Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey in the post – apocalyptic Capital Wasteland.
War. War never changes.
This opening statement in Bethesda’s Fallout 3 helps both set the tone and immerse the player into one of the most compelling gaming universes created. This open world, post apocalyptic RPG was released in 2008 and the intervening years have done nothing to diminish it’s position as the best role playing game of the 21st century.
Running on the Gamebryo engine like Oblivion before it, Fallout’s graphics suffer in certain areas. Human animations are clunky and dull, including your own character. Luckily the option to play in 1st person mode prevents this from becoming too big an issue, but seeing someone float instead of walking can hinder the immersion of the game.
Thankfully monster animations are much more lively. From feral ghouls to Super mutants, each creature has fluid animations and distinctive traits. A shambling ghoul differs from a skittering mirelurk, both making far more interesting opponents than raiders.
The landscapes and architecture of Fallout are both beautiful in a muted way. Constructed with a pallet of mostly grey and brown, the views can be rather boring, but the improvised towns such as megaton give off an authentic, “lived in” feel and are visually impressive. Certain buildings such as the Liberty memorial are stunning locales which are worth seeking out.
Fallout 3 is a 1st person shooter with a twist. A time stopping mechanic named V.A.T.S (Vault-Tech targeting system) allows the player to choose which body part to shoot at and give the relative chance of hitting said part. This is a throwback to the original two Fallout games, which had turn based combat.
Your chances to hit someone out of VATS is based mainly on your skills. Small guns, for instance, can be leveled up to a hundred along with 19 other skills. Proficiency in any task, be it healing yourself, disarming traps or even tricking someone comes down to your skills (or lack of). this RPG element may frustrate players of games such as Call of Duty and Halo. Accuracy is only half the battle.
VATS is extremely fun thankfully, for without it the game is significantly harder. Most people will have no trouble slipping into the habit of lining up head shots with it, or crippling retreating enemies. Fallout 3 can also be played in 3rd person.. but don’t.
The main quest of Fallout 3 contains only a portion of what this game has to offer when it comes to story telling. The most compelling tales in Washington D.C are often the ones stumbled upon, and left to the player to interpret. Abandoned houses with entwined skeletons lying upstairs, lonely prams in desolate parks and always the presence of danger; hanging bodies, bloodstains and traps.
The main quest has you leaving your underground vault in an effort to locate your father, a scientist. Along the way you meet conflicting factions such as the iconic brotherhood of steel, and the oppressing Enclave. It’s interesting, but ultimately short and forgettable. The side quests you find tend to be of higher quality, such as the war being waged between slaves and slave traders. Perhaps it is because these are more condensed that they are better remembered, a the main quest lasts in the area of 15 – 20 hours.
The voice acting ranges from poor to incredible, but is generally of an okay quality. Your father and President Eden stand out as incredibly well voiced, but some actors were recycled several times. Overall the stories told in the capital Wasteland are enthralling and memorable.
Fallout 3 is a wonderful game that any gamer should be proud to own. It’s distinctive blend of humour and hopelessness captures the imagination in a highly unique way making a game worth experiencing.
GAME PLAY: 9/10
OVERALL: 25 / 30 (Fantastic).