Fallout 3 is a role playing first or third person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic future past Washington DC. What do I mean by future past? Well once upon a time mankind was sealed off in vaults for 50 or so years and so the technology is all from 1950s science fiction. The 1950s didn’t really have robots, but they sure do in Fallout 3. You’re one of the inhabitants of the vault and life is going fine, until your father decides to leave and head out into the great unknown. What’s outside the vault? Mutants, hostile wildlife, irradiated zones that will kill you. In short, the game is a wasteland, I can’t even really call it a beautiful wasteland, so much as a desolate, almost vacant wasteland.
Its a true departure from the first two Fallout games from a decade or so earlier. Those were isometric role playing games and I’d much rather play this grand adventure in first person. It just feels so much more immersive and that’s what the game has going for it, the immersion. You can walk from point A to point B and over the span of time, you’ll encounter any number of diversions. Anything from enemies to caves that you’ll get sidetracked. It turns into a true time sink for people that love to explore.
The game feels pretty slow paced. You’ll talk to people that give you quests and you can learn more about topics through dialog trees. Back once again is Bethesda’s zoom in on people’s faces. While this might have been cool back for Morrowind, I’m feeling its age. It just feels too familiar, like its grown stale from my hundreds of hours in Morriwnd and Oblivion. While the post-apocalypse is a new twist, it still feels the same, but now its got guns!
What really gets to me are the statistics. You can shoot an enemy, but if your stats are low, you don’t actually hurt it, or you can miss it even when you’re hitting it. It makes firefights last a little longer than they should. Then there’s the VAT system that you can use to freeze time and auto target enemy weak points. You’ll even see the accuracy percentage. It just makes a slow paced game even slower. Although it does show cool slow motion deaths with lots of blood spraying everywhere.
Fallout 3 feels like its Oblivion’s engine in a world that feels muddy and dirty like Morrowind. I’m not a fan of Fallout 3, but I understand millions of people are. You can do what you want and its all pretty easy to do. You get a lot of life and time invested into the game, so there’s a lot of time for your dollar.
There was a time when I would have loved a game like this. Morrowind… but a first person shooter. Well playing Fallout 3 just makes me want to play a real FPS. Why? I hate clearly shooting an enemy and having it do no damage simply because of RPG style combat where it is a roll of the dice. Since this is an open world, there are plenty of overpowered enemies even from the start that you’ll have to go out of your way to avoid.
Even after four hours, the story didn’t suck me in, but the story in most open world games is never all that present or engrossing. Its all just a back drop to give you a reason to be in an open world.
Fallout 3 has a vast world out there, but I have no desire to explore it when it all looks the same. There are a few interesting settlements, like a city built around an atomic bomb and another town built on a crumbling skyway. It feels like while the locations are interesting, its the people and the quests inside that are dull and uninspiring. They all talk like robots with a variety of ten different voices for hundreds or thousands of people.
I’ll avoid it, but everyone else will sink hundreds of hours into it and enjoy it.