Sunday, July 11th, 2010 by Nick Maunders
If RPG’s are your thing then Fallout 3 is definitely a must play for you. Although not the best RPG so far in my opinion it is by far in the top 5. Bethesda (who also developed Oblivion) sure know how to make one good game. If you’re thinking about getting Fallout 3 read on for all the information you need to know before making your decision.
Fallout 3 takes place in the not so distant future (the year 2277), 200 years previously a mass nuclear apocalypse devastated the entire world and throughout your travels of “the wasteland” you’ll find that practically everything is radioactive. How are you alive you ask? Well you start the game in an underground vault and as you may have guessed you leave the vault and start exploring the United States of America.
Much like Oblivion you start by making your character and choosing your statistics such as Strength, Perception and Charisma. You then go onto to choosing skills for your character. Now unlike Oblivion where your skills went up as you used them (your athletics skill went up as you ran around) your skills in Fallout 3 only increase when you add points to that category (and by collecting little bobbleheads – but we’ll get to that later). You then have another sub category in the skills section called perks. Think of these as similar to spells in Oblivion except instead of paying for them in Gold you pay for them in points you receive when you level up. You can only choose one perk per level. These perks can be specially designed to your type of play: Do you like using rifles to kill your enemies? Perhaps you want the Commando Perk; do you go sneaking around and melee your enemy from behind? Maybe the Ninja perk is for you. There are over 50 perks available through your gameplay (and many perks can be used again for increased benefits).
One thing that has a very significant effect on NPC’s interactions with you is Karma. With RPG’s there are 3 main ways to go: Be a “good” character – kill slaves, performing “good” actions etc; Be a neutral character – if you can’t really decide if you want to be good or bad the best advice is to be both! Or you have the alternative of being “Evil” – if you just love to kill everything in sight whether it’s innocent NPC’s or if stealing’s your thing then you’re probably going to end up with bad Karma and as such people are going to behave negatively towards you, you might even get some of the “Very good” NPC’s attacking you for being “Evil”. All 3 ways have their benefits and drawbacks of course and at the end of the day just play how you want to.
If you haven’t guessed by now I should mention that the majority of weapons in the game are guns. You get the occasion melee weapon and it’s true that you may never have to use a gun in the game … although it’s pretty pointless if that’s how you’re going to be playing. The number of weapons available is huge but ammo for most guns (especially the big ones) is very limited so you must always conserve ammo and use it only when necessary. As for the types of guns you can get there are: Big Guns – in here you get flame throwers, missile launchers etc; Energy Weapons – as expected you can get laser pistols and plasma rifles; Melee Weapons – such as Baseball Bats, Combat Knifes and Shock Batons; and finally Small Weapons – which basically consist of everything else such as Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles etc.
A new addition to the series is the V.A.T.S Mode (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). This brilliant device lets you pause gameplay in the middle of a battle and target specific parts of your enemy. As you can see in the image above the targeting system shows you the probability of hitting a target in the head, leg, arm etc. This handy device can really save you alot of trouble in the more difficult battles and is crucial if you like playing around with a sniper from far away. As expected there are certain perks you can get which increase your V.A.T.S accuracy. You can’t of course use it all the time. You can only use it if you have the required amount of Action Points. These points which refill overtime allow you to use the Advanced Targeting Mode so make sure that when you use it you use it correctly!
The game consists of the main quest and many other miscellaneous side quests. The gameplay is very non-linear, what I mean by that is that it has a very open style. You can go anywhere at any time and do any side quests at any time (within reason of course). You can still of course play the game in a more linear way by doing side quests one at a time and choosing not to explore the place. One of the major disadvantages of this game in my opinion is the huge amount of exploring to do.
Unlike in Oblivion you see where you could fast travel to the major towns straight away in Fallout 3 you can only fast travel to places you’ve visited which means at the beginning you can fast travel to nowhere. Some places require you to walk for hours of game time just to get to them and that isn’t even the worst of it. When you start exploring Washington DC as you’d expect there is a lot of rubble everywhere. This means that if you don’t know how to use the map properly to look for entrance points you going to have a very difficult time finding your destination. There is nothing more annoying in this game to follow your compass towards your destination and find out there is a huge rubble pile blocking your way just metres from where you need to get too. Sometimes you literally have to backtrack your whole way back or circle all of the way round the area until you find an entrance point. It’s a shame that they don’t highlight these “no-entry” points on your map more thoroughly as they can really ruin your gameplay if you find yourself continuously lost.
When asked to compare this game to Oblivion there are many differences and similarities that I can spot. They both follow the same “Sandbox style” rules and both have a main quest followed by many side quests. Fallout 3 tends to have the idea that every item you pick up in the game has a use (where as in Oblivion things like Quills and bones). The main difference though has to be the gear and setting. Oblivion has a medieval like theme with swords while Fallout 3 has a post-apocalyptic theme with guns. Which do you prefer? I much rather like swords than guns which is why I think Oblivion is that little bit better than Fallout 3.
A very important thing I should say without giving too much away is that if you buy the game without the “Broken Steel” add on make sure you’ve done everything before you get to the last stage in the main quest. I won’t say too much but if you finish the main quest without the Broken Steel add on you do not get a chance to do any side quests etc after the main quest has finished. A huge let down for most people and another reason why I think Oblivion is that slightly bit better than Fallout 3. I would game this game a ranking of 9.1/10.