Product Type: Bethesda Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... life with your friend waking you up saying you dad has opened the vault door and left the vault now you have to leave as well because ever... more
Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Pollay
Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)
Date: 16/06/09, updated on 16/06/09 (138 review reads)
Advantages: Superb Gameplay, Indulgent Graphics, DLC
Disadvantages: You may play for so long that you forget to go to bed!
Format: Xbox 360
Genre: Action RPG
--- So what's it all about? ---
Fallout 3 as the title would suggest is the 3rd and greatly anticipated instalment from the Fallout saga. In all of the games you take control of one of the survivors in post apolocalyptic wasteland ravished by nuclear war and radiation.
Fallout was first released on the PC in 1997, which was a turn based RPG. The game played upon the very realistic fear of nuclear war and the of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) which was firmly in the hearts and minds of people living in the post war 1950's and into the cold war. In fact it was this era that heavily influenced the look and feel of all of the Fallout games as you will see in the vivid characters and splendid artwork.
The storyline's behind all of the Fallout games refer to the year 2077 when the world is thrown into global nuclear war, devastating most major cities and transforming the landscape of the planet and it's inhabitants forever.
Fearing that a nuclear war was inevitable, the US government constructed hundreds of nuclear bunkers around the country, known as Vaults. These Vaults were underground towns, designed to support and protect whole communities in the event of nuclear war. The vaults are all technolgically very advanced and the games introduce a lot of futuristic technology.
In the first Fallout, you are an inhabitant of Vault 13 located in Southern California. You are soon asked by the Vault leader, known as the Overseer to leave the vault to find a replacement water chip, necessary for the survival of everyone inside the vault. You soon leave the safety of the vault at the start of this epic quest and you later become known as the Vault Dweller.
Whilst exploring the wasteland you quickly come across other survivors, who have managed to survive above ground, who have created shanty towns and have tried to continue with life as best they can. You will encounter both good and evil factions of inhabitants ranging from humble town folk and traders to gangs of raiders, mutated animals and the much feared super mutants, who are a race of genetically modified humans. The leader of the super mutants known as the Master wants to convert all of humanity into super mutants using a special virus known as FEV or Forced Evolutionary Virus.
It becomes your ultimate quest to stop the Master and return to Vault 13, however upon doing so you are exiled by the Overseer as he believed the outside world had changed you to the detriment of the Vault.
Fallout 2, released on the PC in 1999 follows on from Fallout where you once again play the Vault Dweller or now referred to as the Chosen One. In Fallout 2 you help colonise a small village known as Arroyo which begins to suffer from drought. You are once again thrown into a quest, this time to find a Garden of Eden Creation Kit or GECK which is a piece of technology that will bring life back to the village.
Your main adversary in Fallout 2 is not the super mutants, however the remnants of the US government, known as the Enclave. The Enclave have advanced technology which they use to force their will upon whoever stand in their path. So once again the unenviable task falls upon you to save your town by defeating the ruthless Enclave and finding the GECK before it is too late.
So you may be wondering where does Fallout 3 fit in to all of this? Will this be yet another exploit from the arduous life of the Chosen One as he basks in the lush Arroyo the GECK has provided? In fact in Fallout 3 you take control of new character. This time round the year is 2277, 200 years after the war and is set in the Capital Wasteland, more commonly known as Washington DC. You are an inhabitant of Vault 101 and after the mysterious diserpearance of your father you begin a journey into the unknown world outside Vault 101.
In much the same way as the previous Fallout games, you will have to explore a vast wasteland, find new places, obtain information about your father and immerse yourself into numerous side quests. You will once again face gangs of lawless raiders and slavers, blood thirsty Deathclaws who are 8 feet tall wild beasts possessing razor sharp claws, but also in this instalment of Fallout you will face the combined strength of both the brutal Super Mutants and the deluded Enclave, lead by the cold hearted Colonel Autumn!
Thankfully you will recruit plenty of allies along the way to assist you in your quests, including up to 3 companions who will fight beside you to the death and the mighty Brotherhood of Steel, who are an organised band of survivors living in the remnants of the Pentagon. The Brotherhood or Steel wear sophisticated power armour and are the peacekeepers of the wasteland. The question is, if it's so dangerous outside of the Vault, why did your dad leave and can you find him before it is too late?
--- Gameplay ---
There is so much that this game has to offer it is difficult to know where to start. Even though the game is an RPG it is far from it's two predecessors' when it comes to gameplay.
Unlike Fallout/Fallout2 where you play from a top down "god view," in Fallout 3 you may choose to play from either a 1st or 3rd person prospective. The way in which you control your character is very similar to Oblivion which isn't suprising as Bethesda Softworks developed both games. I personally preferred to play from a 1st person view, however the choice is completely yours and can be changed in game by simply pressing the "left bumper" button.
Also, unlike the previous Fallout games, combat in Fallout 3 is not turn based. You can engage enemies in one of two ways. Either in real time as per any typical 1st person shooter by utilising a whole variety of weapons, ranging from pool cues, brass knuckles, shotguns, rifles, machine guns to power fists, power hammers, laser pistols, plasma rifles and tesla cannons to name only a few.
The really exciting element of combat which has been used in Fallout 3 is VATS, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System. VATS allows you pause any combat situation by pressing the "right bumper button." Once VATS has been activated you have the time to asses the situation and decide which targets you will engage. Once you have chosen your victim, VATS then allows you target specific body parts displaying the chance to hit in a percentage shown on screen. VATS really brings a very unique style of play to the game and allows for some very gorey moments, especially if you have the bloody mess perk!
On the subject of perks, Fallout 3 has a very comprehensive levelling system in which you gain perks systematically as your level increases. The perks provide your character with certain advantages to assist you in game. In the standalone version of Fallout 3 you can level up to a maximum of level 20, which believe me takes a long time to reach! Levelling up is controlled by a traditional XP bar and XP is earned by defeating enemies and completing quests.
When you start playing Fallout 3 for the first time you customise the look of your character and then allocate a limited number of skill points in the area's of SPECIAL, which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Each of the traits have an effect on how your character performs in game. For instance a high strength increases your melee combat damage and allows you to carry a lot of equipment, whereas a high endurance increases your health points (HP) and provides you with a greater resistance to radiation. It is a delicate balancing act when it comes to assigning the points in order to get the best from your character. Thankfully additional points are gained at each level increase in which to use on your SPECIAL attributes.
Once in the wasteland you will explore a seemingly never ending world full of imaginative places and Non Player Characters or NPC's. Interaction with NPC's is simple and the dialogue options once in conversation are easy to navigate. You will be able to trade and either purchase or sell items using the post war currency of bottle caps. Also side quests are obtained by interaction with NPC's however it is possible to complete the game by sticking to the main quest story line.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about the quests is that you have the option as to whether you complete the quest in either a good or evil manner. For example, one of your first quests is to diffuse a large, unexploded bomb located in the middle of a humble town. It is entirely up to you whether you choose to diffuse it or purposefully activate it destroying the whole town and it's inhabitants.
Because of this the game is far from linear and the storyline will change depending on the decisions you make. The way in which you play the game also effects your Karma rating which is a rating of either how good, neutral or bad you are. You karma rating will effect how NPC's react to you and whether they see you as a friend or foe.
--- Graphics ---
The graphics in Fallout 3 are absolutely superb. I often found myself simply wandering around, ignoring the quests for a while amazed by the scenery and the level or detail the artists have gone into. You will really get a feel for that 1950's era due to the styling of the buildings, vehicles and in game furniture that have been used.
I loved the imagination that has gone into all of the towns and characters. You really feel like you are in a post nuclear war wasteland. There is such a wide variety of weapons, clothing and objects which can be collected all of which are well modelled and highly detailed.
The use of night and day is a key aspect in the game both visually and strategically. As you wander across the wasteland for what seems hours you will notice the sun begin to fade into eventual darkness. I am sure anyone who has played Oblivion will known what I mean by waiting to watch the sun set in game as it is an absolutely stunning effect and one which has been replicated perfectly in Fallout 3. Bethesda Softworks have really gone no holds bared on the graphics by making full use the power of the Xbox 360.
--- Sound ---
As per the graphics, the in game music which has been used is very reminiscent of a 1950's America. I particularly enjoyed coming across an old gramophone and tuning in to some vintage sounds to complete that overall feel. The sound completements the whole look and feel of the game very well, assisting in detaching you from reality and drawing you further into this baron war torn land.
The sound effects are what you would expect and are convincing. There is a mixture of both traditional weaponry and futuristic weaponry all of which have the appropriates effects and there are constant explosions and exchanges of gun fire in game which sound really impressive.
Finally, some big names were cast as the voices of some of the main characters in game, such as Liam Neeson being the voice of you father, Malcolm McDowell as President John Henry Eden and Ron Perlman as the Narrator. The use of familiar voices and great actors allow for much more convincing story line from which you can hear and feel the emotion the game wishes to convey.
--- Value ---
Quite simply VFM, Value For Money! From as little as £13.50 this game is screaming to be bought if you haven't already played it. There are 50 Xbox 360 achievements up for grabs and if you want them all if will take at least 3 completions of the game. However if achievements aren't your thing then don't worry as completing the game only once will provide you with countless hours of entertainment. I think the last time I checked my save game I was up to 68hours play and I still hadn't completed the game! Such is the beauty of Fallout 3 as you do as much or as little as you want. If like me you want to wander around, exploring every nook and cranny of the map then you will be playing for a very long time however if time isn't on your side then may opt to simply play the game through without so much exploration, it's entirely up to you.
If all of this wasn't enough you will be please to hear that Fallout 3 has three Downloadable Content (DLC) add on packs, namely Operation Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel. All of them bring new storylines, more weapons, more characters, more achievements and more time for you to enjoy Fallout 3.
They can be bought individually from the Xbox Live Market Place or alternatively if you do not have an Xbox Live account, Operation Anchorage and The Pitt will be released together on a game disc and will be on sale in shops around the 26/06/09 for an RRP of £14.99.
--- Overall ---
Fallout 3 is a superb game which has very simple and addictive gameplay, indulgent graphics and will keep you hooked for a very long time. Married couples beware as with the addition of DLC this could be a marriage breaker!
Summary: An extremely addictive game - Consult GP prior to use :-)