Wednesday, March 18, 2009
FALLOUT 3 (PC, 360, PS3)
Ohh yeah. I just went there.
Fallout 3 is the ten year late sequel to 1998's Fallout 2, an old semi turn-based RPG. It went down as a classic in gaming culture, with it's gameplay, characters, and setting. Onto the setting, infact. The fallout series is set around mid 2200, where the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare after many wars. Fallout 3 takes place in a destroyed washington D.C. where you'll fight your way through super mutants, deathclaws, and crazed cannibals.
The story is, unfortunately, somewhat bland. You're born in a Vault, where people went before the nukes hit and remained safe. Then, daddy goes missing and vault security stops liking you. You decide it's best to leave, and begin your long trek across the wasteland to find him. You've got an assortment of characters but none seem particularly memorable except for James, the father character. Oh, and liberty prime. That thing is HILARIOUS. Some of the characters are good, however - Such as Fawkes, the super mutant who retained his civility and supressed his bloodthirst. He's even recruitable as a companion, which is even better. There's also the mister handy models which speak in a very stereotypical british accent, but they're very funny characters.
"It's common knowledge that irradiated cats have eighteen half-lives."
The gameplay is solid and entertaining. There's a great set of perks and skills to collect throughout your travels as well as a great set of weaponry. You've got the Fat Man, the mini-nuke launcher, poor man's gravity gun, flaming sword, hand-held chainsaw... The list goes on. The combat, while feeling mildly clunky at times, is good. There's a great function called V.A.T.S. (vault-tec assisted targeting system) which freezes time allowing you to pinpoint which body part you'd like to snipe off, such as an arm, or leg, crippling their aim or movement. You get a small bullet-time sequence of your character shooting at them. These are entertaining for the most part - But they're unskippable, which is irritating. The perk system gives you a special ability every time you level up has a few gems. There's lady killer, which gives a few special dialogue choices with the opposite sex (I assume there's a re-named counterpart for a female player character) and also dealing an extra 10% damage to them in combat. There's also one which allows you to be a cannibal - Going into the sneak mode with CTRL and feasting upon a human corpse. Just be discreet about it. And, my favorite, Bloody Mess. Enemies you fight are more likely to die in gorier ways. Oh, and there's the +5 damage with all weapons.
The graphics are quite solid, aside from the occasional oddity. Character models are detailed, for the most part. Some enemies are a little blurry, but doesn't detract from the game at all. Now, since my computer's a piece of junk I haven't been able to check it out on full settings with all the antialiasing and sampling. I CAN however run it on full enough settings to tell you all that they're good. There's a few ground textures and models that could do with updating, but to be honest it's fair enough. The game runs at a solid framerate which is very contrary to how much it can render at one time. The entire capital wasteland - The main area you'll be exploring - Is all rendered in one loading screen. Sure, it has to load objects as you get nearer to them, but whatever. I was honestly surprised at how many beer bottles could be seen in one shot without any slowdowns.
The sound design is great - There's the usual good selection of sound effects, monsters growling, zombies howling and weapons firing. It's mainly the music which holds up the rest of it. There's some great ambient pieces. The voicework is solid as well, which is a plus. It's a shame the characters and story were somewhat bland.
There's plenty of replay value thanks to the Karma system. You'll lose and gain karma depending on what you do, such as rescuing a captive of some super mutants or blowing up a goddamn city. The town called Megaton is constructed around a live nuke. There's no telling when it'll go off. You may chose to disarm, or detonate it. There's some fantastic designs, actually. There's Rivet City, a beached aircraft carrier now turned into a city. Aside from that, there's some entertaining enemies such as tinny robots, foul-mouthed raiders, and giant, fire-breathing ants. Just be sure to keep an eye on all the radiation you might contract out there.
Everything in fallout 3 has consequences. Just from taking a shot of a drug, to drinking that water - It's surprisingly addictive.
Fallout 3 strapped my expectations to a box of fireworks. I was positively blown away at how vast it is. If you're looking for a great sci-fi.. No, not even sci-fi - Post-Nuclear RPG, this is one to pick up.
Presentation - 7.2 A fairly mediocre story and mildly forgettable cast of characters are the main letdown. It doesn't detract from it all as a whole, however.
Gameplay - 8.7 Fun combat and great shootouts make fallout 3 a fun game to do battle in.
Graphics - 8.5 Quite solid, apart from the occasional anomaly.
Value - 8.9 As I said, there's some good replay value if you'd like to go through it as a good or evil character.