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As the public's view of Bethesda's handling of the Fallout franchise takes another beating, I feel looking back at where it began is a pretty reasonable strategy - the game that brought the franchise back from the brink and turned it into an A-list series. Fallout 3 is probably one of the most influential games in history, and you can see its DNA all over the place in modern gaming. But the years have not been kind to it, which is why I feel the need to discuss it now.
Fallout 3 gets a lot of flak from classic fans for the reuse of plot elements and the genre shift, but honestly, both of those things were needed. Bethesda needed to re-establish what the series was about, and frankly, the isometric style of the older games was kind of a clunky mess. So of course there's Nuka-Cola, Vaults, the Enclave, the Brotherhood, and the Super Mutants, and the wasteland looks worse than Fallout 1's despite being a couple centuries after. All that stuff is fine.
The problem with 3, though, has more to do with its story, which, given that it's an RPG, is fairly important. The reused elements are reused in ways that just aren't very interesting, and often it comes across as recycling. And the overall narrative is railroaded as hell, and doesn't lead to much that's interesting. Ultimately, the final story decision comes down to simple good-or-bad karma, but the karma choices are never difficult and there's always a clear right answer for which not taking it is just being spiteful or obtuse. In my review of New Vegas, I mentioned its strong point was that it was undoubtedly about the Courier, but Fallout 3 is more about your dad (and to a lesser extent, Lyons).
Gameplay-wise, it's easy as hell. Max Agility, pick up a good-quality hunting rifle and a shotgun, stay in VATS as much as possible, and turn the game into a point-and-click adventure. The DLC offers tougher stuff, but the wasteland itself is free of danger. You have so many skill points that you don't so much pick a role to play as you do one to max out first. And being easy isn't necessarily bad, but 3's core gameplay just isn't very fun or interesting. It's serviceable, but it's enough that you'd want something else for it.
Where 3 shines, though, is its environmental storytelling. Though the Capitol Wasteland isn't as much of a living world as New Vegas, California, or even the Commonwealth, it's still full of stuff to do, and wandering around with your dog and tripping over Washington landmarks or sidequests is wonderfully atmospheric. It's a game about the small things, like the Tunnel Snakes or the Republic of Dave or finishing Moira's journal. And it works. This, more than anything, is why the game is still worth talking about and what everyone tried to copy, that sense of freedom.
Unfortunately, the title owes to its unfortunate place in the series. It's the awkward midpoint, caught in between New Vegas's depth and storytelling and 4's stronger gameplay and open world. And being so widely copied makes it an even harder thing to recommend, because when the open world is stripped away there's just not a whole lot to talk about. It's rather ironic that the game that was the intro to the series for so many people also feels so disposable.
If you want to experience it, I recommend A Tale of Two Wastelands, a mod for New Vegas that adds the Capitol Wasteland. It really is the way to play, and makes the game feel a bit less dated. If you're not into mods, it's pretty cheap nowadays, so not much harm in picking it up. Complaints aside, it's entirely playable, and there's still a lot to love.
Full Disclosure: I played Fallout New Vegas first, so some of my opinions might have been influenced by doing so.
Fallout 3 is a significant departure from its predecessors in many ways, and serves as the introduction to the series for an entirely new generation of fans. Some will ask whether those changes are necessarily good, and I say they are, even if New Vegas did most of them significantly better.
The plot involves you searching for your father, along with clues as to why he would leave your vault and not want you to follow him. It's a bit of a departure from the other games, because while you're free to act in any way you see fit, your character is less of a blank slate, having an established past. The game does a good job of getting you somewhat invested in your father and the rest of the vault, but apart from that, the rest of the plot and characters aren't quite as interesting as New Vegas.
The skill system from previous Fallout games returns, and grants you a great deal of freedom to customize your character. Perks are doled out quite frequently, and while it does encourage you to try out some of the stranger or more obscure ones, it also doesn't require you to put as much thought into choosing them well, especially since many of them do little more than add points to various skills. Many skills don't see much use, and some, such as Speech, are useful at crucial points, but don't see use quite often enough. The game overall seems easier than the other installments in the series, with more plentiful ammo, healing items and weapons (in an odd twist, the relatively few kinds of each weapon makes it easier for you to repair the ones you have).
The new combat system, enabling you to spend action points to aim at people's body parts, is a nice way of making Fallout's combat system relevant in more fast-paced modern RPGs, while still allowing tactical depth to it.
There are quests to keep you busy in the Capitol Wasteland, but there's significantly fewer than in New Vegas, so there's less incentive to get out and explore the map compared to that game. There's also less choice in how you complete those quests, as in most cases, it only boils down to a choice between killing someone and convincing them to do what you want. The ending is essentially based on a single choice, and none of your other decisions seem to have any impact on it.
All in all, Fallout 3 is a highly enjoyable game, but New Vegas does most of what it does as well or better. 3 is worth checking out, but I'd recommend New Vegas if one of the two has to be your first or only Fallout game.
So I just finished playing the Mothership Zeta DLC. I will say that I definitely had fun playing the DLC, but unfortunately, the whole thing left me feeling unsatisfied and gave off the impression of a wasted opportunity.
First off, I do not mind the concept of a lengthy DLC centered around aliens in a Fallout game - while the idea is certainly rather bizarre, personally I see something rather fascinating in the way Bethesda went about executing it. This is probably thanks to the atmosphere of the entire thing and the fact that I am simply in love with the visuals as a whole - the ship, the aliens, the weapons, the gadgets... it all makes me wish that there was a whole game out there that actually centered around the 50s-60s depiction of aliens, since there's something incredibly charming about it.
As the gameplay goes, the DLC fares okay. It's essentially a long dungeon crawl with you mowing down armies of aliens, occasionally with the help of a few companion characters exclusive to this DLC. Your whole task boils down to trying to escape from the ship - by blasting your way towards several generators that need destroying, and finding the right path in the somewhat labyrinthine design of the ship. Not much to write home about story-wise, basically. In terms of items, there isn't a whole lot of items to be found (I think there's like, what, ONE new weapon per every weapon type?), but the ones we get are pretty decent, so I don't mind it that much.
Let's talk about the wasted opportunity I mentioned, though. There's one major problem with this DLC that heavily undermines the game's so-called RPG status. Namely, at no point you are given the option to talk with the aliens or try to cooperate with them. They're all just cannon fodder that you are supposed to shoot on sight, no questions asked. It's rather disappointing, because how much cooler would it be if the aliens tried to coerce you into joining them, and you had the option of being a dick and betraying your human comrades? But nope, giving the player meaningful choices and developing your villains beyond "it's hostile and experiments on people, kill it" is a no-no.
There's also your companions, which aren't given much depth. Compared to what we got in New Vegas, they all fall rather flat, maybe with the exception of the medic guy. The samurai is the biggest disappointment, because despite the creators putting a lot of effort into making him very accurate and giving him a unique appearance and a genuine japanese voiceover, he's barely even present in this DLC. I mean seriously? No chance to develop him with some kind of translation device or something? Such wasted potential...
So this is Mothership Zeta. A pretty straightforward and kinda mindless dungeon crawler, with amazing visuals and decent gameplay of shooting down aliens, and definitely enjoyable if you don't mind the simplicity, but deeply disappointing in terms of depth and roleplaying elements.
With the new Fallout 4 coming, I figured I might add my thoughts of fallout 3
Story: To start the story itself does try very hard to bring you into both the world and the atmosphere. While it involved a lot of the personal aspects of the player, and puts you through much to attach you to that character, it doesn't truly make a coherent or very interesting layout. The diverging threads of the story are very thin, and often artificial, taking away much of your agency. You can often either be good, or evil, though for most of the story you have to align with good to even have the choice of being evil. Most other choices are minimal at best, the greatest still being a black and white decision to destroy a town or not.
Setting: The setting itself is very beautiful, and the game excels in just terms of sheer atmosphere and ambiance. The colors may be muted, but there is enough flare at times to keep it interesting. However the characters that fill this setting are often bland, or cliched. While most would say they fit the setting, other fallout games have shown that filling your world with both the comical and realistic is important. No one character feels invested both into the setting, or into by the creators, they lack any sense of being organic. Ironically, one of my favorite characters was Moira Brown. In a world of exaggerated characters she was the only one I felt that was always meant to be that way. Additionally as I said earlier, the main factions often are exasperated by Black and White moralities. The Enclave want to kill everyone, and the Bo S are the shining knights. Neither side truly shows any shade of grey, or any are rather glossed over.
Mechanics: Mechanically the game is rather sound. Most skills are useful in some way. However the fault comes when it comes to equipment and perks. Equipment is rather limited, and what there is there aren't many high end choices still. There are few end game weapons to choose from and few styles of playing. VATS is as well heavily overpowered, reducing damage by 85% and potentially lasting infinitely. As well most perks are simple skill increasing and effect very little of the game.
In all, it has a lot of faults that many should look over when looking into Fallout 4 and seeing what they changed. Many aspects have been removed, but what they've kept they haven't proven themselves with before.
Fallout 3 (Or, 'Oblivion With Guns' to it's detractors) makes for a very interesting experience once you put the time into it. Despite the slow start, an issue I've found with a few Bethesda RPG's, once you hit a decent level and pick up good resources you can go on a hell of an adventure throughout the ruins of Washington DC, probing into the ancient Vault's, different human settlements scattered across the ruins, battling mutants and monsters all the way along.
The central story, focusing on your quest to find your missing father and later on battling the government remnants of the Enclave, goes on some interesting directions, but sadly it can become deeply linear at times... and if you know where to go, you can just skip about the first five missions of the questline. Yeah. Also if you don't have Broken Steel installed, well the game becomes finite if you follow the main quest, leading to a disappointing climax.
On the five DLC packs I'll give a quick rundown:
Worth getting the GOTY edition, definitely.
The Fallout series is very unique. Back then, arpeegees meant either manlymanly men who wield big swords and cast magic spells, or a bunch of teenage boys on estrogen who wield large swords, and hang out with girls less pretty than them. The Fallout series is about survival. The utterly ruined state of the U,S of A, accompanied with the cheerful vibe of the 40s made for one of the creepiest and most interesting RP Gs to ever grace the computer screen. While i am happy to say that the third installment keeps the tone of the superb 1 and 2, it does some things differently, for better or worse.
The story is fairly nice. After running away from home, you are thrust into a wasteland that home of yours provided protection from. Im not spoiling anything else, but i'll tell you it involves water, daddy, and a government-organization-remnant organization(coughcoughENCLAVEcoughcough) trying to fuck it all up. Now while real is brown is a trend that seems to follow any "hardcore" shooter, Fallout 3 uses it so many times, it is actually funny. The character models mostly look distinguished, but ofen dive straight into the uncanny valley.
But other than that, the game is very good by itself. Gameplay might take a little too much from Oblivion, but it is still incredibly fun. This is an RPG, and if you go all Gordon Freeman in the early stages in the game, you will be extremely fucked. Also, there are a lot of weapons to choose from, so go ahead and pick your poison. The music is good as well, and i always play that channel playing the 40's songs, because it clashes extremely well with the horror of the wasteland.
But now, we get to the bad. Correct me if i am wrong, but Bethesda seems to have a trend of releasing their games with enough bugs to fill an entire house. Even with the patches, it is still has a bajillion holes. Also the character animations are stiff, and unreal. I know it's because of the size of the game, and they had to make the deadline, but the lack of polish still had to be noted. The karma system wasn't well implemented as well, but this was a problem Fallout had from the beginning, and i'm running out of words to type.
But if you can look over these flaws, Fallout 3 will last you a long time. And if you get the DL Cs, you won't be leaving "Captain Justice, savior of the universe" any time soon either
It all starts simply enough... you listen to a brief opening narration before being thrown into the desolate wasteland of the future. After creating your character and getting a short tutorial the vault door swings open and you step outside. What you do from that point on is up to you...
Fallout 3 takes place in the vast, desolate, and beautifully destroyed ruins of our nations capital, Washington D.C. The atmosphere it creates is absolutely beautiful and really pulls the player in. Most of the game will be spent exploring the decaying ruins of ravaged buildings, murky mutant infested caves, and the wide open capital wasteland itself. It'll be lonely at first, but random encounters and helpful companions will keep you company while you look for your dad.
A few settlements dot the hellish landscape, but they are few and far between. The only "cities" you'll find are Megaton, Rivet City, Tenpenny Towers, Underworld, and Paradise Falls, each with their own unique history and residents. Many of the smaller towns and locales you'll visit will only have a dozen or so people in them, but each one is interesting and fun to interact with. Many places are also plagued by problems that the Lone Wanderer can choose to help with... or not.
The actual karma system is a bit flawed, though it works well enough to not be a hindrance when trying to make your character good or evil. Doing evil things like capturing slaves, stealing, and annihilating innocent people with bombs and missiles will cause you to lose karma while doing good things like donating to the poor or rescuing people will cause you to gain karma. Its not perfect, but it could have been worse.
One of the best things about the game is the sheer variety of items available. Armor, weapons, junk... there is so much to find that you won't want to stop until you've combed every last corner of the wasteland for rare goodies. Some powerful equipment can only be received as a reward for completing a quest a certain way, which adds a lot of replay value. Plus, if you get tired of using what's available you can always make your own weapons from schematics that can be bought or found all over the wasteland.
There were some things that bugged me, such as the glitches, but almost everything is great in every way possible. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you like RPG's and shooters.
OK, I'm going to to make this quick: Fallout 3 rocks. Unlike many other RPG's, everything you do has a realistic consequence. If you kill someone, they stay dead, you get unique dialouge options, and an entire settlement may change. You are free to play the game however you want, either being the paragon of goodness or a Complete Monster (I usually play as something in between, but I'm almost always on the good end of the karma scale). This is Fallout 3's greatest strength, but another thing I like is that many of the quests are morally neutral, and nearly every character in the game can give you one. I have mixed feelings on Fallout 3's combat system though. It tries to combine FPS and turn based combat, and does it really well, but there is one problem: Turn based combat is not exciting. It sometimes kills the tension in otherwise awesome battle scenes. The over reliance on the V.A.T.S system and the fact that most guns can't hit anything beyond 15 feet also greatly limits the skill you can actually use in combat. Regardless, Fallout 3 is an incredibly immersive, varied, and overall awesome experience. It really sucks you in, and I highly recommend it. 9/10.
Fallout 3 is the Fifth game in the Fallout Franchise and the first game in the series published by Bethesda. The game runs on the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion engine and brings the games from a top-down perspective to a third-person/first-person perspective.
FO 3 departs the original setting of the West Coast of California and centers itself squarely in the ruins of Post-Apocalyptic Washington, DC. As Bethesda itself is in neighboring Maryland, it's no surprise that the ruined DC looks great. There's a nice atmosphere going.
Your character is a Vault Dweller, raised in Vault 101 by your single father, James. James tries to instill virtues into your character as you grow up, and then when you're 19, he ditches you and escapes the Vault for who knows why. And that begins your quest to catch up with him out in the Wasteland.
As an RPG, the game is rather primitive. When you have a choice, you tend to only have two - good vs. evil, with a third option far too rare. And even when you make a choice, it generally doesn't affect more of the story, which is a failure of the writing team. Instead, the game relies heavily on combat and action, so having more charismatic or 'intellectual' characters in the Wasteland rarely fits.
But as an action shooter, it's inconsistent, especially early on. Your ability to hit is based on your 'skill' from the RPG mechanics, so having a low skill those will put you in trouble rather quickly. Many of the areas you have to travel through as part of your quests are set up as linear 'action stages' - some of which deliver a healthy dose of combat, while some miss out on great opportunities. I thought the big climax fight of the main story from the Citadel to the Purifier could have been much more grand if Liberty Prime weren't involved and it was just you, your follower, and a squad of elite Paladins assaulting the enemy forces.
Ultimately, Fallout 3 doesn't know what it is. It's not a great RPG because it relies on action and shooting. It's not a great shooter because it relies on RPG mechanics and fails to deliver at key moments.
The result is somewhere in-between shooter and RPG. It offers more choices to a fan of shooters than they usually get, but pigeonholes fans of sandbox RP Gs into linear action sequences.
Fallout 3 has an amazing amount of content and a sort of dumb difficulty curve, and is quite fun to play. That's been covered before, so this review will focus solely on the mood of the game. Fallout 3 has no idea what mood it's going for. The main quest goes for 'Epic tale where much is sacrificed but which eventually reaches a happy ending' The game world and sidequests keep switching between 'It's a horrible world, everything is radioactive and Humans Are Bastards.' and 'Hur hur hur minigun'. The 50's based black comedy (which was one of the most important factors when I decided to buy the game, and an large part of the game's marketing) barely exists in the actual game. Actually, there is a bunch of 50's-inspired humour, but it's less Stepford Suburbia and more I Love Nuclear Power, something which very much clashes with the 'horrible world' mood mentioned earlier. The rest of the humour in the game is mostly double entendres, pop cultural references and... Um, the room of deadly plungers. Some of the rarer pieces of equipment go for camp as well, such as the repellent stick (A stick partially covered in glowing green liquid, which causes mutant rodents' heads to explode) and the rock-it launcher (a device crafted from various household items, which can use almost any item as ammunition. Including teddy bears, mutilated body parts and a jar containing a piece of your own brain). Also, there is a bunch of clothing items that would be more appropriate in Animal Crossing. The DLC's only makes this problem worse; Broken steel tried to supply realistic, grey military gunplay, an ambition that falls flat when the first mission revolves around a giant laser-shooting robot. The pitt introduced moral ambiguity and very many shades of orange. Operation: Anchorage started with a sniper/stealth mission that differed from everything else in the game ever, but then went back to a whiter and more linear version of normal gameplay. Point lookout was all about horror (Of both the cosmic and the slasher kind), hillbilly jokes and blatant racism. Mothership zeta went full camp, by beaming the player to a flying saucer, complete with little green men that wore aluminium foil space suits and wielded ray guns. Still, as I said, it's quite fun to play.
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