Pros-Beautiful adaptation of a classic series of old into a modern age of gaming
-The V.A.T.S system is interesting and unique
-Voice acting is top notch, as well as the other sounds provided in the game
-The world is very large, to say the least.
-Moral choices make the game a deeper experience for most gamers
-The gore is enjoyable
-Ultimately, the general aesthetics of the Fallout 3 world are top notch
Cons-Stiff "acting" on behalf of the character models
-Occasional texture popping
Full ReviewFallout 3 is the work of Bethesda Softworks, the creators of popular role playing games such as The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. In the course of its creation, Fallout 3 was very hyped and constantly discussed by gamers every where. The idea of having an open world role playing game that featured modern weaponry was very exciting. Since its release, many individuals have summed this game up as: "Oblivion with guns!" Needless to say, there is some truth to that statement; however there is far more to this game than meets the eye. Bethesda Softworks is a game developer that is known to constantly push the boundaries of what is possible in a video game world. I remember the first time I played The Eldar Scrolls: Oblivion on the Playstation 3 and how impressed and in awe I was at the sights and sounds provided. Flash forward to Fallout 3, and that excitement is continued and on a larger scale.
Fallout 3 is a video game that is based on the original computer franchise known as Fallout. While many core elements such as perks are available in Fallout 3, many changes are made to the original gameplay. Some fans of the old series were somewhat dissapointed in this move, however this is Bethesda; who is known for pushing their video games to the limit. Gone is the overhead and generally mediocre graphics. The gamer is now submerged into the world of nuclear Fallout, a post apolocolyptic nightmare (or perhaps, fantasy?) in three dimensions. This world is very grim and dark, filled with gory depictions of violence; yet it still on occasion has light hearted moments of black humor to satisfy all of those individuals who love to laugh at the site of bizzar kills and strange little things thrown in by the game developers.
As with any review, I do not plan to spoil the game in terms of it's story or little intricasies; but I will give a general overview. The game begins as your character awakes in Vault 101, an ark of sort where some humans stay in order to be unharmed by the nuclear fallout. After creating your character (either male or female), your father escaped the vault; and you quickly follow hence. From this point on, the world is open to the gamer to do as he or she desires. You have the opportunity to galavant around the world, and even end up in a post-apocolyptic Washington D.C. if you dare. As a surviver of the nuclear fallout, you will be left to fend for yourself amidst mutant humans and insane robots. In time you will find yourself drinking contaminated water, eating meat from animal corpses, and robbing kind citizens who put their trust in you. As far as I am concerned, there is no way to really go wrong with this video game; as it really packs as much as possible into one disk!
One look at any Bethesda Softworks game and you will probably be stunned by just how far they push the graphics system, no matter what video game console they are working on. Oblivion had amazing graphics considering just how vast and intricate the world was. Fallout 3 continues to push the envelope, and makes these graphics even better. The attention to detail in every aspect of the physical world is nothing short of breathtaking. Not only are the graphics rendered at a high quality, but every thing that exists in this world is meant to be. Trees are mangled, much of the water is brown, and the general area is grimy. Move indoors and you will see these buildings cluttered with junk. Dead corpses are found on occasion. Even body armor takes visible damage in time. I feel that the graphics presented in Fallout 3 are top of the line, and fully representative of a post-apocolyptic world.
I only have one real complaint in the graphic department: the stiff "acting" done by the rendered human models. Much like Oblivion, these characters are relatively lifeless (despite the great voice acting done over them). That said, this is a relatively small complaint in comparison to the rest of the graphics department.
The sound is also top notch, to say the least. In many ways it goes hand in hand with the graphics department, in that it is what is put over the physical world. If you are expecting intense musical orchestrations while you fight your way through this world, you are removing yourself from the aspect of realism Bethesda is going for with this video game. In truth, there is not much to be heard aside from the voices of top notch voice actors, and the rustling of the ground beneath your feet. Occasionally you will hear a fifty's era radio song, to break the monotony. In truth, the world sounds like it is a post-apocolyptic nightmare. Imagine the bustling noise of modern day Washington D.C., and to have all of that destroyed and caught in silence of a constant struggle to survive; and you have the Fallout 3 universe.
Fallout 3 is a game created for those hardcore gamers who enjoy role playing games and first person shooters. A unique factor that has always been a part of Bethesda's creations are the need for the player to make moral choices. Often missions are presented that give you the opportunity to reak mass destruction, or take the high road and perhaps give up a bountiful reward. Morality does not stop at the missions, though. You are able to steal and kill anyone you desire. Sure, it is understandable to kill zombies who start attacking you; but is it appropriate to kill individuals in a similar situation to your own? What if killing that person allows you to survive longer? There are many decisions to be made, and I am just scratching the surface. It is intriguing to see how you would react to the world created in Fallout 3. It is humerous to sit by a friend who is an intense pro-lifer, and watch how he is willing to step out of his typical moral code within the context of this destructive society. The game is meant to feel realistic in many ways, and for a lot of people the moral choices are somewhat difficult. Granted after playing so many gory, "blow them up" video games I have been rendered relatively insensative; take another player without all of that background and ask him or her to make a decision quickly and without any doubt. It is a very unique situation, to say the least.
In addition to unique moral choices, Bethesda also developed a new fighting system to coincide with the regular first person shooting view provided in most video games. The V.A.T.S system is able to freeze time and allow the player to selection specific body regions on their enemies and fire away, to frequently gory results. In many ways, this system felt very much like taking traditional role playing elements that are found in games such as Final Fantasy; where the player "takes turns" fighting. While this system is not a turn-based fighting system, it has similar qualities that make it intriguing. I enjoyed this system primarily because of the gory violence that ensues, as well as because I am not forced to use it. In addition to the V.A.T.S system, Fallout 3 features a unique array of weaponry. One of any reviewers favorite weapons is this little catapult that is able to shoot miniature nuclear bombs. It is very unique and fascinating to watch.
Fallout 3 feels much like a living, breathing world. Imagine the world of I Am Legend mixed with a nuclear fallout, and you are left with Fallout 3. And what is the best part? This world is interactive. Instead of being forced to watch Will Smith act like a wooden pole (perhaps this is subjective), the player is able to forge their own story. While there is some degree of linearity when considering the core missions, there are so many other side missions and alternative things you can do in this world that makes it an exciting labryinth to be lost in for hours. The worst part for me in this area is that when the main missions are completed, the game ends; unlike in Oblivion where you can continue to level up your character and do side quests. If I can say anything to someone reading this, take your time and enjoy the ride! This is not a game you need to sit down and attempt to beat in one sitting. Enjoy the aesthetics and the atmosphere provided!
In ClosingFallout 3 is a top notch video game. I feel it really lived up to the hype that surrounded it prior to its release. It is an exciting world and a move forward for the game industry as a whole. I hope to see more video games with a first person shooter element mixed with role playing. This game is available on XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and the PC.