10 / 10 Banzai!s
War never changes.
It is the year 2277, and the US has been left ravaged by a Sino-American nuclear war. Few managed to escape the catastrophe, living in underground shelters known as Vaults, safe from the horrors outside – super mutants, radioactive cockroaches, slavers, and robots gone berserk now rule the post-apocalyptic land.
Fallout 3 is a first-person action RPG, in which you play a dweller from Vault 101. You are born, raised by your father, until one day the unthinkable happens – your father leaves the Vault! Why? In search of answers, you go after him; and find yourself embarking on a great quest which glimmers with hope for a new future.
Like any RPG, your character goes up in level through XP with the opportunity to boost stats and statistics along the way. You can attack freely like a first-person shooter, or use an automatic targeting system called V.A.T.S. to destroy the enemy’s arm, leg or head. The setting is a mixture of post-apocalyptic, much like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (which the game borrowed inspiration from) and a retro-future which resembles the sci-fi magazines of the 1940’s.
Though the game has a main quest, Fallout 3 is anything but linear. From the moment you leave Vault 101, you are free to wander the Capital Wasteland from one end of the map to the other, discover new locations and taking on side quests. Performing good deeds grants you positive karma, while the opposite will turn your character evil – and this has an affect on your interaction with other NPCs. From character creation to location, to game play, Fallout 3 provides you with the freedom to make your own destiny.
What I Liked:
Having given this game a solid 10 our of 10 banzai!s, this portion of the review could obviously be very long. Instead, I’ll just focus on the specifics.
What I enjoyed most was how I could play this game, regardless of my mood. If I felt like being really engaged, I could pick up a side-quest or main quest and entertain myself. None of these missions are straight forward, and many have a twist at the end which kept me interested in the story. Other times, after a long day at work and I just want to lie on the sofa with a bag of chips and play something light, I can just wander about and discover locations. I could play Fallout 3 as seriously as I wanted to, without the game making any demands on me.
And you just gotta love the save feature. I wish every game had this same saving method. I could be anywhere in the game – fighting a super mutant, inside an abandoned house, falling off a cliff, and all I have to do is hit save. No checkpoints. If you have only 15 minutes of gaming time before headout out somewhere, no problem! Just play as long as you want, save at any time, and there you go!
I must confess, I’m a bit biased with the genre. I love post-apocalyptic stories. I’d read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road twice, and gobbled up anything by John Wyndham – particularly The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids. I also have a fascination for anything from the 1930’s and ’40’s. I collect antique Coke-a-Cola bottles, tin signs advertising 5 cent hot dogs, and even wear a fedora from time to time. Yeah, my girlfriend thinks I’m weird, too. But having these two things I love – a post-apocalyptic genre and a ’40’s retro future – blended together into a single game grabbed my attention.
The story itself is fantastic. It begins with a mystery as you follow your father’s footsteps, trying to discover why he left the Vault in the first place, and eventually leads you to a climactic battle at the end. Each of the characters you encounter has their own unique personality, and are more colourful than any I’ve experienced in such a vast game as this.
There’s plenty to do in Fallout 3 – you can either speed through the main quest, or take your time and see what else the game has to offer. It’s all up to you!
What I Didn’t Like:
Hard to say, considering I gave it 10 banzai!s. But honestly, there’s nothing that comes to mind which I felt could have been improved on. Maybe the graphics weren’t as explosively beautiful as Final Fantasy XIII, but they were still far above satisfactory. Besides, graphics aren’t everything. Just play Final Fantasy XIII, and you’ll know what I mean.
I’m not saying Fallout 3 is a perfect game, as there’s no such thing. For every person who loves this game, there’s someone out there who didn’t. Just like movies and books, games are a matter of taste. I’ve met people out there who thought Star Wars was stupid, or Harry Potter was dumb, or Lord of the Rings was boring, believe it or not. And that’s fine, each to their own.
But since this review is a reflection of my opinion and my tastes, I gave it a solid 10 because I loved it. I loved how there was so much to explore. I loved the story – and the side quests. I loved the characters, and the scenarios. I loved the saved feature. I loved everything about this game, and would place it in my personal Top Ten rank of best games ever played – and this is coming from someone who’s not a fan of the first-person genre!
If you’re a fan of action RPG, science-fiction, or just want to play something with a good story, I would highly recommend Fallout 3. It’ll keep you entertained for hours to come.
written by Damon Finos