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Fallout 3

aka: FO3
Moby ID: 37167

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 90% (based on 144 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 290 ratings with 12 reviews)

Brilliant But Not Black Isle.

The Good
Ok. Its massive. Its huge. Its just bigger than any other game I’ve ever played. You can easily beat the game without encountering two thirds of the stuff that Bethesda has created for this game. Unusual NPCs, Bizarre and breathtaking scenery, and challenging enemies are all here.

I like the fact that the designers mixed it up a bit with different factions and alliances too.

The graphics come very close to being photorealistic, especially when looking at the outdoors, with broken roads and burnt up buildings. I freak out when I see how the inside of the buildings are torn apart and crumbing. The rusted sheet metal of the Megatown buildings gives a real post war atmosphere to the game. There are so many little touches that you’d miss if you weren’t looking, like the various phases of the moon at night. The character models are very detailed and articulated. The don’t just stand around. They wander throughout the world, ready to interact with you and others.

You can play as a straight FPS, or use the VATS, which usually ends with a spectacular if not blurry death of your foes. You can size up your weapons and decide which one will be the most useful against your enemies.

There is an assortment of moral choices with long reaching implications, which is refreshing in a game. You can also make choices and add perks. The perks can really change some of the game play, making some fights and quests a great deal easier. Bethesda does know how to balance gameplay. You can play as any kind of character as you want, as long as you learn how to play with the character’s weaknesses and strengths.

I loved the collection of old time songs, and really wish they had more. I really liked how many of the songs had themes that matched with the game. The environmental music was ok, and pleasant at times but a tiny bit repetitive. The voiceovers of Malcolm McDowell as President Eaton were well done. Liam Nelson was almost unnecessary. Good job on the sound effects and foley effects.

Major Kudos to whomever designed the Dunwich Building. The Temple made my skin crawl.



The Bad
I miss the “everything but the Kitchen Sink” approach to design that Black Isle was famous for. Bethesda touches on it, but don’t go all out. The black humor that was characteristic of the first 2 Fallout games is missing or at least muted.

By their very nature, RPGs tend to be buggy. Fallout 3 had a couple bugs, but nothing too bad in comparison to others. The character models were a bit repetitive, but not excessive.

Now on to the stuff that REALLY bothered me.

A hard limit of 20? You have to upgrade to Broken Steel to get to 30? Ugh… The 3 voice actors were used repeatedly for all the same characters. Some of the quests were breakable by bugs. I had an experience where an explosion occurred on the west side of the map and when I fast traveled to the east, the NPCs acted like they heard the explosion.


The Bottom Line
Its great! It will take a while to get through. But it may also make you boot up your old copy of Fallout for nostalgia reasons.

Xbox 360 · by Scott Monster (986) · 2010

A peculiar experiment.

The Good
Let it be known from the very beginning that Fallout 3 is a RPG, just as original games were, just as Oblivion was. The majority of the outcomes of your actions will depend on your skill points. Shoot, hack, talk, repair, shop or do anything else and you can easily expect a dice roll determining the success of your action. There is another thing I should get out my system right away before getting down to the fine details. Fallout 3 wasn't developed by Black Isle. This means a number of things, but most importantly it entails an idea that Bethesda couldn't physically deliver a game which would have stayed faithful to the classic Fallout games. This should be remembered while evaluating this game.

Alright. So what is great about Fallout 3, you ask? Very many things is the obvious answer! The most outstanding aspect of this game is that it was developed for explorers. Being one very deep in my heart, I just can't possibly resist a game that offers a huge world filled with thousands of hundreds of details to uncover, characters to meet and places to roam. This is where FO3 differs greatly from Oblivion. There are no generic Ayleid ruins #53 or the samey Cave interior over and over again. The locations in Fallout 3 have history to them or at least a peculiar idea behind their existence.

Here's a last message received by a 911 operator at a police HQ. Here's a Vault with a cloning project gone bad. Here's a Nuka-Cola plant, complete with a working conveyor belt and specifically designed robotic security. Here's an Oasis with the real trees growing amidst the wasteland. Here's a US fort with an ability to launch a nuclear missile, or another one introducing to you the latest, unique model of power armor. Here's a museum of technology with a number of expositions still working. Here's an abandoned hotel with the residents gone mad worshipping a deity with a silly name -- an obvious nod to Lovecraft. This list can go on forever.

No matter how much time you invest in exploring the locations of Fallout 3, you will always be rewarded with either a unique weapon, armour, environment or a story. That really brings the exploration aspect of the game to the foreground of Fallout 3 experience. The feeling of discovering a yet another interesting location carries with it the most pleasure to be had with this game.

Not to say that it doesn't excel in other areas. There is a lot of talk, saying that Fallout 3 has been dumbed down when compared to its predecessors. It's not a completely unreasonable claim. However, personally I was amazed by the amount of details which comprised the RPG system of the original games making their way into Fallout 3, with a few welcome additions. Because your stats really matter. There were always doors and locks I couldn't pick, computers I couldn't hack and NPCs I couldn't outsmart. The repair system works fabulously well, making sure that you won't be getting a great weapon from the enemy corpse that easily. The barter system really works too with me being short on cash most of the time. Sure, your experience may differ. But I really felt the challenge this game poses, and I have completed both Fallouts without a drop of sweat! Just kidding, it's an easier game, but certainly not "dumbed down".

At this point we should really to talk about the inevitable. The visual representation. I deliberately avoid employing a word "graphics", because it usually implies a number of distinct technological requirements and Fallout 3, while not exactly belonging to the Luddite camp of modern day Adventures is still two or three years long out of date. This is not by all means a cr(y/i)sis, because the lack of technological prowess is easily made up with stupendous and absorbing world design. I am not sure how Washington DC will look after a nuclear blast, but Fallout 3 gives a very convincing picture indeed. Desolate square miles of concrete debris populating a scorched corpse of a land aren't that easy to forget. The menacing remains Washington monument seen from all over the wasteland are akin to the tower in Cyrodiil in Oblivion, but, of course, the effect here is much more intimidating and depressing.

Sure, doesn't avoid repetition at some parts, but I guess that's price you have to pay for achieving such a strong homogeneous look. And, seriously, we don't really expect one collapsed building to be drastically different from the other?

But worlds mean absolutely nothing without exciting stuff to do in them and while exploration aspect, which I mentioned in the second paragraph, is all nice and cool, the RPG is nothing without quests to perform and NPCs to please. Now, quest system in Fallout 3 is a coin, and a very doublesided one at that. By no means they are dull. God, no. There is always a double bottom to every one of them and it's impossible to predict where a quest might take you or what turn of events might await around the next journal entry. Even more than that, Bethesda clearly made its homework, for not only the quests are interesting they are also filled with numerous choices and checks. Don't want to be bothered going to a remote minefield? How about lying that you did? Suspicious of your quest giver, ask around, maybe there is something completely sinister about his motives. Pretty much every quest is multilayered, filled with choices and really provides an opportunity to flex all of you various perks, skills and attributes in numerous checks.

The Bad
Now, here comes a tricky coiny part. Surely, the quests in Fallout 3 are amusing. But that's that. They are just hilariously amusing leaving us with nearly an ocean of unused opportunities and an Everest of untouched subjects and themes, post-apocalyptic fiction is usually respected and loved for. A humanity rebuilding itself from the ruins of the nuclear holocaust has nothing better to do than collect Nuka-Cola bottles, build towns around atomic bombs for other people to blow them up, live in towns full of children, listen to the radio DJs and dress up in ridiculous super hero costumes. I mean really? Where is the slavery, violence, bigotry, gambling, prostitution, rape in the amounts encountered in the original Fallout games? Most certainly not here - for Fallout 3 takes only a passing glance at those themes at a curious angle, as if asking the player "Isn't that fun?". So much wasted chances for the stories that would really matter to our hearts and brains.

This is true not only in regard to the quests of Fallout 3. It's really a part of a much bigger problem. Which is this: Fallout 3 quadruples all the superficial aspects of original games, without being able to match their true nature. What do I mean by "superficial aspects"? Well, you've seen them all in the marketing: Vaultboy, Nuka-Cola, 50's aesthetics, mellow jazz and well-known standards, over the top violence and so on. Indeed, all these were bringing a huge amount of style and identity to original games, but they were much subtler there. Retro stylistics were only there to introduce you to the world of Fallout, to make an initial shock of encountering this horrifying world for the first time. This was a sort of an amusing gimmick, that really helped a transition into the much more grittier and darker world, in which nobody really knew or cared about the vault boy, retro songs, American lifestyle, rock-n-roll jackets and robot butlers.

Not so in Fallout 3. It remains rooted in those amusing gimmicks right to the very end of the game undermining any attempts to make this version of a Fallout world believable and vibrant. With the exception of amazing environmental design, it's simply a fake. Its characters are fake, their feelings are fake, their stories are not that real either.

And I firmly believe that many other problems with the game like uneven voice acting and dodgy writing are also the symptoms of the overall superficial quality the game, unfortunately possess. The worst part in all this story is that it was a deliberate decision on the developers part, who wanted this game first of all be amusing and franchise once again recognizable. Oh, well.

To a lesser degree one can easily be annoyed with poor animation, not exactly the best interface, few unimportant bugs and a rather generic, by-the-book soundtrack clearly lacking a masterful touch of Mr. Morgan.

So, without further ado, let's sum it up!™

The Bottom Line
Talent: 3/5

Bethesda is no Black Isle or Troika. There was absolutely no need to create or play Fallout 3 to state that. But what they can do, they do nicely. An amazing look of the Capital Wasteland stands as a proof that Bethesda doesn't need any tree rendering middleware for it's locations to look stunningly great.

Ambition: 4/5

Merging two RPGs of such different pedigrees is a spectacular feat in itself. Just as with Oblivion, Bethesda really believes that with games like Fallout 3 it's creating a great new brand of RPGs for the future. Many people believe that, while I just applaud the moving forward even though I am wary of the direction the wagon is facing.

Originality: 3/5

Fallout 3 owns every bit of its personality to a couple of well-known games. The strings that hold these two together are interesting enough to examine up close, though.

Effort: 4/5

Bethesda tried, it really tried hard, having created tons of original content, quests, locations to absorb you into its world and never let go. They worked long hours to integrate SPECIAL system into a completely new context and that shows. One point off for not hiring Mark Morgan and a new animator.

Adequacy: 2/5

Oh, well. Contrary to what people say, Bethesda did get Fallout. But, unfortunately, chose to ignore it in favour of the more recognizable, fan-base building and generally amusing gimmicks.

Total: 3.2/5

Oh, what a pity. I advise you not be fooled by such a low score. Fallout 3 was a successful experiment, even though it is based more on a compromise rather than "the best of both worlds" philosophy. So, in line with the positive outlook of the 50's America I suggest looking at Fallout 3 as a continual growth for the Bethesda game company, building upon its own achievements while not shying away from taking the tips from the classics. And as for original games, they are always there to provide a nostalgic shoulder to cry on about the days long gone. So stop this nonsense about butchering the franchise, and enjoy the game for what it is. An interesting experiment that manages to produce an excellent breed of great RPGing, at the same time rejecting any emotional connection you try to establish towards it.

Windows · by St. Martyne (3648) · 2008

Fallout 3 is a great post-nuclear sandbox experience.

The Good
Fallout 3 continues the great non-linear gameplay of Fallout and Fallout 2, while adding much-needed innovation to the series. The first or third person viewpoint is a much more immersive experience than the isometric point-and-click interface of the earlier Fallout games. Unlike other sandbox RPGs, Fallout has breadth and depth in the same game -- you feel like your character is really changing the world that he/she inhabits, and there are few quests that aren't worth trying. Contrast this with Bethesda's Oblivion, where a lot of quests were clearly just filler for a fun, but ultimately empty gaming experience.

VATS is a fun way to add precision targeting to the game without turning it into an FPS. It makes combat more strategic - you can spend Action Points (which regenerate slowly during combat) to freeze the game and target specific body parts to cripple the enemy's movement or attacks (or just to get in that glorious headshot).

Finally, Fallout 3 distinguishes itself with attention to little details. Some examples: Galactic News Radio, the main radio station, repeats news of your exploits to the whole Capital Wasteland when you finish an important quest. Characters talk with each other on topical subjects, and comment on your actions or warn you if they think you are going to steal the Mini-Nuke on their store shelf. Most importantly, settlements and ruins exist within the context of the game's setting, that is, I never felt like a ruined town was just there because the game designers needed to fill in space on the map.

The Bad
The control system was sometimes difficult to use. Even after scanning through the manual, I only found out how to turn my flashlight on by mistake. VATS is a great system, but it can sometimes be hard to get the game to select the body part you want. I would often move the left stick in every direction and manage to select every body part BUT the one I wanted to target.

The graphics are well done, but there is a distinct lack of variety in the settings. There are only about 4 different types of places in Fallout 3: wasteland, ruined sewers/subways, ruined buildings, and Vaults/high-tech buildings. The color palette of the settings (with few exceptions) is brown, light brown, and black. Another graphical failing is the poor animation of your character in third-person view, where you look like you are skating or floating above the ground, not walking upon it.

The character advancement system is fun, but I was level 20 before I finished even half of the main quest.

Finally, the main plot of Fallout 3 is not as interesting as some of the preceding games. The side-quests (with one notable exception) are actually more fun than the main quests.

The Bottom Line
Fallout 3 is a post-nuclear sandbox RPG set in the ruins of Washington, DC and the surrounding area. Using a combination of real-time and turn-based combat (whichever you prefer) in a first-person or third-person view, you battle, explore, discover, and make difficult choices to influence the world around you.

Xbox 360 · by Droog (460) · 2009

A gaming legend gets a new lease on life.

The Good
Fallout 3 is a game that I have been waiting for from the moment I finished Fallout 2.

Of course, back then I never visualized anything like Bethesda's Oblivion-like treatment of the game. I was thinking of - and wanting - another iteration of the classic 2d isometric game style. And if that is what we had gotten, then I would have been ecstatic.

When I found out that it was Bethesda which was going to make a new Fallout, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had played the stuffing out of their last two Elder Scrolls games - Morrowind and Oblivion. However, I have to admit that I was finding their formula a bit stale. In particular, Oblivion is a game which I gave an earnest effort to getting into, but never found compelling enough to complete.

The worry which I had was whether Fallout 3 would remain true to the series or simply be Oblivion With Guns. Well...the good news is that it is true to the series. The bad news is that it is also Oblivion With Guns.

The Fallout series had its start back in 1997. Game wizards Black Isle developed the title, as well as its later sequel Fallout 2, for publisher Interplay. Heavily influenced by classic DOS title Wasteland, the plot involved people living in the aftermath of a massive global nuclear war which almost destroyed humanity. The player, known as the "Vault Dweller", was among a select group of people who had been living in underground protective vaults since the apocalypse. Your vault, number 13 (a number which hints at the dark humor of the series), has run into an emergency when the computer chip controlling the water purification system needs replacement. Armed with a weak pistol, an even weaker knife, and dressed in a spiffy blue jumpsuit, you are dumped unceremoniously into the bitter wasteland to save your people. In the process, you find out that there is something much worse than a water purification crisis facing the world. So the legend of the vault dweller began. And from the quirky 50's/futuretech stylings of the world to the visceral combat, gamers loved it.

As classic as the first Fallout games were, the combination of key staff members going elsewhere and a lack of success with spin-off games made it so that fans of the series eventually saw a third game as unlikely. So it was that the news that Bethesda Softworks had acquired rights to the IP sent an electric shock through the gaming world. Strong opinions abounded, as they still do, about whether or not it was a good thing that a company known for a very different style of RPG would do justice to a series which was so iconic.

Fallout 3 is, if nothing else, a loving homage to its predecessors. From the Pip Boy character to the use of the Inkspots for the opening music, there is a great deal of classic series nostalgia here. There is no doubt that this is meant to be a continuation in true spirit.

While the first two Fallout games took place in California, Fallout 3 takes place in the wasteland around Washington D.C., including southern Maryland and northern Virginia. The player character grows up as the son of a brilliant scientist in one of the underground protective vaults - Vault 101. It is in this environment that the player gets their first experience with the game, going through a few different stages of early life while working out their initial stats, looks, and such. Some parts, like the GOAT exam, are reminiscent of the old Ultima series where you would be asked a series of situational questions to determine what your character would be like. However, if this is not for you or if the test gives you results contrary to what you wanted, you can adjust things accordingly.

One of the most important aspects of the Fallout tradition is the "S.P.E.C.I.A.L." system for stats. In my earnest opinion, it is one of the finest roleplaying systems ever created. The system is based upon the primary statistics of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Each of these has possible scores from 1 to 10 and in turn effects a variety of derived statistics. Then there is a large set of skills, from combat related abilities to speech and bartering, which are influenced by the primary stats as well as points applied directly by the player. SPECIAL is essential to the full experience of Fallout. Bethesda knew this and reproduced it mostly intact. The few changes they did make I have to say I enjoyed. Having new perks - special bonuses or abilities - every level more than made up for the removal of the two starting traits from the first games.

All seems to be going reasonably well in the placid but slightly uneasy atmosphere of the vault until one day everything falls apart in a hurry. Suffice it to say that your father has left the vault and you need to go after him, starting the game in earnest and beginning the main quest line. And once you enter the outside world, you find that it is a place where even if you are skilled with words, some things have to be solved with a bullet (or a sledgehammer...or a missile...or a laser bolt....or a power fist.....etc)

The variety of weapons in Fallout 3 does not disappoint. You can choose from small guns (eg. sniper rifles, assault rifles, pistols), energy weapons (eg. laser rifles, plasma rifles), melee weapons (eg. sledgehammers, swords, baseball bats), big guns (eg. missile launchers, miniguns, a tactical nuclear bomb launcher), explosives (mines and grenades), and "unarmed" (which actually includes things like brass knuckles and power fists). Within each category there is a decent selection of options, each with different strengths and weaknesses. The assault rifle puts out a lot of bullets, but does not have very impressive critical strike performance. Meanwhile, the sniper rifle has a higher chance to cause a critical strike and packs a punch when it does. Different weapons have distinct situational uses as well as play style uses.

There are also schematics available to craft your own weapons from wasteland salvage. It is a nice way to use all that clutter which you are constantly wading through in the game. All I will say about the specific weapons is that firing the railroad rifle is very satisfying.

Combat itself is a mixture of real time and turn-based, as compared to the original turn-based style of Fallout 1 and 2. You can play entirely in real time if you wish and some weapons work much better this way - especially those with high rates of fire. However, aiming is not quite like a normal FPS where things go pretty much where you aim them. Rather, the RPG engine is underneath the action calculating your accuracy and effectiveness based on a variety of factors.

Along side the real time action, there is a turn based mode known as V.A.T.S.. Hitting the VATS button causes the action to pause. At this point, the player can choose to target various parts specific locations on one or more enemies with ranged weapons, depending on how many action points are available. Melee, unarmed, and grenades can also use VATS but they cannot target specific body locations. I found that this setup was gracefully instituted in general. It works very well for quick and accurate head shots or, when facing a powerful enemy, for tactical attacks on limbs. And shooting a grenade while it is still in the enemy's hand is always a great moment.

Combat in general is visceral and brutal in the game. Slow motion critical strike take-downs can be quite entertaining. In the tradition of the earlier titles, deaths can get gruesome, with blood and gore spilling out liberally over battlefield. Adding the infamous Bloody Mess perk just ramps up the carnage.

Using the same engine as Oblivion, the graphics in Fallout 3 to be technically excellent. The overall sense of devastation after a nuclear war is impressive and leaving the vault for the first time is one of the best moments of gaming, no doubt. The models and textures that are used are all very well done.

Character interaction was somewhat faithful to the earlier games. There are some genuinely fun characters in the game.

As far as quests, the side quests are really the shining point of Fallout 3. Most of the smaller quests and side quest lines are fun to play and some are quite memorable I think that I had the most fun with the character of Moira and the quirky missions she sends you on in order to complete research for a book. But that is just the beginning. Exploring the wastes, you find yourself rescuing mercenaries, retrieving historical documents, dealing with costumed crazies, and more.

While you are taking care of business, your exploits are announced to the world via one of the in game radio stations - Galaxy News Radio. In general, GNR serves as an extra soundtrack, providing a list of old big band and jazz classics, including the iconic "Maybe" by the Inkspots. During interludes between the music, DJ "Three Dog" will make news and public service announcements. Being able to hear about your adventures over the radio is one of the coolest ideas I have seen in gaming. Bethesda gets a big thumbs up for that one.

Thanks to the release of the modding utility, a robust modding community has now sprung up around Fallout 3. They have introduced a variety of possible changes, extensions, and fixes to the game which can significantly improve the experience. I highly recommend checking out what is available.

The Bad
As I said, Fallout 3 is Oblivion With Guns in many ways.

To start out with, I have always found that in Bethesda games there is a strange sense of things being incomplete regarding how people react to your accomplishments. For instance, in Morrowind, I was head of the Fighter's Guild and yet when I needed to hire them to guard my new house, I still had to do quests for the Fighter's Guild.

In Fallout 3, I found myself disappointed that when I finally did return to the vault briefly, no one really noticed that I had come back as a seasoned wasteland warrior in a suit of power armor. I might as well have been walking in wearing my vault suit and carrying a baseball bat for a weapon.

Repetition is another major issue. Just like in Oblivion, while Fallout 3 is massive, the set of models and textures is just too small. After exploring for awhile, the continual sameness of many of the locations saps away some of the life of the experience. Variety is the spice of life. Bethesda needs to get a bigger spice rack.

Now I will stop here and say that I do realize one could say the same for Fallout and Fallout 2. Absolutely. But those games were made a long time ago and, furthermore, were not 3d first-person games. As soon as you go into that realm, any sameness becomes much more noticeable.

I would much rather have a smaller world with more interesting places to see.

For contrast, look at Bioshock. Yes, Bioshock is much smaller. However, every place had a very strong sense of reality to it and was distinct from the others. Exploration of the Bioshock game world was extremely rich because every location was fully unique.

Also the same are NPC's - both in models and vocalizations. There were a few big name actors who, naturally, provided good work to the game. However, most of the voice work for the minor characters in the game sounds as if Bethesda had something like five total voice actors available. Indeed, as far as I can tell, there is only one male and one female VA for ghouls period. And, unfortunately, the dialogue often sounds unnatural and stilted.

It became quickly tiresome to run into the same voices and models all the time. And, worse, it destroys immersion and makes it harder to take the characters seriously.

Additionally, while I loved GNR, the same small list of tracks plays over and over again until you start to become really tired of it. For an A-List title, I really find that problematic. And the fact that there is no built-in utility to have a custom playlist (as there is in the much lower tech Grand Theft Auto games) is a sever omission. However, the modding community has come to the rescue on this with custom playlist mods and even a wonderful library of classic music to extend the GNR library by as many as 100 songs. The latter mod is called More Where That Came From and it greatly enhances the game experience.

In general, I did not find the plot of the game to be as well put together as that of Fallout 1 and 2. There were some severe holes, especially in the ending (which thankfully was changed by the Broken Steel expansion), and it was too short. Further, some things in the game seemed too gimmicky, which also hurt the overall sense of narrative.

Finally, there are numerous bugs, including quest breaking ones. Things like character walking off of high ledges and falling to their deaths should not happen in an A-list title. Even with patches, things are still messy and that is unfortunate.

The Bottom Line
Fallout 3 is a very enjoyable and engaging action RPG with a classic post-apocalyptic setting. A must-play for Fallout fans. But it is not without its flaws.

Windows · by Steelysama (82) · 2009

How to translate fantasy world into the Fallout universe.

The Good
There is a lot of creative ideas in the game, and it has its moments : like the Tenpenny Tower, which has a good surprise if you finish the quest with the "good" side.

Special award for the musics. No no, not the musics composed for the game by Inon Zur, which are as boring as the landscapes of the game. But the selection of jazzy tracks were quiet well chosen, and fun to adapt with Fallout's world.

I guess this is it. It is not that I hated all the rest of the game, I warn you right now. But... there are a lot of complaints.

The Bad
Much.
First of all, the environment. I love Morrowind and I like Oblivion despise its flaws, so do not think I don't like open-worlds game. But Fallout 3's world just feel empty. It is logical, after a nuclear war, but in a game, it just doesn't serve anything except bore the player to death. As much as I didn't like instant travels in Oblivion, in Fallout 3, I would have thrown my computer through the window without them.

Then, since we are in a role-playing-game (well, sometimes, I wonder if we really are...), the most important characteristics would be :

A) Character Development. As in all Bethesda's games, whatever you chose your character to be, they all finish to do the same. Bethesda tried the way of "choices & consequences", something they have not done in their TES series, and at the end we just have the classic good/evil differences. I may overrate Fallout 2, the only one I have played so far, but I found it to go beyond these clichés, and, in a way, no one was truly good. In Fallout 3, you have Paladins (the dissident branch of The Brotherhood of Steel), you have a secret society which kills evil men (you can loot fingers on those "evil men" and give them to the society as a proof, and earn a reward...).. All of this just fell flat and killed the little sense of credibility you could expect from the world.

B) Scenario & Dialogs. Once again, here, there is good & less-good, & even worse than bad. The scenario itself is not bad, but is poorly executed. Same applies to dialogs & characters, with some of them being good ideas (like the Android quest) and some which fell completely flat (destruction of the garbage-city, someone asks you to do it, but do not give you a real reason).

C) The World It is obvious that Bethesda wanted to do their own thing with the Fallout license. While we should applause them for trying to do something new with it, the illusion of novelty fades quite quickly : you are playing Oblivion in the Fallout universe. Yes, the mutants could be Orcs, these members of the Brotherhood of Steel are Paladins who protects the weak. Heck, there are even Vampires & Druids (& now Samurai, as I heard, with the latest DLC). As much as I love these components for a TES game, it is not what I expect to see in a Fallout one.

Final thing (I may forgot a lot of others, but this one cracks me up) : the world is not that open. Yes, there are places you can't go, because of artificial walls. You want to climb this pile of debris to get inside Washington DC ? Guess what ? You can't. There is only one way : take the subway, and go out at the exact place the game wants you to be, otherwise, how could the script work ? Well, open-world & obvious linearity does not go well...

The Bottom Line
Honestly, there are two types of gamers, which won't see the game the same way :
- Fallout fans. You will hate it. Stay away, try it when it will be cheap if you really want to know what has happen to your beloved universe, but you won't like it.
- Bethesda fans : you should like it. Well, you should, because it mostly feels like Oblivion in a different universe. You won't if the "liberty" of the Elder Scrolls is what you like the most. The little additions Bethesda tried to its style are welcomed though : different paths (good/evil), even if they are this simplistic, are still better than only one forced way.

Windows · by Alaedrain (3442) · 2009

Fallout 3 isn't really a true Fallout game, but if you can forgive that, it is still an incredible game.

The Good
Fallout 1 & 2 are the best games ever. When I heard that Fallout 3 was being developed, I crapped myself in anticipation. Sadly, even though the Van Buren demo provided some morsels for us fans, Black Isle Studios was bought out and shut down. It was canceled. Years later, Fallout 3 would resurface helmed by Bethesda Studios. When I heard this, I was mixed. I knew from the start the game couldn't touch the first two games, yet I really liked Daggerfall and Oblivion so I wasn't really outraged.

In the end, I was completely right: Fallout 3 is not a true Fallout game. Sure, it has the Vaults, radioactive scorpions, brahmin, a pipboy, and it is set in a big desolate wasteland, but everything that made Fallout unique is stripped away here. But in the end, if you can forgive this and if you like Bethesda's work, you will still find what is arguably their best game since Daggerfall.

The graphics may not "Wow," but character models are very good and the art direction is superb and lends the game a perfect post apocalyptic look.

Gameplay is much like Oblivion, although it improves upon Oblivion by having a larger number of enemies as well as improving the acting and other areas that made Oblivion somewhat lacking in the immersion category. Obviously guns play a bigger part here instead of swords and spells like in Oblivion. With said guns comes the "V.A.T.S." system, which allows you to freeze time and pick off body parts with greater accuracy and a Michael Bay camera shoot. VATS uses action points, and different weapons modify how many action points you can use and naturally each different enemy has different shapes and body parts, affecting what you can shoot based on your location.

The game is gory as hell, and while I would've liked to see some actual pre-rendered death animations much like in the original games which made deaths seem a little more... erm, "painful" and creative, as the physics system is fairly rudimentary, it is still fun to watch and is ridiculously over the top. Splitting apart a raiders chest and then watching his limbs fly off is a simplistic joy.

The game sounds great too, the acting is VASTLY improved from Oblivion, and characters sound a little more distinct and into their roles than in that game. Weapons sound good and unique, and enemies make good sounds as well, be it in their life or in their death. The game also has a radio which plays fancy old tunes from the 30s/40s/50s as well as funny comments from a snarky D.J. as well as the occasional adventure of Herbert Daring Dashwood, which are funny and fun to listen to, although I wish there were more episodes.

Although the role playing system is dumbed down (See the "What I didn't like" section) and doesn't offer as much variety or replayability as previous Fallout games, the game still has several side quests and a genuine need to survive, which really immerses you in the role.

There are lots of different weapons and armors to discover, which all have different affects and values. You can also gather parts to create weapons, each one unique and cool, although it doesn't get much funnier than the Rock-It-Launcher; a gun that shoots random crap you pick up in the wasteland. Sending a milk bottle through a super mutants head and watching it break apart in 3 pieces or slaughter a group of raiders with toy cars is absolutely fricken' hysterical. Schematics are expensive and often hidden, and there is incentive to find multiple copies, as it improves the usefulness of the weapon you wish to build.

The game encourages exploration, and there are tons of eerie, strange places to explore as you scavenge and become a wasteland denizen. Sometimes the most fun the game has to offer is to try and find as many unique areas as possible, and see what secrets they hide within. It is very satisfying to stumble upon something hidden and uncover a side quest, a unique item, or just a strange random encounter.

Scaled leveling makes an appearance here, but it actually works in this game. Normally I am against the concept, but considering that Bethesda didn't make a large variety of monsters and since raiders rarely have unique characters in their ranks, scaled leveling makes sure that you will always fear what might lie around the corner or behind that ominous door.

The Bad
The biggest problem is that the role playing system from Fallouts 1 and 2 are extremely dumbed down. SPECIAL hardly affects your character anymore, in the first two games it was extremely important and each trait would be completely different based on the points you put into them, in Fallout 3, the effects of those stats are barely noticeable. The Tag skills system isn't dumbed down quite as much as the other areas, but the various permutations and numbers crunching in the background have been significantly reduced and tag skills have no affect on SPECIAL or traits like they did in the old games. Optional traits have been shuffled into the perks system, and perks are no longer granted every so often, they are granted every level. They are hardly "Perks" if you get them all the time. Several classic perks return, albeit changed greatly and like the rest of the stats, they've been dumbed down. This hurts the replay value, and unlike in the first two games where each character felt unique and different, most of the characters you create in FO3 will feel the same.

The karma system is busted beyond belief. You can be a thieving serial killer who eats his victims and then uses their body as a toilet, yet if you remember to give all your purified water to a bum you can have a high karma level. The game claims that karma and "Choice" play a big part, but they do not. There are a few interesting "choices," but it is annoying that they either make you the second coming or make you the devil, and if you make a "Choice" that karma is permanent, there's no altering it ever again. It constantly flops around, and has no real affect on the game except for the way the DJ talks about you, and if you are REALLY good people in Megaton might give you stuff, but that's it. Karma has no affect in the game whatsoever.

Although most of the graphics are nice, the animations are even worse than they were in Oblivion, and characters always look like they are skating on thin air with rocket powered jet skates.

Since the game has a habit of "Dumbing down" things, another thing that the game dumbs down is radiation poisoning. Radiation poisoning in Fallout 1 & 2 was a real threat, but in FO3 the worst that may happen is you won't be as fast or strong. It can kill you, but rather than killing you slowly like in the first two games, it only kills you if your geiger counter maxes out. I actually found times where I had severe radiation poisoning and had no idea, because my character seemed to act the same way.

The storyline, while it has moments, is relatively lame and the ending is possibly the worst ever. The ending is an anti-climax, and the final boss couldn't even contend with the calculator from Fallout Tactics. Hell, he's actually one of the weakest characters in the game, even if your arms, torso, and head are all crippled and your perception, strength, and agility are all nil you can tear him to shreds with a pistol that is about to break after one use. You also can't continue past the final quest, which is annoying because I did not want to have to create a brand new character just to continue exploring and find more quests. This was remedied in Broken Steel, but it is still a fault with the game. The main quest line is also ridiculously short and easy, it can be completed in a mere hour without much effort put into it, unless you've never played a shooter before and can't find out which button is the trigger.

VATS, while fun to use at times, is not really much more than Bullet Time with a shaky camera. It claims to be unique when it really isn't. On the same line, guns feel somewhat clunky and inaccurate, although they are still fun to shoot.

The monster roster is a little slim and I wish there were more. Although most of the more famous monsters, such as the Death Claws and the radscorpions, make appearances there isn't quite as much variety in them and some monsters are clearly just palette swaps. It is also annoying that Bethesda added radroaches and bloatflies, these monsters are extremely pointless as they barely do any damage and after level 1, you don't even get experience for killing them yet they appear as an arbitrary MacGuffin to make sure you can't sleep or travel and Bethesda makes sure they appear in a swarm so you have to beat tons of them and since there's no experience reward for killing them and the fact that they are no threat at all, it simply isn't fun to have to bash them just so you can be on your merry way.

The Bottom Line
Despite the fact that it is not truly a sequel to Fallout, and is not even in league with those games, Fallout 3 is still a great Bethesda game. It has their mark, and it's easily comparable to Oblivion, but as mentioned before it is truly much better than Oblivion. The game is highly immersive and fun to play, and exploring this game will reveal it is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Many secrets await for you in the Capitol Wasteland, and if you can ignore the relatively lame main quest line, there are many rewards to reap in the desolate wastes.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2009

Prepare For The Future

The Good
Fallout 3, the game that I have been waiting for since I finished Fallout 2. Why back in 1998. Some 10 years later, and Bethesda finally makes good and releases Fallout 3 upon us. After so many false starts, can this be true at last? Am I really writing this review. Or am just dreaming that I am a man writing this review?

Oh sorry for my metaphysical meltdown just now, I haven’t slept in days. When I first heard that Bethesda was making Fallout 3, I felt elated yet not. I mean it could have been worse, what if Square soft had made it? It would have spiky haired goobers, teenage melodrama, kindergarten philosophy, and gasp, a contrived plot.

Can Bethesda’s unusual style of games live up to the classic imaginings of Black Isle? (And am I crazy or is everyone stealing my use of casual asides?-MM-)

To say that I was intrigued would be a bit of a misnomer. I preordered the game, the special edition, and went to the midnight launch. I did not sleep much that night, I can tell you.

Set about 20-30 years after the events of Fallout 2. We find that the wastelands are in worse shape than ever. Humanity has made little progress in turning back the tide, and reclaiming it’s past. Things really are worse than ever.

It is into this cruel world you are thrust. Will you help man’s progress or hinder it? Or maybe you don’t care either way.

Fallout 3 starts out very interestingly, and oddly it starts off with you as a baby. With simple objectives like “walk to dad”. It continues as you grow up in a Vault. Until on your 19th birthday, the game begins in full.

Your dad has gone missing. And Vault 101 is in uproar. Some of your friends are dying and the Overseer blames you, for the troubles, this leads to one of your first moral choices. You eventually make into the harsh wastes, leaving behind all you knew. Your goal is simple to find your dad. From here things get more complicated, at the fate of humanity will be on your hands.

There are tons of quests in the world of Fallout 3. Besides the main ones, there are a good number of large ones, from the world spanning, Nuka Cola Challenge, to helping, Moria complete her “Wasteland Survival Guide”.

There are also a slew of other things to do. From finding as many of the mini-encounters that you can. To collecting bobble heads, killing all the super mutant behemoths, the list goes on. Furthermore the Capital Wastelands are huge. And to see all the game has to offer will take quite a bit of exploring.

The setting is interesting as well. Instead of the West Coast of the USA, it takes place in the ruins of DC, the “Capital Wastelands”. Having walked those same streets myself in the real world, I found Fallout 3, chilling. Particularly when walking down Pennsylvania Ave. I have also been to the west coast, and did not find it invoked the same feelings. Perhaps because Fallout 3 just had better graphics, or perhaps it is because you do not see any real world places in Fallout 1&2. You can even travel to Bethesda, MA!

Fallout 3 takes place in an alternate reality. In which technology is largely based on nuclear power. Yet everything still has that 40’s-50’s art deco thing going on. This installment also keeps the series dark humor in tack. From the ridiculous notion of the coin-operated bomb shelter, the stupid grin of Vault boy, or the slogans like, “When the world ends, your life doesn’t have to!”

Now I would like to talk about V.A.T.S., and Fallout 3’s combat system. No V.A.T.S. is not a strange cult that worships a dead sci-fi author, or a special interest group, or a new age diet. It is the Vault Assisted Targeting System. Or VATS for short.

V.A.T.S. plays very much like the turn based system of the previous games in the series as well as Arcanum. During combat you can pause the action, and enter how many shots you want to take and what parts of the body you want to target. Head shots can kill the quickest. But a well placed leg shot can cripple your enemies, an arm shot can greatly reduce there aim. The amount of shots you get is based on your AP, which is based on your level, more on that later.

There is also standard FPS style combat, which is much more challenging that the V.A.T.S. And does not include to wicked cool death animations. The boys at Bethesda, took the Burnout franchise’s concept of realistic damage, and transferred it from cars, to super mutants. These animations are fun to watch and never get old. What better way to finish off a pesky mutant, than by blowing it’s head off, and seeing his eyeballs fly off. The gratuitous violence reminds me of the old skool shooter, Rise Of The Triad.

But wait there’s more! With the plasma gun you can turn your foe into a pile of goo! Fun for the whole family!

There are tons of guns and weapons in Fallout 3. There are of course the standards, like pistols, machine guns, and shot guns. Which are all fun to play with. But it is the absurd weapons that steal the show. Like the Fatman launcher, which fires mini-nukes. Be warned that there is a limited number of the mini nukes in the game. The is also the shiskabob, a flaming blade, that will slash and burn some super mutants. Other favorites of mine include the rail spike gun, which does exactly as it’s name implies, and fires rail spikes. And of course the junk gun, which fires well junk. These last three have to made on one of the workbenches found in the game.

Leveling up in Fallout 3 is your more standard system. You gain experience, and when enough is gained you level up. Each new level you can pick what skills you want, as well as a new perk. You gain perks quicker this time around. You can also supplement your levels by finding magazines. Guns & Bullets, raises your small guns skill, Lying Congressional Style, increases your charisma. And Grognak: The Barbarian, raises you melee skills.

There is also the Karma system. But fear not it goes beyond the good and evil thing.(Hey I’m philosopher and don’t know it!-MM-) There is good, bad, and neutral karma. Which lead to different perks, as well as different endings. There are also special perks which are quest related.

The graphics in Fallout 3, run on a modified Oblivion engine. And it’s looks fantastic. The world of Fallout is bleak, and terrible, yet beautiful, at the same time. (It’s like Detroit!-MM-) And the lighting effect are superb. As is the overall design. From the humans and non-humans of Fallout, to the places, you will go.

The sound and music excels as well. From the music composed for the game, to the licensed music. It’s all from the 40’s and 50’s and like Bioshock, fit’s the game wonderfully. A lot of reviews claim that the voice acting is not that good. How can that be when Ron Perlman, and Liam Neeson, and Malcolm McDowell, all lend there talents? I think what these reviewers meant to say was that all the minor characters do not sound that good. (Have these people played Final Fantasy X? They could not have if they think that this is bad!-MM-)

And that is not even entirely true. It is not that they do not sound good. It’s more to do with that you hear the same voices over and over. There is only one voice for the ghouls for example.

Another nice little effect is the radio. During the game you can hear Three-Dog, the non fascist radio personality, recount your heroic endeavors.

The Bad
For some reason Bethesda decided, that the level cap would be Lvl 20. Why? By mid game I was already maxed out! And the non-VATS combat tends to get a little clunky.

Venturing the seemingly endless subway systems gets old. The good news is once you have already discovered an area you can just zip there via your fast travel.

The A.I. can act oddly at times. And the bugs do not help. But they are not as bad as some may want to believe.

Exploring the wastes is not as fun as it should be. At least later in the game. When giant rad-scorpions ambush you constantly. And the enemy re-spawn rate is way to high!

The Bottom Line
Overall, Fallout 3 was worth the decade long wait. And while it is not the same as the other ones that is kind of the point, to re imagine the Fallout universe for today’s game market. If your PC can run it, or you have a Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3, you are required to play this game! Seriously, I know where you live!

Here to Fallout 4, not taking another 10 years!

Xbox 360 · by MasterMegid (723) · 2010

Traveling the wasteland is certainly not a waste of time.

The Good
Introduction sucks you in.

Storylines are well written.

Controls are functional and what you expect from Bethesda.

World-design is very intriguing and makes you want to explore.

Been able to lose limbs is an interesting idea.

Nice atmosphere.

Perks and leveling.

The Bad
This game just LOVES crashing.

Karma-system feels out of place.

The stats on items are vague at best.

Repairing weapons.

Too many different bullet-types.

The Bottom Line
Story

In Fallout 3 you take control of a “vault dweller”, one of many people who sealed themselves into an underground bunker in preparation for the nuclear apocalypse. The game starts quite literally where the character does, at your own birth. The introduction takes you through several stages of your character’s life and has you making small choices that change your statistics and future appearance. Most Bethesda games do this kind of thing, but I must say that Fallout 3 is the first time they have done it right. Whereas in Oblivion and Skyrim you just magically arrive in the world with no backstory at all, this intro not only serves to fill you in on the lore, but it also familiarizes you with the characters and makes you emotionally invested. Soon enough though, the shit hits the fan and your father leaves the vault overnight, forcing you to go after them lest the security forces pound your brains in.

Once outside the true Bethesda feel takes over and you are free to pursue your father or delve into hundreds of fascinating side-quests. To my knowledge the team that wrote the Dark Brotherhood quests from Oblivion was in control of all the missions in this game and this leaves us with much better tasks than ever before. One point that still bugs me though and this is true for every Bethesda game I play, is that characters seem way too trusting. In the very first town I was approached by two individuals, one of which wanted me to set off a nuke that was in the town and the other wanted me to get irradiated for the sake of her research. Both of those requests seem like basic RPG-stuff, but consider for a moment that I just randomly walked into a bar after freshly emerging from a cave and suddenly some guy asks me to murder hundreds of innocent people. His justification was “you have no connections here” and while that is true, it still seems risky to assume random people might be insane enough to do something like that.

Gameplay

There are two problems that make playing Fallout 3 feel rather rocky: the interface and the fighting. Let’s talk about the interface first. The problem is that they tried to go more for atmosphere than functionality, so you get a rickety old computer that serves as your inventory, quest-log, map and everything else. The lack of size however means they had to cut down on text and minimize the amount of information that you can see, so a lot of terms that you need to remember are also abbreviated. It can also get downright confusing, such as when I scoffed down a handful of items that I thought would reduce my radiation poisoning, but after closer inspection were expensive radiation-resistance booting items. Where the combat falls flat is that it sometimes feels like a modded Oblivion, especially some guns feel more like firing arrows than firing actual bullets. At least in Oblivion every bow didn’t need some kind of fancy different ammo-type though! I am always low on ammo because there are so many types that it gets ridiculous, I can agree that a sniper shouldn’t have the same ammo as a rocket launcher, but then why did they group together pistols with SMG’s? Sneaking and explosives can also be really obnoxious, especially sneaking which you need to level up really high to have any use from. Most enemies spot you regardless of whether you are sneaking or not, some even from a considerable distance.

Everything outside of combat is very good though and I especially like the new mini-games they came up with for lock picking and hacking. These mini-games nicely combine the player’s own skill with the points they cared to invest in the stats-screen. Gaining a new level is also amazingly satisfying because of the brilliant perks you can get every time you do. After putting your points into the skills you want to upgrade, you’ll be send to a different screen where you can select a special upgrade. These make use of incomparables, meaning you can’t weigh off the effect of one against the other and decide which one is the best (as you could with a weapon in a RPG). Instead there are options like “getting gorier kills” or “special dialogue combined with more damage against male enemies” and the likes. It’s a bit rough around the edges and there are too many perks that just instantly boost your regular skills, but this is something that needs to be perfected. There is also not so much managing to do and this really benefits the more explorative nature of Bethesda games. Instead of spending minutes of your time comparing weapons in the interface, Fallout keeps everything rather straight in terms of items and armor. There are only a handful of weapons that give you bonuses and most of the time it comes down to what you happen to like, I decided to take a bit of everything in terms of weapons and I never had to deal with fancy firearms because the game just gives you a pistol, not a “venomous pistol of fiery death”, But a regular pistol. You just need to make sure you keep the ammo coming and invest skills in your shooting if you want to get better with it.

I must also say that they ironed out a lot of flaws that soured Oblivion for me. Times after the nuclear war are tough, so tough that nobody can really claim authority and punish you. In Oblivion (and to a lesser extent Skyrim) you would always run into pesky guards that punish you for the slightest provocation. The laughably bad AI often had them drawing their weapons when you did something as innocent as taking a cherry from a bowl in someone’s living room. Fallout doesn’t have that and instead the law of the gun is in place. If you do something people don’t like they’ll shoot you and you can shoot back, the one who lives was in the right. Loading times are also notably faster and there is a lot less time wasted on asking questions about the lore, time that you can instead spend on having more fun.

Presentation

In recent years the market has become flooded with games which have a very brown and gritty style of graphics, but Fallout manages to impress, even with this bland aesthetic. How they did this is simple: they just designed the world to be as atmospheric and imposing as possible. I have walked through roughly a hundred ruined cities in my gaming career and never have abandoned buildings seemed so eerie, never has a wasteland felt so full of adventure and NEVER have I screamed like a little girl while exploring relatively simple areas. The last time the game scared me was even more humiliating than you would think, because I was looking at a distant sculpture thinking it was an enemy, only to be jumped at by a cockroach instead. My point is that with good level design and the right atmosphere, even the overused brown aesthetic can be made into something entertaining.

The in-game presentation is amazing, but there is still something that bothers me: The technical aspect of this game. I bought the Game of the Year edition on Steam, this assuming it would come with all the DLC and with most of the bugs worked out. I was VERY wrong about the latter. The game did start up after the installation, which is at least further than Bioshock got, but after that it became a hell. The game would crash randomly almost every ten minutes for no apparent reason and trying to fix it took me several hours of looking through forums. It turned out that it was a processing problem and I had to edit lines of code in the .ini file… I don’t care what you say, that is fucking inexcusable. Even after I fixed it did crashes remain fairly common, especially when alt-tabbing or locking the computer. I bought this game at 11AM and was busy with it all day. At the end of that same day I had only racked up a total of 2 hours of actual playtime and I had only just left the vault.

Replay value

Bethesda games have always suffered from the fact that they aren’t really fun to replay, but save-files can’t be relied upon to stick around either. Sooner or later you are going to delete your file by accident or it will just get corrupted. In a game with so many variables (to the point that it saves the placement of every single item you drop) there will be a point at which it will just burst and die. This is often the point where I stop playing these games: it happened after 500+ hours in Oblivion, it happened after 75+ hours in Skyrim and I fear for the day that it will happen with my Fallout save. I really recommend that you make back-ups of your save, just to make sure you won’t lose them.

To its credits: Fallout 3 is more replayable than any of the Elder Scroll games. This is because the game is not very big on lore and therefore you can play it again without having to sit through endless conversations again. Having to repeat quests is still very obnoxious though, as it will always be. The many choices you make in Fallout’s story do seem to have more of an impact and aren’t as bland as in other games that claim to have choice. Sometimes you are even making choices while you don’t realize it, such as when I murdered my way through a cave where some troublemakers were residing, only to come to the realization that I could have let them live and get a whole different experience. “Choosing” how your character develops is still pretty simple though, even more so than normally. In Oblivion there were milestones that gave you bonuses when investing enough points in your skills, but here your accuracy just increases or you unlock tougher challenges. Especially the weapon-based skills are somewhat odd, since you can get along just fine without them if you’re good at shooting games.

Extras

Outside of the main story there is plenty to do in Fallout 3 and I am not talking mini-games here. There are many side-quests that you can pick up, most of which are longer than your average MMO fetch-quest. Finding these quests is also a small task on its own, as you will have to ask NPC’s for rumors or possible leads. The map is also pretty large and some quests are hidden in obscure locations, so if the dungeons alone didn’t provide enough incentive already, there is also the joy of finding a new story to follow by simply stumbling upon a shack. Fallout 3 also has a total of five DLC packs that you can purchase (or get for free with the Game of the Year edition) that add a new main story line to the original game (I’ll review them individually later).

The level cap in this game is twenty, which isn’t that high, but any higher would have rendered the Perks system useless. As stated before there isn’t a lot of grinding to be done for weapons either, but there are still some neat ones that require some extra work and searching. Once you’re done with all of that, I suppose you could try to clear every dungeon, but that would really be pushing the content to the maximum. One problem though is that the final mission of the main quest also marks the end of the journey and if you finish it, then you are send back to the menu. The only way to explore the content after the final mission is to reload a save, but the game locks the doors after the game auto-saves from entering the last room. This is very obnoxious if you have no extra saves to load up, because the only way out is to buy the DLC-pack “Broken Steel”, which will make you pass out and wake up in The Citadel area.

Verdict

Fallout 3 is so far my favorite Bethesda game out there and in the land of RPG’s it ranks fairly high. While the gameplay tends to be a bit rocky and unbalanced, the story and atmosphere do more than enough to make up for that. One thing I can’t forgive however is the load of technical problems I had while using the Steam version of this game, including not receiving the DLC and having the game take a million screenshots at random moments throughout the game. I know some people still claim to this day that Fallout 3 is a bad game because of how different it is from the original games, but frankly I prefer it when a franchise has some diversity (such as Donkey Kong Country), as opposed to just making the same kind of game over and over again (the direction Kingdom Hearts is going in).

Fans of the old Fallout games are certain to have some good times revisiting the Wasteland and Vaults with this game, as long as they are willing to deal with a slightly less complex experience and more streamlined controls. Likewise Bethesda fans are certain to have a blast with this if they can deal with the lack of medieval themes that usually characterize Bethesda’s high-profile titles. If you have never played the games I mentioned, then you can also ask yourself if you would be interested in a somewhat challenging open-world RPG. If the answer is “yes”, then sit down and enjoy some Fallout 3.

Windows · by Asinine (956) · 2012

The prostitute of the year

The Good
Full 3D world, good graphics.

Very entertaining when playing without questioning things.

The Bad
Bugs and crashes.Lots of them.

Failed to establish the same atmosphere from the predecessors.

The Bottom Line
Being an old school player, I had the privilege of being able to play the series back in the day. They were something completely new then, and still are, since there is a lack of successors. However fallout 3, which caused me much anxiety, was something different.

When I first got the game, I had problems trying to run it, every time I clicked in new game, the game closed. After just a few hours of useless patching (yes, it took hours), I discovered that I was not the only one with this problem and just gave up, gave the dvd to a friend of mime, just to find later that he had no problems to run it, except for recurring crashes, that look like everybody else had.

The game extinguished the isometric theme of the series, adding a new 3D world, which is a very good thing, but apparently the attention to the graphics are not reflected in the rest of the game: the optional missions are varied, but with tenuous motivation. The VATS system seems to be a murdering tool, implemented to disguise the FPS nature of the game, instead of a remake of the old system of post-apocalyptic atmosphere combat. The atmosphere did not save the game to resemble "Oblivion with guns", an unhappily true cliche by now. There are many small illogical details, as the fact that you cannot sleep in a bed you don't own. All this leads me to believe that this is not only an unreliable sequence of fallout, but even not a pure RPG (consider the fact that the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system has only a fraction of the game effect from the previous), just a commercial exploit with the name of the series and most of their elements.

Nevertheless, the title is interesting as a FPS dressed up like a RPG. If seen this way, it offers a good deal of action (since gun blazing it's the way to go, unlike the previous two games when you could beat the game killing only the final boss, not necessarily fighting) and the bonus of good music and a bit (or a lot,if you like) of wandering mixed with a different background of most contemporary action games, which are settled almost exclusively in WWII and modern warfare environments. Therefore, it's recommended for a large audience, and should earn a higher score if it wasn't the bugs and crashes.

Windows · by Open_Sights (466) · 2010

Simply brilliant - but might not be for everyone...

The Good
True enough, it offers almost limitless freedom of actions, perhaps more than Oblivion ever did. You explore huge devastated city, with no chance to ruin something for yourself if you get there ahead of time. Nice implementation of VATS - they found use for those old turn based action points, to placate old fallout fans no doubt. Amazing soundtracks and 2008 graphic at its best. Voicing isn't bad either, at least much better than Oblivion is.

The Bad
None so far, beside little accidental crashes, but happens VERY rare. Some small items a little bit easy to miss, but I guess it's part of realism.

The Bottom Line
98% of people will love it, as its unmistakably best mix of RPG and FPS yet, but then again, those 2% who like the pure genre (skipping through talking, or finding it to be too much of an action game) will absolutely hate it. Oh and don't let anyone say it's short, there is no way one can skip through it in 7 hours unless maybe they sit with a guide in their lap and skip all conversations in mindless effort to pass it in record time (and even then I doubt it possible without cheating). Absolutely worth time spent - hopefully they will release add-ons, it seems to be build pretty much like Oblivion, with .esm files loading at start.

Windows · by Marina Shoykhet (3) · 2008

Oblivion with guns

The Good
It improves on Oblivion in some ways. The environments are more interesting and varied (but most feel more artificial than Morrowind). The faces look normal again (still miles away from e.g. Mass Effect or Crysis). Level scaling seems to be mostly absent. The PIPBoy interface is well done. Physics is improved, and by improved I mean that cups are now bolted to tables and so on.

The Bad
Fallout 3 is really an action-adventure title and not a RPG. The stats are mostly meaningless.

The set pieces vary from decent to abysmal and do not from a coherent whole. The nature of presentation in previous Fallout games left a lot to the imagination and you could fill the details yourself and pretend it made sense. In F3 everything is available in very graphic detail and it does not come together well.

Radiant AI is still crap. The results are either hilarious or frustrating, depending on your mood.

There's some swearing, prostitution, and tons of gore, but it doesn't feel like it's part of the world, but rather it that it was just tacked on to make the game edgy and mature. This is a rather dubious addition to a game which mostly feels like a Disney production.

They tried hard to include "Fallout features" like being able to put explosives onto people but apparently it didn't occur to them that some were a design flaw in the first place and while it was cute in a 2D isometric RPG game in 1998 it's kind of stupid in a modern fully 3D first-person game.

The Bottom Line
It's Oblivion with guns. It's very far from an ideal "Fallout 3", but depending on what you are expecting it might still be enjoyable. Playing it I can't help but feel that the target audience for Fallout 3 is ten years younger than for the previous Fallout games.

Windows · by dorian grey (243) · 2008

If you like oblivion and sci-fi, you'll like this.

The Good
The exploration that you can do in game could keep you amused for hours, there is just so much to see and people you can meet. Add to that the amount of side quest's you can do just add's to this. Most of these are acquired from the people of the wasteland, who you could enjoy talking to a lot.

One of the big plus points of fallout 3 is it's diverse range of weapons (and customised one off's you can find) can be a joy in itself. They are so varied, just about everyone has they're favorite. and there is just about one for every type of situation you will encounter in the wastelands.

One of the most interesting and unique features is the V.A.T.S targeting system. It do have limited usage of it, but is such a help, and so fun to use, just from a visual stand point.

The Bad
It's main quest line suffer's from a plot that is not exactly very original, but this is not a major bone of contention.

The ending, however is. Put simply, it's so rubbish, it ended up getting patched as part of the DLC.

The only other annoying feature is it's autosave. Or to be exact, how it won't save after you have just walked across the wasteland. Especially frustrating when you were killed by something like a lone raider or a landmine.

The Bottom Line
Worth buying. It is one of the current generation of consoles greatest games.

Xbox 360 · by Starbuck the Third (22601) · 2009

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Wizo, chirinea, Jeanne, Rebound Boy, ryanbus84, Cavalary, Alsy, Cantillon, Tim Janssen, Trevor Harding, Terrence Bosky, Solid Flamingo, beetle120, Baron79, Zeikman, VVP, Patrick Bregger, jaXen, Big John WV, Yearman, Xoleras, Paul Ryan, Samuel Smith, firefang9212, Utritum, CalaisianMindthief, Alaka, Picard, Kabushi, Dariusz Sadkowski, Alaedrain, Klaster_1, Gonchi, Jo ST, John Cheney.