I'll be writing a detailed review of Fallout 3, I'll divide the major areas up and explain them the best I can. I'll keep as many spoilers out of my review. Let's get started...
This is a Role Playing Game (RPG) and a free roaming game. Meaning you play as a character and you're free to explore the whole area around you, you're not constricted to one path you can go anywhere you want and do whatever you want. To get an even better idea how this game looks and functions, I highly suggest you look at some YouTube videos of it.
Fallout 3 is set in the post-apocalyptic city of Washington D.C. in the year 2277; it takes place 200 years after the apocalypse, when in 2077 a nuclear war had taken place between China and the U.S.A. The timeline is the same as in our world until World War II, then it splits, the Cold War never ended and instead of it being with Russia it's with China. Like all wars it's for resources, oil prices are sky high, hitting $7000 per barrel! During the conventional war between the two nations, US scientists come up with fusion technology which can replace gas and oil, it can power cars, buses, and even weapons like the Laser Rifle (which I'll be talking about later) Nonetheless nuclear war hits in 2077! You though are safe from nuclear devastations; you were born in a "vault," before the war the government made large underground shelters. In the beginning of the game you start in the vault, living with your dad and the rest of the vault community, just living life, growing up, blah blah blah... But then one day your dad leaves the vault without any warning, it's then up to you to enter the harsh "Capital Wasteland" as it's nicknamed and embark on a quest to find your father. Along the way you can do quests, visit towns, a lot of freedom!
In the Fallout universe "technology progressed at a much more impressive rate, while American society remained locked in the cultural norms of the 1950s" - From the games manual. This gives the game a futuristic feel and look. Like in the 1950s and 60s people thought in the next couple of years or even by 1999 there would be servant robots, nuclear power cars, etc. That's pretty much what Fallout has.
So much to talk about where do I start!?
You can create a male and female character. You can choose very detailed and custom faces, the only thing you build is the face, no muscles or anything. You can craft the jawline, nose, eye spacing, how big your forehead is, etc. Race can be chosen from between Caucasian, Asian, African American, and Hispanic. You can tone skin color as well. There's also a "random" button which makes a mixed up character for you, I once got purple skin -___-
1st Person and 3rd Person View
You have the ability to switch between 1st person view to 3rd person view with one click of the L2 button on the PS3 controller. And if you hold it you can zoom 3rd person view in and out as much as you like.
There are 20 levels in the game. 10 more are add with the Broken Steel Downloadable Content (DLC). But don't worry the Fallout 3 version Amazon is selling is the Game of the Year edition which includes all DLCs. SO be sure to get that one and not just the base game.
Graphics aren't this game's strong point; the map and story of the game are very well built but it lacks in the graphics department. Look up a few screenshots and you'll get the idea. Textures are flat, they give off a 3D look, like of a small rock, but if you look carefully it's just a flat sheet. They're not extremely bad my they're not great, I would give them a 6.5 out of 10, 10 being Battlefield game graphics. The environment is not destructible, a few barrels can be moved but that's it. Graphics are not realistic.
Like I said it's an open world game. The map is huge. The area you start out from is in the suburbs, as you follow the storyline you go into D.C. You can even go to the top of the Washington Monument! The city has many roads blocked off by fallen debris, buildings are dirty and damaged. You can get really deep inside the city; be warned though the whole city is crawling with Super Mutants! The map is big, but then there's the underground Metro system. This basically doubles the map! Dark, spooky tunnels, filled with Raiders and Ghouls... As you go outside and into the city's rural expanse, you'll find scattered towns, secret hideouts, Super Mutant camps and much more. Many of the long over-pass bridges have collapsed. All the trees have been brunt by the nuclear fire. The interior of buildings are dark and damaged too, you can see small particles floating around, you can see stale air flowing.
Time and Weather
Time in the game moves much fast than normal, every minute is only a few seconds and every hour is only a few minutes. You have the option to "wait," when you press the "Select" button on the controller you open up a small menu which lets you wait for as many hours you want. At the menu it lets you know what day, month, year, and time it is. As the time moves along you have dawn, mid-day, night, etc. There is no rain or snow. You will have cloudy days but no rain.
Perks, Skills, and Leveling Up
You can level up in the game by earning XP (Experience Points), you can complete quests, hack computers, lock pick locks, kill enemies, actually kill anything, and other things to earn XP. Every time you level up you have the choice of adding skill points to your Skills and picking one Perk. Skills are Barter, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Explosives, Lockpick, Medicine, Melee Weapons, Repair, Science, Small Guns, Sneak, Speech, and Unarmed. Each of these Skills have a number next to them denoting how good you are, or how advanced you are in that Skill, it ranges from 0 to 100 which is the maximum. For example If I have a high Big Guns Skill my handling, and combat effectiveness with all oversized weapons like the Gatling Laser and Fat Man will be better. Same goes with the rest. If I have a high enough Unarmed Skill I might even be able to, when in dialogue with another person, convince them to teach me a unique move! Perks are special "powers" that you can choose. Like Gun Nut, the description reads: "You're obsessed with using and maintaining a wide variety of conventional firearms. With each rank of the Gun Nut perk, you gain an additional 5 points to the Small Guns and Repair skills." Each Perk has a requirement for Gun Nut I need Rank: 3, Agility 4 and Intelligence 4 (these are S.P.E.C.I.A.L. explained ahead)
S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is an acronym for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck. These to can be customized, each range from 1 to 10. Skills which I just explained are embedded in the SPECIALs. For example, "Intelligence affects the Science, Repair, and Medicine skills..." "Strength is a measure of your raw physical power. It effects how much you can carry, and determines the effectiveness of all melee attacks." When you're building your character that's when you have the option to customize your SPECIALs. In-game you can only edit your SPECIALs with the Intense Training Perk which lets you add one point to only one of your SPECIALs. It can be selected multiply times but you'll have to level up and choose that Perk. If you have a high Intelligence you'll have more skill points to distribute when you level up. You can decide am I going to be a smart, intelligent person, or a heavy brawler who likes it up close, or someone in between?
Karma and Reputation
The actions you take in the game will result in you earning Karma and Reputation. Let's say you kill an innocent towns-person, you will earn bad karma. You will also earn bad karma if you help a bad person do bad things. If you accumulate bad karma your reputation will be that you're a killer and people should be scared of you! Having this type of rep will get you into nasty places like the main base of the Slavers! But it'll hurt you when you try to recruit a companion who requires their leader to have good karma. After helping out a town the townspeople might give you supplies from time to time. There are Perks related to karma, if you are evil you will be able to get Perks that would only be available to evil characters. Same goes for being good. Being good or bad has a role in the game so be careful next time you go shooting up towns!
Throughout the game you can talk with people. When you start talking to them you have a list of dialogue options from which you can choose from and say what you want. If you feel someone is talking nonsense you can tell'em to shut up! Each saying will have an effect, if you start threatening people they might run away scared or start attacking you. Having a high Speech will help you in this area, you can convince people to pay you a higher amount of money for a job, or make them tell you something they otherwise won't want to tell. Sometimes having, lets say, the Perk Gun Nut, you can impress another people with your knowledge of weaponry. By having a high Strength you can intimidate a person through dialogue to give you something. From time to time you'll be able to use your Skills and SPECIALs in unique dialogue options.
You can recruit companions. You need to pay for them in some cases, but most of the time you need to have a certain reputation for them to join you. For example there is one companion you can recruit named Jericho who is a ex-raider, he ain't no goody two-shoes. To be able to recruit him you need to have a bad karma/reputation level. They can carry items for you, any type, armor, guns, food, you name it. they are more resistant to damage then normal people in the Wasteland but they can be killed.
Factions, People, and Creatures in the Capital Wasteland
There are several factions in the Wasteland; the two main ones are the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave. The Brotherhood of Steel was part of the American military before the war. The Brotherhood in D.C. is the East Coast Brotherhood who are a detachment of the original Brotherhood back in California. They are trying to eradicate the threat of Super Mutants from the Wasteland. They're the good guys. The Enclave is the remnants of the American government. They are hostile with pretty much everyone in the Wasteland, they talk about "restoring the nation to its former glory" but they want to kill everything in the Wasteland because they want to rule over an America of the "pure," free from any mutation; as everything in the Wasteland is contaminated with mutation and radiation. Other then these two there are the Super Mutants, who were people that have been mutated by the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) making them into these, large, grotesque monsters. Then there's the Raiders, humans who have made groups that go around killing everything there is to kill, there's no negotiating with them, shoot on sight! Ghouls, are pretty much zombies. There are two types sane and insane. The sane ones are like humans but their skin is rotten, they have heavy, sand-paper voices, and they can live for hundreds of years. Many of them are harmless. The insane ones have had their brains completely rotted. They'll attack anything one sight, they are quite ferocious. Like they say, "gotta shoot'em in the head!" There are slavers as to. They...well...enslave people. Slavers aren't hostile towards you. There are Talon Company mercenaries. They are hostile towards you. Robots are big in this game. You have Robobrains which are robots on treads which use an organic brain as their CPU. Mister Handy robots that have multiple arms, they were used before the war for housekeeping and maintenance; they still can be a threat. You can meet people in towns, you can go to the doctor, go to a bar, buy clothes and ammo, etc.
There are mutant bugs as well. Giant Ants, Bloat Flies, Yao Guai which are mutated black bears! Others include Giant Mole Rats, wild dogs, even mutant cows which are called Brahmin; they have 2 heads and 2 udders!
The wasteland is filled with radiation. Drinking irradiated water or going into irradiated areas will increase your Radiation (RAD) counter. As you accumulate more radiation they're these benchmarks set, once you reach one you'll have radiation sickness effects. When this happens points will taken away from your SPECIALs. Once you hit 1000 RADs you die! So be careful and take Rad-Away!
The Pip-Boy 3000 is an arm mounted machine with a screen on which you can select weapons, look at notes, look at the world map, change clothes, change radio stations, consume food, look at stats, etc. You can say it's your "main menu" in-game.
Things like tin cans, coffee mugs, soda bottles, can be picked up and dropped whenever from your inventory. Weapons, food, clothes, ammo can be picked and dropped.
The money used in the Wasteland are bottle caps. You can get them by selling things; you can find them on people, containers, etc.
The paragraph you've all been waiting for! Weapons are divided into Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Explosives, Melee Weapons, Small Guns, and Unarmed. Big Guns are oversized weapons; they include the Minigun and Missile Launcher. These weapons are usually carried with both hands below the waist, or over the shoulder. The Minigun uses 5mm round while the Missile Launcher uses...well...missiles. Energy Weapons are, aka, laser guns. They include Laser Rifles, Plasma Rifles, Plasma Pistols, etc. These weapons use Microfusion Cells, or Energy Cells as ammo. Early in the game they are hard to find but as you level up and do more quests they'll spawn on enemies and you may even find them. Explosives are grenades and mines. There are normal explosive grenades and mines, but there are also plasma grenades and plasma mines which are great against all targets, and then there are pulse grenades and mines which are extremely effective against robots but do little damage to flesh and blood targets. They emit an Electromagnetic Pulse when detonated. Melee Weapons range from the humble lead pipe to the mighty Super-Sledge! Having a high Strength will benefit you if you're going to build a melee centered character. Things like Switchblades and Combat Knifes, anything you hold comes under Melee Weapons, things like Spiked Knuckles and Power Fists, anything you wear, comes under Unarmed. Small Guns include the Assault Rifle which is based of the G3 and the Chinese Assault Rifle which is based of the AK-47. There are more guns too, like the 10mm Submachine Gun, 10mm Pistol, and Hunting Rifle. There are many more guns it'll take too long to write them all down. Weapons have Damage (DAM), Weight (WG), Condition (CND), and Value (VAL). Damage is affected by the weapons condition, Condition will go down as more and more shots are fired, and if an enemy hits your weapon it can break. In the game weight is not calculated in pounds or kilograms it's just "Weight." Value is determined by the weapons condition. Like I said before things like Spiked Knuckles and Power Fists, anything you wear, comes under Unarmed. There are also unique weapons which you build from Blueprints, you use materials found from the Wasteland to build them. Like the Rock-It Launcher you can use ANYTHING as ammo! Coffee mugs, tin cans, pool balls, soda bottles, belts, lunchboxes, books, teddy bears, can all be shot! There's also a flaming sword called the Shishkebab! It's a melee weapon, its blade is on fire and when an enemy is hit they're set on fire! They're a few more epic gadgets as well.
Clothing and Appeal
You can choose from a wide range of clothing. You can wear Raider armor, Wasteland settlers gear, headgear, even power armor, a massive self-contained suit of mechanized combat armor that turns a single soldier into a walking tank! Almost every clothing item has an effect, if I wear the Vault Lab Uniform I will have 5 points added to my Science skill as long as I keep wearing that. If I wear the Merc Grunt Outfit my Melee weapons skill will be raised by 2 and my Small Guns skill will as be raised by 2. Wearing the Brotherhood Power Armor, my Strength will be boosted up by 2, my Agility will be lowered by 2 and I'll have 10 more Radiation Resistance. Clothing also has Damage Resistance (DR), Weight (WG), Condition (CND), and Value (VAL). Damage Resistance goes down as you get shot up. Condition will go down just like DR. Value is determined by the condition and DR of the clothing as well has what type of clothing it is, if it's a Dirty Chinese Jumpsuit in full condition it doesn't mean its valve will necessarily more then a suit of Power Armor which is at half condition. A suit of clothing can be repaired with another identical suit, or by a near relative of that clothing.
Food and Drinks
You can consume food and drinks in the game which will increase your health but they also have "effects." Taking Buffout, which is a medicine (in the game it is a Chemical (Chem) slang for drug), will increase your health by 60 Health Points (HP), raise your Endurance by 3, and raise your Strength by 2. Taking too much of it will result in you being addicted to it and after it's effects have worn off you'll experience withdrawal symptoms, you'll loss 1 point from Endurance and 1 point from Strength and it won't go away until you go to a doctor and have yourself cured, so don't overload! There is alcohol as well, beer, vodka, wine, etc, which you can get addicted to as well. Food includes, Squirrel on a Stick, Noodles, Brahmin Streak, Potato Crisps, Salisbury Streak, and more! Yum, yum!
V.A.T.S (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System)
V.A.T.S is a targeting system. When activate in front of anything that can be killed, it literally freezes time and lets you choose which body part you want to target, it lets you see what condition each limb is in, thus you can target their weak area, when you've accepted the attack, the screen goes into a cinematic mode which shows you shooting or mauling your target. Every time you choose to select a body part it takes Action Points (AP), you are limited to only a number of strikes which can be only done if you have enough AP. AP regenerates over a short period of time, it's regenerated right after you come out of VATS. There are Perks which increase overall AP.
Through your Pip-Boy you can change radio stations which are broadcasting through the Wasteland. Some are distress signals coming from nearby radio-towers; you can investigate if the people who are in need of help are still alive... There are 2 main stations which broadcast through the wastes at all times. One of them plays old 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s songs. They play songs like Anything Goes by Cole Porter and Dear Hearts and Gentle People by Bob Crosby and the Bobcats! Like I said before the developers have created a world where "technology progressed at a much more impressive rate, while American society remained locked in the cultural norms of the 1950s" - from the games manual. This gives the game a futuristic feel and look. The songs improve that "feel" drastically!
You can blow off limbs and heads, just giving you a heads up...no pun intended. It can get a little gross from time to time. The graphics aren't realistic so that's a plus!
You can save the game manually anytime you want. If you want to save right before you start a quest you can do that. There's also an auto-save which saves every time you enter or exist a building, you can it turn on and off.
Glitches and Freezes
Fallout 3 is notorious for its freezes. The game freezes at many points. Characters are glitching like demons in the air sometimes. Because of the patches these things have decreased but they do happen. So be sure to download the patch when you start the game. For me nothing too big happens and I'm happy with the game; just remember to save from time to time.
No Online or Multiplayer
There is no multiplayer or co-op in this game.
Overall this is a very good game! The world they've created is huge and immersive. I've had this game for over 3 years and I still play it from time to time and I still find new things in the game! I once found a Mini Nukes in an isolated power station in the Wasteland; the Mini Nuke was hidden above a hanging lighting fixture! The storyline is amazing, great features, one of them that you can choose what you want to say, just beautiful! I highly recommend this game and for only $20 it's a steal.
(This review has also been written by me on Amazon.com--letting you know so you don't think someone's going around copy pasting someone elses reviews)