Games You Probably Like, But Shouldn’t: FALLOUT 3
We would now like to introduce a new column from our video guest last week, Brandon. It takes his opinion on a range of popular games and dissects them to tell you why you probably like this game but shouldn’t. Without further ado, I present his first work of staggering genius: Fallout 3.
Wide, open expanses cover the world with exotic scenery ranging from valleys, mountains, caves, and oceans that beckon the player with promises of adventure and the threat of danger. The face of that danger comes in the form of the environment, traps, monstrous beasts, and even other people. You are armed with a huge selection of melee and ranged weapons to fight back against your foes. Through gaining experience, you delve into a leveling system that is equal parts complicated and intrinsically beautiful. You are a hero, to some a messiah and to some a champion; and yet, you have the choice to be the exact opposite.
Where are you?
No, not Cyrodill my friend. You’re not standing at the gates of Oblivion. Here, let me help you out. Add the following to that scenario: Guns and a warped turn based system. That’s right kids; you’re fresh out of the Vault.
Now, before I fully break into this, I want to state that Fallout 3 is a great game. The problem lies in the fact that it’s a great game in the same vein as Oblivion. Morrowind was wonderful and was fully upgraded in every conceivable way to the level of Oblivion. What changed between Oblivion and Fallout? As I mentioned before, the only differences are the presence of guns and V.A.T.S. I think the best review of this game would be through my first person experience.
I was first treated to the amazing graphics, glow effects, and decently mapped facial expressions that Bethesda is now known for. This time it was through the infantile eyes of *insert generic hero name here*. I began playing the game and, while the leveling system is not nearly as intense, I enjoyed it. I was shooing enemies, making moral decisions, and then I busted out of the Vault. It was then I heard the musical trappings of Jeremy Soule… No, wait. What? The composer was actually Inon Zur? Someone give that man an award! The soundtracks are both the same obligatory orchestral masterpieces that perfectly match the long hills and valleys of grass and… Wait, no. In Fallout 3, you’re running across the blasted wasteland of the Metro D.C. area; and yet, Bethesda still thought pieces on the same grandiose and beautiful tier as John Williams would describe a nuclear desolation.
The unforgiving comparisons had only just begun for me though. As I did with Oblivion, I started out running around doing every little side quest that I could find. Go figure, they were all the same. Go find the Ring of *insert random god’s name*… I mean, go find the O2 monitor to hardwire it into the cooling mainframe. Protect this innocuous person. Destroy this group of vampires. No, that’s not a mistake. Vampires are in both games.
Maybe the combat is different? Yes and no. Obviously there is a huge emphasis on long ranged weapons; however, they act in much the same way as a bow in Oblivion. Melee? Well, lets just say a pipe swing much the same way as a sword. But what is this V.A.T.S. I mentioned? It’s combat that turns the game into completely turn and statistic based. You have percentages to hit certain body parts, you can only shoot so many times, etc. This was a decent idea, but it actually broke the game. With just a few tweaks to your stats, you become an unstoppable headshot master as long as you can activate the mode. Does this add a whole lot to the game? Not really. Granted, it’s entertaining to shoot someone in the head and have all of their body parts explode into gore.
Is the game good? Yes, it has plenty of action, graphics, and, aside from the abysmal ending, a decent plot. It’s fun to run around DC and see the places you’ve been. For me, I realized that the lake I live at turned into a nuclear death pool. If you haven’t played Oblivion, then you’ll adore this game and probably play it until your thumbs are numb. The problem is, if you’ve played Oblivion, then you’ve already put anywhere from 30 hours to 120 hours into this game and there is no reason to put anymore in. Bethesda is now assuming that we gamers will now just happily play the same game with a new package time and time again.
So, that being said, Fallout 3 is a game you probably like, but shouldn’t.
P.S. If you’re a Fallout fanboy crying about purism, you’re right in the fact that it would have been nice to see a game along the same vein; however, that does not mean you have to have a conniption over the fact that something’s changing a little. That’s like yelling about television being switched from analog to digital because it’s not the same.