mjhealy's Fallout 3 (Xbox 360) review

Oblivion with guns? Well that's a good thing.

Fallout began as an isometric RPG game back in the mid-90's on the PC. Betheseda Softworks recently pick up the rights to bring out a new Fallout game. Fallout 3 is it. Fallout 3 looks nothing like the first two games in the series as it is viewed from the first (or third) person.  This makes the game feel a lot like Betheseda's most recent game: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which is certainly a good thing.

Fallout 3 offers many dialouge options. Some of which are very funny

Fallout 3 is set in the post-apocalyptic Washington D.C in the 23rd century. Washington is now a wasteland, Capital Wasteland as the game describes it. You begin the game litreally from your birth into Vault 101, one of the few underground dwellings designed to keep people off the Wasteland. The game flashes forward through a few tutorials but then when you are 19, your Dad is the first person to leave Vault 101. After getting into trouble with the Vault Security Guards, you leave the Vault to search for your Dad which is where the game really begins.

Throughout your adventure into the Capital Wasteland, you can make decisons in the game which affects your karma. In other words if you play nice, the NPC's will act nicely toward you and possibly give you free gifts. If you want to be a badass, the NPC's will act hostle toward you and if they don't give you a free gift e.g. Assault Rifle, if you are evil you can just kill them and take it anyway. Like for example, very early in the game you can decide to blow up the town of Megaton. Of course if you do it, you get bad karma and a nice explosion. If you don't, all the townpeople will think your a hero. The karma system works well and gives you many, many possible endings to the game.

V.A.T.S in action
The actual quest system in the game is straight up from Oblivion. Though in Fallout 3 there are less quests, but they are longer. When it comes to actually killing something there is a system called V.A.T.S. You just press RB, time stops, you pick a certain part of the body to shoot and then you fire. Of course you can't do this to everything in the game as you have a finite number of Action Points which repleinish over time. The V.A.T.S is a throw back to Fallout games of the past and its good but not perfect. The shooting when not using V.A.T.S does feel a bit wierd. While its not bad, it still feels it's tough to aim and shots at the enemy don't always feel right.

The Pip-Boy 3000
Early in the game you are given the Pip-Boy 3000 wrist device. This handles all of your inventory, shows stats etc. The stats in the game are divided up by S.P.E.C.I.A.L. You can have up to ten points for each of the letters, (S for strength, L for Luck) these in turn determine your skills such as Small Guns, Explosions and Speech. You can also pick three of these skills as your main skills and so they recieve a bonus number of points. Each time you level up (the max is level 20) you can pick a perk. This include things like stat bonuses and adding one point to one of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L abilites. Overall the skills, S.P.E.C.I.A.L, perks work really well and are well balanced. As I mentioned above, Pip-Boy also handles your inventory. This where one of the problems from Oblvion shine. You see nearly all items in the game have a weight. You can only hold so many items until you become over-emcumbered and walk very slowly. The problem is that the weight maximum is just way too low. Constantly through the game you have to manage your items constantly which takes away some of the fun.

Fallout 3 is not as long as Oblivion, but it is definetly no slouch. I finished in about 27 hours, but there were still many locations to be found and a handful of side quests. I probably won't even find this side quests unless looking at a guide. A lot of the game can be skiped though. Once you find a location you can just fast travel there, as in Oblivion. If you were just, to stick to the main story, you could finish the game in a few hours, but why would you want to do that? The game world its self is very, very big. When they say Capital Wasteland they mean wasteland as a lot of the world is just nothing. Though every interior location looks different in it's own way exepct for the Metro tunnels which are quite basic.

Fallout 3 is a beautiful looking game. It may all be brown and green but the games draw distences just goes on and on for miles. Explosions look nice, textures are detailed, character models look very well (not so much when they talk) and just looking into the distence seeing the sun glowing off the Washington looks wonderful. There is some slow down but its rare and nothing too serious. Also some objects on the ground flicker for no reason and there is just a hint of texture pop up but apart from that it is definetly one of the best looking games of the year.

It's a big, big world.

Fallout 3 with all it's goodness, there a lot of small problems. Nothing that destroys the gameplay but still annoy a bit. First off the game's ending is not all that good. Though there are differnet endings to an extent, the game still has the basic ending. Also when the game ends, it ends. As in you need to load and old save or start a new game. Since Fallout 3 is a lot like Oblivion it does share some of it's faults. For example, the auto save system can destroy your save. If you fast travel or go through a door, the game saves. Which can end up in some awkard outcomes. So good advice is to have a back up save ready. Also the character moving animations are a bit off. NPC's will randomly bring into sprits and even the walking looks a bit floaty. The third person view is complete rubbish. The aiming is tough and your characters movement is very off.

Even though it has a few flaws, Fallout 3 is one of the best games of the year. All of its small problems are outwayed by the immersion, the graphics, the quests. If your in the mood for a long game to keep you entertained look no further than Fallout 3.

Pros:
  • Amazing visuals
  • Fun quests
  • Very long
  • Bodies expolding are great
  • It's so immersive

Cons:
  • Some wierd animation
  • Inventory is not perfect
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Other reviews for Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)

    My trek through the Capital Wasteland. 0

    After Oblivion, Bethesda’s 2006 hit, the expectations were extremely high for Fallout 3 and the game doesn’t disappoint. Although some fanatics of the original Fallouts may not fully appreciate the move from top-down fully turn-based to a hybrid of the latter and first person shooter , fans of previous Bethesda games will recognise the core movement, navigation and little secrets they have added. In fact there are a huge amount of similarities between this and Oblivion, although instead of wande...

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