An incredibly deep and astonishing game, Fallout 3 gives gamers an excuse to anticipate the apocalypse.
- Deep character development options, huge open world with tonnes of quests, satisfying combat, dangerously addictive
- Poor partner path-finding, many characters share the same voice, third-person view is useless, some perks of questionable value
The first two Fallout titles are classics in their own right but Fallout 3 might just be the best one yet. Heck, it might just be the best console RPG of all time. It's deep, complex and tremendously addictive. From the amazing character development system to the engaging and satisfying combat, Fallout 3 has everything you could want in an RPG experience. Play this game. Seriously. Do it.
Price$ 119.95 (AUD)
Target Rich Environment
Of course, you'd never experience that long-term satisfaction if the moment-to-moment gameplay weren't so outstanding. I learned in my early showdowns that though it's possible to play Fallout 3 as a straight first-person shooter, it's much more fun to put the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS) to good use whenever possible. Depending on your agility, you're given a recharging supply of Action Points to spend on attacks. Tap a button to pause combat, queue up precision shots on selected body parts, and tap another to watch the carnage play out in gruesome slow-motion displays of exaggerated bloodshed. Cripple a charging lizard's leg to slow him down, or go for the head shot. Take out a giant ant's antennae, and it'll attack its buddies in a confused frenzy.
I was worried that this periodic pausing would kill the pace of combat, and that the graphic displays of decapitation, dismemberment, and death would grow tiresome even with the added explosive gore of frag grenades and the Bloody Mess perk. Instead, I found that the variety of monsters and locales made almost every situation feel unique in some way, and the large library of salvaged and custom-made weaponry gave me all the tactical flexibility I could ever want. Whether you've got a taste for lasers, rockets, mines, shells, bullets, or fisticuffs, Fallout 3's combat is always challenging and entertaining.
I can't claim to know how exactly the monsters scale as you level, but I definitely met with more varied resistance than I ever did in Oblivion, a game that Fallout 3 obviously shares many similarities with. Some areas are almost impenetrable until you develop to a certain level of fitness, while others yield to thoughtful analysis of your strategic options. Some monsters slowly but surely become easier to take down as your skills improve, just as even more formidable opponents come out of the woodwork. As a result, I found I grew steadily more attached to my ever-improving character, and sought out more and more perilous situations with which to test his mettle. Radscorpions, raiders, and mutants eventually seem like child's play compared to glowing ghouls, power-armoured Enclave stooges and laser-shooting robots.
In all the many hours that I played Fallout 3, the only time I ever stopped enjoying myself was when I had to contend with NPC partners who couldn't walk twenty feet without getting confused about how to follow me. If that's the biggest complaint I can find to lodge against this dark, deep, and detailed voyage to the other side of Armageddon, one thing is crystal clear: you need to play this game. It truly lives up to the hype and sets the bar high for every RPG that will come after it. It's an instant classic and one that will occupy your time for a long time to come.
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