A subjective review of Fallout 3. An approximate 6500 word essay because I was bored and replaying this game again. Also contains jokes.

Content of the article: "A subjective review of Fallout 3. An approximate 6500 word essay because I was bored and replaying this game again. Also contains jokes."

  • About the Author

So before talking about Fallout 3 it might be best to say what I have played in the Fallout series, this is to pre-empt people doubting my perspective of the franchise. I have played and finished Fallout 1 once, and I tried playing it when I was a lot younger and got horribly stuck at Necropolis. I also played a bit of Fallout 2, I RQ’ed at a bit involving some raiders. Fallout 3 I have at least completed four times, yes this means I have a bias for Fallout 3, however what you have to understand was that this was my first real foray into Fallout, I played 1 and 2 afterwards because I wanted to get deep into that sweet, sweet lore. There is a legitimate accusation to be made that my perspective is based around my experience to Fallout 3, and I have no other RPGs like Fallout 1 and 2 under my belt. No Baldur’s Gate, no Arcanum, nothing like that. I have however played Mass Effect, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, The Outer Worlds, Bioshock, and Deus Ex (The greatest game of all time). It would be fair to say that my RPG experience is FPS centric. To say that I have no knowledge of the RPG genre would be false though.

I also completed Fallout New Vegas twice, with all the DLC. I have also played and completed Fallout 4 once, I tried playing it again but got bored/disillusioned and quit, I own no DLC for that game. I have also played Skyrim, I nearly finished it but I got bored. Oh to add to that I have also completed Morrowind twice, however I have been meaning to do a playthrough with the DLC. So my experience with Bethesda is enough that I have some perspective on how their game design works, for better or for worse. That rounds off my game playing experience with RPG’s. I have a whole plethora of games I have played, and I could post my top 100 games but I would receive way too many death threats because a game was either: a) not on the list, b) on the list, c) too low on the list, d) too high on the list, or e) You made a top 100 list. are you some sort of loser? Why are you wasting oxygen?

  • History of Fallout 3

A history section you say? Why would we need this? As somebody with a penchant for history and context I like to place things in history. Taking things out of context is far too easy a way to win an argument or to debunk somebody else’s. It’s like with German tank production in the Second World War, yes you can argue that the Germans had some excellent tanks but ignoring the time, expense and difficulties of production of said tanks is being ignorant how flawed they were in a strategic context. Yes, in a 1 on 1 battle they would most probably win, but we are heavily dancing away from realism here (Foreshadowing). Also not only have I annoyed people who have intense opinions of video game rankings but now tank people, this review is only going to make me hated, I know it.

So back in 2007 Black Isle Studios wasn’t doing so well, they were attempting to make Fallout 3 which was called Van Buren at the time. They had to file for bankruptcy and Interplay sold off the rights to Bethesda. Now back in the day Bethesda was coming down from a high of releasing Oblivion and previously from that Morrowind they were considered to be good in the industry. They also did some stuff with the Terminator licence which was on the whole decent. At this moment in time no overt scummy business practices and overall decent gameplay.

When Bethesda got the rights they proceed to flush what was left of Van Buren. They then built a whole new game using an FPS engine they made from Oblivion and set in the DC area. In a way probably a smart move in that they could have new ideas without overtly ruining the lore of the previous games, however they didn’t really stick to that idea as they imported several things from the previous games and this caused a degree of controversy, more on that later. It’s also from Fallout 3 you begin to see the rise of Todd Howard and how he becomes the face of Bethesda and greed in video game companies.

  • Engine

The engine used for Fallout 3 was the Gamebryo engine used from Oblivion. This engine lives on today in a different format depending on sources. Bethesda’s Creation Engine is supposed to be a new engine that was built for Skyrim, however the game’s engine feels awfully close to Fallout 3’s. My personal suspicion that it is a severe retooling of the Gamebryo engine, however I digress. Back in 2008 though it was a good engine for the task, however for today it is a terrible buggy mess which only the enlightened souls at GOG have managed to fix for the modern age.

So how does the game feel then? Well in all honesty it’s not a good engine in terms of movement, compared to Quake and Unreal it’s bloated and floaty, jumping is a pain in the ass as you don’t jump quite high enough and if you are travelling down a slope you aren’t making proper contact with the ground which then doesn’t actually jump. You have this weird bouncing effect, it’s quite annoying. Also, your character feels somewhat fat and just a little slow and blocky compared to the environment. In addition to this there is a weird movement lag when starting and stopping which makes tight controlling very difficult.

So, with this engine, how is the rest of the environment. Well for 2008 standards it’s pretty good graphics, nothing to complain about. Also there is a lot of space in the game, and it feels like a big game world which is I think was the design of the engine, more about RPG quest and inventory things rather than graphics and gunplay. Also it’s able to handle a lot of objects in levels, most of which can be picked up and put in and out of inventory. A lot of FPS RPG’s tend to fall down here where dropping an item usually destroys it rather than put it into the game world.

The best part comes with how the game world is manipulated with story progression, it has to change the game world state in a sandbox environment. Other games in a more linear fashion would load the level with different assets based on a linear time frame. An example would be Deus Ex, you revisit the UNATCO HQ quite often but find things have been moved around. The benefit of a linear RPG is that you can get all of your ducks in a row. In a sandbox you do not have that luxury. Fallout can do that and for what it does it does it pretty well. You can even use the console to set the stage of various quests, on a couple of occasions I’ve had to do that to debug or go back to something I missed. I think what has to be understood here is that Fallout 3 wasn’t trying to solely be a shooter, it was something they tried in Operation Anchorage and it’s very apparent how the engine sucks as a straight shooter. In terms of creating an open world though, pretty good.

  • Story

Arguably the weakest element of Fallout 3 is its story. The main quest lacks any real drama and has very little decision making, I often put it towards the end of my game as I like to become ridiculously OP first, more on that later. The whole concept of developing your character from a baby is excellent though, no other game makes me more immersed in a game. Most other games have the player either be an existing character or somebody with an unknown past (I’m looking at you Elder Scrolls). This game however went to develop your character from birth which on the whole was a good choice. The first hour of the game is simply growing up in Vault 101. It’s a little boring, especially on a second playthrough when you simply want to be outside. However I think it’s a good trade off to properly establish a character which feels like you or a character you are trying to create.

Back to the main story, it becomes a tale of finding your father and goes from there. It lacks the grandeur of the first Fallout games. Fallout 1 had this abomination called the Master with his army of super mutants, all of this story you found in pieces, it’s a great way to build a story. Fallout 2 was about the Enclave and their plans on retaking the USA and eliminating all contaminated life. Thinking about it, this is probably where Fallout 3 falls down as the second halves of these games stories are very similar. Considering how the Star Wars sequels are slated because of how they mimic the original trilogy, the same criticism can be applied here. It felt lazy and while we got a decision to fulfil president Eden’s wishes it felt like a binary choice with no build-up, the same problem that the end of Mass Effect 3 had. Also unlike the other games Fallout 3 railroads you into a single ending, Fallout 2 does as well but it doesn’t try to twist things either.

There are side quests and this is where Fallout 3 redeems itself. While they contribute very little to the main narrative they are interesting none the less. New Vegas does a far better job of wrapping everything together towards the end, where as Fallout 3 feels disconnected, but I think this works overall, as Fallout 3’s atmosphere and environment are a lot more sparse and desperate unlike the Mojave. I would also say that Fallout 3 has one of the best side quests of any game ever with the Wasteland Survival Guide. Moira McTaggart is one of the best NPC’s of all time and I will remember her until the day I die. It’s a great set of quests to get you familiar with Fallout 3 and have some locations to fast travel to for later. I am of the belief that if nothing signposted you to Rivet City you would never have gone there in the first place, only visiting it later in the game. The Wasteland Survival guide gives you goodies and XP just to give you that boost you need. The accusation here is that it could be seen as hand holding and unbalancing the game in favour of the player, contrast that with the earlier fallout games and one of their criticisms is that they have such steep learning curves. Other honourable mentions for quests are ‘You gotta shoot them in the head’, ‘Reilly’s Rangers’, ‘The Replicated Man’, and ‘Those’.

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Now a second criticism you could throw at Fallout 3 is the fact that it’s open world and has such an imperative quest, why wouldn’t you get on with it? I agree with this sentiment, it’s also the worst thing about Fallout 4’s storyline. I think where Fallout 1 is different is that it has a time limit, and you need to do side quests to gain resources and XP but you have a schedule, it’s sort of like the Moon in Majora’s mask where there is some urgency to the game. Fallout 3 doesn’t have that, it has a convenient story get-out clause where your dad is stuck in a VR simulator so consequences don’t matter.

Overall Fallout 3’s storytelling isn’t good, in some places it’s great and you can have a nice time of it. Also very little weaves together and most of the time there is a single outcome or path. It’s definitely not the main attraction of the game, however I would like to say that the DLCs have some excellent stories to them, partially because how less wide the worlds they use are which allows for a more tailored experience. New Vegas definitely did a better job with the quests and the paths you could take it felt like a much more dynamic experience. When it comes to story, many other Fallout games did it better however if compared to the RPG genre as a whole it didn’t completely botch it.

  • Gameplay

So the engine is bad and the story sucks, OP why do you like this game? Don’t worry I’m getting to that. Gameplay is where Fallout 3 picks up, combat is good for the most part, it’s not comparable to proper shooters but for FPS RPGs at the time it was decent and arguably the best. Don’t tell me Mass Effect was good for that, all I have to quote is “enemy is everywhere” and suddenly you have flashbacks of random goons running around between cover in the same goddamn identical warehouse. Shooting for most part in this game is an enjoyable experience, especially with the presence of sneak crits. There is something about having a high perception, picking up enemies on the radar, sneaking, then finding where they are and taking a well-placed shot at their head hopefully killing them. Beautiful, excellent stuff. The combat outdoors is great and the ranged firefights can be very entertaining. However at close quarters it turns into a DPS race, this becomes more of a problem late game where having excellent armour and weapons makes the combat lazy.

Weapons, many of them. One thing I will say about Fallout 3 is that it has a good variety of different weapons with varying ways to play them. Sure there are a lot of similar sorts such as pistols and rifles. However very few weapons can be used as a general purpose cure all, such was the criticism made of Doom 2016’s super shotgun. Assault rifles are great for small fry enemies at short to mid range. Sniper rifles can end a fight before it begins. The 44 Magnum is insane but has rare ammo. The big guns is the best part though, the flamethrower with the pyromaniac perk is absolutely lethal to crowds of enemies, the minigun is great at most ranges but will devour ammo, the rocket launcher can have devastating and hilarious effects if used correctly. Then there is the Fat Man, a bomb lobbing device which could be classified as a grenade launcher. It can absolutely wreck and rule in the right situation, which unfortunately is rare… Also, the laser weapons don’t get replaced by the plasma weapons. Plasma does more damage and can really sting but that projective travel time is the trade-off. Lasers on the other hand are instantaneous. It’s at this time I present to you one of the greatest and most overpowered weapons in all of gaming, Metal Blaster. Now Metal Blaster is like a laser shotgun, it does the same damage as a regular laser rifle, so you can hedge your bets in hitting a target or not. Now the real deal with Metal Blaster is the crits, each beam of the laser crits, and with the Better Criticals perk it can do in the ballpark of 890 damage, enough to one shot most enemies in the game. However, this is only outside of VATS…

I almost forgot, VATS. Now I rarely use VATS and perhaps when I come back to this game again I should make a build optimised for it but I am at heart the shooty sort. VATS I feel was an olive branch given to the old gamers to have some sort of semblance of the old game. I don’t know how effective it is but in some situations I can imagine it to be nothing short of useless. Especially when there are too many enemies. I know right, how have I played this game four times and not used VATS?

There are a couple of mini games in Fallout 3, hacking and lockpicking. Thankfully they are easy enough to do and aren’t too exhausting. Bioshock’s hacking system is a blight on that game, it completely ruins the pace and is an absolute time sink. Fallout 3’s stuff is a bit bad but nothing awful. Lockpicking is a sensitivity game and depending on the difficulty could take 3 seconds to a minute. Hacking is longer, but you build up an ability to spot certain words you don’t normally see which are probably the right answer.

The dialogue in Fallout 3 is variable, not every character is memorable, but some are. I do feel as if conversation is a bit limited, I would prefer to talk about more things, however there are a lot of characters and they are all voiced. Saying that, you will hear the same voice actors again and again. It gets a little jarring as you hear one voice on a character being used for another, it might contribute to why the characters are not memorable. That said though the characters with unique voices stood out more. The dialogue isn’t all that bad and there were some unique pieces of dialogue which unlock from various bits of the game, this ties more into worldbuilding than it does storytelling, more on that later. Personally I find there is a weird contradiction between high speech and high guns, it’s like two different sorts of playstyles. The petty view I can give is that high speech players like the dialogue and think anybody using guns too much is an unsophisticated oaf that does not appreciate storytelling, and that high guns players think that people who lean on speech too hard avoid real gameplay and difficulty by bumping up a single stat.

I think where there is a break between Fallout 1 + 2 to 3 is the problem of realism. Realism? In a game about a post nuclear wasteland? Yes, here’s the thing, take original Fallout, all actions are based on mathematics and calculation, there is no direct human control. In Fallout 3 however there is one massive gameplay change, that of it being in an FPS. No longer do you miss shots because of a die roll, now you can only blame your terrible hand-eye co-ordination. Therein lies the problem, it is easy to short circuit the difficulty in stats when you could aim for yourself. A realistic component had been added to a mathematical game. Once movement and shooting made it’s way into the combat of the game it subverted how the game was to be played. There is no such thing as an RPG Simulated game because they are opposites on how they portray reality. RPGs approximate an abstract concept as a game mechanic, simulators attempt to give you a real-life experience. The effect of this is that combat becomes a focus of the game in terms of development and balance. This is where the game excels, if they did not get this right then people would be frustrated. Take Morrowind for example and how it’s shonky melee combat worked, it never felt quite right. Plus moving it to an FPS would get some people mad because they couldn’t understand why when I point at something and shoot I don’t hit it. You can argue that this was what led to the decline in quality of Fallout overall, that by making the game more accessible it had to undo the sophistication it had developed. This can clearly be seen between New Vegas and Fallout 4. New Vegas could be argued to be the greatest RPG FPS with it’s storytelling and combat. It maintained a level of complexity that rewarded clever thinking and allowed for nuance. Fallout 4 came along and dumbed everything down so that the game devolved to a brute force approach. For heaven’s sake the dialogue choices were a disgrace to the genre…

Other mentions to gameplay is the simplicity of shopping, crafting recipes, and repairing your gear. The shopping experience is great, a lot of reading required but it made you memorise your inventory quickly and can easily find things. One of the weird criticisms I had with Borderlands 2 is how the interface showing guns made it bulky and awkward compared to its predecessor which used a list system. Fallout 3 was quick and accessible, however I really liked Morrowind’s visual system too. Crafting is a nice little touch and some of the best weapons of the game are made in this way, Nuka-Grenades and Bottlecap mines are exceptionally dangerous, even to top tier enemies. Repairing your stuff is a weird mechanic, it was something I have only seen in System Shock 2. I guess it makes you rotate your weaponry around, other than that it seems like a useless mechanic, however the payoff is that by maintaining weapons you seldom have reload jams and on top better protective and damage performance. Also, I think it balanced out certain weapons by making them degrade faster and not so usable. Having your weapons at high standard with good skill ratings can really make your combat experience fly. Ah levels…

  • Levelling
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Probably the faultiest part of the game, not in terms of being buggy but by ruining game balance. The skill system by itself is a great idea and has so much game application, however it allows players to indulge on power fantasies. This coupled with perks at every level allows for the creation of very overpowered characters which are practically omnipotent. Every game ends up with brokenly powerful character by the end, but Fallout 3 is the brokenest. With the previous fallout games you had to plan a playstyle and character build carefully, it was very difficult to be a master of everything. On top of which not planning well at all would give you a poor character to work with. In Fallout 3, good planning would guarantee you a solid overpowered build. The problem is perks, in Fallout 3 you are given one every level with some being incredibly powerful while others were useless and baffling, this compared to Fallout 1 where perks came every three levels. I guess that Fallout 3 became very accessible and easy to play for casual players, however second time players could intricately plan their approach and create absolute monsters of characters. The other problem is DLC, where it raised the level cap to 30. On my current run, I have 10 in all specials and 100 in all skills. I put my hands up to the sin of powergaming but the system is so bad you guys, it’s hard not to be horrifically overpowered. Again this could be what led to the dumbing down of the series by making it too easily accessible.

Perks in general are the real problem. A lot of perks are straight up garbage, some are just additional points to skills which is an awful choice. There are plenty of books in the wasteland and bobbleheads are thing, this combined with some key perks and a good INT stat makes it super easy to level a character. Some perks are downright bad like Life Giver, which gives you 30 HP, an absolutely inconsequential amount of life, it’s like the guys at Bethesda just copy and pasted some perks without looking. Another one is the Tag perk, which is a holdover from Fallout 1 and 2. Tag skills would level up twice as fast, however Bethesda scrapped that and just gave the player +15 skill bonus at the start of the game for tagging that skill, completely missing the point of a tag skill. Morrowind had tagged skills for god sake, how do you forget this Bethesda? On the other side of the spectrum, some perks are insanely accessible like Finesse which gives you a 5% extra crit chance with no prerequisite stats. Ontop of this is the DLC perk Almost Perfect which puts you at 9 for all of your attributes, now you know how I got my overpowered character.

A more detailed analysis of the problem with the perks is that the valuable perks are perks that have a percentage effect, augmenting your abilities outside of your stats. Better Criticals as mentioned earlier increases the damage of crits by 50%, when you have finesse ontop of this your damage output can be insane. It became very easy to identify which perks were good to use and which could be ignored. It can create characters which are bland and overpowered because there was no real appeal to the other weirder perks.

Anyway back to skills, now overall the skill system is a good idea. It meant that you could apply upgrades as you see fit over the course of gameplay. No skill was useless and they each had their part to play. Repair arguably was the one stat that was a speedbump but the others had uses. Weapon stats altered your damage, science and lockpicking altered your ability to get into places. Medicine is about your health and rads. Speech and Barter affected tests and prices. The skills affected gameplay very nicely and I missed them not being in Fallout 4.

There is one other problem with levelling, that being enemies and monsters. Now Bethesda has a long running problem with getting enemy levels right. Personally I can see the digital cogs working when I see certain enemies appear. I prefer to have a certain enemy at a certain place. Some people get butthurt when they encounter something too high level and they can’t cope. I guess the reverse problem is mowing down tons of low-level characters. Which still happens in this game… See the problem is that with the DLC and running around at level +25 you will encounter 3 enemies in particular: The Super Mutant Overlord, Feral Ghoul Reaver, and the Albino Scorpion; these guys are absolute bullet sponges. At one point I encountered four albino scorpions one after the other and all I could do was blame the in-game algorithm that determined random enemy placement. The previous high-end enemies of these types were not able to put up much of a fight, so Bethesda overreacted and made these tanks to keep you busy, problem is there is no finesse to their attack style and they tend to just move closer and engage. True a lot of enemies are like that but these three moreso as they dealt melee damage (Unless the Overlord had a gun). Also Bethesda gave them DR ignoring attacks, just to make them a proper threat which stinks of arbitrary modifiers because we can’t think up a good idea. To be fair some enemies take a more nuanced approach, if you’ve ever fought Talon Company you will know. Those bastards hide behind cover and are always on the move.

So therein lies the biggest problem of this game being levelling. It’s too easy to make a good character and the perks can make you practically godlike. The enemies made to counter this were boring and lazily made with no real AI or styles of combat involved. The one positive was that it made the game accessible. If I am being real cynical here, this is hypothetically speaking, where Black Isle Studios failed was in making a game that is too difficult with a steep learning curve, it put a lot of people off buying it. The Fallout games were a commercial success but perhaps from the perspective of Bethesda, not successful enough as they had bought the rights to it. So to secure it as a decent commercial success they made the game accessible. Bethesda’s legacy after all shows them to be opportunistic and greedy, which is biting them in the ass in terms of company image.

  • Atmosphere

At this point you must be wondering what is actually good about this game. Answer is the atmosphere, it’s fantastic and I wish Fallout 3 got remastered so the draw distance and graphics could be turned up. The environment, music, and scenes is like when Luke Skywalker looks into the sunset on Tatooine and John Williams strikes up the band. Beautiful. Fallout’s strongest asset is its artistry and environment, it’s relevant and thought provoking. In my opinion it’s why it’s the better franchise than the Elder Scrolls, the amount of times I walked into somewhere, sized up the situation and made a real world estimation and comparison is beyond count. This indeed might be the lynchpin of Fallout 3, it is not a storytelling game, it’s a game that lets you explore the world of Fallout. At least the DC part of Fallout. Personally I want a return to the west and see how the Brotherhood of Steel and NCR are doing but also I am dreading it because I am wondering how Bethesda will fuck it up. Going in and starting a new game, it has the pedigree of a Fallout game in that the intro is voiced by Ron Perlman which sets the tone like the originals, nice. I found it absolute heresy that he wasn’t bought back for Fallout 4. When I heard the main character instead I found it jarring. It was a bad omen of things to come in 4, like when christening a ship and the bottle bounces off of the hull instead of breaking, and then falls into the water and then sinks like the hopes of everyone involved… When you grew up and came out of Vault 101 and saw the barren vista, it was a taste of things to come. One of my favourite things to do in the game is simply find a high place and look around. It’s barren, grey/tan and lifeless. I only wish the capital wasteland was larger and more spread out, perhaps even a hardcore system like in New Vegas where you have to eat and drink and use doctors bags to heal limbs. Yeah, I want a harder, more boring slog through a hostile landscape where my hopes are raised by the sight of a rusty shack with a tin of beans in it. ‘Why do you want to make the game bleaker and harder OP?’ jokes on you, I’m into that shit.

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Fallout 1 and 2’s limited graphics and perspective was not able to visually go into detail with the world of Fallout. Not a criticism, merely outlining a limitation. I believe that if Black Isle Studios could put more detail into their world they would, but it’s 1997 and computers are still beige. Fallout 3 had this capability and sure it used a lot of recycled assets but there was some variation. It could be improved but Bethesda has since swept it under the rug and forgotten about it. If you ever want to play this game, go to GOG who have nicely set up and modded it to run on modern systems, the steam one is still a janky mess from 2009. Anyway Fallout 3 could set up a visual scene, have you stride through fallen concrete and wade through irradiated waters, it was a far more immersive experience than some of the other games.

Let’s talk about the music. The main game music is serviceable and the battle music does the business in amping up the tension, good stuff overall. The idle music is calm and serene which perhaps is a little too comfortable. At times you will have music which is much more reminiscent of Fallout 1, which also had great music. Then there are the radio stations, the two main ones of Enclave radio and Galaxy News RAdio are always welcome to listen to. Not only that is the music they brought into the game, the Ink Spots are the first guys you hear in the cutscene and there are so many classic tracks. Again the opening cut scene sets the tone very well with that classic “I don’t want to set the world on fire,” every time I hear that from another place, I cannot help remember that random radio set on a wrecked bus.

Let me go into why the atmosphere is killer. The Enclave, you hear these guys wanting to restore America, the overly patriotic garbage that Malcom McDowell says is fantastic in immersing me and making me think of modern day. You could replace President Eden with President Trump and you’d have a similar effect. It makes me think if the Enclave is evil? On the surface, yes. One thing you see in game is many examples where people, ghouls in particular have been rounded up and executed. They take over project purity by force and crush all other opposition with no negotiation whatsoever. They have this weird neo-manifest destiny belief where their genetically pure heritage will once more claim their birthright. Goddamn, I even managed to spin some Nazi ideology in there, that’s the effect of this game, it makes you draw parallels. Here’s the thing though, the wasteland is lawless, there are genuine threats to humanity, and there is barely any societal progress. The Enclave promises to fix all these things, it’s a legitimate temptation to help them out, problem is I am already mutated from helping out Moira…

Here’s the thing, it’s not only the Enclave, I have rambling thoughts about raiders, super mutants and the nature of slavery in an age of apocalypse. Sure, maybe these things are removed from the game itself but it incorporates into my game none the less.

One thing I would like to talk about in terms of atmosphere is how the Brotherhood of Steel are represented. Now one of the bigger controversies surrounding the lore of this game was how the BoS became the ‘good guys’ and stopped focusing on technology. I’m going to put my neck on the line here and say that the interpretation of BoS in Fallout 3 was good. Yes, lore speaking it was a break from what was established, however Bethesda did put in some allowances and overall made and interesting story from it. Here’s the thing, the BoS could forever be this monolithic and unerring organisation that hoarded technology, however this would make them boring. It’s like the Klingons in Star Trek TNG, they are this backwards warrior obsessed civilisation that practically does not change over the course of two whole series of Trek. They are predictable and pitiable at the same time. BoS could have been the same way, however they branched off the story by making a rogue Elder Lyons who wanted to save the wasteland. He created dissent and weakened his organisation but he challenged what the Brotherhood should be doing and became aware of the changing situation in the wasteland. This story is carried by Obsidian who worked on New Vegas. BoS cannot cope with the New California Republic’s expansion and are finding themselves to be this bottled and almost stagnant organisation. If the BoS actually worked with the NCR they would probably be in a better state. Elder Lyons was a radical and had he been in the west there might have been some growth to the Brotherhood. In the end Maxon becomes Elder and puts BoS back to what it was in 4, however with a desire to do some good for the wasteland. By changing up the narrative and lore it makes more a more mutable story element. It allows for more inspection of a person or organisation. Again, this is all atmosphere.

  • Summary

Is Fallout 3 a good game? Yes. Is it a masterpiece? No. It’s a flawed game, however it has some fantastic moments. I think in my analysis I see where the difference in opinion lies between Fallout 1 and 2 fans and those of Fallout 3. The original Fallouts were about characters and story, and an excellent world which it was all housed in. That’s what Fallout 3 built upon, it went more for worldbuilding than storytelling. The storytelling is adequate, it doesn’t really sparkle and shine compared to 1 and 2 though. Also the gameplay, the gameplay interactions in this game are better and less frustrating than the originals. For me it’s my favourite Fallout game, NV is second and has a much better story but the atmosphere is funny, something feels muddled by it. Fallout 1 and 2 have great story but combat is such a pain and annoying to participate in. One of the recommended things to do is to put the combat speed slider up as high as you can so you can get the thing over and done with in a decent time frame. Fallout 3 doesn’t have this problem. Fallout 4 however is garbage, it’s story is uninteresting, the atmosphere is ruined by a small game world and greenery. Also all the guns are very samey because you can craft them into whatever you want. I sorry to go off at tangents will small rants about Fallout 4, people reviewing Fallout 2 talking about Fallout 3 do the same though.

What I should be talking about however is how it stands as a game by itself. In this case it does well, as stated the only part which really is a fault is the levelling system, everything else is relatively decent. Sure the story is passable and the combat a bit repetitive but nothing that is an absolute dealbreaker. It’s possible to point out that my whole appraisal rests on atmosphere and worldbuilding. True, however not many games have the sheer depth of lore and the environment to pull this sort of thing off. Many other FPS RPG games have much better gunplay, in my opinion Deus Ex Human Revolution is one of the best mixes but still doesn’t have the branching storylines like Mass Effect. The only other game that has a similar feel and atmosphere to this is Metro 2033 and Last Light. Tunnels, radiation and the desperation of humanity are all there but it put it’s money down on gunplay and not so much on RPG elements. However, all of these are linear RPGs…

It's possible to say that with all it’s flaws that I’ve taken an overly nostalgic view of this game. Perhaps, there are still plenty of moments when I am playing the game where I am swearing at the screen because of a bug or some contrivance has happened. However it’s a comfortable game which hits a lot of bases, its accommodating, fun, and interesting. It’s a very powerful combo. Darkest Dungeon is certainly fun and interesting, definitely not accommodating though. There are other games I could make examples of where they aren’t fun or interesting but then again I would struggle to remember them. You could say that those features are subjective however at no point in this review did I ever say I was being objective and attempting to set my views on this game as fact. Fallout 3 is a second hand car with mods thrown into it, it runs kind of weird and is unsophisticated, but it’s fun.

Source: reddit.com

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