Review by Rex_Chaos
Fallout - Humanity's Endless War
Fallout 3 has to be the most desolate game I have ever played. Although it has its share of flaws, it was to be expected, and I shall delve into that as we go here. In this world, the "Fallout World", earth has plunged into nuclear devastation. Having undergone a nuclear war between China and the United States of America, the world is simply torn apart. Those lucky enough to foresee earths genocide fled to giant underground havens, or "Vaults". After a varying amounts of time, these vaults opened, leading humanity into the unforgiving wasteland.
Graphics - 8/10
Fallout's graphics are stunning, and you will soon realize that as you step into the Wastes. Detail has been adding to everything in this dying world, and has been a definite step up from TES4: Oblivion's "beautiful up close" style of graphics. Actually, it is quite the opposite in Fallout 3; the graphics are more visually pleasing from a distance then up close. However, this is a gun game, so we expect to be seeing our enemies far away, don't we? We just have to face it, this generation of gaming consoles are going to be showing textures more ugly then Aunt Betsy's mole when zoomed in on. Other then that, the only other graphic problems are going to be coming from glitches or misplaced objects. Your still going to be amazed, I assure you that.
Gameplay - 9/10
This is an area that I simply have to applaud Bethesda for. They did well, the quests aren't all simple fodder, they present to you multiple ways of accomplishing them and thus, several solutions. The combat system is excellent, and the only thing you have to worry about here is notoriously bad A.I. But, such is to be expected, and all free roam games I have encountered have A.I problems, and nothing surprised me when my ally walked in front of me during a intense firefight. The V.A.T.S system is wonderful also, after targeting several areas of a enemy's (Or soon to be one's) body and taking in all the factors, such as how far away the enemy is, your skill in your weapon, and the bulk of the body part, gunfire is spat out at motion-blurred and sped-down intervals. The result is often a missing limb and a laugh from the viewer. The only parts of game play that I feel could use some improvements are speed and perks. You move too slow, regardless of your weight, and most of your enemies seem to be going so fast that a car wouldn't outrun them. In addition, some perks simply feel like fillers to make it look like you could ponder of choices forever, when in reality, one is simply "the best" for your play through.
Sound - 7/10
I admit to being a bit disappointed in the sound quality at first glance and comparison to Oblivion's, but after a bit of thinking I figured that there's simply no other route. Its a desolate place, and as such, requires a desolate music track. Often I find the town music being a bit too western, the gunshots sounding a bit too fake, and the exploration music being a bit too quiet. But, once again, such is to be expected from a place as desolate as the war-torn D.C it is. The radio adds a bit of old-world charm along with a change of pace, but is simply repetitive. Feel free to go on into the Xbox Guide and queue up your own music track, though.
Interface - 8/10
Fallout's interface, the main being the pip-boy, is enhanced from Oblivion's. But not greatly. The interface sorts things for you, and you will find what you need quick. However, the display is choppy, intended or not, and I simply found it irritating switching through the several screens. That might just be a personal problem, but I find that its very annoying. Regardless, it will only take some time to get used to. The other "minor" interfaces are all great, with one exception. For some reason, getting into a chat with another person can take some time. Sometimes it may take several screens of choices to flip through before you can exit the chat. I felt that Oblivion's "Hit B" way of exiting chat was quicker and more efficient.
Replayability - 8/10
Fallout 3 is defiantly replayable. With so many choices, you could find the need to play through tons of times, just to see it from every perspective. You could be a drunken brawler looking forward to the next shot of beer, a stealthy assassin ready to strike at any moment, or simply a lunatic who thinks flamers are fun. In addition, small changes to your character also can change a lot down the road. With so many perks, SPECIAL combinations, and Karma Perspectives to see through, you could find yourself coming up with new additions a year from now. However, there is a downside. One character can experience it all. Near the end of the game, points are no longer important, and are just thrown toward whatever skills still accept them, and you find that the game really was supposed to be "over".
Difficulty - 6/10
This is an area I found some major issues in. At first glance, the difficulty is perfect. However, you quickly find it too easy. So, by instinct, what do we do? Turn up the difficulty! Unfortunately, it gets even easier, since you are now leveling faster! HP sometimes be neglectable later on because of your stimpack hordes. I don't find myself blaming Bethesda though. Their last game was severely bullied (Despite being the Game of the Year) due to its difficulty and leveling system. It was inversed: Easy late game, hard early game. So they fixed it, but this has seamed to have sprung up a new issue; it is simply now easy the whole game for every difficulty.
Conclusive Score - 8/10
The game, as a whole, is stunning. With enough focus on the game to back up the eye candy, it really shows off in the market. It could use a few improvements, in the sound and video departments, for example, but is still worth the buy. Its not my call whether or not you should buy it, simply your taste.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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