fallout 2 respectively. But leaving out the self-referential gags of the previous two games, so as to no break the suspension of disbelief within the game allowing the player to feel that the Fallout world is in fact ‘real’.Fallout 3 went gold on October the 9th 2008 and was released in Australia on the 30th of October 2008 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

I ended up buying the limited edition from GAME on release date.

The game itself is very pretty as it was developed on the Gamebryo engine, the same engine used for Oblivion. Although this game is not ‘Crysis pretty’ it is enough to convey what the developers are trying to get across and they successfully roped me into the Fallout universe.

The game itself opens with the player’s birth allowing the player to choose their gender, name, facial features, hair colour and heritage. The player then proceeds through various stages of life in Vault 101 finally ending with their 10th birthday, before the player now 19 is awoken by a friend from the Vault, told that his/her father has left the vault and that the Overseer’s men are looking for the player.

The player then proceeds to escape the troubled Vault to finally emerge from the ground to see the war ravaged Capital Wasteland. From there the player has the option to follow the main quest to look for their father or to simply wander the Wastes and sample the many fruits the Wasteland has on offer, this includes a town built round a life atomic bomb, the landmarks of Washington D.C and an old aircraft carrier turned city.

Everything related to your character is controlled through the PIP-Boy 3000 that is given to them during the early stages of life in the Vault, the PIP-Boy provides information on everything from your character’s current state of health, radiation poisoning levels, their inventory, weapons, quests and map data.

The player’s avatar is limited to a maximum level cap of 20 with the player able to choose 3 ‘Tag’ skills in which 15 points are added instantly to the player’s chosen skills another skill can be ‘Tagged’ later on in the game with a perk. Perks are gained at every level there is a selection of over 60 different perks some of which can be earned through leveling or doing specific quests.

Combat in-game can be handled the old fashioned way in real time or in The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System otherwise known as V.A.T.S mode. When the player activates VATS mode the game pauses and the player has a certain amount of ‘Action Points’ to use for their attacks, the number of action points can be determined by the amount of Agility a character has, more can be added with perks or the usage of drugs such as ‘Jet’.

The advantage of VATS is that it allows the player to target specific body parts on the enemy such as shooting the enemy’s weapon out of their hands.

Above: VATS in action

Above: Result of successful headshot in VATS

However the player must be aware that their skills also affect the chances of hitting the target, this also affects the real time combat as you shots are wildly inaccurate at range.

On the subject of weapons the player’s weapons slowly decay with use some more so than others; of course the player can repair weapons with a similar weapon. The novel part of the game when it comes to weapons is the inclusion of homemade weapons such as the Nuka Grenade a concoction of a special Cola and some cleaning solution to create the ultimate grenade capable of killing even the toughest of foes in a single hit.

Ammo in game does not have a weight penalty unlike the earlier Fallout games; the reason for this was Bethesda did not want to bog down inventory management.

Players have Karma a game mechanic that determines how the game world views your avatar wither he or she has been up to no good or a saint. One example of Karma at work is when the player gets to a certain level of ‘Good’ karma bounty hunters are sent after them to kill them.

Some quirks I have found with the game relates to in-game physics let me illustrate a situation there is a super mutant standing guard on a tall building, I snipe him blasting off his head but for some reason his body is flung off the building as if something had exploded behind him have a look at the screenshot below to see the flying corpse.

Another problem with the game is how enemies are sometimes spawned in the game material so their bodies are in fact inside the floor mesh this resulted in some hairy situations where I had fire breathing ants pop out of the ground in front of me.

The game’s AI pathing system isn’t all that flash as most enemies will just charge you making the use of landmines very desirable, but this does not come without its quirks such an example was a mirelurk (giant mutant crab) decided to attack me but couldn’t get to me because I was on a high vantage point so the mirelurk just kept running at the scaffolding, a few seconds later it just spawned in front of me forcing me to take damage and promptly turn it into a puddle of green goo.

All in all, Fallout 3 was an amazing experience with much to offer the discerning gamer with its lovely atmosphere and brilliant gameplay; despite its various quirks I would award it 10/10.

This game has a lot of replayability, and since it was build on the Gamebryo engine we’re sure to see mods being release when the development package is released to the public.

On a side note this game is an Role Play Game from a first person perspective not a first person shooter so to fully enjoy the game don’t rush the main quest instead just wander the wastes.

So people get out there grab a copy of Fallout 3 and discover the Capital Wasteland.

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