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Fallout 3 - Fallout 3

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Fallout 3

Summary

Our Score:

9

Meanwhile, a system of skills and perks as you level up, not to mention the ability to craft your own custom weapons, ensures that RPG stalwarts can't complain too much about the lack of depth. This is still the sort of game where you'll need to repair weapons and keep your radiation poisoning in check. It's not as much hard work on this account as something like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but it's not the sort of game that you can just breeze through, regardless, either.

This is all great stuff, but for a long time I had my reservations about Fallout 3. The opening section where your father (Liam Neeson) effectively helps you create your character, is excellent, but after that the game seemed to struggle for a while with a series of quests set around the town of Megaton and its vicinity that didn't do much to re-ignite my enthusiasm. I spent several long hours not really getting much done, and having my behind royally whupped by any half-fearsome monster I came up against. If this happens to you, all I can say is 'give it time.' Fallout 3 isn't an instant hit; it's a grower. If it were an album it wouldn't be the one you played constantly for a week but then forgot, but rather the one that you're not sure about for the first few plays, but still come back to ten years later.

With Fallout 3 all it took was the right mission that led me to some better weapons that led me to some other great quests. Suddenly, I was hooked. Once the game has you in its clutches it won't let up; the structure always leads you on to new areas and new opportunities for adventure, and each quest you complete only seems to push you on to something else. The current of the plot carries you along even while the sideplots are dragging you away from the main stream. It's the sort of game where a quick one hour session is never enough.

John 9

November 9, 2008, 1:47 pm

Play.com 㿄.99

life

November 9, 2008, 5:59 pm

This is a really smart review Stuart, definitely one of the better ones I've come across (and there are enough around at the moment).





Having been completely hooked on Fallout 3 since launch, I finally completed the main quest this morning, but only after some 60 odd hours of exploration, interaction and combat - none of which felt like a necessary chore as is the tendancy with some RPGs.





I think if you're the gamer who will pick this gem up and want to blitz through the main quest just seeking out the end goal, you'll miss so much of what makes Fallout 3 a great title. Exploring the capital wasteland at random and checking out every "dungeon" you come across amazingly doesn't feel like you are just revisiting small variations of the same map. Almost every one has some uniqueness to it, like it exists as part of the wider world and not just as a necessity to pick up some loot and XP to bolster your strength for the main quest.





This is something I felt Oblivion (depsite being an extremely enjoyable game) suffered quite noticably from. Here, in place of deja vu inspiring Oblivion portals and caves, we have schools, hotels, hospitals, offices, major D.C. landmark buildings, museums, factories, libraries, shops, subway stations, tunnels, shanty towns, sewers, caves and the vaults. It's really quite a wide array of places to investigate. The really cool thing for me is how they pulled this sense of variety off amidst a setting comprised almost entirely of dingy grey/brown scorched ruins... It's no mean feat.





It's hard to talk too much about without giving away things that you want others to experience for themselves, but there are some stand out moments that really define Fallout 3 for me. One is a certain epic action sequence near the end, but the one that really sticks in my mind is leaving Vault 101 for the first time early on in the game. As you walk out into the wasteland, you find yourself on a hill overlooking the remnants of the Washington D.C area, with the sun illuminating a dusty yellow sky over the horizon and a landscape of scorched ruins, rusting vehicles and an endless field of cracked rocks and roads. From the background noises of the vault that your character spent the first 19 years of his/her life in, you emerge only to the sound of the wind howling across the crumbling relics of a civilisation that is no more. It's a particularly eerie moment where you are left feeling completely alone amongst the utter devestation. For me it felt just as well crafted as being thrust out into City 17 of Half Life 2, or Andrew Ryan presenting Bioshock's Rapture in all its glory. It's that one snapshot that immediately delivers what the game's world is all about.





Aside from the character animation quirkiness that Stuart mentions, there is a complaint I've seen that the game world is slightly geographically smaller than Oblivion, but it didn't feel it to me (it's still around 16 square miles). Bethesda really have created a stunningly deep and detailed environment here... both in terms of visuals and substance. After finishing the story today, I went to find a map online to see if there were many locations I had missed out on. I was amazed to find I had put all this time and effort into the game, and still hadn't been to 3-4 of the major locations, and dozens of the smaller dungeon style areas. I didn't even stumble across Dogmeat during this play through either.





I can also understand the "Oblivion with guns" comments that are being thrown around by some people - having the same developers using the same engine for the same genre is obviously going to breed some similarties. But more than just the weaponary, the world, the plot, the characters, the artistic style, the humour, the choices and the experiences are a different beast entirely. In all respects it's a far darker game than Oblivion was.





All in all I'd recommend it very highly, but as Stuart points out, only to those who can spend more than a few hours playing it. Though it's definitely not a casual pick up and play action fest, given some investment it will give you one of the most memorable gaming experiences of recent times. The issues that do exist are completely obliterated by the quality of the overall experience... Don't miss it.

Riyad

November 9, 2008, 9:10 pm

@John - It's 㿄.99 for the PC version, not for the PlayStation 3 version that Stu reviewed. The PS3 version is 㿓.99 on Play.

Pbryanw

November 9, 2008, 11:33 pm

@life With yours and Stuarts glowing reviews, I now really want to play this game. Thanks for adding your thoughts - they were very illuminating.

Gavin Hamer

November 10, 2008, 5:15 am

Why aren't the formats available and the format reviewed stated in the header? I appreciate that the versions are now stated in bold at the top of the first page of each review now (which is a vast improvement on the old system of making people guess the version) but if you've got the price in the header, then you need the format in the header.

Matthew Bunton

November 10, 2008, 12:41 pm

Maybe it's just me but it just feels like Oblivion in a Post apocalyptic setting.

Stelph

November 10, 2008, 3:33 pm

Very good review, I agree with all Stuarts comments. It is a game that you have to put a lot of time into (I got it on launch fday from sainsburys and havent got that far through at the moment) and the animations are laughable at times, but it is such an engrossing game that I dont notice when Ive been playing for 2-3 hours at a time and I can see myself playing this for quite a long time...

DMN

November 10, 2008, 9:52 pm

Nice review. I'm about 20hours in and enjoying it more and more. It's a great game, I didn't really care for Oblivion but Fall Out 3 is right up my street.





It runs well to. (PC)

Gdub

March 4, 2009, 3:28 am

This review brings up a couple of good points as well


http://www.theonion.com/conten...

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