Review by brandon_329
"Major Flaws in a beautiful diamond make an above average game"
Presentation - From the start screen all the way through the "end" credits, you will never think to yourself that you are playing a game. Bethesda has done an excellent job of making gamers believe in the game. You will feel like you are the one emerging from the vault and the choices you make will affect your conscience. The load times are usually short, but they do have their moments where you wonder if the game has frozen. Occasionally, your game will freeze and you will have to get up to turn off and restart your 360. Understand this now and save often. Expect frustration. It seems as if the longer the game runs in your xbox, the better the loading and play experience seems to be. It has a few times when the game pops and shudders. When you are exploring the jumping frames aren't enough to throw off the game experience, but coupled with the game randomly freezing before you saved and crashing every once in a while, it's enough to dock the game a few points.
Gameplay - Fallout 3 is superb. It takes the formula from Oblivion and exceeds it in almost every way with a complex system for adding "perks" to your character with each new level. It presents the sandbox gameplay as usual, in breathtaking detail. You can build customized weapons, enhance your characters skills, find numerous skill books, bobbleheads, etc. There is almost no end to the pillaging, ransacking and item hunting for a profit. On top of this, there is a karma system which determines how your character is treated by other npc's, such as being hunted by mercs for hire to stop you from being a paragon of hope for the wasteland or being accepted by evil characters with open arms because you arm scum. Tweaks to the gameplay are the new VATS system, familiar to fans of KOTOR, in which you pause gameplay to choose actions and decide what you will do before your character acts out. This works very well with the gunplay and Rpg aspects of the game. Kills look especially great when slowed to show the aftermath of a bullet splatting into a head. Many raiders deserve to die, screaming. Fending off the Super Mutants and running for dear life from the Behemoths...you'll be busy for a very long time. The idea of every trying to survive as best as possible is evident everywhere you go. You will be reminded that some people are emotional about what they have done, others not so much. Sympathy is the first thing to go when it comes to the survival of the fittest.
Graphics - As mentioned before, the graphics are breathtaking. This game presents in beautiful HD. Fallout 3 runs an amazing amount of items in the world that it keeps track of as well as numerous beings interacting in a city together that all work well and appear realistic. There are a few camera pops which remind you that you are playing a game every once and a while, but this happens very seldom. You will be a vault dweller, you will come out of the vault. You will be a wastelander, and you can become a burden to society or man's last best hope.
Sound- No problems here. Gunfire is realistic enough, nothing seems out of place. The frightening thing is that molerats sound like...molerats. It's interesting to see how much dialogue was recorded for this game. You have several branches of dialogue for almost every character in the game. Hundreds of characters as well as enemies and beasties. Super muties will scream at you when they decide to try and cut you up into pieces and will even mutter haunting words with their last few breaths as they die. Impressive and eerie when it needs to be and action driven when the pace picks up.
Lasting Appeal- This game will take up your time. It will make you stop doing chores and keep you from meeting deadlines. It is massive and entertaining and will keep being that way with downloadable content (hopefully) and a few tweaks here and there. The ability to only level up to level 20 hurts replay. You will more than likely play one game forever, but the variety is definitely there if you wish for mulitple play throughs. Because you can only level up to level 20 you are forced to think a bit more critically about your skills and perks choices. It can't go without saying that they need to remove this cap, it seriously hampers lasting appeal.
Overall- If you are a fan of Oblivion, Rpgs in general, or a dedicated Fallout diehard, then you owe it your yourself to pick this one up. As stated by a major website: "this game makes the working man cry tear of joy for all the content included in the game". It is true, you can play this game for quite sometime and still not see everything it has to offer. The few issues addressed in this review seriously hurt the gameplay and will make you want to throw the game very hard up against a wall. They are major bugs that hopefully can be patched with a new update and should have been addressed before release. If you can see past these issues, you will find a very deep and engrossing game which deserves serious goty buzz. Do yourself a favor, look into this addiction.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/08
Game Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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