Review by Soldier_0_Cross
"Well it's about 3 years late...But why not?"
I think it's become a bit of a bad habit of mine that I will often write a review for a game and submit it long after it's release. Sometimes even years, while this has little benefit towards the average person buying the game since most people want early reviews having one come in 3 years late really doesn't help anybody. However that being said it does give me the advantage of completely ignoring any hype or talk a game might be giving out and writing something completely unbiased about a game based entirely on my experience with it long after everyone else has forgot about it.
I got into Fallout 3 on a random whim a couple weeks ago, I was bored and my computer had been spazzing out on me so my time spent on Starcraft 2 was diminishing so I needed something else to do when I had nothing else to do. I had played it a few years back when it first came out and I probably invested about 20 hours into it, In all honesty I wasn't that impressed, it seemed like the kind of game where I had to invest time into and really delve into and when your working at Blockbuster and get free rentals on games, playing any other game that overall feels more relaxing and less demanding just seems more appealing when you have like 5 games on the go. However, those days are long gone, I don't spend much time gaming anymore and usually just play Starcraft 2 to bring out my competitive side for maybe an hour a day. But I decided on this very boring day about 2-3 years after I first picked it up (never finished btw) to try and get back into it. Needless to say I was lost in a world that was seemingly to big for me back then and I had even less direction than I did when I first played it. That was probably my biggest qualm with the game at the time, there was too much I could do, the world was massive and I had the freedom of doing whatever I wanted in it, be it the main storyline, side quests, exploring or anything else I could desire. To a lot of people this sounds ideal, but at the time of my first playing, it was daunting and overwhelming. I wanted direction, I wanted to be told where to go and felt like I wanted a linear game. When the truth is, like I stated earlier, when you have so many games on the go and having a game like Fallout in that bunch, its very hard to really put forth the proper mindset and energy into a game of this type. Anyway, I hop back into my last save and putter around for a bit and end up rushing finishing the main story. At this point I probably would've given my entire impression of the game maybe a 6 or 7 out of 10 at best. It was cool, and even to someone who isn't into these type of games would admit is undeniably well made and put together, in terms of graphics, music, sound and atmosphere the game does certainly deliver. Not to mention the depth of your choices and the amount of things you may do. It's all pretty amazing, without a doubt an in-depth and well made game, but I wasn't entirely sold on it being the 2008 GOTY yet but I decided after having a conversation with a friend of mine about it over 2am Denny's to give it one more play through for the fun of it. And here is when I truly come to respect and enjoy the game that is Fallout 3.
Starting a new game I had a much better understanding of how to build a character, the stats I needed, the perks to take (skills/abilities given upon leveling up) and the amount of game that I never properly experience in my first run through, I think I did like 2 side quests the first time through and I barely explored at all beyond what the main game presented to you simply by following along with it. Given that I really don't buy games anymore or play many at all anymore I had the luxury of focusing myself more into the Wasteland of Fallout 3 and experiencing the entirety of it's world. I took more time to get to know the characters in it as well as the options presented to me to best deal with each sidequest and scenario that is placed in front of you. And like I've mentioned before, the amount of depth is quite amazing, how your relations with certain characters may alter later interactions with other characters and how they treat you. Where each choice you make has an impact on the world around you, it's a pretty cool feeling to have while playing a video game, that my choices matter. Not just in the sense that Do bad things = cops coming but to the extent that each individual choice may affect how certain characters see and look at you.
As I've been taking much more time on this playthrough I've found myself 30 hours in and barely even touching the main storyline yet and don't even know if I will anytime soon, there to much else to do. So much of the map I haven't discovered other quests to do and things to accomplish. At a time where I used to feel overwhelmed and daunted by the vast world laying before me I'm now delving more deeply into and taking time to truly explore the world Bethesda created. It's pretty awesome to say the least.
The actual core gameplay of Fallout would be categorized as a First person adventure RPG. It's presented as a FPS but can be played in 3rd person. I feel reluctant to refer to it as a First person shooter however because it doesn't quite play like one, the controls of your standard shootout are far to clunky and inaccurate to consider it a true FPS, it's an adventure RPG presented in first person view. To remedy the odd controls and aiming the game has an ingame targeting system refers to as VATS that stops time and lets you aim at specific things, it feels fairly broken but the point of fallout isn't really about just fighting and killing things in a skillful way. Nonetheless if you're a straight up shooter fan I wouldn't recommend going for fallout unless you enjoy open ended RPG type games.
One of the things I recall being a more up to debate aspect of Fallout was the atmosphere of the game. Most of the Wasteland looks the same which to be fair can get old after awhile. You see a lot of rocks, broken shacks and cities and a lot of dead trees. The bunkers and inside areas tend to look quite similar as to the train tunnels and most of the locales you can visit. That all being said the true beauty of the atmosphere in Fallout comes from the timeline and pseudo future the world is presented it. The game takes place in the year 2277 but thought of from the mindset of how people in the 1950's saw a future ruined by nuclear war. Thus because of this cars retain a more old school look to them, the music matches the 50's era, Robot's never appear very high tech and in a future destroyed by nuclear war, everything has a very ravaged and destroyed look. It's certainly not Bioshock tier in game atmosphere but it is definetly a well done and interesting one to say the least.
Like I said earlier, you have a lot of options towards how you want to play the game, whether you want to rush the main story, senselessly wander the Wasteland or do side quests is entirely up to you. You can farm for money, go around killing monsters, become terror of the lands and end entire towns, steal and cheat your way through the game or become the savior of any helpless person or town in need. It's entirely up to you and the choices you make each time a person asks for your help affect the way a quest might turn out and subsequently how future quests might play out. The karma system affects how people see you and what they'll expect from you. Although I have the habit of never being able to be completely evil in these games (even If its what I set out to do). I tend to always make more morally righteous choices or at least those more in the gray. Nonetheless, how you play the game is entirely your choice, if you wanna be evil, good or somewhere in between. You can do a bit of each, it's entirely up to you.
With all this being said, my initial reaction and take on Fallout 3 was based on a rush experience. I didn't give the game the proper time it needed to really enjoy it. However after having done that (and still doing so) it really makes me see why Fallout 3 won game of the year and why it has become so acclaimed. It's a wonderfully made game with a huge and expansive world with a deep plot and characters to experience within it. For anyone who's a fan of open ended RPG's or just those who like expansive in depth games in general. It'd be a massive shame if you were to pass up Fallout 3.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/25/11
Game Release: Fallout 3 (US, 10/28/08)
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