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many, many hours later

I’ve put about 30 hours into Fallout 3 since I got it on Saturday evening (I played precious little over that weekend though . . . if I had that number would be considerably larger, I feel) and I have to say that I am well and truly addicted to it. It is quite, quite enjoyable. Good game, definitely.

10/10, though? I dunno, probably not. It’s not perfect. I can’t think of any game I’d ever give a 10/10 to, though, so it’s probably just me being stingy. The inner Fallout fanboy in me isn’t too thrilled with the changes to the SPECIAL system though, notably the skills and perks. Perks every level are kinda nifty, but not when most of the perks are pretty crap. It feels far less like a “big Choose Your Own Adventure” book (to use Chris Avellone’s term) than the previous two though, for some reasons I haven’t managed to pin down yet.

Some of the reasons I can’t give this a 10/10 would include: 1) The writing, as well as all the dialogue, isn’t that great (for example, it seems like the stat check dialogues for, say, intelligence or agility could have been said by anyone reasonably intelligent or capable to clamber over rocks and the odd counter or two). 2) The AI is pretty rubbish, both in terms of pathfinding and combat. 3) The bugs and random CTDs I get. Random, seemingly unprovoked CTDs are not fun. Occasionally the graphics become pretty fucked up when I enter V.A.T.S. and the visuals get stuck when I’m shooting at enemies (but the game moves on and returns to normal soon enough). Once or twice I’ve even had the graphics get all corrupt like I’d overclocked my graphics card too much (I hadn’t). Granted, nothing hugely game-breaking but they aren’t leaving a very good taste in my mouth. It’s generally stable, but one does get the feeling that it could have done with a bit more testing. Sure, neither of these reasons are reason enough to call the game “bad,” but in an RPG, bad writing and dialogue is, well . . . not great. But it’s not a huge problem, though. Not at all.

It occured to me that one of the most compelling reasons to play Western-style RPGs (the Baldurs Gate series, the Fallout games, etc) is, generally, the ability to play it how you want to. You get your main story quest and then lots and lots of sidequests you can, more often than not, complete whichever way you want. Diplomacy? Gruntwork? Bash skulls in and blast holes in flesh? Up to you, with, of course, the requisite repercussions. You’re not bound by some sort of moral code dictated by the storyline (god knows how many times I felt that I agreed more with the bad guy than the hero and his party in various Japanese-style RPGs), so be as evil or as good as you want. Prepare to face the consequences of either, though.

Speaking of morality, my karma just took a dive towards the “evil” end in Fallout 3, after having been at “neutral” for most of my wasteland-wandering career. While I would have preferred to have kept it at the in-between, I did what I felt I would do if I was really in my character’s shoes and thus I have no hang-ups about it. The Regulators that periodically pop up trying to kill me are piss-easy, so no worries there. Wastes of ammo, though. But then I have the trusty Charon and his infinite shotgun ammo to blast ’em down, so no biggie.

Also, I do like the reference to the first Fallout after I solved the Vault 101 problem the way I did. Perhaps I could have done better from a technical, “gameplay, not roleplay” aspect, I did it, again, how I’d do it if I was in that exact situation.

And now, more screenshots:

fallout305

fallout304

Why lie? At heart, I am, and forever will be, a videogame nerd.

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Categories: gaming
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