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.