Review by DandyQuackShot

Reviewed: 11/03/08

Democracy is Non-Negotiable

Fallout 3 shows us that a nuclear holocaust is the least of humanity's worries when what comes it after is even more brutal. This is one incredible game and it will take quite an effort for Bethesda to outdo itself again because Fallout 3 is everything you wanted that you couldn't get in the Elder Scrolls series. Unfortunately Fallout is not Bethesda perfection due to some serious glitches in the main quest and some bugs that made the Elder Scrolls series somewhat annoying. However like the Elder Scrolls games that Bethesda made, Fallout 3 makes any FPS fanatic like me forget that this is an RPG that you are playing and you will end up losing yourself in this massive world of post WWIII Washington D.C. Mutant animals roam the wastelands along with outlanders that would make Mad Max wet his pants and all along the way your mission is to bring restoration to this world gone bad.

In the beginning

I am not familiar with the Fallout series, but I am very familiar with how Bethesda takes a series and makes it its own so I do not think I missed anything from the first two Fallout games. The concept remains very true to the series with those who were lucky enough to live out their days in a vault and sealed off from the outside world. It seems this time however, your father had to leave the vault in a real hurry and you are forced to escape your lifelong underground home and go find him. There are a lot of questions that need answering and the story will carry you through the main quest. Once outside, you will also meet those who have survived in the wasteland and you will get to learn their stories as well as help defend them against a wide variety of enemies. The plot is very interesting and it will take you to some very familiar landmarks around D.C. and the surrounding area (apparently most of the famous landmarks in D.C. survived the war) and ultimately you will learn that this game is not a simple search to find your father. The story is put together nicely and of course you get to determine what path you want to take. There are a lot of side quests to take, but not as many as you would have found in the Elder Scrolls games. There are also a LOT of surprises in this game, so be on the lookout for some eye-popping moments as well as some over the top characters that are immediately loveable and just as amazing!

It's Elder Scrolls...WITH GUNS!

Fallout 3 has some phenomenal game play. Everything you like about the Elder Scrolls games has a method to it in Fallout 3 where you can assemble your own gadgets and concoctions for healing and weapons. You also get an early opportunity for a house so that you have a place to store all of the new found junk you pull off of dead bodies. And speaking of dead bodies...the violence level in Fallout 3 is very intense! The introduction of the new V.A.T.S system is so fun and easy to use that it never gets old and you still have plenty of use for taking care of enemies the old fashion way in the third or first person mode. The abilities, skills, and personality traits are all thrown into the beginning of the game where you get to develop and choose these while getting acquainted with the new world around you. Everything starts getting good once you leave the vault. You have to be much more considerate of your actions in Fallout 3 than you had to be in the Elder Scrolls. A new karma system will gratify or penalize you for how well you handle certain situations and you always should be careful who you kill. I've snuck up on many a person I thought were foes that turned out to be good guys and then get receive bad karma points for it so watch out. You do get to have help along parts of the way and then you have to also escort a lot of people as well so that's always fun. What I dislike about the game play though is that there are some severe glitches to the quests. Being the ever curious explorer I have to see all of the area attractions before setting off to do the main quest and this actually lead me to skipping ahead of the game a bit when I went to a particular monument. Of course some glitches from the Elder Scrolls games were not corrected well. Trying to jump too many high rocks can get you stuck sometimes and with a game that has so much in it you have to expect the occasional freeze up.

There some things you might miss though. The controls are excellent and easy to get used to but you do move slower and there is not much in the way of being able to improve your agility skills.

Picturesque Nuclear Wasteland Beauty...

Critics of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion will be quite happy to see some major improvements to not only the graphics of Fallout 3, but also the voice dialogue. Even before you step out into the wild nuclear yonder you will immediately notice just how graphic this game is. With the V.A.T.S. combat system you will see what I mean when you find out that you can take people’s heads off but also make them explode. Limbs can also be hacked or shot off and when you take damage to your own head and limbs your character will move about accordingly by limping or having dizzy spells if you have a concussion. Once again the characters are mostly all unique so there are very few people that you will run into that are just simple characters with names like “Megaton Settler”. The face schemes are set up just like Oblivion so some of the older characters you meet will be looking like dried up prunes. The new races and creatures in the game are okay for the most part. I really liked the addition of children and being able to interact with them even if they all look to be the exact same age. There are also mutants that resemble Incredible Hulks as well as Ghouls who you could relate to as the looked down upon people. You will encounter mostly humans from various types of organizations so the realism of this game is not averted with the crazy creatures you encounter.

You can change your own character’s hairstyle and color throughout the game so this is a neat feature. You do not get a good status image of your character and can only see your character as you play in the third person. So if your character starts looking rough over time I am not sure. The best improvement I found in Fallout 3 though was the environment and how well distant objects appear without the Oblivion ghost appearances. This is not a problem at all as most objects are so large that they can be seen from miles away and smaller objects like houses will appear much farther away than things did in Oblivion. Also, you have a very realistic recreation of the entire D.C. area. I may have mentioned this before but you can practically take a virtual vacation in this game.

Sound Off

No expense was spared for this game. The mood of Fallout 3 holds a very familiar feel as BioShock did with the creepy classic music along with the idea that the several generations that lead to WWIII never got out of that 1950’s attitude. So with some classic 50’s croon tunes you also have some excellent scores throughout the Fallout experience that change from area to area and situation to situation. The voice acting could not have been more professionally done. Liam Neeson is your father! Do not expect to see him try to teach you in the ways of the Force, but you will be drawn into this game by how well he keeps this game going. The other voiceovers are exceptional and you do not get the feel that three people did the same voices for the entire population in the game. Sure the enemies will sound the same, but the characters you meet will be very unique in voice. If it was the same people voicing several different roles then they definitely did a good job.

Replay Value

Only a game made by Bethesda can give an unlimited replay value to a game that is a single player exclusive with no special things to do online. There is no multiplayer to this whatsoever and nothing to do on Xbox Live except show your friends that you are playing one amazing game. Despite this, Fallout 3 has some unlimited replay value. You can play this game however you like and free roam the entire D.C. area. There are well over a hundred locations to find and explore and so many things to do that you will never be able to them all in one run through. So you have plenty to do once you beat this game and you will want to go through the whole thing again to see what happens when you play it a little bit differently.

Final Recommendation 9/10

When a game is given time to be worked on and tweaked to perfection and not rushed then you get some of the most amazing game play ever. Bethesda deserves some long pats on the back for not rushing Fallout 3 and even though there are some bugs that could have been corrected, I really commend Bethesda once again for making a RPG game that really draws the FPS fans like me in. Fallout 3 is heavy on the language and violence so keep that in mind if you are buying this game for somebody. Even with the glitches and other small things this game is every bit worth the sixty bucks and if you were a fan of Oblivion or better yet Morrowind, then you should be required by law to buy this game! Nothing is so different from the previous games that would scare off fans and nothing is too complicated for newcomers to this game so Fallout 3 is more than worth the wait.

They finally added children
Realistic Setting
Gratuitous Violence and Language
Robots That Offer Free Haircuts and Jokes
Some "Woohoo!" moments that keep the excitement going

Quest glitches allow you to accidentally skip some of the main quest
Some getting stuck glitches
"M's" are replaced with "N's" in the subtext
Gratuitous Violence and Language (depends on who is reading this)
You move slower and have no agility or jump points to gain

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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