Published by: Bethesda Studios
Developed by: Bethesda Game Studios
So why am I reviewing a game that came out in October of 2008? Let’s just say I was late to the party. But does it matter when it’s one of the greatest games of all-time? I had never played any other of the previous Fallout games but after a few hours stumbling around Vault 101 I quickly found myself immersed in a harsh and dangerous world known as The Capital Wasteland and now I’m officially a Bethesda fanboy.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing Fallout 3 is the tremendous amount of time and detail the developers put into what is truly a post-apocalyptic atmosphere that feels alive and waiting for you to interact with. If you have ever seen the film “The Road”, this game is about as close as you can get to the end of the world without having bloodthirsty cannibals killing you for real. At first this brutal world is intimidating and you’ll feel lost in the vast damaged environment around you, but feelings of hopelessness eventually turn to moments of pride as you become the savior of what is left of the human race. In the beginning you’ll be running from Radroaches and by the end you’ll be disposing of Deathclaws and Albino Scorpions with ease.
The writers of the game put in just as much time as the character and world designers as I can’t even imagine how many lines of dialogue had to be recorded for this game. There’s a large list of characters you’ll encounter and each one has their own personality for you to respond to and experience. Fallout 3 provides well thought out RPG elements that let you decided how to customize your character. The game’s combat system is unique and weird but the more you use it the more you’ll appreciate it. The music and sound design are top notch and provide an even thicker layer of fullness. Fallout 3 really takes great care in giving the player the feeling of pure desperation in a very bleak and ruined world. Oddly, you’ll spend hours and hours surrounded by death and decay and love every second of it.
After about 100 hours in The Capital Wasteland the game will slowly make its way into your daily “real world” routine, where you’ll feel compelled to find time every day in your “real life” to explore and discover every nook and random sewer tunnel in Fallout 3’s artificial world. And to me that was the most satisfying part of the game. Explore, explore, and explore some more. It’s only when you have beaten the game you discover how massive the world truly is as you’ll see dozen and dozen of unused locations that had nothing to do with any mission or side quest. Example, there is a random building called the Dunwich building that has nothing to do with the main storyline, but that didn’t stop the game designers from spending hours and hours to create a map location that I’m guessing 75% of the gamers will never even stumble upon. This game is easily the most detailed open world experience I’ve ever had. Fallout 3 offers unlimited freedom for your character right from the beginning that doesn’t sacrifice but expands on the main campaign. Of course, you’ll discover you can’t survive in certain parts of the world at the beginning, but the game lets you learn that on your own instead of other “open-world” games that implement a story arc that steers you in certain directions.
In closing, Fallout 3 is a game you must play before you die, or the end of the world really happens. It took me close to 200 hours before I got my fill and I only played 3 out of the 5 DLCs (Operation Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel for those of you who are interested. I hear Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta are good but I just was ready to retire in my lovely shack in Megaton). The game delivers a fearful reality but also has a great sense of humor that feels right at home. I wasn’t a fan of the ending to the campaign and the game did freeze on me a few times, but I quickly overlook these short comings when you consider the grand scope of this gaming masterpiece.
5 Stimpacks out of 5
Below are my Fallout 3 Final Statistics
Play Time: 196 hours 14 minutes and 31 seconds —— Level 30 Very Good Messiah
Quests Completed: 44
Locations Discovered: 187
People Killed: 922
Creatures Killed: 1664
Locks Picked: 296
Computers Hacked: 104
Mines Disarmed: 109
Books Read: 156
Bobbleheads Found: 20
Weapons Created: 87