I got Fallout 3 today, and I’ve been playing it for about 5 hours straight. The one main thing I can come away with is that the VATS system is perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had in an RPG. It’s what has grown out of Turn Based Games. It’s taking what was good about those systems (being able to number crunch and strategise without being hassled) and given it a rather pretty, and gruesome, face.
A lot of critisicm has been levelled at Fallout 3, or perhaps mostly levelled at Bethesda, for daring to reuse an engine. Yes, there is still a bit of that awkwardness that was present in Oblivion, but it isn’t nearly so strong here as it was there. People look a little less like jaundiced lepers and a bit more like… people. And the addition of actual facial hair options is very welcome. Because I love facial hair.
The voice acting has improved quite considerably it would seem, and there are even some quite well done set pieces, all within the first hour or so of play. There are a few niggles, but I can easily ignore them because I can punch people’s arms off. I’ve gone the quirky route and made a uppercut throwing, right hook pounding boxer rather than aim for guns. Inevitably, I have had to use a few, but only out of necessity, and only to keep me alive before I whip out my knuckle dusters and start the dismemberment. Ghouls, in particular, get punched rather well.
Also, rather cleverly, it seems to be having rather brilliant flexibility in the story line. Beware, there is a few spoilers in the next paragraph, but nothing you haven’t already seen in trailers.
The whole ‘blowing up megaton’ quest chain I’ve bypassed entirely. I think murdering an entire city is a rather evil thing to do, so I told the sherriff with the cool hat that Burke was a berk, and then we went over there to sort him out proper like. So after a long conversation with the smarmy bastard, the Sherriff convinced him to come to the jail. However, as soon as the sheriff turned his back Burke drew a silenced pistol and shot him down. Aghast, I whipped out my baseball bat and beat in Burke’s skull.
Wonderfully, this left me with two rather cool looking blokes to pillage from, and this ended with me having the awesome shades and hat combo that you see above. And who said that being a nice guy doesn’t get you good rewards?