Review by surisis1983

"The Sins of Fallout 3."

Intro and Fallout travel

Much of the moments you spend in Fallout 3 will in fact be an utter waste on player progress and on any surging efforts to level up. Picking up items and going on long meaningless repetitive treks across dessert, broken houses, and the streets to the endless dreary pallet of colors. You'll see a lot of rocks and a lot of torn down bridges. Travel a mile and you'll see a lot more rocks, torn bridges, houses, and streets. All familiar and often very repetitive environments permeate the player's experience. Other times it's a struggle to enjoy the fighting system. You'll likely find yourself burned by the fact that it's impractical and tedious exercise to aim or shoot manually with any weapon. Fact is, you'll be out and left for dead if you utilize the tried and true FPS style of gameplay. This is especially true in the early stages of the game.

Two styles to no avail.

Alternatively, you can try out V.A.T.S to manually pause and fire your weapon almost each and every time to succeed in hitting your targets. Both styles of play will result in you wasting away not only ammo and quality of weapon but also will gain you very little in terms of a reward for your kill. Any of your hopeless attempts to kill things quickly combined with looting enemies will be without merit. An act that often leaves you breaking even in terms of resources spent and resources gained.

Progressing through the game

Be careful concerning yourself with the illusionary level up system. They'll give you statistics and percentages and they will tell you that mathematically you are getting better but in reality you still can't aim and hit a target with any consistency no matter how many perks or level ups you strive for. The constant exploration of the open world will garnered me no rare items nor did it give precious information that could be the slightest bit useful. No matter what all your weapons still degrade faster than you can repair them and are damaged heavily within a matter of minutes firing. To compensate you'll need to take care of injuries and your health constantly. You often are left buying only stimpaks to get by. Stimpaks, in fact, seem to be the only item worth a damn in a world filled with enemies that won't die, are barely slowed by shots to the limbs, and eat up a variety of your ammo clips. Enemies are designed to live longer so you may put more and more hours into the game. To verify, I challenge anyone to systematically breakdown each weapon and correlate each toward enemy weaknesses. Since, wasting ammo and stimpaks are your only options toward fighting; one wonders why there is a need for the player to collect any variety of guns, lasers, or blunt objects. Wasting your efforts with annoying threats will be pretty much the only thing you do in Fallout 3.

The illusion of choice

Free roam you say? Certainly not when everything is designed to restrict the player. Since most enemies give you a 12-30 XP when roaming and killing the freedom to do what you want or go wherever you want is completely impractical. If however you like the idea of constant game overs then by my guest. To that effect, if you instead choose to do a story mission you'll get a bloated amount of XP for completing any meandering main quest task. So, you like to free roam and collect weapons? I have been told by many players that the best ones are obtained by going further into the main plot line. This game, advertising free will, will actually reward you handsomely for following a linear path.

Story and Characters

But if you choose to follow this “golden carrot” of XP and go for the main story then you will find very few characters to connect with emotionally. Many of the actual "people" in the Fallout 3 are a little more than tired hicks with guns and are have all the personality and demeanor of a cocaine fueled mannequin. So you hate the Characters and feel like killing then? Ah, but It seems as though radiation poisoning has given them uncanny ability to shoot at you from 50 yards away with pinpoint accuracy. Playing the pacifist will only earn you rejection and disdain among faceless nobodies you encounter. Those who don't dare fire a weapon often come to in the form of beggars and hustlers. And indeed, they are. There is no one to worth a damn in a barren hopeless world. This behavior of the NPC's would be fine and even expected if you didn't have to depend on others so much for your survival. So often you are relying on merchants, cults, and other organized groups that offer very little help or support. Make no mistake you are alone and left to scrap for everything in Fallout.

Ending thoughts

It may very well be that dystopian and nuclear fallout would piss a lot of people off and it wouldn't be a pleasant place to exist. And yet you are the protagonist after all. You are put in Fallout to matter to the people and the environment. The game simply won't let you. Fan boys of Fallout 3 would tell you that the one counterpoint to this argument is the bomb. If you so choose you may detonate a nuclear device. But setting off a big bomb in Fallout 3 is the equivalent to setting fire to corpses in a graveyard. It just doesn't carry a lot meaning in a world filled only with bleak nothingness and decay. Everything and everyone in Fallout 3 changes so little from level 1 than it does from level 20 that you will wonder if you were on a journey at all. You are often left wondering if what you do really matters. And that, in itself, is a gaming sin. 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/09

Game Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)


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