Ouch, not impressed by the combat in Fallout 3

Giant disclaimer: I've only played an hour and a half or so of Fallout 3. This is just a quickie impression.

Only ToEE had a better turned based system the Fallout: Tactics
There is little in the way I can describe my absolute love for the Fallout games. For a turn-based RPG nut like myself there are very few moments in gaming where I was more happy then when I was messing with my pip-boy. I loved the setting, the humor, the story  and the general breadth of the game. What I loved the most about the series though at the end of the day was the combat. So much so that I consider Fallout: Tactics, the combat focused later game in the series, one of my favorite games of all time. Yes, you heard me right, I love Fallout: Tactics.

So, as you can imagine I've had some big expectations of the game. I was actually very pleased Bethesda got the rights to the brand because I very much enjoyed Morrowind and Oblivion. Morrowind specifically gave me goosebumps when I'd walk into a new town for the first time. Things couldn't be any better...

Today I purchased Fallout off Steam even though I knew I couldn't really play the game heavy until the weekend. The intro level is ok, it reminds me a lot of Oblivion, and to be honest everything about this game feels like Oblivion. That's ok I guess, we knew that coming in. Then I got to the combat... and the cockroachs (are you serious Bethesda, just make them fucking rats why don't you)!

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This looks great, but completely breaks you out of the experience
VATS is horrible. Real time aiming with real time missing, even though you are pointing at something is horrible. I know it's an RPG, remember, I'M THE RPG GUY, but sheesh, this is just a tad silly. I'm very very afraid not only will I not like Fallout, but I'm worried this combat system will bother me so much, that I'll become an old man and bitch about the better days of gaming. The days when PC games were released with PC interfaces, not consolified, dumbed down, big font style menus. And the days when an AP system was for... you know... deciding how many things you could accomplish in a turn.

What this game needed if it HAD to be in 1st-Person was a combat system ala Wizardry 8. For those that didn't play that game (many did not) you moved your party of players (all 6 of you I believe) as if you were 1 person in a FPS view. When you'd encounter an enemy, the game would switch to turn-based mode and would play the same as any other TBS game, with the action taking place in the view of that character.

This mish-mash in between shit is very bad. The real time version sucks, and the paused version sucks.

On a positive, the world is obviously Fallout and I could see myself playing through the game even if the combat continues to be this horrible, but right now I'm pretty scared I'm witnessing my worst fears.

I'll report more later, but if you're looking for an RPG vet's opinion... right now I'm a little worried.
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Edited by snide

Giant disclaimer: I've only played an hour and a half or so of Fallout 3. This is just a quickie impression.

Only ToEE had a better turned based system the Fallout: Tactics
There is little in the way I can describe my absolute love for the Fallout games. For a turn-based RPG nut like myself there are very few moments in gaming where I was more happy then when I was messing with my pip-boy. I loved the setting, the humor, the story  and the general breadth of the game. What I loved the most about the series though at the end of the day was the combat. So much so that I consider Fallout: Tactics, the combat focused later game in the series, one of my favorite games of all time. Yes, you heard me right, I love Fallout: Tactics.

So, as you can imagine I've had some big expectations of the game. I was actually very pleased Bethesda got the rights to the brand because I very much enjoyed Morrowind and Oblivion. Morrowind specifically gave me goosebumps when I'd walk into a new town for the first time. Things couldn't be any better...

Today I purchased Fallout off Steam even though I knew I couldn't really play the game heavy until the weekend. The intro level is ok, it reminds me a lot of Oblivion, and to be honest everything about this game feels like Oblivion. That's ok I guess, we knew that coming in. Then I got to the combat... and the cockroachs (are you serious Bethesda, just make them fucking rats why don't you)!

...
...
...

This looks great, but completely breaks you out of the experience
VATS is horrible. Real time aiming with real time missing, even though you are pointing at something is horrible. I know it's an RPG, remember, I'M THE RPG GUY, but sheesh, this is just a tad silly. I'm very very afraid not only will I not like Fallout, but I'm worried this combat system will bother me so much, that I'll become an old man and bitch about the better days of gaming. The days when PC games were released with PC interfaces, not consolified, dumbed down, big font style menus. And the days when an AP system was for... you know... deciding how many things you could accomplish in a turn.

What this game needed if it HAD to be in 1st-Person was a combat system ala Wizardry 8. For those that didn't play that game (many did not) you moved your party of players (all 6 of you I believe) as if you were 1 person in a FPS view. When you'd encounter an enemy, the game would switch to turn-based mode and would play the same as any other TBS game, with the action taking place in the view of that character.

This mish-mash in between shit is very bad. The real time version sucks, and the paused version sucks.

On a positive, the world is obviously Fallout and I could see myself playing through the game even if the combat continues to be this horrible, but right now I'm pretty scared I'm witnessing my worst fears.

I'll report more later, but if you're looking for an RPG vet's opinion... right now I'm a little worried.
Edited by MB

I couldn't agree with you more dude.  At this point I think smashing myself in the face with a brick would be more satisfying than Fallout 3's combat system.  I'll finish it eventually, but even with all of these new (and mostly unopened) games I have, all I want to do is keep playing more Titan Quest.  To top it all off, I'm experiencing a lot of weird tearing and artifacts with the 360 version.

Moderator
Posted by atejas

Well, if you preferred Fallout:Tactics's system to those of the original games, I can easily understand why you wouldn't like this, but VATS seems like the smoothest transition of the original turn-based system into a 3d, FP view.

Posted by snide

You sir, must try Wizardry 8! Excellent game that time forgot.

:)

Posted by Kush

I have yet to play the game (my copy should arrive in the mail today), but it doesn't surprise me that you (or anyone) would not be impressed by the combat. From all the videos I've ever seen, the combat hasn't looked that great and Bethesda isn't the best when it comes to combat...that being said, I don't really think people are going into this game looking for great combat, but for an interesting story and immersive world etc.

Posted by demonbear

I think its okay. I would've prefered something ressembling more to the combat of fallout 1-2 but hey, this is 2008 right?

The VATS system has its moments. For example i had a dog running at me while traveling, after a couple of meter, it became clear i wouldn't loose the aggro on the dog so i quickly turned around and triggered VATS, the result? a headless cadaver of a dog flew me by caus i blew his head while he jumped for my face!

Priceless!

Btw snide, if you want good turnbased combat, you should check out Valkiria Chronicles on PS3 when its out, i know i will.

Posted by Blinck

I'm also just a few moments into the game, like 2 hours, and for now the combat seems indeed pretty mediocre, maybe it will get better as the character levels up and with new weapons.
But as you said, the world is amazing, the graphics are great and the game runs smooth like butter, the only thing that bothers me is the also mediocre ( bad ) animations.
After I'm finished with Far Cry 2 I will explore more of this!
Cheers

Posted by TheGamerGeek

I love VATS, although it does have a lot of problems and stuff, I love getting in there face locking on, and then unloading shots on their head and watching it explode. I'm like 3 or 4 hours into the game so it may get a little repetitive after a while but right now, I love it.

Posted by insanegamer

i haven't played much and i am not a big rpg gamer bit i am liking it, i find it good but thats just me.

Posted by stucket

from what i see,RPG games are made for melee?i dont know but, if you want to make an rpg game with guns,it has to have good weapon combats.

Posted by KindGalaxy

I'm not a fan of the game overall, just can't attach myself to it like I did the original Fallout games, or Morrowind and Oblivion, I think the major issue personally isn't the combat, it's the dialogue; Mass Effect has made me feel spoilt in terms of RPGs, similar to when WarCraft 2 introduced hotkeys and Ctrl+# grouping or Quake introduced WASD movements, it feels like every game should include that function. I'll finish the game, having purchased it, but it won't be as memorable as other RPGs of late.

Posted by Claude

I'm 10 hours in and I like the combat. V.A.T.S. works well and I like watching heads explode and I've shot a couple of weapons out of enemys' hands. When I can't use V.A.T.S. the real-time shooting works well enough to finish the job. I've never played a Fallout game before, but I did play Oblivion and it doesn't feel like Oblivion to me, the same way Mass Effect didn't feel like KOTOR. To each his own, I guess. Take care.

Posted by Bulldog19892

I think it would have been better if instead of missing because your gun stats are low, your bullets just do less damage. I personally like VATS.

Posted by Driadon

Though i do agree with you to a degree, I think V.A.T.S. works rather well. It ends up doing what the targeted shot system for the other Fallout games did before it: allowing for tactical targeting. I've used it several times to my advantage almost the exact same way I would have used it in the other Fallouts.
My real gripe with the combat system more lies with the melee system and how percentages are only affected by your stats and not the enemies (they should be able to attempt to dodge, right?). Using V.A.T.S. while swinging a bat doesn't allow you to target specific parts, which I think is ridiculous and makes the system useless in that case.

Posted by Bellum

Are you kidding? VATS is the coolest thing ever! It never ever ever gets old!

Or at least, that's what G4 and that Bethesda guy keep telling me. :P

Posted by snide

The best way I can describe the weirdness of the realization of Fallout combat is how Bioware fans reacted to the RPG that was KOTOR after playing Baluder's Gate games for years.

Posted by Linkyshinks

I'm having no problems with VATS, in fact I find it very satisfying at times.

Posted by Johnny5

I'm glad that atleast one of the staff at Giantbomb is really into PC games and knows his stuff. Many gaming sites these days show an obvious focus on consoles and know little about the Pc classics.

Posted by Jayge_

I've found VATS pretty satisfying so far. Coming out of it can leave you at a weird camera angle, but it's definitely necessary. As for the mish-mash being horrible, I have to disagree. I think it works well. It would work *very* well if the stat-based accuracy wasn't made up of so much bullshit, though. Popping a few head or arm shots on a group of  5 or 6 bandits to cripple them strategically and then trying to take them out with your pistol or a well-placed grenade as your Action Points recharge and trying not to take damage at the same time gets pretty intense.

Posted by DeusExMathias

I'm still on the fence, but I think I like the VATS.  It's pretty damn satisfying blowing people's heads off and I know the slo-mo will probably get old as I get further in, but right now I think I like the novelty of the VATS.

Posted by Pibo47

Snide, i agree with you 100%. The combat sucks donkey balls. Its like they took oblivion's combat, and then somehow took all the fun outa it. Then they added some X:com sniper system, and said "hey guys! IT REALLY IS FALLOUT". And of course everyone buys it.

Posted by Manachild

I'm enjoying fallout 3 heaps so far. I totally agree that the first person real time combat is virtually useless in some ways since your ability to injure/wound an enemy is based completely on stats anyway. In VATs' defence tho it is to me in a silly way satisfying blowing peoples limbs off in slow motion with it but thats it, when i use it i rarely ever feel like i'm using it as strategically at all when put against the original fallout games combat. In reality i often feel like i'm just using vats as a crutch to the the normal fps sorta gameplay because doesnt really stand up enough to really carry you through that game. That all said tho, i still love the game somehow and look forward to play it more after work.

Posted by Elijah

Call me crazy, but I kind of enjoy the combat.

Posted by Kazona

I actually like the VATS system. And overall I like the combat in this game alot better than Oblivion. Then again, so far I like just about everything about this game more than I did Oblivion.

Posted by Arkthemaniac

I think VATS is alright, but you shouldn't have to use it as much as you do. I also wish it didn't stop time, but slowed it down.

The normal shooting, though, is godawful.
Posted by Mittt

It's not everything I wanted it to be but it's good enough for me to enjoy it. By the way, Fallout Tactics DOES rock. IF I could do a drive-by in a hummer in Fallout 3 like you can in Tactics it would be my game of the year. I think I'm gonna play FT when I get home...

Posted by Wuffi

im enjoying it but my accuracy just blows when do i get a sniper rifle

Posted by dogbox

I find the combat pretty good so far. I agree it was a little bland in the opening but once you get better weapons and some perks amassed it runs much more smoothly.

Posted by joslop500

I agree. I'm not liking VATS as much as I thought I would, and the real time aiming sucks big time as swell. I find myself wanting to avoid combat, which pretty much means I'm not enjoying the game.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Have you ever played the Might and Magic games, Snide? Those sound alot like this Wizardry 8 you are talking about.
But yes, the combat in F3 is mediocre.

Edited by snide
ArbitraryWater said:
"Have you ever played the Might and Magic games, Snide? Those sound alot like this Wizardry 8 you are talking about.
But yes, the combat in F3 is mediocre."
Yes I have, though I feel the TBS, run around a map and build an army games are very different then the run around and build a party of 6 ultra-specific based characters games. One requires go back to base micro-management, and the other just asks you to build a well-balanced party.

At the end of the day I think having a party is better then having one dude (despite the obviously storytelling benefits) and I think that chess like TBS combat is better then  pause and go-strategic spell based combat is better than, real-time shooter combat, is better then weird quasi mixed-genre combat.

I'd have no problem if this game was a well made shooter. But the obvious sacrifices to fit that old time crowd kind of bothers me. The reality is that we haven't seen a play mechanic like this for a reason. Do you honestly think anyone making a competing RPG will copy this system? I think not, and believe that the world and story carry this game, not the combat.

Just remember true souls, RPGs didn't just used to be about stories, they used to be about a hyper-learned strategic battle system based on positioning and finite resources.
Posted by atejas
snide said:
"ArbitraryWater said:
"Have you ever played the Might and Magic games, Snide? Those sound alot like this Wizardry 8 you are talking about.
But yes, the combat in F3 is mediocre."
Yes I have, though I feel the TBS, run around a map and build an army games are very different then the run around and build a party of 6 ultra-specific based characters games. One requires go back to base micro-management, and the other just asks you to build a well-balanced party.

At the end of the day I think having a party is better then having one dude (despite the obviously storytelling benefits) and I think that chess like TBS combat is better then  pause and go-strategic spell based combat is better than, real-time shooter combat, is better then weird quasi mixed-genre combat.

I'd have no problem if this game was a well made shooter. But the obvious sacrifices to fit that old time crowd kind of bothers me. The reality is that we haven't seen a play mechanic like this for a reason. Do you honestly think anyone making a competing RPG will copy this system? I think not, and believe that the world and story carry this game, not the combat.

Just remember true souls, RPGs didn't just used to be about stories, they used to be about a hyper-learned strategic battle system based on positioning and finite resources."
I'll bet you didn't think much of Vagrant Story.
Posted by Demilich

The combat feels like Oblivion with guns. The only complaint I have is, as you said, the interface is consolified. I had the same feelings with Oblivion. Everything you do with a mouse has a slight lag to it.

Posted by the_purgatory_station

as a fellow fan of turn-based systems i'm glad you put out this impression.  with my current situation, i was getting a little antsy in that i won't be able to play fallout 3 in the near future.  now i'm more at ease and can wait for this game to hit bargain bin status.

Posted by AegisOfDawn

There seems to be a dichotomy between people who played the original Fallout series and people who like Bethseda and Oblivion and it seems to correlate with whether they like the game or not.

Personally, I played Oblivion - never completed the main quest because I kept getting sidetracked due to the open world factor which totally throws me off in video games. Never played a single Fallout game.

Posted by atejas
AegisOfDawn said:
"There seems to be a dichotomy between people who played the original Fallout series and people who like Bethseda and Oblivion and it seems to correlate with whether they like the game or not.

Personally, I played Oblivion - never completed the main quest because I kept getting sidetracked due to the open world factor which totally throws me off in video games. Never played a single Fallout game."
I'd recommend them. They're brilliant games, eve if they're difficult to get into.
Posted by AegisOfDawn

My roomate has the original Fallout and Fallout 2, so I'll be checking that out. Or I'll just get it for myself on GOG.com, since it's Vista 64 friendly.

Edited by snide
AegisOfDawn said:
"There seems to be a dichotomy between people who played the original Fallout series and people who like Bethseda and Oblivion and it seems to correlate with whether they like the game or not.

Personally, I played Oblivion - never completed the main quest because I kept getting sidetracked due to the open world factor which totally throws me off in video games. Never played a single Fallout game."
As I mentioned, I absolutely adored those games. However, I think we'd all be lying if we said we loved Oblivion for its ranged combat. Melee, maybe, but the ranged combat in the Bethesda games has always been a low point for the genre. It essentially equates to kiting. Here, it's a stage down because of the accuracy penalties. I'm not saying it's not realistic. I'm just saying it's not very fun. I really don't mind this stuff in a TBS system, because that's part of the fun, but when I'm sitting there aiming at a thing with a reticule, a gaming idea as old as Wolf 3D, I expext to hit said thing. Right now I'm just feeling frustrated and kiting.

I've decided to reroll and play the game as a melee-heavy bruiser. That should allow me to avoid the VAT system. Not my intended style of play, but as I mentioned, the world of this game is too awesome to skip due to a weird combat system.
Posted by HistoryInRust
snide said:
"AegisOfDawn said:
"There seems to be a dichotomy between people who played the original Fallout series and people who like Bethseda and Oblivion and it seems to correlate with whether they like the game or not.

Personally, I played Oblivion - never completed the main quest because I kept getting sidetracked due to the open world factor which totally throws me off in video games. Never played a single Fallout game."
As I mentioned, I absolutely adored those games. However, I think we'd all be lying if we said we loved Oblivion for its ranged combat. Melee, maybe, but the ranged combat in the Bethesda games has always been a low point for the genre. It essentially equates to kiting. Here, it's a stage down because of the accuracy penalties. I'm not saying it's not realistic. I'm just saying it's not very fun. I really don't mind this stuff in a TBS system, because that's part of the fun, but when I'm sitting there aiming at a thing with a reticule, a gaming idea as old as Wolf 3D, I expext to hit said thing. Right now I'm just feeling frustrated and kiting.

I've decided to reroll and play the game as a melee-heavy bruiser. That should allow me to avoid the VAT system. Not my intended style of play, but as I mentioned, the world of this game is too awesome to skip due to a weird combat system."
I'm willing to disagree with this.  Marksman is my most oft-utilized skill in Cyrodiil. 
Posted by Hexogen

I don't mind VATS too much, but I absolutely hate the real-time combat. Maybe I'm spoiled by shooters, but when my aiming reticule is pointed at something and I pull the trigger, I expect to hit my target. When the game has to do a dice roll to decide whether I hit something or not, it's just aggravating because I feel like I'm not in control of what's going on.

Posted by XWolven

 
 Id always wished the Fallout Series had a deeper combat system more like Xcom or Jagged Alliance 2.  I found myself too limited especially in Fallout Tactics.  I could do just a few things with my action points where as in say Jagged Alliance 2, you could do pretty much anything and in destructible environments.  I really miss turn based RPGS though and I too wish Fallout had stuck with some kind of Turn Based tactical system. 
    I mostly wish to see another sequal to Jagged Alliance 2, its probably my favorite rpg title ever.  I just hope it doesnt get changed the way Fallout was changed.  There was one in development using the same engine as Silent Storm.  That game is pretty great too but it never had the bestt rpg elements and story like Jagged Alliance 2 which was so full of detail I still play it today always getting drawn into a new game of it.

Also after reading your profile, Dave.  Im going to have to go back and check out Icewind Dale 2 since I skipped that one.  Your review of it makes me definatly want to check it out.  I love a good challenging RPG, and im sick of the simpleness of so many new ones.

Oh and something I think is far superior in creating the most immersive post nuke world is that in STALKER and Clear Sky.  Amazing games and very very challenging. You will seriously work at every encounter, and its really not like any other game ever.  Its just so dynamic and alive feeling.  Its much like being in a big MMO.. well if MMOs could handle excellent FPS elements =D and could look that great!

Posted by TEAMHOLT

I don't have very many problems hitting something I'm aiming at, and find VATS incredibly useful for taking out multiple super-mutants or when I'm being rushed by enemies. It's especially useful in a situation where there's a mechanical/insect enemy nearby and I can send them buckwild on everything.

I don't know what other people are doing, but I focused building my character around the idea that they're a gunman, so shooting guns works for me.

Posted by banned8921

I dont like the combat but I do like the How the weapons are almost always halfway broken and ammo is hard to come by.

Posted by Jayge_
Levio91 said:
"I dont like the combat but I do like the How the weapons are almost always halfway broken and ammo is hard to come by."
There is ammo everywhere. Are you looking for it?
Posted by Demilich
Jayge said:
"Levio91 said:
"I dont like the combat but I do like the How the weapons are almost always halfway broken and ammo is hard to come by."
There is ammo everywhere. Are you looking for it?"
I think the balance of ammo is fantasic. One of the best things about the game so far. There's not enough to keep using the same weapon over and over, but there's just enough to rotate between 2 or 3. It keeps things interesting. Right now I'm using the 10mm Pistol, Hunting Rifle and Chinese Assault Rifle.
Posted by Jayge_
Demilich said:
"Jayge said:
"Levio91 said:
"I dont like the combat but I do like the How the weapons are almost always halfway broken and ammo is hard to come by."
There is ammo everywhere. Are you looking for it?"
I think the balance of ammo is fantasic. One of the best things about the game so far. There's not enough to keep using the same weapon over and over, but there's just enough to rotate between 2 or 3. It keeps things interesting. Right now I'm using the 10mm Pistol, Hunting Rifle and Chinese Assault Rifle."
I've been using a 10mm for over 6 hours now. I just keep getting more. I imagine I'll run out soon and switch to my shotgun (I carry around 5 or 6 weapons with me plus ammo at all times). I just keep repairing it with shitty versions I find on Bandits, and picking up ammo from boxes.
 
I do like how they don't overload you with ammo though. And ammo does get expensive.
Posted by Demilich

I probably ran out of 10mm because I used the SMG for a while.

Posted by atejas
Demilich said:
"I probably ran out of 10mm because I used the SMG for a while."
Are there still firing modes and stuff?
Nothing beat targeting individual limbs initially and then opening up with burst-fire(with Bloody Mess) when enemies got close.
Posted by Demilich

I got Bloody Mess. Then I reloaded an old save to get rid of it. Somehow shooting someone in the head and having all their limbs fly off was a bit moodbreaking.

Posted by keyhunter

I don't think you guys understand that this is Oblivion with GUNS. Meaning they are optional. No one is forcing you to miss everything with VATS. You can still shoot things without VATS, and of course you could just do what I do and beat everything over the head with a enchanted FIRE SWORD. I mean shishkebab.

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