I discovered a little game called Fallout 3 a while back, ever heard of it… yeah, you have bitch. Back then I was so easy to please, I watched the trailer accidentally, thinking it was a completely different game. Blood and body parts flying? Mini nuclear launchers? Yeah, I was sold at first sight. Little did I know the game whose trailer alone gave me a chub had such a gory past…
I had no idea that Fallout was actually an old game on the PC, I watched videos online of Fallout 1 and 2 and they looked like games I would have enjoyed, but checking them out on a PC back then would have meant using my dads which was crammed with crap games and a load of viruses. I read up on the past and project Van Buren-apparently the original Fallout 3-and it looked quite promising. And while I feel bad for the company going out of business and having to sell the license to Bethesda, any old fan should be proud of what they did for the game. Granted they threw out the top-down formula, but from what I’ve seen they have kept the core aspects of the game very similar. Now I haven’t played the originals, but in this “review” I am going to look at what Fallout 3 is as a whole; a fantastic game.
The story of Fallout 3 is simple with a nice complex twist. Your father, James, escapes Vault 101 (think: HUGE fallout shelter) to face the hardships of post-apocalyptic Washington DC. James (voiced by LIAM FUCKIN’ NEESON) was a medical expert/scientist in the vault, and when he escapes, the vault is thrown into total anarchy. The choices you make in the first hour in this game basically define the type of person you are going to be; are you the man that is going to fight valiantly for the citizens of the wastes? Or are you the man going to crush them in your violent quest for power and wealth (wealth of course taking the form of bottlecaps). The storyline past this point is very stock, but that is not a bad thing. Some stock storylines are very good, which is why they re-use them over and over again; a man that wants to make the world better but falls in his attempts only to have his work picked up by his son, classic.
I remember the first time I stepped foot in the wastes. While I am one for a nice vibrant and colorful game, they conveyed the wastes so perfectly. What else would you expect from a nuclear wasteland than dirt, more dirt and hey, theres some dirt and rocks over there? You might not expect a wide variety of locations to visit in a game that uses a color pallete of brown to extra brown. but you’d be wrong. I remember venturing into the thriving Rivet City and comparing it to Megaton, a city that is just getting by on what they can get. They may not look too different, but the feeling I got from them was. That, along with small details like the character’s eyes adjusting to the sunlight, makes you feel like you are truly exploring a wasteland.
Bethesda does a very good job of letting the player make their own decisions, ones that will later have an effect on gameplay. The choices you make change the game immensely. Towns can literally be wiped off the face of the map. This makes for a fantastic gaming experience because you actually feel as though your choices not only affect the physical world around you but the mental state of your peers. I remember towards the end of the game whenever I walked into Megaton I would have a random person run up to me and thank me for all the good I have done, and that may not be a big thing, but for a person that gets into a game, it made me feel good. Choices are abundant throughout this game, and they are so numerous its sometimes actually bends your state of mind to think, “this might actually be the good thing to say” only to find when you press that option it was in fact the absolutely wrong thing. This can result in some things that you possibly didn’t want to do as in kill the father of your love interest.
I was thrilled that Bethesda made you play through most of the heavy emotional scenes in the game rather than cutting to ten-minute long cut-scenes. This is a breath of fresh air from the popular style of video games imitating movies. To me that was Bethesda saying, “here, we want you to experience this, not watch it.”
Back to gameplay though, I can’t forget the one thing that everyone recognizes right off the bat, VATS. Oh VATS, how fun you are; combined with the Bloody Mess perk it let me reduce enemies to bloody mists. VATS added levels to the gameplay that you don’t see much in FPS’s, you shoot an enemies leg, they are crippled in that leg. Arms, legs, torso, even the head could all be crippled; of course at least for me I used VATS to pull off headshots quick.
So many things were added to the gameplay that it was just a blast making a different character. You want a character that loves to run in guns blazing like a cowboy? go for it. You want a character that is going to sneak up behind your enemy and put a nice blast of Terrible Shotgun into the back of their dome? Hellz yeah. I for one preffered the latter of those two. Nothing more satisfying than slowly sneaking up behind someone then putting 2000+ damage worth of buck-shot into their ass. I was so keen on sneaking characters, I chose that type for my third and fourth characters.
Another thing about the gameplay I love is the RPG aspects of the game. You build up your character through a stat system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Constitution, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck). There were also “subtrees” that you could put points into as well, ranging from Small Guns to Big Guns, Speech to Fist Fighting, Repair to Sneaking, it made for a wide variety of gameplay choices. A silver tongued man that could talk his way out of anything, or a man that could fit a rocket launcher in his front pocket could blow anything to bits. The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. affected the subtree but only to a certain extent. Throughout the game you could collect Bobbleheads which would sometimes increase a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skill by one or a subtree skill by 10. After these you also had a choice of “perks” which are like feats in D&D, giving you a bonus to a subtree skill or increasing your overall damage. Like I mentioned earlier, the Bloody Mess perk was a personal favorite. The mix of S.P.E.C.I.A.L., the subtree and the perks made for so many choices for characters I just have to keep mentioning it, so I will move on.
The game is so large, to me it rivaled WoW, and thats saying something. Now some of you out there may say, “WOAH!! How can a single-player game rival an MMO?” Easily… because they did such a good job of making every person in that game feel important. All of them had a story to tell, most of them had an errand for you to run, many of them had a quest for you. Some people you wanted to help, some others might have rubbed you the wrong way from the very beginning. It’s complex as opposed to WoW where you may play with real people but all they say is “LFG 25m VOA, 5.2k GS!!” and then nothing else till the end when they say “Thanx for group.” I know, because that guy is me. And don’t get me started on the NPCs in WoW, they are so cold I’d get a better conversation from one of the people buried in the graveyard over yonder; theres a reason why they give you the option to skip quest dialog.
Not sure about any of you readers, but I’m a completionist, I enjoy finding everything in a game, and I get my rocks off when they throw secret items your way. I remember playing through Brotherhood of Steel only to find out that if I jumped the gate in a certain area I could get a beta version of the Tesla Launcher. Another one that got my rogers jolly was the little trick to get your Dad’s vault suit and the man that killed him. I love little things like that, the things that they will put in to cater to those select few who love to discover hidden areas or items. That is just good game design right there, really makes me happy to see a company still love their fans, which brings me to my next point.
Custom content. Bethesda must love their customers because they love releasing a nice game editor with every game they sell! Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Bethesda; I love you dearly. My Fallout 3 sadly enough is on my 360 so I am not able to experience all the glorious custom content that is released on a daily basis, but luckily my Oblivion was so I got to experience what I could expect from Fallout’s custom content. With Oblivion’s custom content, it always added new armor, weapons, quests, buildings, you name it. I don’t know how many hours I spent going through all the custom content, playing it all, building my character into some demi-god, it even led me to create a whole 15 chapter story based on my adventures through the content. I wish I could have experienced the custom content on Fallout 3, from what I see on videos on the YouTube, it looks magnificent. If any of my readers know more about this, please, leave a comment below explaining the joy it brings you.
Wrapping up this review, I’m not gonna rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, no stars, no percentages, but I just want to tell you if its worth spending the money on it. I’ve seen a couple reviewers and such use a scale “Buy it, Rent it, Burn it” and I’ll steal it, thanks other reviewers!! So for this, I’m gonna give a Buy it, the game has so much content packed in; especially the Game of the Year edition which has all five DLC packed in.
Honestly I could go on for a very long time about games that I love, but I just wanted to give you people an idea of what the game is as a whole, fun and addictive.