natetodamax's Fallout 3 (Xbox 360) review

Words Cannot Describe How Amazing Fallout 3 Is

I'll be honest by saying that at first, I didn't care for Fallout 3. I had not played the original games, so I really didn't know what the whole series was about and whether or not I would actually enjoy the game. A few gameplay videos from Youtube later, and I'm now on my second character clocking in at over 50 hours of playtime on this masterpiece.

Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic shooter from , the masterminds of Oblivion, which I am ashamed that I haven't had a chance to play. Although the game is largely based off of Oblivion, Fallout 3 still manages to maintain a healthy dosage of the Fallout material. Although some things don't work so well as planned, the game is still a masterpiece from beginning to end. The game basically starts with you getting born. Literally. At this stage, you get to pick whether you are a male or a female, and then you get to customize you face with a ludicrously long list of things to choose from. After that, your mother will go into cardiac arrest, and you will be rushed out of the delivery room. The game then introduces you to the controls when you are just 1 years old. The game then takes you through your 10 year old, 16 year old, and finally, 19 year old years, where you are awaken and learn that your father has escaped the Vault. After learning this, you give chase.


This is your father during his part-time job.


Believe it or not, the graphics are a pretty big part of Fallout 3. As soon as you leave the Vault for the first time in your life, you'll notice your eyes adjusting to the glare of the sun, which you haven't seen before. Once you gain focus, you will be amazed at the sheer size of the environment in front of you. Everything that you see in front of you at this point you can travel to. The view distance in the game in just amazing. You can see forever into the distance. You can almost always see the and no matter where you are, and you can say to yourself, “hey, I’ve been there.” Anyway, many would consider Fallout 3's graphics to be too bland, as most of the things in the game world is a shade of either light yellow, gray, or brown. This matters not, as the size of the world truly makes up for this. Besides the color of the environment, everything else looks great. However, there are some bugs that are present regarding the visuals. First of all, pop-ups can occur at any time. Once in a while you will be wandering through the wasteland looking for places to discover (more on that later) and suddenly a building will pop into view in front of you. While this isn't a huge issue, as I've only seen it occur a few times in the many hours I've played this game, it still can get a little annoying. 


The main part of Fallout 3 is obviously how the game plays out on your console. It’s truly remarkable how much stuff crammed on to one small disc, and it’s amazing how they managed to make most of it work. The game is essentially a role-playing-first-person-third-person-shooter, if you can imagine that. The game can be played in either first or third person. I found that the only useful thing the third person view offers is a better view of what’s around you and if anything is sneaking up behind you. The animations for the running in this point of view is disgusting, to be honest. It looks as if your character is sliding across the ground. Hell, you can even run sideways while moving in the forward animation. Picture that. Also, it’s near impossible to shoot while in third person, as the crosshair is so small that Ted Williams wouldn’t be able to see it. You’ll encounter a good amount of combat in the game, whether you want to or not. Random encounters don’t seem to happen just for the heck of it. Instead, they all seem to have a purpose. Getting attacked by Raiders? There must be a camp somewhere nearby. Super Mutants giving you trouble? They must be holed up in a nearby building or some other structure. The only enemies you will encounter randomly without a purpose would be small animals, like viscous dogs and radscorpions. They all just seem to be wandering around, looking for something to maul.


Fat Man + Super Mutant Behemoth = Fun!


Bethesda mentioned multiple times that radiation played a big part in the game, although I hardly seemed to notice it  while playing. Whenever you are getting irradiated, a meter in the top right will show you how many RADS you have and also how many you are currently taking. The higher amount of RADS you have, the more your stats are affected. As you become more irradiated, your stats are affected and degrade. However, because RadX (radiation resistance pills) and Rad Away are so common, it's nearly impossible to die from radiation in Fallout 3. 


Just like in real life, your weapons and armor degrade over time and must be repaired. When your weapons degrade, they do less damage and can jam up. When your armor degrades, the amount of damage it resists lowers. You can repair your equipment by using spare parts from another copy of said item, or by paying a Wastelander to do so. 


Also, you regain health in Fallout 3 by either sleeping, seeing a Wasteland doctor, or by eating foods, drinking water, and using Stimpaks. Stimpaks will be your best friend throughout the game because they heal the most health (besides sleeping). Food is so common in Fallout 3 that it’s unlikely you will ever run out of it. Chems (basically drugs) are also available in the game. They can either increase how many action points you have, the amount of damage you dish out, and such. If you take to much of a certain Chem, you could get addicted to it and your stats will suffer unless you take more of that specific Chem. 


Enemies can range from too easy, like the bloatfly, to very difficult, like the Super Mutant Behemoth, to just plain annoying as hell, like the Deathclaw. Every creature you encounter in the game is unique in it’s own way. Bloatflys float around in the air spitting some weird stuff at you. Super Mutant Behemoths use their size to crush their foes. Deathclaws use their speed and massive claws to slice up their opponents. Of course, these aren’t the only enemies in the game. The general combat in Fallout 3 is a bit clunky. You can't aim down the sights, so trying to kill anything in real time can be a bit annoying. A major part of the combat in Fallout 3 revolves around V.A.T.S, which is an acronym for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. Basically what this means is while in combat you have the option to pause time and select different body parts on your foes to fire at. After selecting your choices, time resumes, and you get a cinematic showing your character firing at the selected body parts. Logically, one would think that shooting at the head is the best option. In some cases, it isn’t. When facing a Deathclaw, the thing you want to shoot at is their leg. This cripples their leg, making it so they can’t sprint at you anymore. Every body part also has a percentage next to it. This percentage is your chance of hitting that body part. This means that sometimes, the opponents head might have a 12% next to it, while their arm might have an 81% next to it. Hitting their arm is not only the more logical choice in this situation, but it can also break their gun and/or prevent them from aiming should they pick up another one.


With VATS, anything is possible


Wandering around the Wasteland is a big part of what makes Fallout 3 so great. I found it oddly satisfying going through buildings and checking every box and crate that was inside. It really gave me the feeling that I was scavenging to survive. Believe it or not, there are over 100 unique locations to discover in the game. Whenever you get near a new location, you’ll get a message saying that you’ve discovered it, as well as some EXP. Once you’ve discovered a location, you can use your PIP-Boy 3000 to automatically fast-travel to and from it, which is very handy. 


I realize that I haven’t mentioned the PIP-Boy 3000 at all so far. This very handy device serves as the menu system for Fallout 3. It allows you to check your stats, skills, perks, status (cripples limbs, how much radiation you have absorbed), weapons, armor, health items, miscellaneous crap, local map, world map, quests, notes, and radio stations, as well as some other things. You can also equip things through this device and assign Hot Keys to your items, which allow you to switch to those items without having to consult your PIP-Boy. Thankfully, the game pauses when you enter the PIP-Boy, so you can even use it as a pause menu. 


The sound in Fallout 3 I would have to say is a mixed bag. First of all, you have a radio on your Pip-Boy, which is very nice. There are three radio stations to listen to, and they are Enclave Radio, Galaxy News Radio, and Agatha’s Station. Galaxy News Radio is easily the best, as it plays real music and the DJ Three Dog updates you on stuff around the Wasteland which is nice. I was a bit disappointed by the gunfire, as most of the weapons in the game sound like cap guns or toys. Probably the biggest problem I had with this aspect of the game is how decided to recycle the voices over and over again. I remember once I was in a metro talking to a gang called the Family and noticed that two of the people had the same voice actor. I left and headed to another place and noticed that about five or so people had that same voice actor as well. It does get annoying after awhile, because it makes you feel as if there are no unique people out there. The actual voice acting is nice though, although any emotion they show is destroyed by the fact that the characters don’t move when they talk (except for their mouths). 


All in all, Fallout 3 is one of the most amazing games I have ever played. really set the bar high for first-person role play games, and revived the series in such a good direction that I will most likely never play the previous games. I think that anyone who is a fan of FPS games should check this out, and likewise for those RPG fans. You will not be disappointed, as this is one hell of a ride.

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