Review: Fallout 3

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*pulls out nerdy glasses*

Hmm, zee, you see you're incorrect, manufacturing is still being undertaken, though high-tech manufacturing of things like power armor is only being engaged in by the Enclave and the BoS.

Imitation Saccharin :
*pulls out nerdy glasses*

Hmm, zee, you see you're incorrect, manufacturing is still being undertaken, though high-tech manufacturing of things like power armor is only being engaged in by the Enclave and the BoS.

Point, you.

But even the brotherhood doesn't manufacture bullets. You'd think they, much like the US goverment, would have realized that the person who makes (and sells) the weapons, ultimately, controls how they're used - and against whom. At least in broad strokes.

Russ Pitts:

brotherhood doesn't manufacture bullets.

Because they have energy guns. They manufacture energy weapon ammo (micro fusion cells).

Imitation Saccharin :

Russ Pitts:

brotherhood doesn't manufacture bullets.

Because they have energy guns. They manufacture energy weapon ammo (micro fusion cells).

This is one of those debates I cannot win, isn't it? ;)

Good review. I think you just put the final argument into convincing me to at least try the game (RPG is one of my favourite genre's, but haven't tried any Fallout games before).

You can never win a fanboy debate, Russ. NEVAR!

But yet, manufacturing still goes on amongst certain groups, but they don't share it with outsiders.

Russ Pitts:

oneofm4ny:
Are there quest in the game? If yes what kind of quests? Is the story engaging? Why? How does trading work?

There are quests just like in Oblivion. You have to go find/kill/help someone, etc. You can do them if you want, ignore them if you want. I've been spending my time working on supplemental quests mainly and ignoring the main storyline.

The story is interesting, yes, but for me, Fallout is more about making your own story. Who are you? What are you going to do in this post-apoc world where, literally, anything goes?

Trading works like this: you have something, someone else has something, you trade. Items are assigned a base value in the currency of the realm, bottlecaps. How much you actually get for something you trade depends on your relationship with the trader and your "barter" skill.

I only learned of Fallout with the coverage of F3 here at the Escapist (don't know how it never popped up on my radar back in the day, besides the fact that the computer people I knew were more into RTSes and 'Zines than RPGs), so maybe this question doesn't make sense.

It seems that even though you couldn't *save* the world in the old Fallouts, you could have a massive effect on how the world wound up...configured? at the end. Almost like in Beyond Thunderdome, where those kids think "Captain Walker" will save them and fly them to "Tomorrow-Morrow Land" and everything will be okay and just like it was before, but the reality is there's basically nothing, well, beyond Thunderdome but more desert and more Bartertowns.

However, you could from what I've gathered have an impact on the world, again like Mad Max, where if that was Fallout, it would be a storyline where you can save the kids and Master from Tina Turner if you previously killed Blaster in Thunderdome and you decided to go after them.

Is that what the quests are like in F3? Or are they more like, say, to use a less controversial game than Oblivion, like in KOTOR where the Galaxy at the end really won't look any different if you decide to do the side quests one way or the other or not at all? Or somewhere in the middle?

lol 20 hours and you havent even finished it? Did u dislike this game so much u didnt want to use a quarter of ur work week on it? More like "Early Fallout 3 impressions" amirite

Can't wait till 2moro for this, but I'm not really seeing the attraction of VATS. I'm gonna be fighting for real as much as I can. I was watching a video where a guy used VATS to shoot a super mutant behemoth with a Fat Man. I definetly would have done it in real time.

Russ Pitts:
And besides, there are plenty of reviewers out there who feel they need to make a name for themselves by indiscriminately trashing every game that comes along. If you're looking for negativity, you'll undoubtedly find it. But you won't get it from me about this game. Gears of War 2 maybe, but not Fallout 3.

Yeah, I can't wait to hear Yahtzee's review of this game. Thanks for reminding me, Russ. ;-)

-----

So is it safe to say that if you didn't like Oblivion, you won't like this game? Unfortunately, I hated Oblivion, but I'm hoping Bethesda improved upon their game engine just enough. If not, I'll pass on this game.

I'm getting it this friday and I can't wait. I'm so happy about all the great reviews it gets. The lowest I've seen so far is 8,2 or something. Gametrailers gives it a 9,4 in the video review and it sounds so positive. Exactly how I imagined Fallout 3 to be. I'm a huge TES fan and knowing that Bethesda made Fallout 3, I know I won't be disappointed when I finally get it friday.

I'm so happy right now. =D

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Russ Pitts:

oneofm4ny:
Are there quest in the game? If yes what kind of quests? Is the story engaging? Why? How does trading work?

There are quests just like in Oblivion. You have to go find/kill/help someone, etc. You can do them if you want, ignore them if you want. I've been spending my time working on supplemental quests mainly and ignoring the main storyline.

The story is interesting, yes, but for me, Fallout is more about making your own story. Who are you? What are you going to do in this post-apoc world where, literally, anything goes?

Trading works like this: you have something, someone else has something, you trade. Items are assigned a base value in the currency of the realm, bottlecaps. How much you actually get for something you trade depends on your relationship with the trader and your "barter" skill.

I only learned of Fallout with the coverage of F3 here at the Escapist (don't know how it never popped up on my radar back in the day, besides the fact that the computer people I knew were more into RTSes and 'Zines than RPGs), so maybe this question doesn't make sense.

It seems that even though you couldn't *save* the world in the old Fallouts, you could have a massive effect on how the world wound up...configured? at the end. Almost like in Beyond Thunderdome, where those kids think "Captain Walker" will save them and fly them to "Tomorrow-Morrow Land" and everything will be okay and just like it was before, but the reality is there's basically nothing, well, beyond Thunderdome but more desert and more Bartertowns.

However, you could from what I've gathered have an impact on the world, again like Mad Max, where if that was Fallout, it would be a storyline where you can save the kids and Master from Tina Turner if you previously killed Blaster in Thunderdome and you decided to go after them.

Is that what the quests are like in F3? Or are they more like, say, to use a less controversial game than Oblivion, like in KOTOR where the Galaxy at the end really won't look any different if you decide to do the side quests one way or the other or not at all? Or somewhere in the middle?

Well, in the previous Fallout games, certain sidequests outcomes were mentioned in the ending. I'm pretty sure they said the ending would be comparable to that of the other two Fallouts: A slideshow-ish thing. The biggest part in this ending will of course be your choice of evil, neutral or good (because neutral is definitly a choice too, and that's quite unique because most games don't really support neutral) and how you eventually make your choices in the main quest.

According to the producers, the ending will be dynamically created based directly on how you play the game. The total number of possible ending permutations is on the order of 500 or something like that. It's going to be a while before I can tell you how varied those endings are, but it sounds promising, at least.

Russ Pitts:
According to the producers, the ending will be dynamically created based directly on how you play the game. The total number of possible ending permutations is on the order of 500 or something like that. It's going to be a while before I can tell you how varied those endings are, but it sounds promising, at least.

Exactly.

I remember from Fallout 2 that there were certain 'key quests' that were not directly linked to the main quest, but your choices there were reflected in the end. There's a Gecko Powerplant quest and whatever you do with it is featured in the end, eventhough it's not a main quest thing.

I'm almost getting my hopes up here. Seeing how much I've hated Bethesda's other games, and I've really tried liking them due to the hype, I think I'll be sorely disappointed. 3D action Fallout with flat, monotone characters and clunky interfaces like those of Oblivion sounds ... abhorrent. Like there should be a Concerned Parents' Association against it or something.

I'm not sure I'm willing to pay a non-refundable cool €49 on the off chance it will be good.
If there was only some kind of try-before-you-buy deal ....

bluerahjah:

That he was, I was just hoping that with Bethesda's overhaul, and the fact that Fable II has put so much emphasis on your dog companion, that Dogmeat might be a little more, how do you so, not so much of an idiot.

Would he be a dog then? ;) As much as I like dogs, in the real world, they aren't all that bright ;) Score one for human domestications, I guess.

Dogmeat sorta reminds me of my own dog. Who is very very stupid, so I think I'll enjoy the mutt.

For those with concerns about NPCs and dialog...your concerns are warranted. It's not a game-breaker by any means, but the NPCs do get stuck often. Your own model isn't any better -- I tried using the third-person view and went back after only a couple of minutes. The animation is terrible and the angle is almost vertigo-inducing. Facial animations -- though better than Oblivion -- still look bland and out of sync. The expressions are nothing like the happy/angry extremes you saw in the originals.

Also with the dialog, the options aren't nearly as unique and smartassed as those from the original, but they do have some good variety. You can always give a smartassed remark if you choose, and the additional options based on skills are both useful and risky. Having a diplomatic character could certainly be powerful; I've already encountered a few quests where a sufficient speech skill would have saved me from having to wade into combat. Still, the tongue-in-cheek humor isn't as powerful as it used to be.

I should also mention that I had it crash on me 3 times in the same number of hours. My video card does sometimes cause hiccups after prolonged usage, so I can't pin this on the game. On the upside, the autosaves are performed on a regular basis and at key intervals, never leaving you far from where you started. The game also loads quickly and doesn't make you sit through several minutes of intro screens (like most EA games).

Issues aside, this is an amazing game for several reasons.

I was a fan of the turn-based strategy of the original games, but the new real-time/VATS combat style works very well, perhaps even better. It certainly adds an air of panic to every encounter, while allowing you to use your heroes abilities (rather than your own inabilities) to decide the outcome of combat. And no, not every NPC is out to get you. Creatures aggro like they did in the originals (and then hunt you down!) and only the ruthless NPCs like the Raiders will shoot everything that moves.

The travel mechanism has changed greatly. You no longer click on the map and "walk" to your destination, possibly stopping for a random encounter. Instead, you literally walk across the landscape. This seems slow the first time, but it quickly amounts to both a true feeling of the desolate wasteland and reminds you that you are always vulnerable to attack. Scouring the wastelands reminded me of slinking down a hallway in Resident Evil -- it seems empty, right until the point that a dog jumps at you from out of nowhere.

But don't worry; travel doesn't always have to mean several minutes of walking MMO style. Once you've discovered a place, you can quick-travel to and from it. As far as I can tell, this doesn't result in the potential for random encounters, which is actually kind of nice.

I also haven't noticed much in the way of the extremely fortunate encounters you sometimes had in previous games, though I have wandered into several caravans during my treks; one of which was selling weapons for a fraction of their regular price. Perhaps it's still there, just much more subtle.

This is definitely a non-linear game. Normally I hate those, because I never know where to begin or what to do, but I think Fallout 3 balances this very well. As you talk to people, they may end up asking you to do something for them or mentioning somebody else who needs help. This gives you your quests, which you may or may not finish, as you wish (very few are essential to the main storyline). So far, there are many ways to complete individual quests, and the progression of quests is different enough that you don't get the feeling of being another WoW grind quest. The quest system doesn't hold your hand like Fable II does, but it does give you some subtle clues when you need it. If you were told where to go (as you often are in the beginning), it will be marked on your map. You can use this, or place any marker on your map, and your compass will show you which way to head. Beyond that, finding routes and avoiding encounters is up to you. And you don't always get to know where you're going -- sometimes you need to ask around to get clues.

The Fallout franchise was well-known for their ability to show your continual impact on the world, but most virtual world games miss that mark entirely. Thankfully, Fallout 3 manages to keep up that feeling. NPCs reactions and dialog will change depending on what you've done, who you've talked to, and where you've been. Even Galaxy News Radio gives late-breaking news about you and your father leaving the vault and other such occurrances. It really helps to keep up the realism of the world around you.

Fallout 3 isn't the top-down isometric TBS game that the other Fallout games were, but that style just wouldn't hold water a decade later. Instead, Bethesda has successfully managed to remake the Fallout world, character, and mechanics with more modern interfaces. It's not without bugs, but it faithfully continues the expose of a vault dweller stepping out into the barren wastelands to try and survive. Every RPG fan should try this game and every Fallout fan will certainly want to see it for themselves. It may not be exactly what you remember, but you'll still enjoy playing it for all the same reasons.

I'm a couple of hours in and thoroughly enjoying it so far. I've already made some moral choices that actually make me feel uncomfortable. Good stuff.

I'm sure the folks at NMA will hate it.

Damn it... I so want to get this game now, but for reasons of crop rotations, lunar eclipses, and bloody mindedness, shops in the UK refuse to release games with the rest of Europe on Thursdays.

I played the original Fallout games after there release (I got the atomic pack or whatever it was called, with 1, 2, and Tatics) a fair few years after release, but I always enjoyed them, even replaying it earlier this year. The problem I had with the originals was the bugs, really, which were mannnny!

Anyway... personally, I've never been one to look at an old game and go 'ohhhh, thats perfect'. Everything can be improved, and simply doing Fallout 3 as isometric would have been daff (Although alot of the people at NMA would only have been happy if the game was an exact recreation of Fallout 1 with improved graphics -- seriously, some of them hate Fallout 2 because 'it doesn't feel like Fallout 1')

So, progress ahoy! So long as it doesn't turn into a Deus Ex 2, its all good!

do you have to have dogmeat or he is a choice

hem dazon 90:
do you have to have dogmeat or he is a choice

You can choose to travel with him or not. And even after you adopt him you can send him away, either for his own safety or simply because you're tired of him. You can even send him to fetch stuff for you.

You can also, inadvertently, shoot him with a 9-round burst from a semi-automatic assault rifle and kill him. Found that one out the hard way.

The unofficial "What about Quests?" Answer Anthology:

DYin01:

Well, in the previous Fallout games, certain sidequests outcomes were mentioned in the ending. I'm pretty sure they said the ending would be comparable to that of the other two Fallouts: A slideshow-ish thing. The biggest part in this ending will of course be your choice of evil, neutral or good (because neutral is definitly a choice too, and that's quite unique because most games don't really support neutral) and how you eventually make your choices in the main quest.

Russ Pitts:
According to the producers, the ending will be dynamically created based directly on how you play the game. The total number of possible ending permutations is on the order of 500 or something like that. It's going to be a while before I can tell you how varied those endings are, but it sounds promising, at least.

DYin01:

Russ Pitts:
According to the producers...

Exactly.

I remember from Fallout 2 that there were certain 'key quests' that were not directly linked to the main quest, but your choices there were reflected in the end. There's a Gecko Powerplant quest and whatever you do with it is featured in the end, eventhough it's not a main quest thing.

ReverseEngineered:

The Fallout franchise was well-known for their ability to show your continual impact on the world, but most virtual world games miss that mark entirely. Thankfully, Fallout 3 manages to keep up that feeling. NPCs reactions and dialog will change depending on what you've done, who you've talked to, and where you've been. Even Galaxy News Radio gives late-breaking news about you and your father leaving the vault and other such occurrances. It really helps to keep up the realism of the world around you.

Thanks everybody--the idea that the ending state of the world being more than just sum of your choices in the main quest was the one thing that I heard about from the previous Fallouts (who cares if you can do FPS if VATS is still there, etc.) that I would have 'missed' had it not been in here. Great coverage here on The Escapist of this game over the past year or so--it got me interested, and more importantly, informed!

Try a bit harder on the video supplements, please.

"The world is big. You can shoot stuff real good and it looks kind of neat. THE END."

Uh, OK? You're just forcing everyone looking for an actual critique to read the written review. Unfortunately, even that is nothing but fan-boy ravings, where you reveal as little as possible and the fact you haven't even come close to beating the game. Oh, I get it though. There's like 800 hours of gameplay and over 9,000 endings (different combinations of pictures with voice-overs). Then John Madden comes out of nowhere to give us some interesting insight on the world: "The fact we aren't living in a world eerily similar to Fallout right now is owing to highly improbably acts of sanity on the parts of those with their fingers on the football, and a great deal of luck." DEEP!

Russ Pitts:
He was pretty dumb in the original, too.

"He was pretty dumb in a two-dimensional, isometric game from 1997, too! HAHAHA, CHECK AND MATE, BUDDY!"

Earth Nuggets:

Then John Madden comes out of nowhere to give us some interesting insight on the world: "The fact we aren't living in a world eerily similar to Fallout right now is owing to highly improbably acts of sanity on the parts of those with their fingers on the football, and a great deal of luck." DEEP!

That has nothing to do with John Madden--it's a little, well, deeper than that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Football

Cheeze_Pavilion:
That has nothing to do with John Madden--it's a little, well, deeper than that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Football

GOD DAMN IT!!! I keep screwin' up!

All I can say is "Put down the Naughty Nightwear!"

Awesome review! I'm going to have to get a copy asap. I wonder how such open RPG's could be played on a cell phone? I've been looking at this motorola krave (motorola.com/krave) and would be interested to see how gamplay would function on a flip phone with a touch screen..Only time will tell.

Ajar:
I'm sure the folks at NMA will hate it.

Yeah, and the ones at DAC as well. I mean, I'm not necessarily overjoyed with the change to first-/third-person shooter myself, because I believe that while isometric and two-dimensional systems are best left in the past, and that true turn-based probably wouldn't have worked in any context, that it could have been a free-camera, three-dimensional role-playing game using a modified SPECIAL system.

That said, I'm buying it tomorrow (damn UK release dates!), so the dialogue is still my only real concern - they've shown that they can do combat and style properly at least.

Originally, Fallout 3 didn't seem like much to me. I was a lot more interested in Fable II, but now that I see the way things have turned out, I think I might be getting Fallout 3 instead of Fable II.

Russ Pitts:

Imitation Saccharin :

Russ Pitts:

brotherhood doesn't manufacture bullets.

Because they have energy guns. They manufacture energy weapon ammo (micro fusion cells).

This is one of those debates I cannot win, isn't it? ;)

I'm glad this didn't turn out the way the Halo 3 review did, the way people were arguing how the hell Master Chief survived the crash in the beginning of the game. Quite frankly, that was all that was wriiten about in that thread.

Earth Nuggets:
Try a bit harder on the video supplements, please.

"The world is big. You can shoot stuff real good and it looks kind of neat. THE END."

Uh, OK? You're just forcing everyone looking for an actual critique to read the written review.

Note the now highlighted word. The videos are not meant to replace the reviews. The intended purpose is for you to both read and view.

rayman 101:
Originally, Fallout 3 didn't seem like much to me. I was a lot more interested in Fable II, but now that I see the way things have turned out, I think I might be getting Fallout 3 instead of Fable II.

Nooo! I was like you though. Wasn't interested in Fallout 3 in the least. Now after some reviews and game footage. I've KIND OF changed my mind and decided that I'll eventually get this game and try it out. When? I don't know. Even though I decided this AFTER I got Fable 2, I would have still gotten Fable 2 and you should too. Serious Business going on here.

From where I sit, there are twenty-five minutes until Fallout 3 release. I stood twelve feet from the game boxes at GAME. It was the longest twelve feet away from any computer game that I've ever experienced.

Now, twenty-four minutes.

Im still just pouting that they screwed up the levelling up system. Was one of the major things I liked about Oblivion.
Also I hope the landscape changes later on because I am sick and tired of everything looking exactly the same.
However since it appears to be soo similar to Oblivion hopefully mods will be out for it very soon.

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