Fallout 3 Impressions
Fallout vs Oblivion
Fallout and Oblivion are very different style of games. Personally, as a huge Fallout fan, and an Oblivion hater, I was nervous that I was going to get more Oblivion than Fallout. Oblivion felt like like it came out of a random fantasy RPG generator: the story, stats, towns, and quests all felt completely generic and uninteresting to me.
I previously said that I would rather play a game by the old Fallout team using the Oblvion IP rather than the Oblivion team using the Fallout IP. I was wrong. Bethesda nailed it. They authentically captured all the magic and personality that made Fallout 1 + 2 great, and they evolved the whole experience further.
- Decision Trees: There are tons of decision trees to this game. Beyond basic good/evil decisions, there are tons of dialog trees and optional questing routes to take. I love this mechanic and wish more games would use this.
- Flexible Game Progression: All game missions and objectives can be completed in multiple ways. Characters can take many different useful combat specializations and extra specializations and play the game in very different ways.
- Nails RPG Basics: Stats, combat, story and atmosphere are the cornerstones of a traditional RPG, and this game really nails all of them.
- Stats: All RPGs have tons of stats, but a mediocre RPG has bland, generic stats that make leveling up feel like a chore. The stats in this game are all fun. None of the stats are worthless, each one lets you do cool stuff in the game. It’s fun to choose perks and it’s exciting to get to assign new points. The stat system is basically the same as Fallout 1 + 2, but it was great back then, and it’s very well integrated into the current game.
- Combat: The combat is fun. It’s mostly picking a body part and rolling the dice. It’s got strategy, and the rag doll death animations are very satisfying and fun to watch.
- Story Line and Atmosphere: This isn’t Shakespeare or anything, but by RPG standards, the story is very entertaining and fun to play along with.
- Authentic Fallout experience: Bethesda did a phenomenal job at capturing the the personality and experience of Fallout 1 + 2 while using new tech and making several major improvements.
- Glitchy: This game doesn’t have a few glitches, it has tons of them. However, most of them are mostly minor. The worst glitches required a game restart. These glitches can be irritating but they have a fairly minor impact on the overall experience.
- Repetitive Art: Thee overall style is good, but the art assets felt very repetitive throughout the game. Most environments looked the same.
- Character Models and animation: The character models all have a very stiff feel to them. It seems like artists designed separate head, torso, arms, and legs while a crude program stitched them together and animates them.
- Anticlimatic: The game felt like it had a long, slow start of killing bugs and such, and when the game finally felt like it was really getting going, it abruptly ends.
- Fallout Remake Rather Than Sequel: This is a completely new engine, and has completely new dialog and characters, but the overall story arch, and game progression felt exactly like Fallout 1 + 2. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it is a great formula to begin with, but the game felt like a Fallout remake rather than a sequel.
- Combat quirks can be gamed: Monsters can’t open most doors, so a popular tactic is too use all your action points on targeted attacks, leave the room, relax and recharge in safety, then reenter the room with full AP and repeat.
This game has tons of flaws, but ultimately, this is an awesome RPG. I’m not a huge RPG fan, but this is easily the best RPG that I’ve played since the earlier Fallout games. It’s addicting, exciting, and does full justice to the Fallout license.
I got a solid twenty hours of playtime in, but my biggest gripe is that the game ended too quickly. I can’t wait to see Bethesda take this concept further with a bigger, better sequel.