My story with this game is a two parter. Part one: I patiently wait for Fallout 3 to come out for the 360. I had never played a Fallout game, but all the hype from my friends convinced me to give it a rent. I had played games like Oblivion and Morrowind so I knew roughly what to expect. In a nutshell, I was bored out of my mind with it. Part two: Fast forward about a year later. Again, I’m hearing ballyhoo about a game that I thought was dull, gray, and lifeless. I figure maybe I didn’t give it enough chance. Since it is so cheap now, I buy it as a Platinum Hit and start completely over, only to find that I still do not give a rat’s ass about this game. I’m a Fallout drop out. This is my story.
Many Exciting Shades of Gray
Let’s start with the setting. Post apocolyptic themes in games and movies depresses me. I’ve discovered that this also explains why I don’t much care for zombie movies or games. Hopelessness, emptiness, etc. Anyway, back to the environment. Other than gray there is almost no color, with the exception of blood red and the occasional nuclear glowing green. The first time my character left the bomb shelter, I looked around and saw no landmarks. Crumbled buidlings, abandoned cars and shriveled trees were the most exciting part of the landscape. This is why I hate deserts. There’s nothing to look at. The minute I stepped out of the bomb shelter I wanted to go back in. At least it had some design to it. I really have to wonder how many times the developers argued over the placement of boulders in this game. If they are reading this, there really should have been one next to crumbled buidling number 462.
The post-nuclear world creates an annoying challenge of staying alive, ingesting radioactive food and water while making sure you have enough money (bottlecaps) to remove your radiation later. The other really annoying challenge was finding weapon ammo and repairing your weapons before they break. Just doing these things for the first 20 hrs of the game kept me from buying better armor and weapons. It was also much harder to fight things than it was in Oblivion. One hit and I lost half my health. Again, challenging, but not fun.
In my first attempt at playing the game, I was wondering around not really sure if I was doing anything related to the main story line. If I was progressing, I couldn’t tell. There weren’t really any memorable enemies. People in gangs want to kill you, mutants want to kill you, bugs want to kill you. They didn’t seem to add anything other than conflict. I really didn’t get any pleasure out of hunting things down. I suppose people could easily argue the same about crabs in Oblivion. Oh, and there are vampires, a common side effect of nuclear wars. Didn’t go too deep into that story line cause frankly I’m sick of hearing about them.
It seemed like this game borrowed a lot of style from Bioshock. The Gatherer’s Garden and plasmid animations had a very cartoony and happy 40s tone to them in contrast to the harsh environment. In Fallout, you have this Pip-Boy cartoon character showing you your armor, level, skills, etc. This brand seemed nothing more than a shameless copy cat move on Bethesda’s part. They also took the ambient 40’s music idea and made radio stations you could listen to. At first glance it seems like a good idea, but depending on how far along in the game you are, you’ll end up hearing the same damn 3 songs over and over again.
One thing I can actually manage to be positive about was the ATB guage. This allowed you to stop the action and select a target and part of the body you wanted to aim for. As you select body parts, you get a % chance of hitting it successfully and crippling the limb. Because I was having an impossible time killing people, this attack mode was the only thing that gave me a fighting chance. The guage has a points and recharge time, much like magic and endurance in Oblvion. The higher the level, the more shots, accuracy, and damage you can do in this mode.
I know I put some crazy hours into this game and I finally got to a place where I don’t die in 3 hits. Of course, as soon as I reached this point, I shut the game off for good. Not sure how far along in the main story I am, but I really don’t care. I’ve had my fill of Fallout for the year. Not at all excited to play New Vegas. The only future I see with Fallout is maybe going back to this third one some time end of next year. I’m sure its got an ending so epic, so amazing, so unbelievable that I’ll zzzzzzzzzz……..
Reflex review status – 20+ hours into Fallout 3
Giant Bomb (images)