It's October and this is the time of the year when the best games of year are released. There are a number of impressive and anticipated titles that are due for release in October and November for the holiday sales, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III, Fallout: New Vegas, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. In preparation for these new games I shall be reviewing the immediate predecessors of each of these games over the next few days starting with Fallout 3.
Like previous Fallout games, this one takes place in the distant post apocalyptic, 50s themed, future, this time in the wastelands of Washington D.C. You play as the only child of James, (or Dad), who's mother died during your birth. You live your entire life in Vault 101, a society that never returned to the surface after a nuclear war, and your are convinced that you will live the rest of your life their. One night, however, your dad suddenly leaves Vault 101. The Overseer of Vault 101, (a dictator of sorts in the vault), goes nuts and places the entire Vault in lock-down. Fearing for your life, you flee the Vault and enter the harsh environment of the Capital Wastelands. And so you go on a journey to find your father, and in doing so, get involved with his efforts to make a large water purifying device, help fight the war against the Super-Mutants, and eventually fighting a war with the Brotherhood of Steel against the Enclave, a tyrannical army claiming to be the rightful government of the United States.
The Game Play
The game play was, without a doubt, the best for this kind of RPG. The environment itself was just perfect for this kind of game. While many people claimed it was bland with to much desert and gray, it's what I think a Post-Apocalyptic game should look like; a land scarred and mutated by nuclear fire The entire environment reeked of tension. Walking down any road could result in an attack by raiders or Super-Mutant and you'd never even know they were coming. In the old subway systems, you never knew what you were going to run into and could be ambushed in the city at any time. It's a harsh environment where everyone’s a killer and only the quickest survive.
The V.A.T.S. System was awesome but made the game incredibly difficult when you ran A.P. This is a system where you went into a kind of auto fire mode, aiming at specific parts of the body for greater damage. This brings up one of my few criticism for this game. With most games, you look down the irons of a gun, whereas in this game, you simply zoom in on the target. This is an incredibly irritating thing when in fight, as its next to impossible to fire a well aimed shot, effective without the V.A.T.S.
The game also offers a unique selection of weapons and armor. The armors in this game, range from dusters to prison rags, from raider armor that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie, to power armor that has a delightful mix of futuristic and campy 1950's look to it.
Most of the weapons in this game are not that recognizable and are original. You get your basic weapons that are mandatory for most shooters but the rest are not recognizable at all. No M16s. No machine guns. No AK-47s. What you get instead are Assault Rifles and Chinese Assault Rifles that are similar to the AK-47 but still different. There are also rocket launchers and mini-nuke launching Fat-Mans but their effectiveness is limited mostly to larger enemies without risk of taking damage to yourself or your companions.
The highlight of the weapons are the energy weapons. While not the rifles or pistols you might see in Terminator or Star Trek, the energy weapons are impressive and the most effective weapons of the game. The designs of the energy guns are crude, to put it lightly. The plasma guns, for example looked like mini-generators with triggers and gun barrels attached to them. Despite their crude appearance, however, these guns are powerful, effective, and get the job done and more.
This game also offer you to choose your sex and the way you appear in the game. There is also a Karma System, very similar to what you would find in Fable. Like Fable, people react to you differently the way your Karma is aligned. Your Karma is effected by the choices you make and by whom you kill or don't kill. For example, very early in the game you are asked by a man to activate a nuke that is in the center of a town called Megaton. Choosing to destroy the town results in Bad Karma and deactivating the bomb results in Good Karma.
This game, like many others of the modern gaming world, has an impressive collection of characters and voice actors. The voice cast includes Liam Neeson as James, (Dad), Malcolm McDowell as President John Henry Eden, the leader of the Enclave, and Ron Perlman as the Narrator. Other supporting companion characters include Fawkes, the intelligent Super-Mutant, Charon, the Ghoul solder, and Dogmeat, your faithful canine companion who you can find in a junk yard. Other supporting characters include Amata, your best friend in the Vault, Overseer Alphones, the Overseer of Vault 101, Lucas Simms, the Sheriff of Megaton, Colin Moriarty, the saloon owner of Megaton, Elder Lyons, the leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, his daughter Sara Lyons, leader of the Lyons Pride, Dr. Li, a scientist who works on the water purifier with James, and Colonel Bells, the second-in-command of the Enclave. All around the characters of this game were great. They had great voice acting, great lines and were well written
When the game was released in 2008, it was immediately met with praise on all fronts and won several Game of the Year awards. For this review I am going to have to agree with the other critics. This game was, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest games ever made. While the game has its faults, it doesn't water down the over all experience at all. It is a must play for any video game player and a crowning achievement in game development, showing anything is possible. With Fallout New Vegas scheduled for release for October 19th, expectations are high and we can only hope it will live up to the already lengthy legacy before it.