Fallout 3 Review
Fallout 3 is, without a doubt, one of the most conflicting games I have ever played. On one hand it is Bethesda's best release, surpassing both the modded and default versions of their last game - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The world has the moral ambiguity that was sorely lacking in other releases and I absolutely love how you can choose to do things such as blow up an entire city. It is things like this that pleasantly surprised me, and I am the first one to admit that I thought this game was going to be on the same level -if not a lower one- as, say, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Now, that is not to say that I have no qualms with the game, quite the contrary, I have plenty them.
The most glaring absence, showing an area where Bethesda abandoned the Fallout universe, from Fallout 3 is the utter lack of sex, and, no, I am not talking about digital porn. For example in the town of Megaton you can pay Nova, the local "lady of the night," the rough equivalent of $120 dollars to spend the night with you. It is here that Bethesda becomes Bethesda. Immediately after you pay her you she will follow you to your temporary room, and it is here that any other game developer would have injected something interesting into the scene.
You might have gotten some "Lukewarm Coffee," with Rockstar - pulling you out of the scene to serenade you with smutty pillow talk and orgasming avatars. SCE Studios Santa Monica, the developers of God of War, might have done a close up of a bedside light and presented you with a mini-game. There is also the Fable series, in which has the participants head off-screen and then emit "naughty noises." Torkia Games also preferred the simple "fade-to-black" with background sounds - as demonstrated in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. And last, but certainly not least, there is Black Isle, the developers of previous Fallout game, who would have given you a vast dialogue tree full of options: pillow talk, romantic seduction, or simply a humanizing conversation with a woman of the wastelands forced to sell herself night after night to feed herself - it would all be there at some point.
But what does Bethesda do? They have the aforementioned ***** mutely follow you up to your room and lie down on the bed beside. You then get to sleep on the bed beside her, possibly with some spooning although that is doubtful considering who we are dealing with, and that's it - The next morning, you wake up, and she goes out without a word. Yeah, great job there Todd Howard - way to go out on a limb. However, before this gets too negative, let's go through some other aspects of the game.
The main quest is, to put it mildly, weak - or, to put it less mildly, idiotic, although I would still put it above Oblivion's. Not only do you spend most of your time wandering around asking people if they have seen your father -who you will inevitably describe as "the middle-aged guy"- but after you find him it turns out that he is all worked up about there not being enough clean water. Now this might seem reasonable at first but a quick investigation turned up this interesting quote from the Nuclear War Survival Skills handbook:
"Filtering through earth removes essentially all of the fallout particles and more of the dissolved radioactive material than does boiling-water distillation, a generally impractical purification method that does not eliminate dangerous radioactive iodines. Earth filters are also more effective in removing radioactive iodines than are ordinary ion-exchange water softeners or charcoal filters. In areas of heavy fallout, about 99% of the radioactivity in water could be removed by filtering it through ordinary earth."
Now I don't know about you, but I think that someone who is smart enough to build an entire futuristic facility, from scratch I might add, to do the job should have known that a largish plot of mud could have done an equally good job. Still, while the main adventure was not the best, the secondary quests are, for the most part, much better. The quest where you are tasked to retrieve a missing android was particularly well done, as was the adventure in Vault 106 - a place where you had the option to become the "pint-sized slasher" and murder an entire town. Without going into too much detail I will simply say either of those live up to the level set by the previous games and were some of the best in-game moments I've seen in recent years.
Talking about slashing, the combat in Fallout 3 is also well done, although I do with that critical strikes were more varied and less common. The game can be played in either first or third person and, although some people claim otherwise, the latter is a much more employable way to play. Weapons are fairly standard Fallout fair with a few exceptions, mainly the mini-nukes and homemade weapons, and the repair system is one of the better ones that I have seen. The V.A.T.S. -Vault Assisted Targeting System- option is reminiscent of turn-based and adds a lot to the game - not least the ability to assign your action points and then watch the ensuing battle in all its cinematic glory.
As I just mentioned, for post-nuclear-holocaust word this one has a lot of live ones laying around. Not only do you have the main bomb -and its church, a nice touch I thought- in Megaton, but there are plenty of the aforementioned "mini-nukes" - not to mention the fact that all the cars, buses, trucks, etc. appear to have dead-but-highly-explosive miniature reactors. Maybe everyone is lying and the end of the word was really a simple car accident caused a chain reaction of exploding nuclear cars across the entire United States.
But enough of that. If I were to say all I wanted to say I would still be writing this hours from now and, frankly, I don't want to do that. If I think of anything else I'll edit it in later. So, in conclusion, I love Fallout 3. It's totally grabbed me. But it's Bethesda's wasteland and, as die-hard -some would say fanatical- fan of the previous games, I cannot help but wish they had called the game anything but Fallout 3.
7.5/10 - 9.5/10
Fallout 2: 10/10
A Dance With Rouges I and II: 10/10
The Witcher: 9.5/10 - 10/10
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl: 9.5/10 - 10/10
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky: 9.5/10 - 10/10
Mask of the Betrayer: 9/10 - 9.9/10
Neverwinter Nights I and II: 8.5/10 - 9.5/10
Clive Barker's Jericho: 8/10 - 9.5/10
Fallout 3: 7.5/10 - 9.5/10
SiN Episodes: Emergence: 7.5/10 - 9.5/10
Far Cry 2: 7.5/10 - 8.5/10
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: 6.5/10 - 8.5/10
SiN: 6.5/10 - 7.5/10
Crysis: 4/10 - 6/10
Crysis Warhead: 4/10 - 6/10
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty: 0.5/10 - 1.5/10