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Fallout 3 Review

I have been waiting ages for this game to come out (specifically since its announcement, which was over 5 years ago) and I’m proud to say it has finally been released. Fallout 3 came out yesterday (October 28th) and was released to retail stores and on Valve’s Steam. Since I’m a big fan of digital downloads, I opted for Steam as I hate dealing with CDs and serial numbers. Plus, it was less expensive than the boxed copy. Within 2.5 hours, I had the game loaded onto my computer and ready for me to start playing. Here’s my initial review and thoughts on the game.

First, let’s get the less important matter out of the way: the graphics. All I’m going to say is “Wow”… the wastelands, characters and the whole post-nuclear environment never looked so great. I am running the game at the highest quality settings, and it’s a real treat. The 8800 GT 512MB I bought a few months back is really paying it off right now.

Now that the graphics topic is out of the way, time to move on what the game is really about: gameplay. I consider the game’s predecessor, Fallout 2, to be my all-time favourite game. If there’s one game I’d like to have on a desert island, it would be Fallout 2. The gameplay, multiple scenarios and story were what stood out in the original. How does Fallout 3 compare, you may ask? Let’s find out.

Just so you know, I have only played the game for about 3 hours now, so I don’t know what awaits further down the game. I could, however, tell you that it looks quite promising as the developers, Bethesda Game Studios, really hit the nail on the head with the first few levels and quests. The interactivity, character development, weapons, skill system, perks… it’s all there and well done. You can definitely tell the developers sat down and played Fallout 1 and 2 from scratch to make this game. When you first start selecting your character’s stats, the way they presented it really got me laughing (you have to play the game to see). They make it really easy and fun, just the way a game is supposed to be.

In my game, I managed to venture out into the wastelands and get some combat action with some raiders. Fallout 3 is not just a FPS — I’d like to think that’s its a bit more evolved. You can’t just run around shooting and wasting bullets on your targets: you’re limited on ammo and if you take your time to use the V.A.T.S., you can do a lot more damage and become a more efficient marksman. However, I must say that using VATS is a bit too easy and almost cheating-like, as you get to pause the game, analyze your enemy’s weak points and shoot efficiently. I guess the developers added this feature to please the turn-based action crowd. I, for one, am not complaining about this mode as it’s crazy fun to see your character do some serious damage in slow-motion.

Finally, the game’s player controls and overall user-interoperability: moving around the wastelands is easy as pie and plays like any other first-person shooter (keyboard and mouse). There’s not much to say here, as a company can’t really screw up player controls these days. If there’s one gripe here, it would be the weapon selection process. In your basic FPS, you can use the scroll wheel to cycle through your weapons. In Fallout 3, you must go through your Pip-Boy and select the weapon you wish to arm yourself with. I don’t think I can really argue about this aspect of the game, since I don’t see Fallout 3 as a first-person shooter. Going through the PB3000 pauses the game mind you, so this function of the game is tolerable.

If I have one more complaint about this game, it would be the following: I noticed Bethesda crammed every aspect of the game into the Pip-Boy 3000, which I find can be a pain sometimes to navigate through. I find the Pip-Boy screen is a bit too small for inventory management, and there’s a lot of stealth menus and buttons that the player must figure out to click on.

If I were to develop a Fallout game in 3D, Fallout 3 would be it. Bethesda managed to do an excellent job at recreating the post-nuclear environment in all its eye-candy glory. I honestly don’t know what the general public and hardcore fans think of this game, but I’m pretty sure there will be the ones that hate it and ones that love it. You can’t always please everyone of course. One must realize that Fallout 3 is NOT Fallout 2, and that’s a good thing. Fallout 3 isn’t even considered a sequel to the two previous games. What we have here is an excellent alternative in the Fallout universe, giving us a look at what happened on the eastern side of North America.

I believe this game is going to kill my social life for a while. I suggest you snag yourself a copy if you want to hide under a rock for a while. 🙂