(After reading): Do you like this review? Note: I'm only doing this because you folks don't seem to post on reviews much, and in order to improve my work, I need comments! I hope to see a post for every "no" answer, so I can improve my work here. Pretty
Yes, it was good.
82.8% (53)
82.8% (53)
No, it was bad for some reason. I've posted why, otherwise flaming demon squirrels will come and kill me in my sleep.
14.1% (9)
14.1% (9)
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Poll: 3 ways to survive nuclear Fallout: a review by scotth266

I bought Fallout 3 not expecting much, to be honest. I had heard positive things about it from all my peers, and professional opinions seemed to all be in favor of Bethesda's latest 1st-person RPG, but I was still quite wary. You see, all these people had also recommended The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to me, a game which I DO NOT LIKE.

Oh gods, what sort of forum spam have I induced by saying that forbidden phrase.

I won't justify myself by saying why I dislike Oblivion: this isn't a review of it. I just thought you might all want to know that I went into this game feeling a little biased against it, which makes the result all the more spectacular. Several folks have made the ever-popular argument "this game is a re-skinned version of X", with the X in this case being Bethesda's previous adventure. Honestly, I think that it should be the other way around: because Fallout 3 is better.


image

Quit copying me! Quit copying me! Stop it! Stop it! Seriously! Seriously! I'm a donkey porker! Wait, what did you just say?!?

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Fallout 3 takes place in a post-nuclear war Washington. You grow up inside a Vault (essentially one of several safes that people bought space inside of pre-war in order to survive this sort of situation). Your scientist/doctor dad breaks out of the Vault, causing all sorts of chaos, so you get the boot and have to go find him to figure out what's going on. The rest of the main story is good enough to keep you playing through it, but you'll likely drop it in favor of the many other side quests that will frequently pop up, because they are far more interesting and unique.

The post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. that Bethesda has created is a varied and interesting one. The only real complaint I ever had was with the subways: they're all very similar, to the point where one wonders if they just ran out of level design funds and wound up copy/pasting the first three they made to make the rest. The outside locales are all very individual though, and seeing the ruined remnants of D.C. landmarks pop up is a bone-chillingly awesome feeling. It's even better when you charge some of the monuments to claim them: battles focused in and around the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol building are riveting. The game's 50's soundtrack on the in-game radio does wonders to add to the atmosphere: every time the song "Butcher Pete" came on I would tone done all the other audio to listen to it. Rushing a small group of raiders, armed with a chainsaw and that song, is truly a satisfying and bloody experience.


image

He looks angry. Maybe because I killed a load of his buddies with a mini-nuke. Life's funny like that.

The gameplay in Fallout 3 is a refinement of Oblivion's. The combat is essentially the same, though the game focuses on different aspects. Players trying to range in Oblivion had a harder time of it: the game's combat seemed to be geared to give melee players the advantage. Here, it's the reverse: ranged players have an easy time of it, while the melee players get a real challenge. However, players attempting to build a radioactive boxer will be very disappointed: fisticuff weapons are too few/far between, and too weak to bother even considering. There is another big problem with the combat system: VATS. VATS essentially pauses the action and lets you shoot/hit the enemy in a specific body part. This would be a nice feature if managed properly, but the system is too easy to abuse, and the only thing worth aiming for 95% of the time is the head. That isn't to say VATS by itself isn't fun: watching your foe's head explode or get ripped off their body never gets old. It's just that it makes the game far too easy to be comfortable with.

The leveling system is done in the style of Mass Effect: you have a certain number of points every level that you stick into skills to make them more powerful. It's a vast improvement on Oblivion: you no longer need a flow chart and day planner to maximize your power. Some of the skills are a bit useless past a certain level though, such as speech and explosives. After you level your skills, you get to choose a Perk: some level skills further, others grant new abilities. It gives a greater sense of character customization, and some of the powers you can get are fun enough to get you to pick them over more useful skills (the one that ups the gore level being a fine example.) The only issue with it is the low level limit, which is easily fixed if you have the PC version through a developer code. Console owners get screwed though: you can reach level 20 pretty quickly, and then the party's over for powering up.

While I like the improvements to the leveling system, the karma system the game implements is ridiculous. I played as the kleptomaniac hero of the land, saving everyone who came across my path, and then stealing everything off them that I could. It led to the extremely silly scenario that I was a savior of the wastes, but was sitting on a house filled with all the stolen goods of every single person I had saved. Pretty much the only places I hadn't robbed were the ones that required the lockpick skill to be maxed out, and that's only because I hit the max level before I could get enough points in it. The only two things that the karma system affects anyway are the game's ending, and which people will join you on your quest (a part of the game I haven't tested, due mainly to the thought that something like this might happen, and that I work alone anyway.) So in the end, the whole deal winds up being little more than an annoying reminder that you're doing something bad.


image

Pfffft. Who cares that I just lost karma? It's not like I did anything REALLY bad....

In the end though, Fallout 3 comes with my highest recommendations. Its flaws are drowned out in the end by good presentation and gameplay. For the shooter fans, it's a nice intro to RPGs, and for the RPG fans, it's deep enough to keep you playing. If you intend to complete the game 100%, there's up to 90 hours worth of stuff to do. I would recommend the PC version over all the others for one simple reason: you can mod it/use developer codes to change parts of the game (raising the max level, for instance). However, those who prefer consoles will find just as much bang for their buck. My advice to you? Go buy it now, or at least rent it if you're on the fence.

A little note: I'm probably going to start doing reviews on a weekly sort of basis here. Not that it will always be videogames. Variety being the spice of life and all. Also, I don't have flaming demon squirrels. Just an ordinary team of crack sniper squirrels.

EDIT: The poll above was supposed to say "Pretty please?" at the end, but the silly thing didn't register the whole sentence. Boooooo.

EDITORS EDIT: Redid this review with center. Looks much more badass now.

TRIPLE EDIT: Since this review was made before I had a previous reviews section, please look for my Braid review if you want to read them. I'll put them in, but give me some time ok? :D

I found unarmed combat worked really well if you leveled it up properly(and found the named power fist). By the end of the game I was punching Yuo-Gai, Deathclaws and Enclave Soldiers to death with no problem and with the perk that recharged your action points if you killed someone I was just charging into a group on enemies and entering VATS mode. Even if I failed to get a kill I still got the stun on hit benefit.

BTW, I also hated Oblivion. It was like an MMO with only one player, annoying mini-games, poor writing, bad gameplay and way too much bloom.

I liked Fallout 3 a lot. However I did find oblivion a little more fun, mostly due to the fact that dunning around shanking people in stealth mode is very satisfying. You seemed to make this to compare to Oblivion yet you talked about Oblivion very little, just some advice.

Rather than VATS being the real game-breaker here, I'd say it's the stealth. It's possible to kill pretty much anything on normal with a single headshot with a hunting rifle while [HIDDEN]... makes the combat kinda uninteresting if you're playing a sneaky bastard assassin type, which is always my preferred mode of gameplay.

Imna Lias:
I found unarmed combat worked really well if you leveled it up properly(and found the named power fist). By the end of the game I was punching Yuo-Gai, Deathclaws and Enclave Soldiers to death with no problem and with the perk that recharged your action points if you killed someone I was just charging into a group on enemies and entering VATS mode. Even if I failed to get a kill I still got the stun on hit benefit.

Meh, I just found the whole thing to be very underpowered in comparison to other stuff. It's not like it's COMPLETELY unusable, it's just silly to try when guns do so much more damage.... Punching in this game is something you do for entertainment value. You can build a character of this type, but it's the least supported style of combat.

pantsoffdanceoff:
I liked Fallout 3 a lot. However I did find oblivion a little more fun, mostly due to the fact that dunning around shanking people in stealth mode is very satisfying. You seemed to make this to compare to Oblivion yet you talked about Oblivion very little, just some advice.

I only mentioned Oblivion when talking about the combat differences and the leveling system. The reason I did so is that some folks seem hell-bent on comparing this game to it's (sort-of) predecessor, so I thought it wise to compare the two on gameplay alone, and leave out Oblivion otherwise to focus on the game at hand. I just wanted to show people that the two games are VERY different in the gameplay, and that I think Fallout 3's way of doing things is better. And try the Sandman perk, it sounds up your alley.

GRoXERs:
Rather than VATS being the real game-breaker here, I'd say it's the stealth. It's possible to kill pretty much anything on normal with a single headshot with a hunting rifle while [HIDDEN]... makes the combat kinda uninteresting if you're playing a sneaky bastard assassin type, which is always my preferred mode of gameplay.

Really? I thought that was what you assassin-types liked: killing people quickly and silently. It does make it a little too easy to kill enemies, but I only used stealth when stealing stuff, so I didn't notice as much, and as such didn't impact my experience greatly. I guess it can be argued that it cheapens the experience, but to be a real assassin you have to go melee anyway, which ups the challenge quite a bit, what with the AI's love of random movement.

Bit of a note here: C'mon? 58 views and 7 votes/ 3 posts as to whether or not it's good at all? I wanted to make it a quick thing, so I stuck the poll in there for people who don't like to make samey comments, but in the end it seems to have been futile. Guess that I'll have to think of some other way to get feedback.

scotth266:
snip

I did have sandman and it was loads of fun. The only problem is that supermutants don't sleep. But since my stealth character was McEvil von Douschebag I got to kill a lot of civilians with it.

Very entertaning. Have you tried Morrowind?

Griever18:
Very entertaning. Have you tried Morrowind?

No. PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!

It's actually on my "to-do" list. Right behind all the other stuff I have to play and review. I've been told it's a much more creative game than Oblivion, and that intruiges me greatly.

scotth266:

Griever18:
Very entertaning. Have you tried Morrowind?

No. PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!

It's actually on my "to-do" list. Right behind all the other stuff I have to play and review. I've been told it's a much more creative game than Oblivion, and that intruiges me greatly.

It's good. Try to find a game of the year edition. It has Morrowind and both the expansions.

nice review, agreed with most of what you had to say. i found the karma system to be more of a moral compass than anything. i did the same as you did in fallout but in oblivion, you know stealing everything from everyone (then again there was the thieves guild to justify it) but in fallout i found i was a rather decent soul.

Griever18:

It's good. Try to find a game of the year edition. It has Morrowind and both the expansions.

I always try to grab the most complete versions of the games I play/review, so I'll take that advice.

grayishfox:
nice review, agreed with most of what you had to say. i found the karma system to be more of a moral compass than anything. i did the same as you did in fallout but in oblivion, you know stealing everything from everyone (then again there was the thieves guild to justify it) but in fallout i found i was a rather decent soul.

I normally play the goody-two-shoes in games, but I wanted to push the limits in FO3. Unfortunately, it's not very inspiring to be evil: heck, almost all of the good rewards feel better in comparison. Also, when I can steal from hobos AND NOT be evil, something has gone a little wonky :D

scotth266:

grayishfox:
nice review, agreed with most of what you had to say. i found the karma system to be more of a moral compass than anything. i did the same as you did in fallout but in oblivion, you know stealing everything from everyone (then again there was the thieves guild to justify it) but in fallout i found i was a rather decent soul.

I normally play the goody-two-shoes in games, but I wanted to push the limits in FO3. Unfortunately, it's not very inspiring to be evil: heck, almost all of the good rewards feel better in comparison. Also, when I can steal from hobos AND NOT be evil, something has gone a little wonky :D

it appears the people at bethesda have some prejudices against the homeless :P

grayishfox:

it appears the people at bethesda have some prejudices against the homeless :P

I can see Bethesda teaching an ethics class:

"And remember kids: no day is complete without stealing the clothes off a hobo, and then saving him from a super mutant."

scotth266:
snip

Great review of a great game!

It was an interesting and funny read.

scotth266:

Griever18:
Very entertaning. Have you tried Morrowind?

No. PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!

It's actually on my "to-do" list. Right behind all the other stuff I have to play and review. I've been told it's a much more creative game than Oblivion, and that intruiges me greatly.

The leveling system is the same as Oblivion. Thought you should know, since you didn't like Oblivion's system. Its certainly slower to progress in skill levels unless you pay for training. Also, note that magic doesn't regenerate constantly. So you can't spam healing spells.

scotth266:
Pretty much the only places I hadn't robbed were the ones that required the lockpick skill to be maxed out, and that's only because I hit the max level before I could get enough points in it.

One of my problems with Fallout is that you can miss out on parts of the game due to stuff like this. It seems open with your use of skill points, but then pretty much requires you to put points into certain skills. 30 Explosives for the bomb in Megaton, etc.

the game was soooo bad, it flips a finger at experienced RPG players and have some really annoying features (VAT sniper scopes 4 one), your review style in itself is not flawed you are joust wrong =)
If you are stupid enough to do some side quests you'll find that you hit the lvl cap before your half way, the money is about as useful as gold in D2, since the boblehead and books don't boost you if you have maxed a particular skill anyone who tries to think when they create their character gets punished for having minmaxed with no chance to amend other than restart the game or cheat. Other than that it's preachy and pretends to be something it's not (unique and original).
I had to burn my copy of the game after having finished it so maybe now there have been lots of mods and patches and whatnot that addmitedly did a lot for Morrowind back in the day but bottom line is that Morrowind was good before expansions and patches and this game is not.

Lastly i would like to point to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlOXAtPvMDk and say that Fallout 3 suffers from the problem/choice issue brought up in the video.
*edit: As an example blowing up megaton, fun as it may be if you do not do it after you have completed most of the quests in megaton and found the boblehead it will reward you with far less than blowing it up, you might still say "but its fun to blow it up so screw the reward" and while you are allowed to chose this it does make your character weaker, now the game was so easy so it doesn't matter that much but still it's a problem not a choice.

Xvito:

It was an interesting and funny read.

Why thank you!

The66Monkey:
the game was soooo bad, it flips a finger at experienced RPG players and have some really annoying features (VAT sniper scopes 4 one), your review style in itself is not flawed you are joust wrong =)

If you are stupid enough to do some side quests you'll find that you hit the lvl cap before your half way, the money is about as useful as gold in D2, since the boblehead and books don't boost you if you have maxed a particular skill anyone who tries to think when they create their character gets punished for having minmaxed with no chance to amend other than restart the game or cheat. Other than that it's preachy and pretends to be something it's not (unique and original).

Snip on mods.

Snip on Megaton.

Well, I have to say I've played quite a few RPGs in my time, and don't feel too insulted by this game. Sure, it's simpler than most, but some RPGs are WAY too complicated.

And to be honest, if you played the main quest by itself you'd be done in no time. I didn't: I wanted to undertake ALL the sidequests first. So of course I hit the max level before getting halfway through the game, as I didn't play more than a quarter till I'd done everything else. If you mean percentage wise, then yes, you do hit the max level fairly quickly: depending on your difficulty setting. Sounds like you need to up it some more, as this game was a breeze for you. As for being unique and individual, I'd say that its way different from Oblivion, and has its own charm.

Mods: I never mention these unless they are incredibly significant (the game is unplayable w/o them, or there are A TON of them).

Megaton: Yes, blowing it up prematurely loses you a lot of stuff. Of course it would. That's why if you want to be evil, you have to be Moriarty: plotting their downfall while helping them out is as Moriarty as you can get.

But on a problem/choice scale: it is a choice, as long as you do all the Megaton quests beforehand, as that means you still get paid for finishing the mission, and also the benefit of blowing the place to smoldering bits. That isn't a good example of choices: a better one would be ME, as one of the final sequences of the game features one of the best choices seen in years.

Onyx Oblivion:

The leveling system is the same as Oblivion. Thought you should know, since you didn't like Oblivion's system. Its certainly slower to progress in skill levels unless you pay for training. Also, note that magic doesn't regenerate constantly. So you can't spam healing spells.

One of my problems with Fallout is that you can miss out on parts of the game due to stuff like this. It seems open with your use of skill points, but then pretty much requires you to put points into certain skills. 30 Explosives for the bomb in Megaton, etc.

Grrr.... well that will certainly hamper any joy I derive from that game.

And yes, that is quite irritating. I wound up with a guy that could open anything with a lock on it, but couldn't hack for a dime.

Great review! I agree on the subway thing. It seems very copy/pasted. The only game, I remember, that did copy/pasting worse was Mass Effect. It ruined a bit of the side-quests for me, but still, it was a good game.
And it seems we both share a dislike for Oblivion :P

Snuggle:
Great review! I agree on the subway thing. It seems very copy/pasted. The only game, I remember, that did copy/pasting worse was Mass Effect. It ruined a bit of the side-quests for me, but still, it was a good game.
And it seems we both share a dislike for Oblivion :P

Yes, we do. ME did indeed suffer from the copypasta non-story planets. Urgh... If I have to run through ONE MORE CRAMPED HALLWAY I'm gonna start whupping some level designer with a guitar.

The only thing I don't understand is when people complain about the sameyness of the subway stations.

Granted I haven't been to many subway stations in my life, but all the ones I have been to looked pretty damn similar.

Other than that, good review :)

Amarok:
The only thing I don't understand is when people complain about the sameyness of the subway stations.

Granted I haven't been to many subway stations in my life, but all the ones I have been to looked pretty damn similar.

Other than that, good review :)

Its just lazy design. The same way all caverns were the same in Oblivion.

oliveira8:

Amarok:
The only thing I don't understand is when people complain about the sameyness of the subway stations.

Granted I haven't been to many subway stations in my life, but all the ones I have been to looked pretty damn similar.

Other than that, good review :)

Its just lazy design. The same way all caverns were the same in Oblivion.

Seconded. Quit being lazy devs! Grrr... there's no reason that there couldn't have been a little more care put into it. It would have made the game that much better.

Great review, that was easy(and fun) to read.

I agree with the statement that Fallout 3 is better than Oblivion, and that the games are quite different(i.e. Fallout 3 is NOT just a re-skinned Oblivion with guns). But I felt that it was to few quest in the game overall. There were like 10 main quests and another 10 or so side quests, and neither of the quests took that long, really. Not to say that I think it lacked content(I made 3 characters, each with more than 40 hours of gameplay), but unless you wanted to explore the Wasteland without any real reason, you wouldn't get a very long game.

But then again, Oblivion had a lot of quests, but they were often repetitive or grind-ish, so maybe it was for the better...

scotth266:
Grrr.... well that will certainly hamper any joy I derive from that game.

The principle is the same, but it turns out to work quite differently.

Due to the lack of scaled enemies, you can simply level how you want (powerleveling is still optional, just not required if you want to have a decent character). It really works out well with Morrowind because of this; even if you level in all non-combat skills you can still use lower level enemies to get your combat ones up later without getting your ass kicked by a random bandit in glass armor.

The weapon selection is also a lot more diverse. Don't be fooled by the stats - weapons have different ranges and other unmarked values that make all the difference. Spears don't suck because of the long reach, throwing weapons don't suck because they tend to stagger and you can throw them insanely fast, so don't overlook those if you're going down that path.

I hated Oblivion, I probably logged over 200 hours on Morrowind. That should tell you something.

 

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