Hello..! Capital Wasteland..!
Right then! I think it’s about time I write my first review for the site and I’ve chosen none other than the spectacular Fallout 3 by Bethesda Studios!
As far as as the introduction goes, I loved it, the cinematic starts with the camera focused on a flickering LED then pans out as the (then revealed) radio flickers back into life, playing the classic (and slightly haunting) Set The World On Fire by The Inkspots. The camera then pulls back, showing the interior of a bus, and for now, everything looks relatively normal.
Until the camera picks up speed and backs out of the torn open end of the bus, showing us for the first time, the destroyed ruins of D.C. along with the menacing figure of a Brotherhood Of Steel member in power armour.
The series of images that follow are both beautiful and haunting, showing us the extent of the destruction that nuclear war has caused, and the final line to the voice-over haunts you for the rest of the game – “War, war never changes..”
The way the game leads you into the world of Fallout is both ingenious and unique, leading you through the various stages in your life within Vault 101 to shape your character for your adventure, from birth, to your 10th birthday, onto your final school exam, the game allows you an amazing level of freedom for a tutorial, and when you finally get to let loose as you escape the Vault.
Now, I’ll get this out of the way as quickly as possible.
The combat in this game is terrible. The guns feel like they’re made of plastic, the accuracy is a joke and even the melee weapons are useless, the baseball bat you receive at the start of your escape feels more like a cardboard tube.
The only saving grace is the V.A.T.S system, which bypasses the need to use the god-awful aiming, blowing enemies apart into an eyeball strewn paste.
After escaping the murderous inhabitants of your normally peaceful home, you finally step outside (after a final chance to edit your character) and are immediately blinded by the sunlight. As the glare clears, you get your first look at the outside world and the insanely high level of detail Bethesda have put into this game.
Dust covered earth, broken roads and highways, shattered towns and cold grey skies stretch as far as the eye can see. The first semblance of civilization you come across is the town of Megaton, with its walls cobbled together from scavenged airplane parts and a live atomic bomb sat happily in the center of the town. “What a terrible idea!” I hear you say, well, someone else thinks so too, and lays your first moral choice at your feet, you can either deactivate the bomb, or rig it to explode, erasing the town (and everyone in it) from the map.
There was a lot I loved about this game, the characters were varied in their opinions and routines, and yet everyone was uniformly mad, the world was (reasonably) open and there was always some ruin to explore and loot, but.
And I mean BUT.
The Metro Stations that you had to use to reach ANY part of the map were both linear, dark and just BORING. There was almost no variation in firearms and the central area of D.C. just felt boxed in, and the initial thrill of seeing so many classic american landmarks utterly ruined doesn’t last as long as you’d hope.
And yet despite all of its flaws and problems. The game was amazing, and for a game that is now more than four years old, it still seems to hold up graphically compared to current releases.
All in all, an amazing experience, and given that it’s currently retailing for about £5, if you haven’t played it. You need to.
Otherwise you might just get eaten by a Yaoguai.