9.0

Fallout 3 review
Game of the year for a reason

The good:

Huge world with heaps of locations to explore
Plenty of side quests
Heaps of freedom and choices

The bad:

Short main story

Summary:

Fallout 3 is one of those games you aren't going to forget for a very long time. The experience you have in the game is entirely up to you and will be different to everyone else who has played it. However you proceed through it, and whatever choices you make throughout the game, Fallout 3 will be amazing. If you haven't played it, stop reading this review and go pick it up now.

Picture this. The world has fallen victim to a major nuclear war and everything on the earth’s surface is infected with radiation. It's 2077 and you have never seen this world with your eyes. Instead, you were born and raised in an underground society called the Vault, a place where no one is allowed to enter, and no one is allowed to leave. Your life, while seemingly boring, is all you know, and it will stay that way for the rest of your life. This is until your father defies all authority within the Vault and ventures out into the unknown. As the curious guy that you are, you naturally want to follow him for answers.

The moment that you leave the Vault and enter the outside world (called the Wasteland); you will be shocked. Despite being a wasteland, it looks beautiful. From this moment on, how your adventure pans out is up to you. You can go straight for the nearest settlement, or spend hours exploring, discovering locations and completing quests for people. There is so much to discover. The world is yours, and it is huge!

When you enter the first town, Megaton, you are faced with a choice. Your character can take the good path and disarm the massive nuke located at the center of the city, or take the evil path, set it off, and kill everyone in town. By no means does this moment define your character for the rest of the game, it's simply a starting point. Throughout the game, you are faced with many options like these. You can complete the game as a good guy, helping people out and gaining the advantages of doing so. On the other hand, you could kill whoever you don't like, steal from people, and once again, take on these advantages. This game is all about choice. He/she is your character and it is you who will define him/her.

The story is definitely engaging, but it's really too short. The main game can be completed in about 20 hours and this doesn't give enough time for many exciting twists and turns, or any real character development whatsoever. This game would be near perfect if the story and characters were enhanced. In Fallout 3’s defence, this really isn't what the game is about. Quantity is the key word here. There is an enormous amount of side quests, and by doing these, you will meet new characters and learn their story and how they survive in the wasteland. While there is more to do than any other game I've ever played (by far), I did find it a bit repetitive after a while. Completing most of these side quests were not rewarding enough. There should be more unique items that are given to you, but often all you receive for spending hours helping someone is a few caps (the currency).

Let's get on to the game play. When I said there was choice, I wasn't just talking about how your character progresses through the game. You have the choice to play the game as a FPS (first person shooter) or a typical RPG. The former is quite self explanatory, so I'll just explain how the RPG elements come in. In battle, you can use a system called VATS. When initiated, the game freezes and you can use your action points (AP) to aim at specific parts of the enemies body (each giving you a hit percentage). Once your AP has ran out however, you are forced to battle it out like a FPS until your AP naturally replenishes. This is definitely one of the games strong points.

Like the rest of the game, your characters growth is entirely up to you. You can level up twenty times, and each level allows you to distribute points on your characters stats. These stats range from your ability to handle big guns (such as missile launchers and flame throwers) to hacking computers, picking locks, or even sneaking around. Not only this, but at each level you can choose a perk, which is like an ability. These truly dictate how your character will develop as you will not be able to learn every perk there is. I'll list a few perks to demonstrate this. One perk allows you to eat corpses to regain health, which is something you would more likely choose if you were taking the evil path. Another perk gives you additional strength at night, which would certainly suit a stealthy character that sneaks up behind his enemies and needs to remain hidden. There are about 60 perks, but only 20 can be chosen (one at each level), so you'll need to choose wisely.

Fallout 3 won the 2008 game of the year from many different sources, and for very good reason. It was certainly my game of the year. Aside from a short main story and lack of rewards from many quests, this game is nearing on perfect. It gives you so much freedom and choice that playing this game will never be the same twice. Unless you have a phobia for apocalypse, this is definitely a game that needs to be played by everyone.

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