Bethesda’s master piece is just staggering in size and scope. So much to do and see all underpinned with that fabulous notion, choice.
Right from the off you start to shape your character. Their sex, hair colour, size, even the hollowness of their cheekbones are under your control. Granted it has no effect on how the game plays but the choice is there.Then how you level up is completely your decision; do you want to be a brawler, a sharp shooter, a ninja quick commando or anything in-between.
And if that was not enough there is no one way to complete the game. Need to find your dad? Better head over to Rivet City and search for clues or maybe you will just bump into him while you explore the massive world on offer. Both are possible. That might be quite a hefty example but even the little things offer up whole realms of possibilities, want someones unique gun? You could kill them and take it from the corpse, if you don’t want to resort to murder how about just stealing it. Better yet why not talk to them, they might have a quest to offer where the compensation is the item you crave.
Need the information stored on a computer? Time to get hacking. Your skills with everything electrical sorely lacking? Maybe the locked desk has a keycard secured inside. Can’t be bothered fiddling about? Just threaten the owner to give you what you require.
Throughout your experience in Fallout 3 you will encounter numerous ways to achieve your desired goal. But every action has a reaction; kill, steal or threaten and your karma level drops. A good disposition rewards you with strangers offering up ammo and medical supplies, an evil countenance results in them running screaming from your presence, so a lot like the real world then…
It is not only the numerous options that make Fallout 3 so essential, where else is mumbling under you breath a valid response when asked for the password. Where else can you sneak up on your enemies and listen to them having fully rounded conversations.
At the very core of the games design is adventure and exploration via a ginormous hub. This central area is filled with endless possibilities… The mountain range looks like it might hide a secret or two lets head there, oh wait what’s that pylon thingy? That looks more interesting, lets go investigate. Ooo a cave, I wanna go in the cave!! STOP!! A friendly symbol has just appeared on my radar, I need to check that out… And so it goes on. The main quest becomes lost in the heady joy of finding a new NPC.
A further ace up Fallout’s sleeve is the combat system. The V.A.T.S, or Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System to the layman, adds an extra element of tactics. A turn based style approach that helps elevate in above its contemporaries. The early trepidation of an ensuing gunfight is replaced with delight as you master the system and discover new weapons to try out.
That is not to say the game is flawless, one dreary corridor populated with ghouls looks pretty much like the last five dreary corridors that have been navigated. The main story is short and uninspired and the maximum level you can reach is attained ludicrously quickly. All this can be forgiven though as the setting captivates the sole and whisks you away on a journey of such breathtaking beauty that you won’t want to leave.
War might never change but in 2008 the face of gaming was changed for ever.