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i can explain myself!

All has been, once again, quiet on the blogging front. This time, however, it’s not because I’ve lost the drive to write or nor is it because I don’t have anything to write or any other similarly lame excuses. Oh no. This time, I’ve got a slightly more credible, weighty excuse for my long silence.

Fallout 3 is out. Yes. And nearly all that I’ve been doing has been wandering the wastes, crawling through the ruins of Washington D.C., creeping through subway systems and blowing raiders’ heads off, amongst many other healthy pursuits.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to be enjoying it this much. I came into it with a healthy amount of skepticism, much like, I’m sure, many fans of the first two Fallout games. I have to admit, however, that I’ve somewhat been won over by the game that the folks at Bethesda have put out. I’m enjoying it way more than I ever expected to.

No, it’s not perfect (something someone wrote about it being “intellectually lazy” holds true), and things such as the absence of intelligence-based dialogue/dialogue choices do detract from the role-playing experience somewhat, but you know what? It’s quite a good game regardless. I’ll say that it’s probably one of the best new games I’ve played recently (FO1 and 2 don’t count as “new,” sadly), even.

One thing I feel it actually does better than the first two (heresy!) is the process of getting from point A to point B. Whereas in the old days you just popped onto the world map and saw a marker move from, say, Klamath to New Reno, in FO3 (at least during the first trip) you’ll be clambering over rocks, sneaking through ruined buildings, swimming across rivers and traversing the wastes. And, of course, stumbling upon your ever-present mutated critters and your friendly neighbourhood raiders. It’s much, much more immersive, you know. There’s a real sense of exploration to the proceedings, a real sense of being a wanderer of the wastes. Stumbling upon towns (or ruins of towns) in FO3 while wandering is so much better than in the previous two, where it was mostly large green circles suddenly appearing on your world map.

I’m somewhat liking the combat system too since, thank god, it’s not totally real-time. I’m generally bollocks at real-time combat and it’s no different here. Thank god for the V.A.T.S., though. I generally just go into V.A.T.S., fire off a few rounds to the head/weapon/weapon arm, run around until I have enough AP, then go into V.A.T.S. again and repeat ad nauseum. Unless I’m getting ganged up, upon which I just shoot at anything that makes the targeting thingy (it’s not exactly a crosshair, is it?) turn red.

Blowing heads off and watching the bodies flip and twirl and fly is so obsecenely fun and amusing it should be a crime. Just now I blew the head off a critter that had jumped at me and watched in glee as its body flew up and out of the (roofless) building I was in, over the wall and land far, far away. I felt like a giddy schoolgirl hopped up on laughing gas when I saw it!

Also, you know what? It’s pretty.

fallout301

fallout303

fallout302

Pardon the same-y screens, but yeah. I play with the “high quality” settings at 1280×1024 with 8x AA (applied via nVidia’s control center thingy) and, uh, 10 sample AF or however you say it. And, yes, I am playing as a female. It’s . . . become some sort of Fallout tradition for me, playing as a female. God knows why. Maybe, deep down inside, I desire to become a girl?

Pffffht.

Is this as good as the first two? I don’t know, but I have a feeling time will tell. Frankly, a part of me wants to say “no, and it will never be,” but . . . I dunno. It may just turn out to be. It is an enjoyable game regardless. I am trying to judge it on its own merits, however, and not let my love of the first two games cloud my judgement. From what I’ve played so far it seems that technically it’s a great game. I love how it manages to immerse me in the world and keep me playing, but at the same time it does feel a bit dumbed down when it comes to the role-playing, somewhat-intellectual aspects.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to head back out into the Was— ok, no. Perhaps, perhaps it’s time to finally call it a night. At 5 in the bloody morning.

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