Fallout 3

Fallout 3 Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC

Long-awaited sequel to the award winning RPG.

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9Out of 10
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This is an epic adventure worthy of the wait
This is an epic adventure worthy of the wait

This is an epic adventure worthy of the wait

The past 10 days have been very busy for me. I've broken into countless military bases, taken vast quantities of drugs, and have shot several hundred people in the head. I've stolen the Declaration of Independence. I've moonlighted as a contract killer. I've helped to run a warped presidential election. I've even gotten really sick after drinking from a toilet bowl. But enough about my holiday trip to Skegness - let's talk about one of the biggest releases of 2008.

Fallout 3 is a massive, massive game. This magnitude exists on a number of levels: for a start, there's the game world itself - a scarred post-nuclear Washington, packed with decrepit survivors, mutant beasties and marauding raiders. Then there's the enormous degree of change since the last game - a shift of developer and a move into full 3D graphics. There's the huge degree of anticipation, both from enthusiastic newcomers and from the more sceptical Fallout hardcore. It's probably due to a combination of all these factors, but for whatever reason Fallout 3 feels like the biggest game I've played all year - so much so that I've already run out of synonyms for the word 'big'. And despite a number of flaws, it's also one of the best games of the year too.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, here's a quick recap of the backstory to the Fallout universe: In the year 2077, World War III turns most of the Earth into a giant nuclear ashtray. A small percentage of the US population survive the conflict by fleeing into Vaults - giant underground shelters built by the VaultTec corporation. The first Fallout placed you in the skin of a jumpsuited resident of Vault 13; when your water purification chip breaks, you are chosen to set out in pursuit of a new one - braving the wasteland of post-apocalypse California. After a remarkably downbeat ending to your adventures, your Vault Dwellers set off to found a small village of their own. Fallout 2 cast you as a grandchild to the first protagonist, offering a much larger play area and a greater variety of distractions from your quest to find a GECK - a powerful piece of technology with the power to save your dying tribe.

Fallout 3, set some 36 years after its predecessor, shifts its focus to the East coast of America - to the claustrophobic confines of Vault 101. The game begins with your birth, generating your character's gender, name and appearance. After this you'll spend about 20 minutes speeding through your childhood and adolescence via a neat quest designed to introduce most of the game's key concepts and mechanics - including the much-discussed VATS combat system. At the end of this brief introduction your rebellious father disappears; his sudden departure enrages the vault authorities and causes a minor riot - leaving you with no choice but to follow him. You emerge from the underground, your vision blurring under a sun you have never seen before - and then you set out across the Washington wastelands.

You start in the vault but don't stay there for long

You start in the vault but don't stay there for long

What follows is really up to you - in the short term, at least. You'll be given a pointer about where to look for your Dad first, but the world is more or less your oyster. Since this is an RPG, your main priority should be to get some experience and to start levelling up. The area immediately surrounding Vault 101 isn't too lethal, but if you immediately head to the far corners of the map you'll swiftly find yourself in trouble. Bethesda has largely abandoned the mechanic used in Oblivion which scaled random enemies to match your capabilities - so if you go wandering off into a dangerous area, you're bound to come a cropper. As a result of this design choice, the wasteland immediately feels a threatening place - something further compounded by the devastated scenery that surrounds you in every direction, thanks to a rather spiffy draw distance.

As you might imagine, the thermonuclear apocalypse has had a detrimental effect upon public transport - so you'll be doing all your exploration on foot. In all likelihood, you'll be viewing proceedings from a first person perspective - a third-person option does exist, but most people are likely to get fed up with the slightly floaty way your hero moves. Either way, you'll soon find that the landscape itself is the star of the show. Bethesda have done an amazing job in creating a ruined environment: from burnt-out towns and twisted highways to the looming metropolis of downtown DC, the in-game scenery drips with a tragic, ruined atmosphere. This is probably just as well, since it takes a fairly long time to walk from point A to point B. On the plus side, once you've discovered a given location, you'll be able to instantly fast-travel back there at any point you wish. To be honest, I was initially fairly uncertain about whether or not I thought this was a good idea: It's certainly a convenient feature, but its not a particularly realistic one - and for a while I was concerned that it would dilute the dangerous atmosphere of the wasteland itself.

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User Comments

FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ duke

If you holster your weapon and wear lighter armor you'll run faster. Make sure you're not overencumbered either (e.g. Weight = 251/250 in Items Menu).
Posted 03:03 on 16 November 2008
duke's Avatar
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(Fallout 3) HHHEEELLLLPPP!!... my guy cant run what do i do??
Posted 02:16 on 16 November 2008
jake's Avatar
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i was hanging out with some old friends this weekend and i seen the game first hand! i played all the other fallout games, but this one by far looks the best!! i only got a little gameplay, but what i played has convinced me to buy it. have fun guys!!
Posted 04:58 on 12 November 2008
The Duke's Avatar
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The Duke

Anyone who wants it can have my copy. I loved Oblivion but I cannot stand this. The constant foot transport is incredibly dull, walking for ages only to be randomly killed by something the compass failed to correctly spot and that soaked up hundreds of rounds without dying. (would a motorbike have been too much to ask for - they litter the towns after all) Then there is the inconsistent quests, where (like oblivion) you can screw the quest up by doing things out of sequence. on the whole, a frustrating waste of your life and money.
Posted 17:11 on 06 November 2008
GAMEZILLA_50000's Avatar


this game looks so boreing!!!.......Oblivion was pretty boring if i want to play a fun RPG ill play Fable 2!
Posted 01:33 on 06 November 2008
Sikk's Avatar
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To the guy above me, I just wanted to point out the redundancy of "it's not in a post apocalyptic waste land instead of a fantasy environment"...

That said, hype is hype, and I am sure most of you have played it enough to discover it's flaws, I am really disappointed and would like to warn anyone thinking of getting it now... To wait, it is buggy as all hell, with a number of crash bugs, they are saying there will be no dlc or software support for the ps3 version, so beware if you bought sony's overpriced pos... like me.
Posted 01:53 on 03 November 2008
FantasyMeister's Avatar


Four days after this review Fallout 3 (XBox 360 version) arrived on my doorstep, I've been engrossed ever since. My initial reservations turn out to be no problem, the level 20 cap is there but you really, really have to think strategically about how to handle your point distribution which makes it a nice challenge.

As for a closed ending, not worried anymore, I'm 20 hours in and have spent 18 hours of that doing everything except the main quest, which would indicate to me that it's an Oblivion-esque 200 hours+ in terms of longevity.

The VATS system was probably my biggest worry prior to playing as I didn't like Mass Effect's similar system, but Bethesda have done a fantastic job in that you're limited by your AP points as to how many shots you can take with it (more powerful weapons use up more AP), the slo-mo effects are really well done and it can become a life saver.

I actually said 'awesome' out load when a mutated mole jumped straight for my head and I managed to blow his head off mid-air and watched the rest of his body sail over my shoulder to crash against the wall behind me, VATS leads to many cool moments like that.

In terms of Neon's specific gripes about dialogue and how Bethesda depict radiation I'm not that far yet so can't comment, so far it's all good. If you liked Oblivion, Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns, lots of guns, except its set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland instead of a fantasy-environment. The feeling of open world exploration is the same for me in both games, Fallout 3 enhances it a little in that you're not really sure what's around the next corner, bit more scary in that respect.

Basically, I can't recommend this game highly enough. I think I've seen "Game of the Year" mentioned at least once in every forum discussing it, so thought I'd squeeze it in here too :)
Posted 18:21 on 02 November 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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Put off by the fact that things and people can take a hell of a lot of punishment before being killed and that stupid pause menu that'll let you select the body part to shoot.
Shame as other than that it looks awsome, but i can see it frustrating me more than enjoying it.
Posted 18:46 on 28 October 2008
Ronny's Avatar
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Im buying this later. I hope its as awesome as he says. I'd never even heard of Fallout till a couple weeks ago.
Posted 15:41 on 28 October 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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Looks very good, my money is going rapidlythis year!
Posted 11:43 on 28 October 2008
Machetazo's Avatar


"My biggest concern is probably the level 20 cap on your character, although I've read that it takes around 20-40 hours to get there it still means you have to think carefully about how you want to develop as you can't max out everything within this limit."

It's unrealistic to think that any character would be able to max out all of their skills, anyway. Since you're role-playing, (at least that appears to be a big part of F3, from the reviews I've read) your character is going to be subject to limitations - things they're good at, and not so good at. I'd be disappointed if you could create a character that made a complete mockery of the latter game.
Posted 11:42 on 28 October 2008
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I never played the original Fallouts (heresy, I know) so the comparisons don't mean a lot to me, however I have played Bethesda's Elder Scrolls titles and the thing I'm most excited about is that they've gone for the more traditional 'gain xp by doing killing/quests' etc., rather than jumping on the spot for 20 hours to improve your jump ability.

The last two paragraphs of the review make me very happy that I've got it on pre-order, and the impression I'm getting from reading other reviews is that the game is just too big to cover in one review, they all seem to take different approaches and cover different aspects.

My biggest concern is probably the level 20 cap on your character, although I've read that it takes around 20-40 hours to get there it still means you have to think carefully about how you want to develop as you can't max out everything within this limit. Does Fallout 3 have the replayability that makes you want to reroll a new character to try out different configurations?

My only other minor concern is that the endings (are there really 200 endings?) are said to be absolute, so I'm getting the impression that I'll need to save before the final encounter if I want to go exploring, otherwise I'll just hit the end credits. I prefer my open-world RPGs to have open endings, but that's just me and my mmorpg background.

These are very minor niggles though, otherwise I wouldn't have preordered. Really I just wanted to say thank you for playing the game for 10 days so you could post a review for it, film critics have it easy.

Steel be with you.
Posted 06:49 on 28 October 2008

Game Stats

Fallout 3
Out of 10
Fallout 3
  • Jam packed with surprises and interesting quests
  • Enormous, highly atmospheric world to explore
  • Strange depiction of radiation
  • Dialogue suffers in comparison with previous games
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 31/10/2008
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 14,063 11854
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