The Fallout Saga has a long and venerable history on the PC format, but the latest version- Fallout 3- has controversially stepped over to a console format, prompting gamers to question if this would become Oblivion with guns. The honest answer is that Fallout 3 sets off on its own road through the blasted landscape of a post-nuclear world, while paying the odd cheeky nod to its popular PC predecessors.
Welcome to Vault 101, and don’t forget- You’re S.P.E.C.I.A.L
The game starts off in Vault 101, one of mega-corporation Vault-Tec’s underground bomb shelters. 200 years ago, the world of 2077 was ripped to pieces by a nuclear apocalypse, but your predecessors survived underground and were supposed to inherit the earth. As it is, Vault 101 remains sealed, and your character lives out his or her early life in a series of cutscenes that allow you to mould your character and to choose their individual traits through the S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills tree- a Fallout regular. Then, your dad decides to leave the vault and your quest begins.
The Wasteland- Sandbox Gameplay in the Extreme
Not to give too much plot away, the main aim of the game is to track down ‘dad’ and solve the mystery of his disappearance. The main plot itself is very good and will keep you guessing, but the true star of the show is The Wasteland itself, a massive open area of scattered shanty towns, abandoned futuristic cities and tonnes and tonnes of enemies.
An Open World, but Choose Carefully
As is developer Bethesda’s typical approach to RPG’s, Fallout 3 allows you to do your own thing. You can immediately chase after dad, or you can spend some time exploring the open world of the game. Many different NPC’s (Non Playable Characters) live in The Wasteland, and all kinds of quests are in the offing, from tracking down a wild android to detonating an unexploded atomic bomb.
The important thing that the game asserts is the consequence of your actions- explode that bomb and a city is wiped off the map- along with all of its quests, NPC’s and opportunities to be good or bad- and the ending of the game depends on your choices.
First Person Combat, and the art of Winning Your Way
You will spend a lot of time fighting, so it’s a good thing it’s so much fun. Your character can carry any number of weapons, from a missile launcher to a pistol, and your skills (chosen earlier in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L book) match the way you want to play.
Close combat can feel a bit clunky, but ranged combat is as you would expect from a shooter, with one minor difference- V.A.T.S
V.A.T.S, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System
In Fallout 3 V.A.T.S is essential for your survival. Put simply, it is a tool which allows you to target different parts of an enemies body, and this allows you to creatively close a battle. V.A.T.S also allows you to observe your enemies’ deaths in gruesome, full-on, slow motion, gratuitous animation- hence the game’s 18 rating.
The Wasteland is Full of Bugs
That is not to say that Fallout 3 isn’t flawed. The game is difficult, and the unforgiving controls even more so. Also, the textures warp sometimes, and the game becomes unusually jumpy when a lot is going on at once. NPC’s are also extremely dumb, and will not notice you stealing their stuff from right in front of them from time to time.
But, overall, if you can overlook these minor issues, then Fallout 3 is a good 50+ hours of open world fun.
Good Stuff: Bad Stuff: