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Fallout 3 - Full Review
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Old 15 Nov 2008, 22:26   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Fallout 3 - Full Review

A couple weeks ago I posted up a brief review of my thoughts of Fallout 3, after playing it for about 4-5 hours. You can see it here. Many, if not all, of the things I said in that review I still stand by. However, I did promise a full, more in-depth review, so here I am. (And yes, those of you who are wondering, a Gears of War 2 review is coming. There's just so much stuff to do in it I can't give an adequate summary of the sheer awesomeness.)

So... Fallout 3. One of the most anticipated Xbox 360 games out there, up there with Halo 3, Mercenaries 2, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, all those sequels that you play with high expectations and usually get them crushed.



Where to begin? I guess the beginning.

[hr]

Fallout 3 (and the whole series, for that matter) is a post-apocalyptic RPG/FPS beauty. Fallout 3 is set in Washington D.C. (and surrounding areas) relatively shortly after a nuclear war that completely wrecked the world. When you exit your Vault (a fallout shelter where you, and many others, have been living for years and years - I won't get into spoilers, though) you see a breathtaking view of the world after a nuclear war.
The landscapes are incredible, if a tad bit repetitive sometimes (there isn't much to look at except wastelands, ruins, and whatever buildings may have survived the war - or been constructed afterwards). This gives you a suitably dark, gritty, ominous feel to the game throughout, and it does tend to get repetitive - but, then again, you don't exactly expect to see children frolicking in fields of daisies and unicorns. The environments work fine, and the way some of these cities are constructed from nothing is really amazing to see, animated or not. Bethesda manages to bring a lot of life to a lifeless, barren wasteland without ruining the mood - something quite difficult to do.

If you've ever played Oblivion, you'll have no problem learning the controls. They're virtually identical - with the exception of the V.A.T.S system, I believe everything is the same. However, just because they share controls, doesn't mean that Fallout 3 is just Oblivion in the future - it's not. (And even if it were, I don't see a problem with that :P). Fallout 3, as I said so extensively in the other review, is its own game. The controls may be identical, but the gameplay is vastly different, from being in cities to wandering the wastelands. Fallout 3 may have a smaller world, but it's definitely large enough, and gives you plenty to do. Exploring will let you find new locations and areas of all varieties, from abandoned houses to mutant colonies to makeshift cities. The skill system and character creation system are completely different - in Fallout 3, you gain experience by getting kills or completing quests. You level up when you reach a certain level, and only then can you get new perks (bonuses that remain constant throughout the game - from more carry weight, to increased radiation resistance, to +X% to a certain skill(s).) There are three categories that affect your skills - S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats (general - things like Strength, Agility, etc.), Perks (as mentioned before), and the actual skills - things like Small Guns, Medicine, Sneak, and so on. S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats affect your skills, and Perks may affect your skills and/or S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats. It's very easy and user friendly to construct your character in game and level up as you go along. The limit of 20 levels makes you pick wisely, as that means you get a maximum of 20 perks (1 perk/level).

Fallout 3 has gotten criticism (mostly on this forum) for being repetitive. I don't find it that repetitive.
People are trying to think of Fallout 3 as Oblivion in the future, and expecting the same thing - 'dungeon' raids, lots of side quests, guilds, and so on. Don't do that. Think of Fallout 3 as Fallout 3, not The Eldar Scrolls 5. Fallout 3 does not play, and isn't supposed to play, like that. Fallout 3, to me, is more about doing the quests, and exploring, but not necessarily dungeon raiding. There's still so much to do - explore the metro systems, go to the old vaults, find radio towers, etc. that will give you a great look into the post-apocalyptic world that Bethesda has so masterfully crafted.
There is variety in enemies, skills, strategies, and weaponry. From Power Fists to Snipers, Sneak to Strength, you can really choose how you want to approach the situation (which brings me to the Karma system which I'll get to later). I have successfully created a stealthy sniper character as well as a close combat tank character - and if both of those worked great, I'm sure so will anything in between.
There are lots of different enemies, but the most common one is a Super Mutant. They are reasonably difficult to face - one on one you shouldn't have much problem on the default difficulty, but, especially at lower levels, you can't exactly pass them by and not view them as threats. Especially when accompanied by Masters or Brutes, these Super Mutants can definitely give you a beating.
There's also many wild creatures that are actually threats. To me, these wild creatures are a brilliant creation. They show what happened to the species of the planet after the nuclear war - you can find mutated bears (Yao Gui), dogs, scorpions (RadScorps), hell, even flies (Bloatflies). And I don't even *know* what Deathclaws are supposed to be - but I am curious :P

Ahh, the karma system. Guess what - it actually works! Being evil, being good, and being neutral have there advantages and their disadvantages. Being evil will probably get you richest, quickest - assuming you kill and steal a lot. However, it also means that you'll have a harder time getting (some) people to join your "party" (basically, they just follow you), and if you kill in a town, you'll get attacked by everyone, and good luck with that. Being good, you will get more followers, and get more rewards/gifts (in general). However, you can't just walk up to a merchant, kill him, and get rich in 2 seconds
(I would like to add that, unless you're prepared, killing merchants isn't exactly *that* easy. They usually have guards, and most are in cities where the people in the city will start attacking you).

The dialogue flows great and is a lot of fun. It's Bethesda's cynical, dark sense of humor in this game that really made me think of Gears of War. You'll laugh, you'll piss your pants. You'll smile, you'll cry. There's a whole mixture of emotions and feelings that go through your mind when playing this game, and it was perfectly executed.

The ratings:

Graphics: 10/10. Brilliantly breathtaking landscapes, amazingly designed cities, and great combat animations.

Sounds: 8/10. The GNR radio is great, the voices and general sounds are also awesome. However, the soundtrack, while great at first (captures the mood brilliantly) gets VERY repetitive - it's only 4-5 songs (or at least seems like it) on repeat over. And over. And over.

Dialogue: 10/10. I put this in a seperate category because I felt bad to give sounds an 8/10 with the brilliant voice acting. It's great, and the writing is also really, really good. Might be the best I've EVER seen, in terms of scriptwriting AND voice acting.

Controls: 10/10. Oblivion done good, Fallout done good. 'Nuff said.

Gameplay: 10/10. I don't find it repetitive, lots of options, lots of fun.

Story: 9/10. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. [size=1pt]It was great at first, but got repetitive. "Go find dad here." I go there. "He's not here. Go there." I go there. "He's not here. Go there." Etc. etc. etc. However, then, once I found dad and... stuff happened, it got better again. However, the ending was CHEESY :P.[/size]

Replay: 9.5/10. I would like some more side quests, but as a whole it's very replayable, especially for an RPG/FPS. Lots of locations, strategies, options, etc.

Great game. I'd rate it a 9.5/10.
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 00:01   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

A note on the Dialouge, the seemed to have learned something from Oblivion (ie. have more than five voice actors). They did a really good job with it and there's a ton of memorable characters.

Nice Review.
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I believe so, I get mine at Walgreen's for around $7. Brake Fluid works too (Pine Sol Works on metals, not so well on plastics), but I prefer the spraycanniness of the Easy Off. Spray it (Wear gloves, it's important), let it sit, and take a toothbrush to it later.
so what your saying is that oven cleaner can remove paint from plastic models? and after that, you take a toothbrush to your plastic model, and the paint just comes off?
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 02:32   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

Not bad but I do have one bone to pick:

Quote:
People are trying to think of Fallout 3 as Oblivion in the future, and expecting the same thing - 'dungeon' raids, lots of side quests, guilds, and so on. Don't do that. Think of Fallout 3 as Fallout 3, not The Eldar Scrolls 5. Fallout 3 does not play, and isn't supposed to play, like that.
It may not be Elder Scrolls 5 but it also doesn't hold up as a "Fallout 3" in some ways. It is very short on towns to explore, jobs in said towns to do, disguises, side quests and even the main quest is way too short. Fallout 3 also has far fewer weapon varieties than its predecessors. Fallout 3 may be different from Oblivion but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be criticised for its short falls. For a Fallout Game, Fallout 3 is way too short, its got way too few side quests, the area it covers is very small, the number of towns and people you encounter are way too few and the variety of armaments and party members is very slim.

It is a great game in many respects, but one category you didn't analyze was how well it continued the franchise and represented the universe and I think both of those aspects are a little lacking. The universe is portrayed beautifully but it doesn't have the wit, humor or light heartedness of the previous games even in serious situations, its scope and variety are also lacking compared to its predecessors as well and there is far too little in the way of investigative quests and cities to explore.

However compared to the most recent previous attempt to continue the franchise Fallout 3 has performed far better than I had expected or hoped. There is still a little dissapointment in some areas but on a whole Fallout 3 has proven a very good game. But I'm still hoping for some expansions as there is just too much left undone.
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 02:51   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

Well, to be honest here Vash, the only other Fallout game I have spent a decent (read: any) amount of time on is Fallout: Tactics. I hear that's the weakest of Fallouts 1, 2, and Tactics, so I'm kinda unhappy that's the one I got, but it is what it is (I bid on all of them multiple times on Ebay and kinda gave up after *finally* winning a Tactics).

So I can't honestly compare this game with the other games in the franchise. But to be honest, that shouldn't matter on how good a game is - just how good you expect it to be.
A game can be a disappointment and still be a great game (as, from what I see, is how you and many others feel).
Likewise, a game can surprise you by being better than you thought, and still be crap.

So, while I don't think that the other Fallout games should or would change my 'rating' for this one, I do understand where you're coming from.
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 09:08   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

additionally: i think the fire ants belonged in oblivion, not fallout. same goes for mire lurks. neither of 'em looked or felt "fallout" enough for me.

as for deathclaws...IIRC they're hinted to be mutated geckos or chameleons (can't remember which)
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 14:24   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

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Originally Posted by BloodiedFangs
additionally: i think the fire ants belonged in oblivion, not fallout. same goes for mire lurks. neither of 'em looked or felt "fallout" enough for me.
Agreed, but mostly about Mirelurks,

Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodiedFangs
as for deathclaws...IIRC they're hinted to be mutated geckos or chameleons (can't remember which)
Could be, but I figured that the more ominous the mutated creature was, the more ominous the 'real' creature is, hence Yao Gui being at the top of the food chain 'till Deathclaws.

Edit: Found this: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Deathclaw
It says they're genetically modified reptiles, but doesn't get more specific than that. It mentions chameleons later, but I wasn't sure if they were actually literally talking about chameleons, or a squad name or something like that.
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Old 16 Nov 2008, 23:19   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

IIRC its actually the reptile . your idea of progression might hold true for fallout 3 critters, but the deathclaw has been with us since the original fallout.

but like i said, its only ever hinted at
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Old 21 Dec 2008, 10:34   #8 (permalink)
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I've had a raft of technical problems playing this game on my PC, starting with having to install a workaround file to get around a Xbox live related file that didn't install in the first place. Although I've scoured the net to try and fix the problem the game with still crash with alarming frequency when I try and play it. The game has twice teleported my character bare naked and weaponless across the wasteland to the same spot after my autosave got corrupted when the game seized up and had to be Ctrl'Alt'Deleted to death. This is combined with all the other times that the autosave worked just fine after the game seized up and died on me.

Bethesda are terrible programmers, and although some might argue that these sorts of problems are inevitable when dealing with an open environment and cross-platform software development.. it means roughly a squat's chance to me when I just pissed $90 against the wall for a game that will only be workable in 8 months time when and if the patches catch the instabilities that are making my game largely unplayable.

I still prefer the first two Fallout games simply because I was at the right place and time to enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed. I'm not particularly annoyed with Bethesda's adoption of the brand since the original team behind it has long since scattered to the four corners of the gaming industry. It's not great but it certainly not the anti-christ all my fellow original vault dwellers seem to be making it out to be.

On a related note, it remains to be seen if InExile headed up by Brian Fargo (Original creator of FO1) is going to bring their Wasteland 2 project to fruition. So look out for more post apocalyptic zombie-franchises to wander out of the game graveyard in search for delicious brains!
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Old 21 Dec 2008, 10:56   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fallout 3 - Full Review

Personally for me Fallout 3 is both a joy and a dissapointment.

It is a dissapointment when taking into consideration the sheer detail and range from the first 2 games. I expected to see more of the dark humour, and equipment from the original games. By comparison to Fallout 1 and 2 there is little side options and side quests, there is lots of goodies to hunt down and collect, but there was in 1 and 2 so no change there.

The real clanger for me was most notably the armours. Although bethesda have tried to not do a futuristic version of Eldar Scrolls the way they did the armours reads right out in the same manner. To be honest all the armour and equipment (not weapons) are very poor for a fallout game. Most of the clothing/equipment have to little in the way of effects/weak or the negative effects seem overpowering by comparison to the positives.

Now as a joy Fallout 3 is graphically beautiful, it conveys the right air of the post-apocolyptic future. The metro tunnels are great, the ruined cities and cleverly constructed ramshackle cities are nice. The abillity to play the game as a first person shooter game is wonderful when added to the graphics, you can explore to your hearts content and it will be enjoyable. It was nice that they didn't change the skilling system from 1 and 2 as to me that was one of the best systems for leveling I have encountered in a game.

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Originally Posted by BloodiedFangs
additionally: i think the fire ants belonged in oblivion, not fallout. same goes for mire lurks. neither of 'em looked or felt "fallout" enough for me.
Actually they had fire ants in Fallout 2 Right at the start in the proving trials.
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Old 21 Dec 2008, 11:35   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mana-Valkyrie
Actually they had fire ants in Fallout 2 Right at the start in the proving trials.
Those were just your regular every-apocalypse kind of giant ants. Fire breathing not included.

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