Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games Turning 10 This Year
Created by Alessandro Fillari on
Fallout 3 (October 28, 2008)
Having a video game, movie, or book set in your city is not uncommon, but when you're presented with a post-apocalyptic version of a town you know, the imagery takes on new weight. As a kid growing up in Maryland, I had innumerable school field trips and other excursions into DC, so seeing a bombed-out version of the US capitol immediately grabbed my attention. Museums I had visited, streets I had walked, buildings where my own father had worked--these were shown in a post-war light that rendered them both familiar and unrecognizable.
A setting can only get you so far, and that's where Fallout 3's incredibly engaging story and mechanics come into play. An RPG providing you with guns and improvised weapons is nothing new, but the brutality here makes them feel that much more powerful. Mad Max was clearly an influence on Fallout 3, and it shows in the combat and the amateurly constructed weapons you take into battle. It was definitely one of the goriest games of '08--and your view of the blood splatter got almost too close for comfort thanks to the game's VATS system.
Outside of combat, your actions and dialogue choices could completely change the course of the story. These branching paths weren't new--BioWare had already done it a few times--but choosing a side is a theme that carried forward into both New Vegas and Fallout 4, growing in scope each time. The open-endedness of quests also blew my high-school mind. On a second or third playthrough, I stumbled into Raven Rock hours before the story had intended me to, effectively cutting the main quests in half. You wouldn't know any better if it were to happen on your first experience, but having been through the game before, I was amazed that it allowed for such exploration. To this day, exploring every interesting-looking corner of the map is a habit I happily cannot break. -- Tony Wilson