Tech Talk Game Review: Fallout 3

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Oh, Bethesda, how I try to enjoy everything you’ve put out. Skyrim was a gem, and Oblivion was a gorgeous wonder. And then there came Fallout 3.

For those of you who have heard about this franchise lately, it’s probably because you couldn’t fail to trip over it. Fallout 4 came out recently. In the spirit of trying out earlier releases, I thought I’d give three a whirl.

First Person Shooters have a long history of the nameless, faceless, voiceless, personality-less protagonist, who is constantly being sent on missions by talking heads who know what’s going on, but almost never tell you anything — it’s a formula made fun of in Bioshock (a video game I may never review here), and best used by the Halo francise.

A role playing game has the player shape the story — as well as the face and actions of the character we play.

Fallout 3 has both

Genre

First person shooter, RPG

Platform

Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Story

A few hundred years after nuclear war devastates the United States, the main character is born in a “vault,” a fallout shelter the size of a city. The main character’s father is a scientist in vault 101, and the player character has never even seen the sunlight. When our hero/ine’s father disappears, sending the entire vault in an uproar, the player must become a wanderer in order to find him and bring him home.  And, armed with your trusty bb gun and whatever can be scrounged from the vault, you set out into the Capital Wasteland — whatever is left of Washington DC. Along the way, you must fight supermutants, an army of survivalist called the Enclave, as well as raiders in the desert.

Gameplay/Mechanics

Like with Skyrim or Oblivion, or most RPGs these days, the player can change the character. This can be modified to the sex, looks, hair / skin / eye color, and face / bone structure / hair type. In short, a lot.

Primary weapons include whatever melee weapons that are lying around, and guns. Lots and lots of guns — lasers, plasma, shotgun, rifles, etc. But it’s mostly a first person shooter.

The gameplay is … all right.  There is an automatic targeting system called the VATS, which allows the character to target individual body parts of the targeted enemy. But the targeting is terrible. In some cases, one must be at point-blank range just to hit something with the VATS.

The story is molded and shaped by the choices you make.  The main story is around 30 hours long — probably less, since I spent time meandering around the Wasteland (usually, getting lost).  There is no real encouragement to finish side missions, and little to no investment in these missions. Honestly, there’s no reason to do more than finish the main mission.

There is “good” and “bad” Karma, and very few decisions in the gray area. However, it seems to have very little impact in the game, except in a final cut scene.

Music/Graphics

Graphics are … ugly, really.

Music is … mediocre.

Morals/Appropriateness

Oh, as far as the choices in the game are concerned, this is so cut and dry it’s not even funny.

Fighting is usually highlighted by various camera effects (e.g., slow motion, blurring, screen shakes) and depictions of “realistic” dismemberment with trails of red blood. In short, limbs explode all over the place. But it looks so fake, I’ve seen better in Hammer horror films.

Language is a problem. The presences of the occasional prostitute can be a problem… yes, there are problems.

Community/Multiplayer

None.

Addiction Danger

None. Correct, none. I could barely bring myself to finish it. It’s a great sprawling game … but too sprawling. There was no reason to finish side missions, and no real reason to make different choices — unless you WANT to be a schmuck and see what happens next.

Problems/Ending Comments

I think I covered all the problems.  Short version, stick to Elder Scrolls.

ESRB Rating: M for Mature, 17+, and I’m not arguing.

My Rating:  a 6/10, an okay game.

 

Copyright 2016 John Konecsni

 

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