Fallout 3

Posted on May 12, 2009


I haven’t played the previos installments in the Fallout series, but if the others are like Fallout 3, then I surely missed the parade. There’s many things to praise about the game–from the gameplay to soundtrack this game shows wonderful ingenuity, creativity, and a whole bunch of other fancy superlatives to say “this game kicks serious buttocks.” There are just a few minor things that have gone wrong in Fallout 3…and I have to reach for even those.

These Boots Were Made For Walking…Through Toxic Waste
Fallout 3 has truly laid down the gauntlet for an epic video game. The map blows Grand Theft Auto IV’s map out of the water in terms of size and exploration. I’ve never seen a video game with a grid this large. It’s overwhelming and awesome. Having a huge territory to play with truly helps create a feel for a wandering lone ranger as the playable character.  In fact the map and content are on such a huge scale that I had to purchase, for the first time EVER, a game guide. And let me tell you that it was $25 well spent.

You won’t appreciate Fallout 3 entirely until you know of all the little things buzzing about in the barren, irradiated wasteland. In fact, one could probably write two totally different reviews: one from the perspective of having the game guide, and the other as the poor soul who is stuck without it. There’s something to be said for using the WEb for the occassional tip, but trust me, the extra $25 is necessary if you really want to enjoy this game. There is simply too much stuff in the wasteland, and the missions, side missions, and even a third tier of missions are constantly passing you by as you wander the wasteland. I was amazed at how much I missed after reading through a walk-through of missions I already completed before buying the guide.

Some may think that needing a guide to fully enjoy a game is contradicting. As in, a game should be a free-standing enjoyable entity without the guide. Believe me, Fallout 3 is amazing, guide or no guide. But, if there was ever a video game worth exploring the minutia, it’s this one. The side quests and adventures you get into on your own rival the enjoyability of following (empirically) the main story missions.

Fly In The Oinment
My biggest concern with the game, however, rears its head in the very thing I praise. The map seems to have been too large for the developers, and at times you will invariably will invariably bump into grids where there are holes in the programming and polygons flashing all over the screen. It’s like a sober acid trip. Everywhere you turn your blinded by these voids in coding. Maybe it was just my disk…who knows. But if not, these instances only occurred three or four times out of the 8 weeks I played through the story. Still, fighting giant scorpions is kinda hard when you can only see broken grid fragments.

Good Cop, Bad Cop
All in all this game is worth playing, twice. There are achievement points for playing as a good karma wastelander and a bad karma character. Each mission is different as well, as you can severely alter the world for the better or worse, depending on your personality. So, blow up a city or help it, the choice is yours. And both are entertaining in their own lil ways.

The weapons, armor, and junk you find along the way contribute greatly to the struggle and enjoyment of Fallout. Your weapons and gear are conditioned, and need refurbishing constantly. This makes you value the items you carry and they almost become characters unto themselves. Also your character is highly customizable. Leveling up is one of the best parts of the game because you get to control so many points of his/her skills. Also, the Perks you get to select during level ups is probably the most ingenius part of the game. Every video game create henceforth should have a perk system. On this screen, players get to choose one new perk (per level up). These perks add additiional skill points or add entirely new skills to a character. This makes your hero highly specific to who you want him/her to be and how you want to play the game. Basically, you get total control of the character’s characteristics–from personality to hair cut. Who could pass that up?

Stay tuned for a review of the Fallout 3 download: Operation Anchorage

Posted in: Op-Ed