Random Review: Fallout 3

Fallout 3, by Bethesda Softworks is probably the best game I’ve played so far in 2009. Personally, i think the world felt a lot bigger and a lot more immersive than GTA4.

There was so much to do, and so many places to go, i found myself just wandering unexplored areas of the map to see what i could see. There were some great quest chains, and other not so great, but on a whole it was a great mix of RPG and action. There were some quests that were secondary that could be completed regardless of the main quest, and then there were a fair amount of “mini” quests that don’t show up in the quest list, but showed up as notes instead…which was annoying. Some of the mini-quests were literally seconds long: a dude ran up to me in the middle of the wasteland, and said

Help me! I’m wired with explosives!

And then ran away, and exploded! ooooooops! Sorry dude!

I really enjoyed Oblivion, and this was like a futuristic post-apocolyptic version game using the same engine, minus magic, plus guns. How can you go wrong!?

It started off a little hard, running out of ammo all the time, but towards the middle that ceased to be a problem. Inventory/weight management was probably the most complicated problem in the game :). The recent “Broken Steel” DLC was pretty good, raising the level cap and adding some story after the end of the original game, so that was pretty cool too.

One of my favorite parts was how it took place in Washington D.C., and took a fair amount of geography and history into account. There are several chains of quests that have you go through the D.C. area museums/etc to find/recover artifacts that weren’t destroyed in the wars/bombings, like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Magna Carta. Another set of quests has you finding Abraham Lincoln artifacts (including the head of the statue at the Lincoln Monument!) to help out a group of former slaves (slavery running somewhat rampant in the times that the games take place).

Most of the quests and things in the game let you be good or evil, although none of these games with alignment has really gotten “evil” correct yet. So far, most of the games let you either be a saint, or a dick. There’s no really evil stuff, where you do the good thing only to manipulate people into doing some really evil things. Force Unleashed is probably one of the few games that came close, but you didn’t have a whole lot of choosing there.

The huge amount of voice talent in the game was great too. The people feel a lot more real when the conversation is real speaking, however i always have the subtitles on whenever possible in all games. Its surprising how many games do not have that feature, but to me i like to be able to skip through conversations when i can read them, or have already listened to the speech before too. I only wish some of the background chatter that took place had subtitles as well. There are a lot of places where you can just stand around in the crowd and people are having converations, or the radio is on in the background and ThreeDog is talking about things you’ve actually done in the world. That was a pretty cool touch!

Along with CoD2 and CoD4, this is only the third game i’ve played that i’ve had dreams that take place “in the game world,” so to speak. To me, that’s the definition of immersion. Although with the CoD games, those dreams were more like nightmares of some point in the game getting played over and over and over because i couldn’t get through it. The fallout3 ones were like real life quests in the fallout universe, which was really cool!

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