Going Beyond The Call “Of Duty” : Fallout 3

As a gamer, I always wish to try new and interesting things, and as a writer, I wish for you to experience many different types of columns.

The experiment:  Play/buy a video game that I know NOTHING about and have zero prior experience with.  Write about my experience and how I would rate the game/story/series!  Profit?

In this week’s edition, we head into an alternate future, after the apocalypse and all of mankind is hanging on a thread.  That’s right.  Fallout 3?

Is this just another pathetic first person shooter that will bore me in hours, or was there something more?  Check it out after the jump!

The Story

It’s the future.  Well, an alternate futurehistic timeline of earth.  The events after WWII in this timeline changed the world as we know it, with a new strange addiction to the America of the 1950’s lasting throughout the events of the rest of the history, with great tension against China, Russia, and even Canada!  After the last drop of oil is depleted from the earth, Nuclear bombs have utter annahilated the world of all beauty it once had, and radition has mutated mankind and the world as we know it.  Water is scarce, grass/trees are nonexistant, and animals are pretty much gone.

The last remnants of mankind are stored away in “Vaults”, where they were safely protected from the radiation.  The events of Fallout and Fallout 2 take place in Calfornia survival, while Fallout 3 takes place in Washington DC, the “Capital Wasteland”.

You play “101: The Lone Wonderer”.  Your father, after escaping from the saftey of the vault, has gone missing.  It’s up to you to find out what he’s really after in his pursuits to save the planet.

Actually, no.  Not really.  You can essentially throw out the plot.  Or much rather, add in 150 million tiny plots in the game.  The story is only a small linear path that gamers can follow if they want to.  You can, alternatively, follow side plots and side missions and learn more about people in this world than you can possibly imagine, aiding them in the desolate hopelessness, or making them your pathetic weaklings and steal them for everything they’ve got.  The tiny plots aren’t long and don’t have much depth, but the enjoyability and overall fun factor in them is IMMENSE.  ‘

I found myself completely forgetting what I was doing in the main part of the game.  Poor Dad.  He’s still not found/saved, and I’ve been into this game for nearly 3 weeks now.

I do, however, have to praise Fallout 3.  I’ve been completely absorbed in the lives of these whiny NPC’s constantly begging me for water, ammo, saving their friends/family, and finding the Declaration of Independence.  It’s quite fun give these people hope, or perhaps totally devastate them further.

Gameplay

Shoot things that want to kill you.  [This is everything/everybody in the wasteland.  Oh joy.]

Find keys or pick locks that are barricading you.  Pay/steal/kill for information you need.

It’s fairly straightforward and you shouldn’t get lost that often.  Or wait…  YES YOU WILL GET LOST AND GET LOST OFTEN.  >_<

The map is the most useless piece of junk I’ve ever encountered in a game.  What’s worse, you have to pull up your main menu to get it to display.  No mini-map on screen.  Yeah, there is a compass that can give you a generally direction to travel towards, but it’s more bothersome than useful.  A lot of the entire Wasteland has entire areas blocked off  by debris except for small underground tunnels, or finding something necessary to open a locked door.  Fallout 3 is a MASSIVE world.  Honestly, blocking us off from exploring areas is just annoying and broke the flow faster than you can say “RELOAD ALREADY DAGNABIT”.

Oh, and to add insult to injury:  The compass does not direct you to where you need to go, but rather directs you to a straight path, where you’ll be quickly blocked off or overrun by super mutants.  Even worse:  the map doesn’t display the blocked off areas, nor does it give you directions for getting around them.  Irritating and just bad game-play decisions.

Buuuuut…  The gunplay is pretty nice, the automated aiming system is a nice assistant, the items are easily findable, missions aren’t ridiculously impossible, the towns have unique layouts, and the graphics are intense and well laid out. So, I’ll forgive the lousy maps and happily announce that the game is functional and easy to handle.

Good VS Bad

Fallout 3 has an interesting karma system.  Do good deeds, and you get good karma.  Do bad deeds, and you get bad karma.  Simple enough, right?

WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG.

Being a generally nice person, I chose to play as somebody with good karma!  I was expecting to be treated with respect, get some nice perks, and even possibly get bigger/better rewards!

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!  I quickly learned this isn’t the case.

Being a good player with good karma?  I got hit men sent after me!  Hit men with powerful armor and huge guns!  WHAT?!

Next, I quickly realized that not everything “good” is “good”.  One of my good missions was executing somebody that was a bigot and who wanted to blow up a town.  The said man is a really old crotchety grandpa.  I offered my services to spare his life in exchange for money and for a key.  He accepted, and I spared his life.  I went back to the man that wanted him dead, only to have him SHOOT ME!  Then, because I shot back, the entire city came after me, guns blazing!  Then, I got BAD karma!  WHAT?!!

The rewards also sucked.  Big time.  Out of the 10 or so big missions I undertook, the best thing I got was a nifty weapon and less than 1000 credits.  I spent more on Ammo and guns.  >_<

So I decided to be a bad guy instead!  Having been treated terribly and generally angry towards the idiotic citizens who shot at me, I decided to jack everything in their houses.  Unlimited ammo, some AMAZING weapons, enough food and healing items to last me forever, and naturally enough useless junk to sell for massive profits!

Everything was looking good.  😀

Until the hitmen came back.  >_>  Dagnabit!

At least now, however, I was able to beat the living snot out of them!  The better weapons and ammo, and the large stock of healing items made my life fairly simple enough .

However, the people commented about how my mother didn’t hug me enough as a child, and had generally hateful things to say.  ;____;  Plus, the local radio stations called me the mean ol’ boogymen.  ;____;

While the rewards/perks of being bad vastly outweighs being good, a lot of characters don’t respond as well, and generally people don’t like you and will shoot your face off.

So it’s pretty broken.  Better rewards for being bad, but a cleaner/better feeling for being good, and people generally liking you more.

Missingno’s Cousin

GLITCH CITY.

I’ve gotten stuck in walls [forcing a restart], had missions be failed/succeeded without me doing anything [also forcing a restart], and get a game freeze while in higher end firefights and attempting to bring up my main menu [forcing a restart].  These are some serious bugs that needed fixing, and generally made me distaste the game.

Gore

The gore is completely over the top.  Heads/limbs/bodies can fly off in 20 different directions, and enough blood to make anime gore look conservative.

It’s completely uncessary and works to only appease the hard-core action gamers that require blood/gore to stay entertained.

I suppose an argument could be made that it’s an artistic statement to represent the gruesome nature of the world, and the over-exaggeration only helps to better represent how bad the world has become.  I suppose somebody could, but I wouldn’t buy it.

It’s just gross.  >:/

Final Thoughts

Overall…

Fallout 3 is probably now going to cement itself as one of my favorite games.  Yeah, there are bugs, bad gameplay designs, and the gore disgusts me.

However, it is an experience that I think everybody should try.  While it’s an M rated game, and you should wait to play this game when you are a legally appropriate age to play it, it’s actually got a great message to share with everyone, and the plot is deep with emotional/political/social themes that everyone should take part in.

Seeing the devastation that war causes really brings home the message “War doesn’t determine who’s right, it determines who is left”.  We see the suffering of the world when greed overtakes the human senses, and the terror that blind and uneducated patriotism can bring.

I highly recommend the game, if not for the lackluster game-play, then for the experience that the game gives us.

Gameplay:  B+

Graphics:  A-

Karma System:  B-

Gore:  C

Overall:  B+ish

12 thoughts on “Going Beyond The Call “Of Duty” : Fallout 3”

  1. I totally have been looking for a copy of Fall Out 3 I saw my cousin get it but it seems like it takes a lot to get started off, like in the fire ant city place thing <_< Didnt look that fun. But I hear after that it picks up. GREAT REVIEW.

    1. Yeah, it’s ridiculously hard to get into, and I usually hate this genre, and I usually hate Bethesda games like Oblivion. But after about an hour or two into it, I was hooked, and I’ve been playing this thing for 3 weeks straight, including a new game start.

      But it’s one heck of a time commitment to put into this thing.

  2. “While it’s an M rated game, and you should wait to play this game when you are a legally appropriate age to play it”

    I’m pretty sure there is no law against playing violent video games if you are under 17. The ESRB is the industry’s way of shelf regulating. I hop we never see the day where it becomes illegal to certain people have access to certain content.

    That said Fallout 3 is an awsome game. I’m pretty sure a lot people first experienced Fallout with Fallout 3. I find it kind of annoying when that people who refer to Fallout 3 as just Fallout.

    1. That first part was just a disclaimer. I don’t want any parents saying “ZOMG HE WANTS OUR KIDS TO PLAY THIS VIOLENT GAME!”

      But yeah, I definitely want to check out the first two now, or at least delve deeper into the fallout Wiki.

  3. You should have done the evil version of the nuke quest, where instead of killing the old man, you blow up an entire city for him; looks so awesome.

  4. Fallout 3 is an awesome game, I’ve easily put 150+ hours into it.

    About all the bugs in Fallout 3, I’d think something was wrong if a game of this size didn’t have any bugs. Also the major bugs really only occur with the DLC, I never really had any problems with just the original Fallout 3 content (I wanted to do the DLC after I’d done most of the quests and exploring). I do think they should have patched the DLC a bit more (especially Broken Steel).

    I agree about ammo being hard to come by at the start of the game but towards the end you’ll have more ammo and caps than you can use. If you have Mothership Zeta you can do that, I came out with over 4k ammo, and I did use those weapons throughout the whole ship as they are strong weapons.

    I totally agree on the map and compass being useless. First of all they could have had a few places already unlocked so you could quick travel to them straight away like on Oblivion. Secondly, markers you put down would end up taking massively long routes when you didn’t need them but the compass followed that route. The blockages weren’t really a problem although it’d have been nice if the map told you where blockages were (Getting out of Greyditch was hell).

    I get why you gave the gore a C, but its just a small part of the game and shouldn’t stop anyone enjoying the game.

    Overall I’d say this was one of the best games of all time, especially if you like this sort of stuff. Not as good as oblivion but still amazing, both are definitely in my top 10 (if not 5) favourite games of all time.

    2 Weeks till Fallout: New Vegas! Can’t wait, got half term as well so a whole week of no-lifing!

  5. Actually it is illegal to sell M rated games to minors without parent consent in California. At least the cashier has to tell you before hand or something. Fallout 3 = biggest time consumer of this generation, because it is a dang good game.

  6. So it’s a bad thing that I laugh my head off sometimes at the excessive gore.

    Anyways, it’s a good game. I don’t like some things that you said, though.

    Rewards. You don’t get money and stuff from doing quests. You get them from picking stuff up during quests and exploration and hocking it for caps. If you search everything that you can while in a quest (like in a factory or something), you’ll come back with stuff that should net you a good amount of caps.

    Karma. If an old man wants to blow up a town, clearly he is not a good person. You promise to get rid of this evil man, but end up helping him, and of course you’ll get bad karma. I don’t see how that isn’t simple.

    Gore. I admit it’s over the top, but I don’t agree with your statement that it only appeals to people who need it to have fun. While it’s over the top, it’s realistic that if you blow someone’s limbs off or shoot them in the face, it’s gonna bleed. A lot. So, yeah, it’s over the top, but it’s not totally fake, y’know.

    And that’s my two cents.

  7. One last thing. I agree with Saj about the glitches. It’s a really, really, really big world. You will face glitches no matter what, and while it’s annoying, it’d be impossible for a game like this to have a small amount of bugs. (It’d take them years to effectively test everything.)

    Oh yeah, and the compass and map aren’t completely useless. You use the compass to see the direction of a specific place (via markers), and the map to fast travel/place markers. Not totally useless.

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