Should I Buy? – Fallout 3

Holy Gameplay Trailers, Batman! Did you guys see the new Arkham City trailer? It looks amazing! I cannot wait to play that.

Anyway, down to business. The Fallout series is one with a troubled history. The first game was released in 1997 and was a critical success and a cult classic. Its sequel Fallout 2 performed similarly. Then the series was taken out of the hands of its original creators and made first into a divisive tactical game and then a disastrous shooter game.

With its original studio shut down, it looked to become a relic of gaming’s past until it was revived by Bethesda Softworks with Fallout 3, an RPG-shooter hybrid. The series is set in the future of an alternative timeline where the Cold War happened between China and America which continued into the 21st Century though culture stagnated in the 1950’s and hasn’t moved on since. Eventually the world nuked itself to death but humanity survived.

You grow up in one of the underground Vaults, where remnants of humanity have dwelt for the past 200 years with no contact from the outside world. And this childhood actually comprises the game’s tutorials. Under the guise of bullies, classroom tests, birthday parties and more you create your character’s look and statistics and get introduced to combat and morality. This is all very immersive , and doesn’t outstay its welcome.  Eventually however, the time comes for you to leave the Vault to find your recently escaped father (Liam Neeson).

And from there, you’re given free range to do pretty much whatever you want within the game’s parameters. You’re free to explore the crumbled wastelands of the Washington D.C. and interact with the peoples therein.

The game’s main plotline revolves around finding your father and unravelling his past. However, you can choose not to do this for weeks while you explore the Capital Wasteland and get embroiled in side quests.

All the equipment you can use has it’s own ‘condition’ bar. This means you have to scavenge equipment as well as medicine in order to keep yourself and your gear in working order. This mechanic serves two great purposes. For one, it fits very nicely into a world where everything is built on the bones of the old as a blend of mechanic and aesthetic. Secondly, it means you can’t just pick up the most powerful weapons at the beginning of the game and expect to rely on it.

Combat can be taken care of in first or third person views. Personally, I’d recommend using the first person view, as something about the aim in third person seems a little off.

The freedom that the game gives you is great, as this is an environment you can quickly draw you in with its great sense of worldbuilding and atmosphere. Though the game world leaves you with a lot of neat little secrets and stuff to find, it’s not very populated. The game has about five proper, revisitable settlements and depending on whether you play as good or evil you’ll probably end up destroying one of them.

Despite this, being able to wander around an office building which has no relation to any quests and find a series of internal emails on the computers that tell a story of the people who worked there is fantastic. These kinds of touches are all over the place and really help the world feel alive. Or dead. Or dead but with people living in it again. Whatever it is, it makes the world feel like that.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to really say about the gameplay. It’s perfectly serviceable gunplay mixed with some simple to understand, yet deceptively deep RPG mechanics whirring away close enough to the surface that you’re mindful of them, but not so much so that they ever really intrude on the game.

Now that this game is so cheap, there isn’t really a reason not to buy it. Don’t expect any handholding once you leave the Vault though, and if you’re a shooter fan with no interest in RPGs then you should just go back to Gears of Halo Duty Warfare  5. The five different DLC packs add a lot to the game’s quality, and I’ll do a write-up of those soon. As a note, instead of having to download the DLC packs to your console, buying the game of the year edition would give you all those on disc, so you might wanna wait on buying this till you’ve heard about the DLC and whether you think it’s worth it.

Price: PC – £6 (CEX) £14 (Steam)

PS3 – £5 (CEX)

XBOX 360 £7 (CEX)


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