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 Fallout III Professional review- Game Directors

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Posts : 52
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Join date : 2010-11-17
Age : 23

PostSubject: Fallout III Professional review- Game Directors   Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:09 pm

Working out where to start with Fallout 3 is almost as bewildering as the unparalleled sense of disorientation we experienced when we first stumbled, bedazzled, half-blinded and guilt-ridden (Why? Our lips remain sealed) from the depths of Vault 101. We're currently precariously juggling more info in our skulls than that last minute A-level cramming session - and working out what exactly constitutes a spoiler (or not) is driving us barmy. So bear with us as we attempt to explain why you absolutely have to buy Fallout 3, even if it hasn't quite topped Bethesda's opus, Oblivion.

Ah yes, Oblivion. See, it's going to be impossible to review Fallout 3 without constantly, infuriatingly having to refer back to those bloody Elder Scrolls. And that's a pity, because Bethesda are to be applauded for embracing the Fallout universe with such zealous alacrity, producing possibly the most fully-realised, borderline obsessive homage to another developer's title ever seen. Yet, who apart from the hardest of the PC hardcore will even have heard, let alone played, the series before now? The irony is this is exactly how gamers should view the title - as a genuine sequel to Fallouts 1 & 2 - and not a post-apocalyptic Oblivion. But, in the end, comparisons are inevitable.

To arms then. For starters, Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland is a considerably smaller, albeit denser, environment than Cyrodiil. As for the main quest itself, we're talking proper short - in head-down slogging mode we caned it within a paltry nine hours. It gets worse - unlike Oblivion, once finished the game ENDS FOR GOOD - a real step backwards in our humble opinion. Worse still, it's not until the closing stages that you're really gripped by the seismic events overtaking DC. We know perfectly well that that's not the way you're meant to play the game, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't ever so slightly disappointed. Worse still, we're totally mystified as to the complete lack of any guild-style quests in the game - especially when the various factions (Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, Raiders, Slavers) surely offered every bit as much questing potential as Cyrodiil's Thieves, Mages and Fighters' guilds.

Obviously, actually approaching Fallout with such single-minded intentions would be doing a disservice to Bethesda. The bleak Capital Wasteland lies before you, just begging to be explored, and - like Oblivion before it - it's often those quests that you'll stumble upon off the beaten track that end up being the most rewarding. How else would you get to reaffix Abe Lincoln's bearded bonce onto his famed memorial, rescue an android who's become self-aware from termination, attach a satellite array to the top of the Washington Monument, battle a couple of self-styled faux superheroes or defend the freaky folk of DC from a colony of giant mutated fire ants?

Initial character creation is visually guff, but building your personality is something else. The 'You're SPECIAL' book you're given by Pops as a toddler and G.O.A.T test you sit when you're a teen are inspired, while some of the perks you'll accumulate during your adventure are touched by genius. Yet even at the dizzying heights of level 17 (the cap is 20), we never felt rich, overpowered or truly comfortable - and the sight of a Yao Guai or Deathclaw galloping across the badlands on a collision course with our throat still chills to the bone. Being a penny-pinching, post-apocalyptic perpetual pauper might be realistic, but it can also be frustrating; specifically the marked absence of any Microfusion Cells to power our laser rifle (after ploughing all our skill points into energy weapons) rankled massively, leaving us to resort to our crappy SMG and police baton. We can almost hear the Super Mutant Masters chuckling in anticipation as we write.

Given that combat was possibly Oblivion's weakest suite, we're pleased to report that the shooty shooty mechanics are - while obviously not up to the standards of 360's top notch FPS' - pretty sterling in the main. However, it's V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) where killing is transformed from a spiffing lark into a bona fide art form - especially when you get your hands on the Bloody Mess perk. The sense of satisfaction gleaned when popping the head clean off a molerat from fully 100 yards, watching a sole eyeball ping out of a ne'er-do-well raider's skull in slow motion or frazzling a Super Mutant into a pile of steaming ash is not to be under-estimated. It also adds some neat strategy to battles; for instance, zapping the control inhibitor on a Robobrain will cause it to go berserk, attacking foes and friends alike.

Fallout 3 boasts some truly incredible moments, the majority of which we wouldn't want to spoil for you. Saying that, our first encounter with a Super Mutant Behemoth - unleashing the full force of the Fat Man nuke launcher into its growling mug and watching the mini mushroom cloud that ensues - is worth a shout. Or detonating the (now infamous) bomb that the village of Megaton has somewhat unwisely been constructed around from Tenpenny Tower and feeling the nuclear wind ruffle through your hair. There are also far less grandiose, more subtly unsettling instances though. Like when you stumble upon a faint distress signal, carefully track it back to its source only to find the long-dead skeletons of the family you were hoping to rescue. Or the unsettling, sadistic hallucinogenic flashbacks you suffer upon delving into the depths of Vault 106. It's genuinely chilling, thought provoking stuff.

Despite the obvious highlights, Fallout 3 also seems strangely lacking in those manifold 'whoa' moments than Oblivion threw at you with such abandon. It's in part due to the relentless bleakness of the post-apocalyptic setting itself. Although technically head and shoulders above Oblivion (Draw distance issues? Not any more), it's obviously not as naturally aesthetically pleasing, and the irradiated landscape offers little scope for variation. There's also little in the way of environmental effects; surprising and disappointing considering how well radioactive storms were handled on the PC's S.T.A.L.K.E.R. That said, the combat frequently looks irresistibly beautiful; especially those blurrily slow-mo VATS takedowns.

The much-vaunted vaults also left us curiously unenthused. Although the fallout shelters you'll visit during the course of the main quest (namely 112 and 87) are superbly executed, others feel like rubbishy dungeons - with no real payoff for slogging through to their inner sanctums. The word that leaps to mind is 'unfinished' or, rather - like GTA IV before it - maybe some of the most scrummy morsels are being quite deliberately held back for future (inevitable) expansions. If, as we suspect, that turns out to be true, we can't help but feel it's a bit naughty.

But maybe the relentless hype machine meant we simply expected too much from the Capital Wastelands. In almost all respects, Fallout 3 is a staggering, genre-defining achievement - marrying an utterly immersive world, memorable characters, incredible production values, some of the most inspired RPG mechanics ever devised and so much heart. It might not steamroll the epic Oblivion in the manner we all hoped, but maybe that was simply asking too much. Instead, Fallout 3 stands as the perfect companion piece - a near unparalleled RPG that stands so far ahead of the majority of the games on 360 that it would be a crime against gaming not to laud this title as anything other than a masterpiece. But perhaps the biggest single complement we can pay Fallout 3 is that it sits proudly alongside its cult PC brethren as an (almost) equal. For that reason alone, it joins the pantheon of 360 Must

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