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Author Topic: Fallout 3 Review  (Read 7963 times)

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Offline ZKTopic starter

Fallout 3 Review
« on: October 31, 2008, 01:57:47 AM »
Publisher:  Bethesda Softworks (ZeniMax Media)
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: XBOX 360, PC, PlayStation 3
Genre: Post Apocalyptic 1st/3rd Person RPG
Suggested Retail: $49.99 USD (PC), $59.99 USD (360 & PS3)
Platform Reviewed: XBOX 360 (Note: PC and 360 versions are identical; PC version even has Achievements)

"War, War Never Changes..." Fallout 3 is a part of a running series of Post Apocalyptic consisting of two fellow titles named Fallout and Fallout 2, as well as two non-canon spin-off titles both named Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. And this edition is no slouch, having returned back to the main-front of canon story, but this time, not by Interplay or Black Ilse, no, another company is at the helm of this grand, dark adventure; Bethesda Softworks! The makers of the long running The Elder Scrolls series and a few other free roaming titles, such as Pirates of the Caribbean (not to be confused with the film game, that's utter rubbish). The take on this title continues the time-line  (and the story from Fallout 2 sort of; there are key hints and so on of events that transpired in Fallout 2) by advancing it three decades and giving it a new local. No longer in glowing Cali, but across the entire country over to that of DC, now called "The Capital Wasteland".

Story:

Now like other reviewers, I won't spoil the back-story, but tell of the prologue. You're born in Vault 101, the Vault that has been permanently sealed from the outside world, as they say, You're Born in the Vault, You Die in the Vault. Well, as that turns out, that isn't completely true, due to the protagonist's father decided to abandon ship and escape Vault 101 and it's your duty (or forced duty) to go after him. What you do about that? Well, that's up to you once you hit the Wasteland. Every action has consequences in the long run be it Karma hits or grand scales as the fate of entire towns, the game feels far more alive then other titles that attempt at such. This has been the best move for Bethesda in terms of storytelling, they are quite capable of capturing the essence of the Fallout universe and keep it held together, from the 50s Super Science Utopia turned Wasteland Nightmare theme to that of character interaction and story progression.

The only time it feels like it falls apart at random moments is interaction between the characters and not you. It's a mixed bag of treats and candy you don't like which gives some of the NPCs some rather awkward moments, but far from the same rhetoric that you've seen in Oblivion and other titles if you've played any Bethesda Softworks titles. So, with the small talk, it's a mixed bag, but not much to complain about. Now as to plot progression, it's a free-form title as were the TES series and the previous Fallout titles, but the gravity of your actions feel suitable right to the end of the game, much more then TES IV: Oblivion or Fable II for example. Like the other Fallout titles, it is also possible to "break" the main quest, ending the game prematurely and giving you a peculiar ending all right, which in it's own right is awesome. As said with that, the story is solid and keep you interested in the game be it the main quest chain or the many sub-quest chains.

The game is broken down into three forms of quest chains: Main Quest, Miscellaneous Quests (or town/city quests as I like to call them) and Free-Form Quests like TES IV: Oblivion. Now, the game doesn't have as many Miscellaneous Quests that TES IV had as it's more central based about towns and areas then actual "Go and do so and so" and each one feels unique for the scenario even if they have similar objectives in mind. Free-Form Quests are triple the amount as TES IV and split into three forms. Kill Quests, Collection Quests and the most fun, Exploration Quests; each suitable for the area, many with it's own story and fitting for Fallout. There is a lot to do in the game and some things cannot be completed due to your Karma alignment. I've spent over thirty hours in the game already and tackled two Main Quest chains and Two Miscellaneous chains, the rest of the time was done doing the various Free-Form Quests and exploration. The dark off-the-wall humor has taken a back-seat in this title, yet it has returned in a few random encounters (but not as bizarre) but it is retained in the gritty story and irony of many situations.

Gameplay:

Before people say it's Oblivion With Guns, as I have also made some similarities to Oblivion, it isn't. The combat mechanics feel a lot different, same with the system and how everything is handled. Combat-wise, the game is fun in both real-time and in V.A.T.S. which feels suitable for the dangers of the game. The game shines in V.A.T.S. more then anything, even there is a Perk called Mysterious Stranger where said stranger comes up in the midst of a V.A.T.S. session and finishes off your opponent, your own guardian angel.

Now on to the actual application of V.A.T.S., what it does is pauses the carnage and allows you to target specific body parts of the body of said nasty (or good-guy if you're being evil) and the percentage of it is to hit said limb and even their weapon (if they have one), change between multiple enemies and tally up "who to shoot and where" which the game reuses the AP system to tally and even brings up the familiar combat tally sounds you heard from previous titles.

 The outward results is fantastic as it plays out in slow motion of your actions. Many critical shots will follow the bullet to the enemy and you get to see them gib, fry, melt in slow motion and that never gets old as it gives it a cinematic feel to combat actions. Sometimes you see your protagonist scowling in third person, unloading a barrage of assault rifle fire into the gut of a Super Mutant that is trying to make you swish cheese with his chaingun as you watch his bullets fly by you and yours connect with him, sending him flying backwards, dropping his gun as his body goes ragdoll in slow-motion with blood spraying out. Utterly satisfying. Another use for V.A.T.S. I would say, would be as a scouting scope for baddies way out there as it zooms in on them.

V.A.T.S. isn't only used for ranged combat, but also close range and melee combat as well. Nothing more satisfying then seeing and hearing an unlucky Raider taking a baseball bat to the skull only to hear it crack to the sound and their body goes flying to the side to it. Real time combat although as what one would expect from a first person and third person shooter with hand to hand. Nothing spectacular and surely nothing bland; it works. There is limb damage and it simulates in game quite well. Crippling the legs of a Raider will cause them to move slowly, drag their broken limbs and so on. Extensive damage to said crippled appendage will destroy the limb, usually by forcible amputation in a gory fashion. Now, in saying that, the same damage can extend to you. Crippling limbs can give you great advantages when you're not on the receiving end, luckily you can heal individual body parts to restore vitality (temporarily) back to your crippled limbs (it is possible to have max health, but badly damaged limbs) which can only be fully recooped with a trip to the doctor or a nice night's rest (which also gives you a boost on performance with combat and social interactions).

Weapons and Armor (as well as clothes) degrade after usage and do need periodic maintenance which gives the game of a more survival feel to it. Armor only degrades if you're consistently trying to soak up damage like a sponge and thus lose their bonuses and armor potency. Weapons degrade faster with repeated usage and if you manage to get hit with damage that is in a splash measure or getting smacked by a giant melee weapon. Guns lose their damaging potency and prone to jam, causing your character to have to a longer reloading animation. Now they don't degrade inhumanly fast like System Shock II, but they do inf act degrade that you have to repair or salvage other types of similar gear and repair your own things to keep them in working condition. A nice balance to keep things tactical and on edge as apposed of going in with your 10MM Submachine Gun and unload five hundred rounds with no degradation to your weapon as if your weapon was made out of an indestructible metal.

Another thing, aside from health you have to worry about, you also have to take care of Radiation. The higher it goes, the more prone you are to sickness and other bad things. As with gear degradation, this only truly hampers you if you try to take Rambo everything and trudge through the wastelands kamikaze style. Some areas give you rads, eating radiated food and drinking radiated liquids obviously gives you rads. Luckily, there is Rad-X, RadAway and of course nifty perks to lower your radiation level.

The system used in the game isn't of Bethesda's own work, instead they reuse the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system from the previous Fallout titles and it works in this as well. Although they have modified it to suit a more realistic approach. The system tends to go on a scale of 1-100 instead of 1-300 and Tag Skills only give a 25+ boost at start with said skill, instead of that and a x3% with each skill point spent at each level up. As the max level is now 20, you get a Perk at every level, a new Chain of Perks at each even level. They've done away with Traits and instead added many of them as Perks either you can get if you meet the requisites when leveling up or by doing specific Miscellaneous Quests and it offers a Perk as a reward.

The PipBoy 3000 works wonders, it allows you to see the health, what weight you're carrying, a world map, a mini-map that you've explored, your inventory, quest chains and even radio stations. The inventory system is easier to navigate as it has things separated by types and gear with degradation of the same (like two assault rifles), the most serviceable one is on top.

Social interactions as what you'd expect from both Fallout AND TES series. Many offer three or more (sometimes seven or more if they have Stats in the picture) and various have what are called "Speech Challenges" to talk your way out of (or in to) situations to your best advantage; although failing these have consequences, be it large or small.

A nice well-rounded bit of both action and social interaction comes to be.

Controls:

The controls are tight on the PC and XBOX 360; I would believe as well on the PS3. The buttons are responsive as they should be and easy to use and only a few buttons have more then one action mapped to them. The only thing I've noticed is that jumping at times can be problematic, as it sometimes doesn't want to respond to your press and you just stand there or worse, run off a cliff. Aside from that, it's quite top notch. The game can be played easily in third person as it can first person and the controls adjust to the change of the camera, which is nice.

Sound:

The sound has increased, the music is suitable from the dramatic combat music, the exploration music of the Wasteland to that of the 50s music crackling over the radio-stations and the propaganda on others. The voice cast has increased considerably in comparison to TES IV, so recycled voices are varied and usually only seen in generic enemy variety (as they should be). No complaints here at all.

Graphics:

As it uses the same engine as the previous title released in 2005, some of it shows and that usually shows in some of the animations as a few of them have been recycled from TES IV. The actual appearance of the game although looks much better then TES IV and the people no longer truly possess a plastic doll appearance, yet there is always room for improvement (which I am sure people will do in the PC version; MODS ahoy!). They've taken measures and paid close attention to make the scenery look unique and they've also improved their polygon count techniques to keep slowdowns to a minimum (I've yet to experience one personally). The majority of areas look unique in appearance with many memorable places.

Release Glitches: Now on to the glitches, so far the list for the PC and 360 list are small. Usually coming from rather bizarre circumstances like an object connected with a chain bouncing and making sounds while "staying still" and the occasional ability to get stuck behind something. These are minimal at best, but the latter is more annoying then the first. From what I've experienced, always save before you go to a new unexplored area. Problem solved. Sadly, from what I've seen and heard from others, the PS3 version is a glitch-fest, with weird missing polygons, sound issues and other game breaking problems. I'd stay away from this platform until they patch it.

Final Thoughts: This title seems like it will bring countless hours of enjoyment, a great storyline you can follow or walk away from and explore the world. Stays true to the Fallout universe and for a first try by a new company that done primarily fantasy, I'd say a job well done.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2008, 07:54:08 AM »
What's V.A.T.S?

Offline MagicalPen

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2008, 07:58:35 AM »
Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System

I have it for the PC an always seem to be low on Ammo. Didn't help I just used most of my ammo up clearing an area full of Melee Enemies >.<

Offline King_Furby

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2008, 12:39:51 PM »
very good game, i have been watching my bro play it. pretty much when he plays it i watch. the looting in this game is fantastic, literally almost any item in the game can be picked up and stored. One unique thing about this game is the inventory and storage system. Your inventory is limited to your strenght and how much you can carry. But storage is unlimited. every item you pick up you can put somewhere, or leave it and it will be there later. You can choose 1 or several locations to store your things. my brother stores everything in a trashbin near a house when exiting vault 101.

The game has quick travel. All main locatiosn you visit are given a map marker. you can travel to these locations instantly at the cost of a few hours going by. This helps when you are off exploring and need to get back to town. though i like how you can't do this if you are under attack.

there are alot of guns in this game. You can being a gun user or go melee and still do just as good. Using Vats if you hit somethign while being undetected it's an instant kill and has cooler cinimatics then just normal criticles.

This game is fricken spookie, some of the areas dark and creapy. there are these goul things in some of the dark areas, you hear them hissing before even seening them.

i am glad to see people like this game. i cant get my bro to use the lazer weapons..grrr

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008, 12:46:42 PM »
When he gets Power Armor (as in to use) He'll want energy weapons or big guns one. As Power Armor takes down -2 agility, well, the basic normal kind that is.

Also, I've already found all the Bobbleheads and max level... and to think, I am only one third done with the game. ^.^

Offline King_Furby

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008, 01:37:33 PM »
yuck he went into this other vault. it gets all wierd. I say we as he and i kind of play it together. But there is so much of the map left it's crazy. we only found 2 bobbleheads but then again we have only explored mostly the map. not inside any of the locations. We are trying to play it without any guides or anything. But i really want to see him find the schemitics. He refuses to sell the scrap metal for caps, and he gots like 50 of it.

Power armor looks neat. but we are not at the spot yet when we can actually get into the brotherhood of steel, though we have met them.

Keep all scrap metal and pre war books you can as those you can sell for craps. the books give you like 100 caps per.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2008, 01:54:34 PM »
I am so behind on my gaming. I don't think I'll ever catch up. I really want to play Fallout 3. One was good but I started playing it too late and it just doesn't keep my interest.

Offline Jay

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2008, 04:03:58 PM »
I'm pleasantly surprised by Fallout 3.  At first i didn't want to play it because i had no interest in Oblivion with guns.  So far the game is a lot more fun than i expected.  Even though a lot of stuff is recycled that atmosphere is different enough to make up for that.

Offline King_Furby

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 08:42:58 PM »
Nothing is more rewarding then geting snipe kills with vats. or running into a super mutant brute with a chaingun when you just ran out of ammo.

I like how fallout 3 keeps you at the edge of running out of ammo. Like you have enough but you got to manage your guns. the gouls in the sewers are creepy. those mureluke things are awesome, like a giant walking clam.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 11:16:52 PM »
Nothing is more rewarding then being level 20 with Grim Reaper's Sprint. Kill a target in VATS, get all AP back. It's really insane with sniper weapons.

Offline MagicalPen

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2008, 06:21:27 AM »
Fallout 3 is not 'Oblivion with Guns'. Its way deeper then that. Of course there are similarities, with the open-world (and same studio) but the VATS system, they thick plots, the character interaction, locations, combat, leveling system, PIP Boy, etc...make it clearly more then 'oblivion with guns'.

Offline Sabby

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2008, 08:43:25 AM »
I'm just glad the level scaling has been axed and the actual levels aren't all the same...

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2008, 11:27:17 AM »
No comments about my review?

Offline Jay

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2008, 12:59:43 PM »
I think it was pretty well written.  Maybe a little biased.  But that's probably because my views are a bit on the opposite spectrum so that colors my opinion.  As for oblivion with guns, after further play I've decided that its a better oblivion.......with guns.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2008, 01:30:34 PM »
I still don't see it as Oblivion with guns, then again, I've played the original DOS versions (and still own) all of the Fallout games. The dialog choices in first person (with important NPCs) branching karma based conversations and such is all the same as it was in those games. Only things as I stated that is truly connecting the two franchises when it comes to Oblivion With Guns is it uses the same, if modified game engine and made by the same company.

But, when it comes to some development, I think both companies of yesteryear took from each other as each title was released close to each other (by a few years). Beth obviously took some interest and pointers from the Fallout franchise after their first two spin-off Elder Scrolls titles failed. It also explains the feverish purchase of the Fallout license. ^.^

Offline Jay

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2008, 01:36:55 PM »
I've never played the previous Fallouts, but I hear they were wonderful.  I guess my main reason for the comparison is that you could easily mod Oblivion to play exactly like #allout 3 minus the vats system.
A lot of people view the Oblivion with guns as an insult.  I like Oblivion and I think Fallout improved a lot on some of the problems Oblivion had.
I just cant wait till the mods being rolling out for the PC.

Offline MagicalPen

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2008, 02:18:49 PM »
I love Oblivion too, but I wouldn't call FO3 'Oblivion with Guns'. Its got a completely different feel to it. The whole system is different. Sure, it might use the same engine and free-world system, but then what does that make a game like Fable II? That uses a free-world system too. (Never played Fable II). At any rate, I think the game is very rich in fresh material, and does not feel like a 'modded' Oblivion.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2008, 03:05:25 PM »
I own all of the above mentioned (even Fable II), but, you really need to play the previous Fallout titles and see for yourself. The only thing that's changed is how you perceive the game world, it feels and plays like Fallout with a new combat system.

And it being made by the same company using the same game engine, it'd be easier to modify Fallout 3 and add Oblivion into it as it's the latest version of the game engine. Oblivion with V.A.T.S. would be quite interesting.

TES and Fallout series had a lot in common when it came to many things, but they are seperate things. Fallout tends to be more microcosmic as TES tends to be macrocosmic. Perhaps that is why I believe the storytelling in Fallout is superior to TES, but both are good games. It's good to see that Bethesda Softworks has brought this franchise under their fold and brought new life to it.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2008, 03:58:03 PM »
I will not argue the fact that the two series do share a lot of similarities, but they're clearly not one or the other. Series now, not individual games.

Now I'll list the similarities between the two series before Bethesda Softworks acquired the license; ONLY the numbered series, not the spin-offs from both TES and Fallout.

Similarities:

1] Both are non-linear series that has a "do at your own pace" main quest line, many sub-quests and a create-a-character mode.

2] Both require you to go through a tutorial of sorts to get to your freedom to do anything.

3] Both use a weight system to manage inventory.

4] Both use a world map to track location of areas.

5] Both are quite large worlds with exploration as the main focus.

6] Many characters have dispositions that are important or semi-important and actions (and dialog) can change that disposition.

7] Important NPCs would have voiced dialog and a "talking head".

8] Could trade with many people that would wish to trade, buy services and other important things with a Trade/Barter mode.

9] Both have a "definite" end to the game, but the game doesn't end after you finish the main quest line. You can still explore after.

10] Both were stat based and skill based games, both using levels as a way of gaining new strengths.

11] Combat can be scaled to player preference, be it easier or much more intense.

12] The majority of anything not bolted down can be searched through, taken and kept. Even junk.

13] Both love to hide odd easter eggs from pop culture and books.

Now on to the differences, minus the obvious (one fantasy, one post apoc)

Differences:

1] TES has always had a "save the world" approach, while Fallout has more of a smaller "save the community" approach.

2] TES uses an active skill usage system to gain levels which required repetition in the usage of the skill; this is required to gain a level to increase your statistics. Fallout uses the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system with percentages for the skills that can be increased, as well as the Perk and Trait system to further customize your character (Traits were merged with Perks in Fallout 3). Experience is gained through killing, quests and exploration, not active usage.

3] TES without modification had you go in at alone, a solo game. While Fallout has always had recruitable NPCs as Followers to brave the Wastes.

4] TES introduced gear degrading and requirements to repair gear while Fallout did not possess this feature.

5] As mentioned earlier, TES spans a larger base then Fallout. TES spans over a country while Fallout spans over a single state.

6] TES has always been a first person roleplaying series (barring spin-offs), Fallout was an isometric title.

7] TES used a hybrid real time combat system which was monitored by a limiter (Fatigue and Magick), Fallout used a turn based Action Point system to progress combat, giving the ability to pause combat.

8] TES has always had violence a key focus, but more low key. Fallout has always seen violence as an over the top exercise of Hollywood Style Action. Fallout even possessed a special starting Trait called Bloody Mess (which later became a Perk in Fallout 3) and an ability to change how much gore and violence you see in it.

9] TES has been mild on foul language while some moments in Fallout would make the cast from Blair Witch Project blush. A feature to modify how verbal enemies can be and how foul their language is, can also be adjusted.

10] While TES has been moderately dark over their last two productions (Morrowind and Oblivion), Fallout has always been dark.

11] A sick note, but in Fallout it was possible to kill children, TES you cannot. Many other dark deeds add into it.

12] Quests in TES are more world spanning and consequences for many are not as extreme, Fallout in it's smaller focus, all actions can affect an entire community and thus changing the ending sequence relating of what you've done. This has remained in the third title.

13] TES possesses an enemy encounter scaling while Fallout did not, which resulted in Fallout being much more dangerous and accessible at the same time.

With saying all of that, the new edition of Fallout has a lot of it's old in it, injected with some new and TES formula added to it. So calling it Oblivion With Guns isn't fair to either title as they do obviously have a lot in common, yet are still separate series titles since before the acquisition of the series.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 04:04:27 PM by ZK »

Offline Jay

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2008, 04:06:50 PM »
Very well put ZK.  Most people just spew that since Fallout is different setting it can't be Oblivion with guns.  The first time i've seen somebody actually layout an unbiased comparison of the two.
As a game design major im ashamed that I let myself become biased.


"3] TES without modification had you go in at alone, a solo game. While Fallout has always had recruitable NPCs as Followers to brave the Wastes."
Have you forgotten the greatness that was the Annoying Fan.
Morrowind added mercenaries in one of its expansions, they were pretty useless though.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2008, 05:06:06 PM »
I haven't forgotten about it, but I meant as in modification, both fan and official based. Fallout has never received any additions or expansion packs over the course of it's releases. TES has, especially with it's 3rd and 4th series. The annoying fan was more of an "in game joke" then an actual follower.

I wasn't making a comparison to TES 4 or Fallout 3, I was referring to the previous series, TES III and Fallout 1 and 2.

Offline MagicalPen

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2008, 05:26:59 PM »
My "Annoying" Fan died walking down the Mountain, from that Magicians Spire (forget its name) that was an add-on release. I decided to walk the wilderness, so headed down the slope. I took very little damage, but I turned around to see where the Annoying Fan was and he was rolling down the mountain dead. Good riddance if you ask me :)

Offline Jay

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2008, 05:57:31 PM »
It would be good riddance. If he didnt respawn after 3 days every time he dies. =P

Offline King_Furby

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2008, 10:18:37 PM »
there really isn't that many bad guys in fallout 3, but it seems more. Alot of it is pretty much the same models just altered. Like the raiders are all almost the same except for clothing and weapons. But you don't really notice in fighting and it does not really matter.

I like how you can make some weapon.

Only thing i dislike about this game is the accuracy of weapons and range and how they compare to each other. for example using vats the hunting rifle should be able to hit with more % at a longer distence. Even the sniper rifle isn't more accurate ranged using vats. I don't like that. i also think that soem weapons should be stronger for example the railway rifle.

I love almost every aspect of this game, just those two things anoy me. damage and range accuracy.

Offline ZKTopic starter

Re: Fallout 3 Review
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2008, 05:09:35 AM »
Damage and range is sadly more based on certain Perks, your stat and skill level. Each weapon has a base number, but the condition of the weapon and proficiency with said weapon type matters in the long run.

I can one shot a lot of things with my laser rifle of all weapons and it's only a 22 DMG weapon unmodified at full weapon grade.

Then again, I have Perception 8 and Energy Weapons 95.