Fight your way through a post-apocalyptic world in Bethsoft's excellent role-playing game
Anyone who remembers the original Fallout games will probably remember them fondly, so Fallout 3 has a lot to live up to, especially since the latest sequel also happens to have been developed by the same people who brought us the excellent Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Like its predecessors, Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game set in a future in which the Earth apparently got stuck in the 1950s, before being reduced to a crumbling wasteland by a nuclear blast.
Your character starts life in an underground bunker, a member of a closed-off society that shut itself away from the outside horrors a long time ago. A mysterious event triggers the disappearance of your character’s father and forces you out, blinking, into the big bad world.
From here, you can follow the quest for your missing dad or simply head out and see where your nose leads you. Either way, you’ll soon encounter the unfortunate inhabitants of Fallout’s version of Washington DC, not all of whom will want to be your friend.
Borrowing many of its cues from Oblivion, Fallout 3 swaps swords-n-sorcery for guns-n-ammo but upholds Oblivion’s successful blend of role playing and action-type gameplay styles. The game is played from a first-person perspective (though a third-person view is available), making it feel like a vast, free-form first-person shooter.
In fact, you can actually play a lot of Fallout 3 this way. However, the game also has an alternative approach to combat – the innovative VATS system, which allows you to pause play mid-battle and choose an area of your opponent’s body to target, each of which has a percentage-based likelihood of scoring a successful hit. It sounds clunky, but actually works well in practice.
In addition to combat, there are plenty of puzzles to solve with diplomacy and wit, as well as dozens of side-quests, items, weapons and areas to explore. There’s no multiplayer and no online play, but that doesn’t stop it from being an immensely immersive experience.
Atmospheric music, great-looking visuals and an astonishing attention to detail all come together neatly, and it’s easy to overlook the occasional graphical glitch or off-kilter voice acting.
Whether you’re looking for a thinking person’s shooter or a more visceral, action-based role player, Fallout 3 is a must.
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