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Ten Past Midnight: Fallout 3 Review


Front

The Doomsday Clock. Invented in 1947 for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by the University of Chicago, the hands symbolically represented how close the world is to global nuclear war, represented by midnight. As of January 14, 2013, that clock is set at 11:55pm, two minutes closer than when it was conceptualized. What would it look like after midnight? Fallout 3 is one such possibility.

The Fallout series began as a spiritual successor to the post-Apocalyptic game Wasteland. Unable to take the IP from EA, Interplay Entertainment and Black Isle Studios developed the game Fallout on September 30, 1997, with a sequel following just a year later. Both games exceptionally well received by critics. 2001’s strategy title Fallout Tactics and 2004’s action game Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel were decently reviewed, but never reached the greatness of their better RPG parents. With Interplay threatened by bankruptcy and closing Black Isle Studios, the Fallout property was sold to Bethesda Softworks, famous for their Elder Scrolls series in April 2007. Fallout 3 came out swinging on October 28, 2008 in North America to critical acclaim and a whole new legion of fans.

LoneWanderer

I love games that give you puppies!

Fallout 3 is the story of the fully customizable “Lone Wanderer,” seemingly born in Vault 101 where “No one gets in and no one gets out.” Problem is that after the well crafted “growing up” tutorial sequence, turns out your Dad breaks that rule and escapes. You escape the Vault through the chaotic aftermath and into the real world; a post-nuclear-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., now called the Capitol Wasteland, two hundred years after the bombs dropped. Not necessarily a better choice than the cramped up vault.

CapitolWasteland

Depressing, yet beautiful. A strange combination.

If you’ve played an Elder Scrolls game, this game will feel familiar to you: a huge open-world exists, with a few square miles to explore. There is a main quest to follow but side quests, new characters and towns exist for those who make the efforts to explore the environment. NPCs offer quests, shopping and enrich the story with their dialogue, though some lines are repetitive and their facial expressions are somewhat nonexistent. But it’s the differences make this game unique.

The world is post-apocalyptic, filled with creatures and people who were born outside the Vaults, but also retro-futuristic; certain world events sometime between World War II and 1961 are different from our world and it results in things like forty’s music surviving to at least the 21st century as popular music and gigantic, wall sized computer servers where they would be needed. The mid-20th century culture and language mixed with the desolate, war-torn setting create a strangely compelling game.

LincolnMemorial

An old familiar sight in a different time.

The visuals of this game are incredible. While much less colorful and vibrant than Elder Scrolls (in fact the drab and predominantly brown world is just the opposite), the landscape is glorious in its execution. Seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial, damaged but still standing, create a sense of awe and sadness, fitting in well with the storyline. Weapon animations are well done, and the range of villains from mutated humans known as Ghouls to the horrific Centaurs and Super Mutants are as gorgeous in design as they are grotesque to behold. The art style seen throughout is also hysterical to see. Each perk and skill is accompanied by a corresponding

VATS

So many spots, so little Action Points.

Combat is loads of fun. Melee and ranged weapons are fun to use and diverse, but really gets fun when you enter Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., which slows down combat a bit, but creates a cinematic quality to each swing of your nailed bat or burst of bullets from your SMG, and amazingly it never seems to get old watching your results in slow motion. The upgrade system is simple but effective, and some weapons like the Fat Man Mini Nuke Launcher are remarkably fun to see and use.

The sound department holds the entire game together. Ron Pearlman, Liam Neeson and Malcolm McDowell bring their incredible quality to their roles as Narrator, your character’s father James and President Eden, respectively, Erik Dellums’ Three Dog deserves special mention as his great dialogue is made all the more entertaining with Dellums’ enthusiasm and energy. Inon Zur’s score is actually quite fitting for the game, though most will be enjoying one of two radio stations, either big band renditions of classic patriotic American marches or Three Dog’s delightful hits from the ’40s, almost exclusively.

Glitches

I think his head shouldn’t be IN the wall…

There are a few issues here, though. As with any game with such huge, packed-with-content worlds, bugs and glitches appear frequently enough to notice but not enough to ruin the game, except for the rate quest glitch. Weapon degradation is a pain in the ass in most games, and this game is no exception. Companion AI can also be unreliable at times, with characters running into walls or getting stuck, but again it’s infrequent.

FatMan

Screw napalm in the morning, this thing is better!

Ultimately, this game has earned its very many Game of the Year awards. This game is a masterpiece for Bethesda and it’s arguable that this one is better, if not as good as, Oblivion. If you haven’t played this game yet, you need to go now and buy a Game of the Year Edition (the one with all the DLC) and enjoy the hell out of it.

Fallout 3 is Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language and Use of Drugs. The game is available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

We think this is a must-play game. Agree? Drop a comment below!

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About RedGuinness

Andrew Shortall (RedGuinness) is the Writer, Editor, Administrator and founder of Stay-At-Home Gaming. He also suffers from sleepless nights, summer new release withdrawals and trying to behave himself in front of his new nephew.

3 comments on “Ten Past Midnight: Fallout 3 Review

  1. shrey
    August 25, 2013

    Agreed. Fallout 3 is without a doubt one of the best games this generation. In my opinion, the game’s greatest strength was its story. It was a personal story driven and passionate experience. The part where Enclave kills the Father, I’m mad. I go on a rampage and kill most of the things in sight. The ending monologue, which differed whether you were neutral or good or evil were relatable, They were pretty much everything your character did but also a short insight about the human nature and behaviour.

  2. a2shato
    August 28, 2013

    I just picked this game back up recently, as requested by my boyfriend (who normally will only play CoD games) and I keep slipping into my gaming ADD. It’s not that I don’t like it or anything, I just constantly have a hard time focusing on these kinds of games. Though, this blog entry did inspire!

    • RedGuinness
      August 29, 2013

      That’s the thing about these games. There’s so much to do, see and explore that it’s overwhelming. On the good side, once it starts getting comfortable you have a game you can sink hours of time into. Even at full price this game is worth every dollar.

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