Fallout 3

Review

posted 10/30/2008 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360
Weapons come in various flavors from the simple baseball bat to the fat boy mini-nuke launcher. What's really nice about Fallout 3 is that you get some of the really cool weapons early on. Whereas a lot of RPGs make you progress through some levels before finding some cool weapons, Bethesda has no qualms at giving you something to play with really early in the game. Now, the conditions of the weapons aren't that good and you'll need to fix a few to get them to do better damage but you'll be able to get whet your appetite early on. It seems ammo for these big toys is pretty scarce in the early goings of the game or I just had bad luck in finding them. Anyways, all the weapons have some condition and when they get worn down you'll have to repair them. If you have the skill you can take apart another weapon that's compatible and use those parts to improve the condition of the other one. Or you can take it to someone and pay some bottle caps to help repair it. It's really done well and gives you a choice of relying on yourself or having others give you hand. Another cool feature is that you can create some weapons yourself. If you have the skills and the plans, just put together the necessary parts and you're good to go.

I have to say it was breath taking the first time you step out of Vault 101. The view of a barren wasteland with the remnants of buildings and rocky terrain is a stark contrast to the Vault environment consisting of all machinery and no vegetation or natural landscapes. I literally sat there and turned my head around slowly in order to take it all in. It was beautiful and depressing at the same time. I had a much greater reaction to the first time I set foot outdoors in Fallout 3 then I did with Oblivion. The world is incredibly detailed with rolling rocky terrain and decaying junk scattered about. Walking through the ruins of a school, the level of detail is really something to behold. The buildings are in shambles as various parts of it have fallen down. A mass of beams, concrete, and broken school furniture litter the interior and you can easily imagine yourself being in this place because of how well the artists at Bethesda modeled it. Even with all the terrain variations, objects sticking out, and nooks and crannies I only got stuck once during gameplay. I was surprised at how easily I was able to traverse the rough environment but it's really good of Bethesda to be able to keep your character from getting caught in a place where you can't get out of. Because it's set in a post-apocalyptic future, you're going to get a lot of grays, browns, and muddled colors. Don't expect too much deviation from this in the first few hours and don't expect much as you go along. That's OK for me as I expected this and it just wouldn't feel right if the environments had a lot of contrast.

The outside world is pretty big and there are plenty of places to explore. Your Pip-Boy gives you access to a world and local map. When locations are discovered or told to you, they'll show up in these map screens. Setting a mark on them will give you a direction arrow on your compass showing you where to go. A nice little feature though is the ability to quickly travel between visited locations. While you can't instantly travel to the ones that you haven't visited, you'll have the option of visiting past locations without having to experience all the walking. Selecting the pre-visited location will give you the option of just going there and bypassing any enemies along that path. You can only travel to marked locations so you can't just pick a place on the map and use the quick travel option. Sure, it might not be realistic and some might think this is a little cheating but you don't have to use it. Some of the places are a nice long trek and to have the ability to go to the place to finish a quest and "warp" back to town to collect your reward is a nice little feature in my opinion. There are some areas that won't let you do this until you exit such as underground locations or hideaways.

Fallout 3

With having a vast environment, there are plenty of things left out in the world for you to pick up. When I say there are plenty of things to pick up, I mean there are a TON of items you can take with you. From simple small things like empty bottles, packets of cigarettes, and so on there’s such an enormous variety of items you can pick up its unbelievable. If you can see it most likely you'll be able to carry it with you. Everything has some value to it so picking a few things here and there and selling it for some bottle caps will help you out in the long run. I was surprised at the variety of items I could handle and you can get really overwhelmed with the amount of things you carry with you.

As you progress through your adventure you'll meet up with some folks that will be able to join you on your quest. These folks can really help turn a hairy situation a little more manageable but not all the time. The ugly AI can rear its head at these points and at times you definitely don't want to. I guess you can say it hearkens back to the day when in the original games, your friends would stupidly get in the way of your weapon but here they do other things like get caught in the environment or take some route that just isn't optimal to get to the enemy. It's because of this that I wish you had the ability to get some real friends to play alongside you but I guess we'll have to wait for Fallout 4 to see if that happens. AI also affects the enemies as well as I've seen them get stuck in places and not come after me giving me time to just sit back and replenish my V.A.T.S. points. Back to NPCs, sometimes you don't even have to recruit folks to help you indirectly. While wandering the world, I ran into a few hunters that I could buy meat from. After we finished our transaction they headed on their merry little way. A band of raiders came around though and started to attack me. Next thing I know I hear and see the hunters come running and shooting at the raiders. Mind you they all got killed but they did take out one or two of these guys and I was able to reap the benefits by taking all the possessions the dead held. It's nice to be able to run into random folks that aren't just there to take you down outside of town.
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