Bethesda Software had a tremendous showing of Fallout 3 and we were privileged to check out the 45 min demo of the game. While the game's still a year away, Fallout 3 looked really polished and exhibited the style from the first two. A lot of the art and music will be familiar to Fallout fans so don't fear as the property is in good hands. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. are the seven stats that determine your characters traits while there's the usual abilities available as well. When you create your character your father, voiced by the great Liam Neeson, will look different depending on the look of your character.
The game has you starting out being born and lets you experience key events in your life until adulthood. We were shown the main character leaving Vault 101 for the first time and entered the city of Megaton. The city is built around an undetonated nuclear bomb and it's here where you can have a few options for missions. You could help the mayor and defuse the bomb but the path we saw was an NPC asking you to detonate Megaton and wipe out the town from the face of the Earth. Even when you get the item to set the bomb to explode you have the choice of turning the guy in that hired you. Fallout 3 is about choices and Bethesda offers plenty to choose from.
Action takes place in real time but you can pause the game and queue up action by using points. This feature retains some of the aspect of the original two games and lets you plan out where you want to attack an enemy without having to frantically select the spots to hit. From the demonstration, I like how the system works and think it'll be a nice feature that will appease old fans. You won't need to be a great action gamer to succeed in Fallout 3 combat.
You can play from the first person view or float the camera around to a position of your liking. The demonstration even went old school as the camera was moved far away and at an isometric view. So you don't always have to play in first person mode if you don't want to.
All weapons have a state about them so some can be in better shape than others. If you pick up the same weapon you can break one down to some smaller parts which fit easier into your inventory and also take those parts to fix other guns in your arsenal. The demo had a gun that was firing a pretty spread out pattern but fixing it with parts from another gun generated a tighter concentration of bullets.
Graphically, the game's a feast for the eyes as the modified Oblivion engine never looked so good. When you first walk out the world is in such a harsh shape from all nuclear fallout. The designers did a really great job at modeling a desolate world with highly detailed textures and top notch architecture. So much little detail in what I saw made the world come alive. One impressive effect was the passing of some sand and dirt in the wind as you looked around. The mutants exhibit great detail as well with some very nice motion capture. Havok is working overtime here generating dynamic movement. All objects were thoughtfuly designed and Bethesda tried to think of why a button would be in a certain place or a gauge was in a certain place. They really gave a lot of attention to detail in designing not only the landscape but the objects in the world. The game just oozes style and the artists at Bethesda should be commended for creating such a highly detailed world.
In reality there are so many things we saw about the game that I could go on and on about Fallout 3. Suffice to say the game's going to be huge and it's going to be a long year wait for the game to come out. Fallout 3's a long time coming and it looks like fans of the first two will be happy at what Bethesda is doing for the third game.