Review by Gridogn

"Who Knew Radiation Could be so Beautiful!"

Vaults, percentages, perks, you might think I'm talking about an investment firm or a bank. Well no, I'm talking about Fallout 3, one of the greatest Action RPGs ever conceived. Is that a bold statement? Yes, it is considering that the genre is massive. Is it a true statement? Well, read my review and you'll find out!

Story: Fallout 3 expands the lore created in the previous Fallout games. Essentially, tension built up around the globe, and a nuclear war erupted. In the span of two hours, the entire planet was left in ruins. Very few survived above ground, but there were a select few that were left un-scarred by the war. These were the ones that were sealed in one of the handful of underground “vaults” which were designed to preserve mankind in the event of a fallout.

The game begins roughly 200 years following the war. In the game, you, your character, starts life in one of these vaults. All is well for eighteen years, but, at the age of nineteen, your dad, your only surviving family member, suddenly flees the vault. This angers the Overseer, as the vault door is never to be opened.

Obviously, staying in the vault alone doesn't sound desirable, so you have no other option but to pursue your father. Naturally, you are met with some opposition by the Overseer and his guards while trying to open the vault door, but eventually you finally escape. And after fleeing, there you are, staring at what is left of Washington DC. Where you go in this desolate wasteland is up to you. However, you do know that finding your father is a priority. This is where the story begins.

Story: 9.2/10

Graphics: Fallout 3 has a beautiful environment, and the citizens populating the land are elegantly deigned as well. When take your first glance the Capital Wasteland, you'll genuinely feel as if though you are peering into what a futuristic nuclear war would do to our planet. The desolate rolling hills, the ravaged buildings, the polluted water, they're all top notch in design and invoke a post-apocalyptic vibe.

The NPCS in the game are well designed too, with the unique ones on the border line of realistic looking. The NPCS that use recycled bipeds (which means that another character can look like them) aren't as realistic, but that's excusable factoring in the shear amount of NPCS in the game.

What is executed poorly however is the animation of the NPCS. Talking to humans in this game is akin to talking to a statue with moving lips. The animation is really stiff. While the NPCS may have stiff animation, the numerous foes you'll encounter do behave rather fluidly, and authentically move like how you'd expect them too.

For a game that's not primarily focused on being eye candy, Fallout 3 does deliver in the graphical department. If you want to see what a nuclear war would do to a play ground, you don't have to wait until the third world war, just go get Fallout 3!

Graphics: 9/10

Sound: Fallout 3 does something unique. While it is set in the future, it incorporates themes from the mid twentieth century. So, the game contains many songs you can access through your in game radio that are from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. While this may sound awkward at first, killing mutants with Louis Armstrong in the background is surprisingly soothing!

However, the game isn't entirely composed of 50s music. If you turn off your radio at night while crossing the wastelands, you can hear a soothing tune that matches the starry sky. Also, when trying to sneak by enemies, a suspenseful tune will begin to play that invokes a sense of danger. The actual sounds are well done too. Each weapon you fire sounds like it should. Heck, even the laser riffle sounds realistic!

Sound: 9.6/10

Game play: When one mentions game play in a game that involves guns, you imagine a title that's 95% full of explosions, and 5% full of loading times. While Fallout 3 does keep the heft loading times, it doesn't focus on the explosions.

Let's get this straight right now. Fallout 3 is not a first person shooter. Fallout 3 is not a third person shooter. Fallout 3 is an action RPG. When buying this game, don't expect Gears of War 2 combat situations. Fallout 3 tends to focus more on exploring the environment, developing characters, and immersing the player into it's world. That's not to say that the combat segments of the game aren't great, they're just different than what you'd encounter in an FPS.

First off, let's discuss what the combat is like. While manually firing your weapon in the game is possible, it's not a legitimate way to play Fallout. Aiming your weapon is difficult, and chances are you'll take a beating in the mean while. Manual fire is more of a back-up function (more on that later). Instead, Fallout 3 allows you to pause time and activate V.A.T.S ( the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). While doing this, you can freely aim at any enemy in your vicinity, and at any of their body parts. You can target a foes head for extra damage, or you can aim at their legs to cripple them and impair their movement. It's an extremely tactical and rewarding mechanic. You are restricted by Action Points while using V.A.T.S however, and when they're depleted, you won't be able to attack in V.A.T.S until they regenerate. This is when manual fire comes into play.

As you can see, the combat is unique and intriguing. But, that's not the hook of Fallout 3. The draw of the game is that you can play it practically any way you want! When talking to a character, you can select different responses, and that affects your relationship with that person. When faced with a dilemma, you can solve it with violence, or attempt to act with reason. Your actions can drastically change the out come of many events and how characters react towards you. Should you be caught killing an innocent person for their loot, expect a negative persona. Should you rescue captives from a slave camp, expect praise wherever you go. Unlike many other games that fail to make a substantial distinction between good and evil character development (**cough** Fable 2 cough**), Fallout 3 will authentically make you feel like either a hell raiser or a saint.

Game play: 9.8/10

Conclusion: Fallout 3, to put it simply, is the game of the year in 2008. It sucks you in to it's wasteland, and every action you make has a drastic impact on how the game unfolds. If you haven't bought Fallout 3 yet, I demand that you go purchase it now!

Overall: 10/10 (not an average)

NOTE: Fallout 3 is available on the PS3, PC and XBOX 360. I advise that you do NOT purchase the game for the PS3 as that version will not have expansion packs available for it. These expansion packs look stunning, and are definitely worth it. If you only own a PS3, do not be hesitant to buy it for the PS3 as the game is just as good.

If you have a PC that is capable of playing high end games, I definitely recommend Fallout 3 for the PC. The graphic textures are far more superior, and you can download other player created levels and modifications. However, if your PC isn't high end, and you have an XBOX 360, I suggest you buy it for the 360 so you don't suffer the loading times and reduced graphics of a low end PC.

So here's the list:

-If you have a high end PC, get it for the PC.
-If you have low end PC, and an XBOX 360 and PS3, get it for the 360.
-If you only have a PS3, don't be hesitant, the game is still worth it!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/26/09

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

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