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It's Capital Gain for this post-apocalyptic beauty.

Bethesda Softworks really did set the tone for themselves three years ago with their critically-acclaimed Elder Scrolls title, Oblivion. Not only did this improve greatly on its predecessor, Morrowind, but it completely blew it away. The next challenge? To perfect a title almost completely opposite to the magic-casting, medieval-esque series. You see, the Fallout series had, over the years, developed a huge fanbase and cult following that had anticipated a sequel to the revolutionary Fallout and Fallout 2 for years. Set in a parallel, post-apocalyptic future, the original titles had followed the story of the Vault Dweller, and later his grandson, the Chosen One. However, Bethesda's edition to the series follows the story of a new Dweller, who resides within Vault 101. And as the Overseer of the Vault preaches, the entrance had not been opened in over 200 years. Since they were sealed.
This is before the player-character's(PC) father had decided to escape the tyranny of the confinements which were the Vault. When this does occur, the Dweller is nineteen years old - and this is also after a prologue that you briefly touch upon, to gain an understanding of the HUD, Pip-boy inventory, VATS, and general background which many references are made to from the birth of the PC. And after yourself managing to reach the outside world, you are set with the task of finding your father - easy then. So, as for the gameplay of F3, firstly for the combat system. The introduction of the VATS, with the addition of the Pip-boy, earn many merits in terms of strategy and the use of tactics in combat. To be able to consider the type of weapons you use, and the effect they have on certain areas of the body has had a superb effect in creating an extensive and enjoyable combat system. Instead of using a sniper rifle from two yards, as a player, through the VATS you may muse over using a rifle to aim for the legs to hinder fast moving mutants, whether to blow off the arms of axe-wielding beasts or to launch a grenade into an feral ghoul-infested room. Adding onto this, with the Pip-boy being an easy-to-use and essential tool, your inventory has never been so easy to manage - it really does make for a brilliant role-playing experience. With these beside another innovation, weapon condition(being where weapons are negatively affected when fired, used in melee combat and many other factors), tactics and strategy are heavily emphasised, yet not overdone to the extent of complete insanity when in the game. Also, the variety of characters and enemies adds to the flair which F3 already emanated. With Super Mutants, Feral Ghouls, Radscorpions and Mole Rats(which are a pain in the backside however) at every turn it makes an interesting and varied feel which accompanies the beautiful, huge environment. The characters that you meet throughout the game are superb to interact with, and being able to dive into their past gives an accomplished sense of realism. But the fact that on the whole they feel slightly one-dimensional in terms of personality and in voice acting variation counteracts this without a doubt, making sub-quests and also the story feel tedious at times. However, saying that, the sense of progression you gain from the development of the PC is fantastic, and certainly may account for this.
For sound, Fallout 3 passes with top marks across the board. Whether your experiencing the intensity of a battle with four Super Mutants or enjoying the beautiful creation of the Wasteland wonderland, the soundtrack fits superbly with the image in-game play creates for you. The awe-inspiring score is awesome when witnessed while crossing this desolate world and acts as an incentive to keep coming back to F3. Quality of game soundtracks seem to have become a niche for Bethesda when they transfer projects, with pin-point accuracy on the message of which they wish to portray to the audience. Again with the extensive environment and character design you will have to come back to this game again and again - even if you don't enjoy the game itself, the score is still enviable. The sound effects for the use of weaponry is also great to experience, with fluent, lucid and synchronised use in combat this adds to the experience and realism of Fallout 3, it results in even more intense combat scenes that are thrilling to be a part of. And when parted with the much-loved Radscorpions, the synchronisation in voice acting is also perfected throughout the game. Again adding to the realism of Bethesda's title, it concludes the fact that in terms of sound Fallout 3 ranks with some of the best that I have come across.
When I came to witness the awesome size and extent of the Capital Wasteland, the first doubts that sprang to mind envisioned problems with frame rates and how common loading bars would occur. But to put it simply - its a rarity that they fall below standard. You can spread your travelling wings the length and breadth of the Wasteland, but the frame rate is at a steady, smooth level throughout - a real credit to Bethesda on that one. Only too often have games fell at the hurdle of technicality. However, at times the frame rate after a prolonged period of time may begin to struggle and can hinder the enjoyment you will get out of Fallout 3, but believe me, it certainly has to be after a number of hours on the Xbox 360 to begin to suffer as some have. Not myself though. Hmmm. Ending on a high note, though, the overall design and attention to detail in F3 is beyond imaginable. Never have I witnessed a game in such a state of post-apocalypian distopia be so darn beautiful in terms of textures, colour and contrast used. The commitment that must have been put in to achieve what Bethesda has here is unbelievable. It really does create a very much achieved playing platform to base Fallout 3 upon. And as I mentioned earlier, in relation to the soundtrack and score used, it makes for a truely magnificent combination to be a part of. Your are truely in a parallel universe when witnessing the awesome structure and breathtaking views of F3.
And in conclusion, there's no doubting that Fallout 3 is an excellent title to behold. With the addition of the VATS alongside the Pip-boy, it makes it hard to rival the game in terms of the quality Bethesda have created in terms of combat and role-playing. Furthermore with the almost technical perfection of Fallout 3's extensive gaming environment and thrilling views, this is certainly a game that will leave its mark in the gaming community for years to come. But without the annoyances of character interaction and some slight, but forgivable technical issues, F3 could of been the perfect score.

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