Fallout 3 Hands-On - Diary of a Wasteland Survivor

The postapocalyptic remains of Washington DC are no place for elaborate journal-keeping, but we do it anyway.

Dear Diary,

Somewhere between being attacked by giant rats and making awkward small talk with a trio of passive-aggressive radiation zombies, I began to regret my decision to leave the vault the other day. After all, that cooped-up atomic-bomb shelter was the only home I'd ever known. But when my father mysteriously went missing, I knew I had to put my life of watching I Love Lucy reruns and eating canned beans on hold for a while.

The view from the vault is stunning...

That said, it wasn't an easy decision. I stood in front of the vault door's control pod for what seemed like forever, debating whether or not to flip the switch. When I finally did, I never could have expected the view awaiting me from the outside. Once my eyes adjusted to the burning light, I saw a desolate, burned-out wasteland: to the right, the collapsed remains of a freeway overpass, and to the left, the battered shell of the Washington Monument. Everything in-between appeared to be little more than scattered rubble and charred trees.

I cautiously stepped down from the cliff that I emerged from and began to look for some remnants of a road. I needed to find a path I could follow to a town, city, or any semblance of civilization. Soon enough, I found a small village called Springvale, but the only "life" nearby was a floating robot that I later learned was an Enclave Eyebot. It seemed to be some sort of radio broadcasting a heartwarming story about what life was like when we had professional baseball teams to root for. Being more of a foosball man myself, I walked right on by.

Off in the distance I noticed a school, so I decided to investigate what might be inside. Turns out it was just a whole lot of dead raiders. All right, all right, so they were alive when I first came in, but they were shooting at me! I had to defend myself! Even with my disdain for baseball, I swing a pretty good bat (at least when cornered by an angry raider). But once I took care of the threat, there wasn't much worth exploring inside.

I left the school and wandered around until I came to a great big river. I noticed a fairly large city past the opposite bank, so I decided to swim across. Not a good idea. I should have suspected something odd was afoot when I first noticed the river's greenish hue, but life in the vault seems to have sheltered me from the dangers of radiation. I tried to make it across, but when the sound of a Geiger counter in my ears and the slight trembling in my limbs became too much to handle, I swam back ashore and took the long way around.

The city on the other side turned out to be the ruins of Bethesda, Maryland. Although I'd never been there before, something about the name sounded oddly familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I spent a good long time trying to figure out where I remembered that name from. My mind was so occupied that I didn't even notice when I strolled right into a camp of vicious raiders. Mind you, these raiders were much tougher than the ones back in the school. (Something about hanging out in the streets rather than the art room will do that to you.) They gave me a pretty good beatdown. I managed to take care of them, but not before I exhausted my entire supply of stimpaks, those friendly little needles that restore my health when I'm feeling a bit down. By the time I took them all out, I had developed a pretty savage headache. I couldn't walk more than 10 meters without suffering a severe fit of wooziness. Nervous, I had a look at my condition on my little wrist-mounted Pip-Boy 3000 computer. Yep, just as I thought: I had a crippled head. No amount of mildly irradiated-but-health-restoring rat meat would help me now. I had to find myself a stimpak and inject it directly into my head.

...and of the local wildlife, slightly less so.

I stumbled my way across the barren nighttime landscape, and just as the sun began to rise, I found a walled-off city called Megaton. The friendly robot patrolling the door could tell I was in a bad way (I think my busted and throbbing face tipped him off), so he let me in right away. Immediately inside, I was greeted by a rough-and-tumble-looking fellow in a cowboy hat. He introduced himself as Lucas Simms, Megaton sheriff and sometimes mayor (but only when the need for civility arises). I chatted him up for a bit, asking about the giant atomic bomb sitting smack-dab in the middle of the city as some sort of twisted town-square statue. Even among the makeshift scrap metal and airplane-fuselage houses, that thing stood out like a sore thumb.

Simms told me it's sort of a monument that Megaton was built around, but he'd just as soon see it disarmed if anyone in the town had enough skill to do it. Even though my explosive skills weren't the best, I offered to take care of the problem for him...but at five times the reward he offered. No dice. My speech skill was about as poor as my explosive skill, so we settled on the original figure. I went down to investigate the bomb and met an odd local named Confessor Cromwell. Apparently, he's the leader of the Church of Atom, the local religion that worships the atom bomb. Seemed like a nice guy, if a little insane.

The sniper rifle has quickly become my best friend.

Then I turned my eyes toward the atomic bomb and discovered that I needed 40 points of explosives skill to disarm it. Sadly, I had only 15. I figured trying to smash it with a hammer (as had become my normal trick for fixing old electronics back in the vault) was a bad idea, so I decided to take on some local work to build up my experience levels. I'd heard the shopkeeper running the Craterside Supply was interested in writing a wasteland-survival guide and needed a guinea pig to test a few of her theories, so I went and saw her. After buying a few stimpaks to fix my broken face, I asked her about the book. She was looking for someone to test the effects of radiation, survey the effects of outdated food, and see how much of a threat old landmines pose to those who choose to wander through local villages. I took her up on the last option first and set off for a ghost town appropriately called Minefield.

On my way there, I stumbled upon an old train yard and ran into a group of mutated radiation victims called ghouls, people with horrifying scars and mutations that make them look more like zombies than people. Apparently they've got quite the complex, because they were trying to make me feel bad about my looks (calling me "Smooth Skin") and guilt-tripping me for being in a rush to get to Minefield. No matter how polite I was, these guys just wouldn't let me off without some snide comment. "Oh, thanks for not killing us hideous monsters. You're sooo kind." Jerks.

But no matter: I escaped their passive-aggressive tyranny and found Minefield. Of course, I was greeted by a sniper who was patrolling a local rooftop, but I'm at the point where I've come to expect violent raiders trying to kill me at every turn. Or vicious dogs. Or giant rats. Or mutated bees. Anyway, I took him out with a well-placed headshot courtesy of my trusty hunting rifle, collected a land mine to be studied by the shopkeeper, and then bolted back to Megaton.

Next on the list was to test the effects of radiation. She actually wanted me to get my radiation levels above 200, going all the way up to 600 if possible. (My computer's built-in radiation gauge only goes up to 1000; I assume that's the human body's limit.) Needless to say, I was a bit worried. But I'll be damned if the money wasn't good, so I was in. I popped on down to the stagnant, irradiated pond in the middle of town and had myself a little bath. But even after I submerged myself in the toxic water, my radiation meter was only slowly filling up, so I decided to start gulping down water by the handful. This earned me some funny looks from the local townsfolk--even the Church of Atom people looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to explain that I was doing this in the name of science, but no luck. I'm not making friends in this town anytime soon.

Thankfully, the shopkeeper managed to flush out most of my radiation with some Rad-X, and in the process I picked up a new mutant ability to regenerate crippled limbs. Score! Finally, I was sent off to the remains of a Super-Duper Mart store to find some old junk food and see if it was still any good. I ran into a big group of raiders camped out inside the store, but they were no match for the sniper rifle I picked up off of the guy back in Minefield. The best part is that taking care of these squatters gave me enough experience points to put my explosives level above 40. I found the food and rushed back to Megaton to put my newfound skills to good use.

I've lost more than a few limbs to exploding cars.

Back inside the corrugated metal walls of Megaton, I walked down to the atomic bomb sitting in the middle of town. For the second time, I rolled right up next to it and gave it a good inspection. This time, I was able to disarm the thing and rescue the local citizens from the precarious position of living in a city with a live atom bomb acting as a town plaza. Lucas Simms was so grateful that he gave me the keys and deed to a local house. I was pretty excited about that, considering that I'd spent the previous night sleeping on a mattress I'd found in the Super-Duper Mart bathroom.

I'm beginning to enjoy life here in Megaton. My new house even came with a friendly helper robot that has AI so advanced that he can make me drinks and give me a haircut. Granted, my new pompadour and handlebar mustache combo doesn't bestow any magical ability to collect more headshots in battle, but at least I look good doing it. Now I've got the confidence to set off for the big city: Washington DC. I'm not sure what dangers await me out there, but I have a feeling some clue about my father's disappearance lies within.

Written By

Want the latest news about Fallout 3?

Fallout 3

Fallout 3

Discussion

440 comments
AZZAMAN100
AZZAMAN100

i have this game and its one of the best I've ever played

jasmine_arie
jasmine_arie

the graphic is awesome, but the gameplay is suck.. V.A.T.S is NOT a TurnBased system.. i've played fallout since d 1st one (then 2 and ft-bos) so i think, bethesda ruined d gameplay.. but i recomended this game for those who loves 1stPersonShooter..

Psycho_Pro
Psycho_Pro

The graphic on ps3 is not that satisfying.

Psycho_Pro
Psycho_Pro

The game is so cool.The V.A.T.S system is very interesting.

brunibadger66
brunibadger66

no game is a 10, but there are a few 9.5's, fable 2, and others being up there. im sure this game is a 9.5, im getting it today.

meunknown
meunknown

Fallout 3 the best game I've ever played!

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

a Creative game wich i love sadly Gamespot didnt see it that way but to me Its Awesome!!! :)

Gaz9000
Gaz9000

i read the ps3 version has far inferior graphics to the 360 version..so much worse that some reviews have given the ps3 version a lower score than the 360 version..thank god i am a 360 owner :-)

DeimosGT
DeimosGT

This game... I have nothing to say... Bethesda guys really are creative. And the level design of this game is just wonderful. Its good to know that creative developers still exist in this commercial world...

Alltapdout
Alltapdout

Thats exactly what I meant...Think about it ;)

aceball69
aceball69

oh and Fable 2 got a 8.5 though a 10 is what it deserves...

aceball69
aceball69

i havent been this excited since i LOST my virginity... whats wrong with you alltapdout? lol

Alltapdout
Alltapdout

I haven't been this excited since I was a virgin!

marjok
marjok

Oh f...k there it is again, no sleep, no work, no girlfriend I hate this game

Shakey84
Shakey84

Was not a fan of oblivion at all but loved two towers. this game looks so amazing though im goin to ignore my htred for oblivion and totally buy this

jacobmjl
jacobmjl

hmm....will we get a pet dog like in the main page of fallout 3?? I certainly hope so.

Baramos6
Baramos6

Yup First review of Fallout 3 is a 10er,either way if you really wanted this game you would get it despite the reviews it gets. Although, a 10 already seems like it will raise a few eyes. Although it's too early to bout our horns but, I knew Bethesda wouldn't fail to deliver another great game. And, since when is 9.5 a bad review, Fable 2 will be awesome.

kakeman987
kakeman987

uh oh.. first critic reviews... fable 9.5 fallout 3... 10!

V692344
V692344

Great games never stop coming.

ciskaos
ciskaos

Bethesdais so confident this game is great, they are giving free trial of the game for xbox dowloadable by torrents!!! If it is good i am sure going to buy it!

greedom
greedom

It's too bad Fable II will be out a few days earlier. I'm having trouble deciding..

patrushton
patrushton

Looks cool i loved oblivion 4 and this looks just as good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

scubanick
scubanick

Good thing I have been saving up my midnight oil.

it009x9281
it009x9281

Looks like more late nights on the way:D

DoctorEnzek
DoctorEnzek

I don't know what to think about Fallout 3 but the more i read about it the more I wanna try it. I absolutely loved The Elder scrolls series and Bethesda as a whole. I think I'll give this one a try once the price goes down a little bit.

palkia7-91b
palkia7-91b

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ciskaos
ciskaos

Game is a mess, animation as bad as oblivion, same creepy voice acting. I do not condone pirac..y, but you can test the game for free before buying through you usual download client already. And thus see by yourself, it should get a 6.. maximum! I sincerely hope you rot in the bankrupcy hell bethesda, for trying to kill this beautiful franchise. Wanted more bucks by aiming at the aiming at the big marketing target, then guess what, you hit nothing!

uhateit
uhateit

I started playing Fallout 3 last night as I got a copy of it. It was my first attempt at the series and this type of game. I thought it was very inventive and had some pretty cool effects. The world is massive with plenty of places to go! Hope to keep this one around for a while :)

malignus
malignus

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Nephilim83
Nephilim83

I just recently started playing Oblivion and GEEEEZ that game is wicked!! I'm not really into knights and trolls and whatnot, but this game was so highly recommended that I decided to try it and its probably the best game I've ever played (besides MGS4)!! Anyway, I am really into postapocolyptic and futuristic drama. So that mixed with oblivion game play has undoubtably got to be my most favorite game in the whole wide world guaranteed!!!! This game is gonna be the best!!!!!!!!!

jp-gnr
jp-gnr

Loving bethesda since the first TES was released, it looks familiar to me playing this kinda games , it smells like enhanced oblivion technology with fallout story , thats the reason why im so buying this game!!!! Bethesda keep up doing the good work!

Vasot
Vasot

Fallout 3 > Stalker Clear Sky

ResiFreak
ResiFreak

OMG!!! Could the 31st come any faster!

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

I have waited 10 years, 10 years and finally it is alomst here. I can smell the DVD,I can smell the cover, I can pictures of the game. On the 31 of October 2008, after so long the legendary game is coming home.THANK YOU BETHESDA. THANK YOU!!!!

Coldblood117
Coldblood117

Game looks very nice i really hope game play delivers but i really hope bethseda goes back to the elder scrolls

velvetkloud
velvetkloud

And to expand on that the 50s feel doesn't really come too much into the game apart from in a few bits n pieces. The majority of it occured during the opening sequences to set the scene. I'm wondering if they will keep elements of the pop culture references and hidden 'easter eggs' that the originals had.

SataN_69_
SataN_69_

@raahsnavj: The 1950's was during the cold war when people lived with the fear of a nuclear holocaust everyday. This is set in that time "vibe" to sort of give you the feeling of how it would be if they where right at the time. It's half irony and half humor why they chose that era to replicate. For futher reason why the 1950's vibe is a good thing play fallout 1 and 2. they are relativly cheap (or easy to find on torrents) and are fantastic rpg's. Or if your as lazy as the other half of humanity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallout_(video_game) should be enough for you.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

Thanks TrueProphecy22. I always assumed the future world, but couldn't figure out how we went from current day back to the 1950's. This game just assumes that from 1950 on it took a different turn... I unfortunately didn't care for the 1950's though, so the vibe still doesn't work for me.

Leamg2000
Leamg2000

this is gonna be a pretty good game no matter what anyone says. ill decide if its gonna be great when i play it.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

"I'm yet to understand why this game gets a 1950's vibe though the bombs didn't fly until 2077..." It's set in an alternate future where the golden age of the 1950's lasted. The future imagined during that era came to be. This article was great. I think you very well might have sold me on Fallout 3 over Fable 2.

Skyriderlink
Skyriderlink

I don't think I can play this game at my house probably at the hospital.I am working 3 jobs and looking for the fourth to get Fallout 3,Farcry 2,The new witcher,STALKER Clear Sky,Crysis Warhead,Red Alert 3.All those hard earn cash are going to kiss my little pocket goodbye before Christmas.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

I'm yet to understand why this game gets a 1950's vibe though the bombs didn't fly until 2077...

murie110
murie110

old snake does not know how to judge games this would dead space. and fable does look good

Spacepirate_091
Spacepirate_091

Wow. This game looks pretty awesome. Gamers are going to be poor this fall/winter.

andersontitan03
andersontitan03

to lokolokolokolokolokolokolokolokolokolokolokolokoloufahhhh

MrPlow69
MrPlow69

Hey, great, what a nice comment there, please, when posting just try to make it more that, ya, this game will suck and i don't know why, or pff the star wars series were better then this game. You don't even explain why these games are, by your opinion, going to be better, why they differ or anything else. Once again, seems like keyboards don't need a brain to work...