Review by PurpleHaze1970

"Why this reviewer thinks Fallout 3 DID deserve to be Game of the Year."

Now, to put this review into context, I am of the generation of youth (lucky me) that was not able to play games such as Oblivion, Fallout, or Fallout 2. When the release of Skyrim came and I had just become of age (if you know what I mean, parents, they do the darndest things) I naturally went out and got a copy as soon as I could. I was absolutely astounded. Something about the ability to wander endlessly performing quests at your own will and deciding your fate was so satisfying. Then and there, I changed from the stereotypical multiplayer shooter type gamer to just looking for adventures. Naturally, I began with other Bethesda games and Fallout 3, and while it is a little bit rough around the edges, I LOVE THIS GAME. Now that you know my life story, time to tell you why.

Story: 8/10

Now to clarify, I think the story is fairly unremarkable. The developers took the post apocalyptic setting and actually created a story that wasn't just about surviving and friendship etc., which is commendable, but still, this is nothing to write home about. Basically you begin in a vault, a stronghold built underground to "protect" you from the wasteland area and radiation surrounding Washington D.C. (or what was Washington D.C.) You end up leaving (obviously) to help...well, I won't spoil what little story there is. The sad thing is that the main questline is VERY short. I completed it in maybe 8 hours, which is unacceptable for a game of this depth. Also note that you need either the Broken Steel DLC or the Game of the Year edition in order to continue playing after the main quest ends. If you do not have either of these, you will not be able to continue with character progression and the game in general. The reason this area gets an 8/10, however, is the atmosphere. And let me tell you, you will fall in love with this setting. I don't know what it is, but there is something about aimlessly wandering around a littered desert and stumbling upon a half naked man fighting a fire breathing ant with a lead pipe that you just can't find in many other games. This is probably because there are very few games with both half naked men and fire breathing ants. It is just priceless. Or maybe you like to be a little bit grossed out? Nothing like a centaur (three legged necromorph looking buggers with tentacles coming out of their mouths) to satisfy that need. As for the wasteland itself, for a game that does not have incredible graphics (more on that later) something about the area is very charming. It is almost as if the game existed in the time period it takes in because it portrays it so well. From dimly lit, dank vaults that are crawling with mutants to rustic cities built upon layers and layers of scrap metal, the setting just sucks you in completely and exploring is incredible satisfying.

Graphics 6/10

Your response: "Well I'm not going to buy it now because the graphics must suck."
My response: *punches in throat*

Now lets get the bad out of the way first (and this does not weigh heavy with my score as in a game like this graphics are not as important) The character models are a little bit stiff sometimes (alright, really stiff) but this really isn't anything new if you have played Skyrim. Next, some of the areas are dark. Really. Really. Dark. This can be solved by using your flashlight, however, and does add some cool dungeon crawling sections. Finally, everything sometimes ends up being a shade of brown or red or grey. I understand that everything is blown up and all the foliage is gone but this does wear down the eyes a little bit. There are some good things though, too. The draw distance is exceptional (at least in my opinion) and I rarely saw problems with loading textures, a common problem for open worlds. Also, the gore. I wish I could dedicate a whole section to this. Lets just say that you shouldn't let your five year old cousin play this game (unless you are developing him into a serial killer). The gore effects are some of the most realistic that I have ever seen (Dead Space still takes the cake). It isn't because the graphics are "next gen" or any fancy art design, but because it's in your face. I remember playing Gears of War and whenever you saw enemies in half the camera shakes and all the pieces fly around and you really don't see much. In this game you are watching in slow motion as the head of an unfortunate foe leaves his body and he falls to his knees as blood sprays from his neck on the environment. I'm talking about pickpocketing people, putting mines in their pants, and blowing their legs clean off. It's very...well lets just say you won't be disappointed if you are buying this game for the blood.

Audio: 10/10

This is easily my favourite part of playing this game. First I will begin with music, and what kind of music would you expect from a society that stopped progressing culturally in the 50's? Well just play this game and you will find out, because they really nailed it. Basically, using a special device (basically your inventory, map, etc.) on your wrist, you are able to access the radio. Not only does this allow you to listen to the unique (and sometimes annoying) Three-Dog, the Galaxy News Radio DJ, but you can also hear popular swing tunes and blues too. And it is fantastic for the game's atmosphere. I won't even lie, I play guitar and after playing this game I went and learned every single tune by the Ink Spots then and there. It was that effective. If you've played Bioshock and experienced how believable the world is, you will know what this game is like. The sound effects are also pretty impressive. Explosions and gunfire both sound powerful (for the powerful weapons) and not as powerful for weaker weapons like the BB gun and 10mm. There are also an assortment of energy weapons that are pretty cool and sound exactly like they come out of an old alien invasion B-movie. It was a very nice touch. But yes, 10/10. The only games that have had more memorable sound are the games in the Halo series, which I believe will never be matched.

Gameplay: 9/10

Now for the meat and potatoes. And I'm talking about LOTS of meat and potatoes because this game, especially for its time (this review is being written as of about four years after the release of this game) has plenty of features. The beginning of your journey starts with you being born (no you don't see anything you little pervs) and growing up in the vault. During this time you hone your skills and learn the basics of combat and inventory management. It's all very nice and you could have a very happy life, that is until giant mutated roaches (I mean seriously of all the things that had to mutate and get even bigger than they already were, it had to be roaches) invade your happy home, your loving father runs away, and you have to shoot your best friend's dad in the face (well, I chose the face, but limbs and the torso work just as well). You then effectively leave everything behind and enter the wasteland, which is aptly named. It is hostile, full of giant bugs, raiders, and the bane of all existence...super mutants. They are basically gigantic, irradiated mutants scattered throughout the D.C. area. They are almost always in groups, they are really big, and they are green (and no it wasn't gamma radiating that caused it). Anyways, they are the main enemy as they are what is causing so much fighting among factions of humans. The one you come into contact with first, the Brotherhood of Steel, will guide you against the government faction, the Enclave. In between you will be doing some running...and some collecting...some shooting...and some more shooting. Did I mention shooting? BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT. And due to the sheer awkwardness of the free aiming in this game you have your own targeting buddy named V.A.T.S. Get to know V.A.T.S. It is your best friend. Basically, it allows you to freeze time and target any section of the body (except the groin, sadly) to fire at automatically. It also shows the percentage chance that you will hit the target. After choosing how many rounds to fire and which body parts, you see a nice, slow motion montage of your enemy (hopefully) being dismembered and/or separated from their head. Also, there is some pretty simple but satisfying melee combat that allows you to splatter enemies. It works basically the same as the shooting.

Your character is able to carry a substantial amount of equipment. As in like forty guns, ammunition, bottle caps (the currency), and just random junk. This is pretty helpful considering there aren't many convenient places or times to be able to drop off and store equipment. There is a very large amount of weaponry and equipment and the DLC's offer extra weapons that you can take to the full game if you are not satisfied. Basically the gameplay involves you managing quests, your radiation level (which increases as you eat food and absorb radiation from any nearby irradiated objects), and health as you complete quests assigned to you by random NPC's. The majority of the quests are actually quite fun and innovative and end up with you doing some pretty offbeat and just plain funny things that you will not expect, but I won't spoil it for you. The world, of course, is open, so you can go anywhere, do anything, and kill anyone you want (although I really wouldn't recommend it, this is not like GTA: Apocalypse Edition). There are, however, some bugs. Check that, there are LOTS of bugs.

Sigh...Bethesda...While you make great games, your game testers need to be fired. NAOW. I mean sweet Jesus there are so many little bugs. I mean, I understand it is a BIG world and some of them are funny, like enemies flying fifty feet in the air after killing them with my fists, but most of them are just plain annoying and one in particular I encountered broke my quest. For example, your AI enemies are actually pretty smart (in a derpy way) and will advance on you. I mean they aren't geniuses and won't take cover very often but they don't stand with their backs to you either. The animal enemies in particular are fairly smart and will simply rush you and even attempt to retreat if they are wounded badly. On the other hand, we have your friendly AI. Boy are they hilariously stupid. Nothing beats waiting for them to go first into an Enclave stronghold and watching as all five of them enter the same 10x10 room, only to accidentally set themselves on fire with the flamethrower. I mean they are just complete morons and they also have the strongest weapons! No wonder the Brotherhood is losing the war. Oh yeah, and that scenario where they run ahead of you, that's only half the time. Usually I'll be down to almost no health left with a squad of laser gatling wielding amigos standing in a corner chilling while Enclave thugs rip me to pieces. Yeah, sorry I shot you man, I was just making sure YOU ARE STILL AWAKE BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON IN THE GAME AND YOU ARE HIDING FROM ENEMIES.

Not to sound angry, the bugs don't often get in the way and after about level 10 you usually end up mowing down enemies. The bugs just detract from what would be perfect gameplay, but this game is left with a still impressive 9/10

Conclusion:

If you like games where you can jump in and shoot thousands of tough looking Russian baddies or if you like games like Brickbreaker, you should probably stay away. Fallout 3 is an adventure. Yes you will be doing lots of combat, but much of this game is exploration and you will constantly be discovering areas and characters that you absolutely will not expect, and this is what keeps me coming back to the game even four years after it was released. I gave the game an 8/10, not because it was flawed necessarily, but because it just isn't as polished. It's very hard to explain, but this is an 8/10 that I would prefer over a lot of 10/10's just because of the replayability and how incredibly fun it is

Final score: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/29/12

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


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