Fallout 3 has its flaws, but what it has to offer is beyond anything that you've ever seen before.
Maluigi wrote this review on .
The Bad: Shooting mechanics aren't up to snuff; a couple of glitches and stiff animations (though they're easy to ignore).
Some choices that you make can shape your entire life. When you make a bad choice, your life is changed for the worse in many ways. If you make a good choice, your entire life can change for the better. Choices shape who we are, and no game knows this better than Fallout 3. When you make a choice in Fallout 3, it affects who you are and how people see and respond to you.
The world has fallen into nuclear war. Expecting the extinction of...well...everything, a company called Vault-Tec created vaults to escape nuclear destruction. As families crowd Vault 101, the vault is sealed shut and isn't going to open for anyone. You begin the game as a baby where you customize your look, features and pick your name. As you turn one, you begin a sort of tutorial, where you're taught how to walk and jump as well as pick your dominant attributes like Strength, Luck and the like. The game then fast forwards to your tenth birthday.
When you finally turn ten, you become an official vault dweller. You also receive a Pip-Boy: a device attached to your arm which helps keep track of items, abilities and so on. As you continue to grow you have to take your G.O.A.T (Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test). This determines what skills you will be good at. The questions on the G.O.A.T are simply hilarious, and it introduces the game's humor quite nicely.
One day, however, you wake up to find your father missing. He has escaped from the vault and left you behind. This event causes widespread panic. Because you're believed to have helped your father commit the unspeakable act, you're secretly escorted out of the vault by your best friend Amata. You eventually run into a couple of guards that want to capture you, but after opening the vault the guards step back and say, "What are you nuts? I'm not going out there!" This shows how serious the game is about little details. Some games would've just let the guards chase you until you killed them or vice versa, but Fallout 3 takes its story very seriously and it shows in little details like this.
When you finally reach the outside, you're given a breathtaking sight: a cliff that overlooks the wasteland as dramatic music plays. The main story gets a lot deeper, and focuses on many different things that involve your father and the secrets that he had left behind before leaving the vault.
The main story is pretty lengthy. If you focus on it, and it only, then you won't see everything that the game has to offer. Also, once you've beaten the story, you can't go back and finish quests that you neglected to complete (unless you try for downloadable content). So make sure to save before the big finale.
The wasteland is a gigantic place. There's no doubt that the setting here is absolutely breathtaking in every way. Everything feels very real. One interesting note has to do with the water around the wasteland. Occasionally, you may find lakes or puddles of water that can restore your health. However, the water is full of radiation. Drink too much and your character may go through radiation sickness, crippling his abilities and his health. Luckily, there's a handy meter to track how irradiated you are.
Hundreds of unique locations are yours to explore at any time during the game. Each one of them is interesting and thought provoking. Some of them actually look somewhat authentic and make you think, "Wow, so this is what it'd probably look like after a nuclear apocalypse." Almost every locations has a secret, and there are some areas that will make your jaw drop.
There are tons of side quests to complete. Each one has its own story that requires you to make difficult decisions. Speaking of decisions, you're going to be forced to make a lot of them that ultimately shape who you are and how people react to you. Decisions usually come in the form of unique dialogue options that appear every time you engage in a face-to face conversation with someone. Unlike other games that show very typical reactions and dialogue options, Fallout 3's dialogue is absolutely hilarious. There's no doubt you'll at least giggle at the wealth of comedy on display in Fallout 3.
However, decisions can also come in the form of killing someone or maiming them. For example, you can actually kill a bully named Butch in the vault in the opening part of the game. If you do, you won't see him in the rest of the game, and you'll receive negative karma. However, if you let him live, many opportunities may pop up in the future that involve him. He may be able to help you later in the game.
Karma is the measuring stick of how good or bad you are. If you do bad things, you receive negative karma, and if you do good things, then you receive positive karma. Bad things involve being mean to someone through conversation or killing innocent people...just like the bad things in real life. In turn, good things like helping people with jobs or giving purified water to a poor man will give you positive karma. Karma can affect people's reactions to you. If you want to hire a rough and tough mercenary to fight with you, you're going to need a lot of negative karma, or else he won't be willing to help.
As you roam around the wasteland you pick up various items that can be used or sold for caps (the games currency). Items can range from worthless pieces of junk like forks and cups to awesome weapons like an assault rifle or a rocket launcher. Collecting items and weapons is very useful, considering the fact that you can create your own weapons with the help of blueprints that can be bought or found. However, your character can only hold so much, and until you beef up his stats or buy a house...you won't be able to hold too many things at one time.
The controls can be off-putting at first but they do work. Everything is pretty basic here, with a few exceptions. First off, the aiming is sort of stiff. Although you have to keep in mind that this game isn't a shooter. Though the aiming is a bit strange, it's manageable and eventually it becomes very natural. If you don't feel like aiming, then you can always use VATS.
VATS stands for Vault Assisting Targeting System. Basically, when you trigger VATS, time freezes. You can then select a target and the body part on that target. You can even select your targets weapon to disarm them. Once you've selected the body part, a cinematic will show your character aiming at that enemy and the body part of your choosing. However, during this cinematic, you character can still be fired at, and when selecting the part of the body to hit, a percentage pops up showing the likelihood of your character hitting that part depending on their distance from the target. It feels very balanced, though your character is a tad bit faster at reloading in VATS than his enemies.
Depending on your actions and the amount of quests that you complete, your character will gradually increase in level. Once your character gains a level, you can reward ability points to some of your abilities. Abilities like small guns, big guns, science (for hacking terminals), lockpicking, medicine and so on, can be upgraded several times. There are a good amount of abilities to be upgraded in any way that you like, and as you gain levels, you begin to see your character improve drastically in the skills that you've promoted.
After upgrading your characters abilities, you're able to choose a perk. Perks can do a lot of different things. For example, the Animal Lover Perk grants you freedom from animal attacks in the wasteland, while the Toughness Perk contributes to your overall damage resistance. The perks just get stranger and stranger as you level up and unlock more, however, they're almost essential to progress through the game.
The gameplay is simply addicting. You can easily clock in over one hundred hours on this game if you're dedicated. This is mostly because of the size of the wasteland. It's simply massive, as previously mentioned. Couple that with tons of side quests and stories, and you've got yourself a game that you'll be playing for days. Also, with downloadable content coming out every so often, Fallout 3 will keep you coming back for more.
The graphics in Fallout 3 look amazing. Environmental effects like dust storms and broken buildings look incredibly realistic. The creatures and various raiders running around in the wasteland also look great. You'll occasionally spot a couple of glitches here and there, but what's here is astounding. To have this big of an environment and so many unique people and creatures on the screen at one time, is a marvel unto itself. You may see some stiff animations from the people walking around the towns, but otherwise...you're looking at a powerhouse when it comes to the graphical capabilities of the Xbox 360.
The music is also great. When escaping from the vault, it's intense and heart pounding. However, as you're looking over the wasteland, a beautiful orchestral score sweeps across the speakers. Some of the older songs that you can hear over the Pip-Boy radio sound pretty incredible as well, reminding you that the song styles and fads of the 1950s haven't been changed after the destruction of Washington D.C. Voice acting is just as strong. Each line is delivered well, though you can definitely tell that they used the same person for many of the characters. The sound effects really represent the sci-fi vibe that the game emulates early on. Regular guns sound powerful and very natural, yet some of the futuristic guns like the plasma rifle sound very...out-of-this-world, which is perfect.
Games like Fallout 3 are very rare. It's hard to find games up to this quality these days. Fallout 3 is a game that shows attention to detail and a lot of hard work. It's massive scope, incredible graphics and addictive gameplay mechanics throw this game into "must buy" territory for anyone who owns an Xbox 360.