Tuesday, April 28, 2009

VIDEO GAMES: Fallout 3 Review

*Posted October 30, 2008*

This review might a be a little premature since I've only played about 10 hours, but it's enough to warrant some comments. Firstly, Fallout 3 is the first Fallout in the series to be made by the folks at Bethesda Software (They made Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion). And for those who think that Fallout 3 is just Oblivion set in a different place with a different story (and with guns instead of swords), they are absolutely right. The setting is a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. in 2270. The U.S. went to war with China and everyone got nuked as a result of it. Now, your character is coming up to the surface for the first time in his life to experience what is left of society. And boy, is society depressing. The radiation has created some big monsters and mutated animals. The old towns are rubble, and the new ones are made up of shacks. There's a lot of gray, and a lot of dark gray, and maybe some brown. It's a far cry from the breathtakingly beautiful visuals of Oblivions. Your character iss searching for his dad, voiced by Liam Neeson, but you can pretty much do whatever. Like Oblivion, the mechanics are the same. Same mapping system, same inventory system, same abilties system, same questing system, etc. etc. Because it's an open world, you can do whatever you want whenever you want. Want to tackle the main storyline right away and find your dad? Go for it. Want to instead go exploring and tackle hundreds of smaller quests first? You got it. Feel like robbing or killing people? Be my guest, but the law still exists. Not only is the order you tackle quests yours to decide, so are the outcomes. The only way you lose is if you die. Anything else is fair game. If your quest is to protect some schmuck and he dies, it's not game over. You simply soldier on and deal with the failure. Obviously you'd probably want to reload your game and beat the quest and get the reward, but you don't have to. One thing that Fallout improves upon is the dialogue. The hundreds of people you encounter have no problem saying "shit" and "fuck," which makes it hilarious. But with everyone you encounter, you can choose to either respond to them in a chivalrous manner ("Yes, I'll gladly help out. You have nothing to worry about"), a shady manner ("Whoa there. Nothing is free. I'll do it if you pay me") or in an asshole manner ("Are you fuckin' kidding me? You're on your own"). And that's really the draw of the game. Be the hero or the villain, and you get to check out some awesome graphics, combat, story, and dialogue along the way. Take the Oblivion mechanics and tailor it to any good story and I'll be happy.


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