Posted: February 17, 2009 (04:10 PM)
FALLOUT 3 THOUGHTS!!
+ The draw distance is stunning, especially the view from Alistar Tenpenny's balcony looking towards DC with the Washington Memorial visible on the horizon. Being able to see landmarks from a distance actually makes you want to visit them.
+ The map is more interesting and the locations more varied than Oblivion's repetitive dungeons. It's not that grim, either. The golden glow of the sunrise is actually rather nice (as soon as it gets dark I fast-forward to 6AM. hah.).
+ VATS is fun and efficient, especially with the Bloody Mess perk.
+ Major NPC towns/settlements are more interesting and unusual than standard RPG fare. Take Megaton and its unexploded bomb as a good example (although my favourite has to be The Republic of Dave, or maybe Canterbury Commons when you first visit). This is true of the side quests too. (The Replicated Man was probably my favourite to work out).
+ The equipment is brilliant: for the vast majority of the adventure I walked around the Wasteland with Lincoln's hat on.
+ Allies. Even though I never met Dogmeat and managed to kill the one ally I decided to travel with by going to the top of a satellite relay dish and standing too close to the edge.
- Lack of accuracy outside VATS makes this pretty dodgy as an FPS. You spend most of the game with low AP (four shots at most), which forces you to cope with the poor aiming.
- Metro Stations. I do understand the need to break downtown DC up in this way, but they still got on my nerves.
- Having a level cap at 20 is a bit restrictive.
- The story after the major plot spoiler event. There were a lot of ways to affect the ending, but that doesn't change the fact that it was pretty unsatisfying. And - POSSIBLE HALF SPOILER?? - I know it's logical to have a point of no return given the way the narrative develops, but I would have liked to be able to continue after the main quest (without a level cap!). Broken Steel looks like it will correct both of these issues, though.
These flaws don't change the fact that this is a 10/10 adventure. I personally prefer the fantasy aesthetic of Oblivion, but Fallout 3 beats it in almost every other way (and the Wasteland is actually more interesting and impressive than Oblivion's map). I say almost because the outcome of the story was disappointing given the strong start, but then Oblivion wasn't any better (that plot went downhill after Patrick Stewart died).
Posted: February 17, 2009 (05:57 PM)
I agree with pretty much all of this. I've had a half-written review sitting in my hard drive for several months now, and I've never been able to work up the energy to get it done because Fallout 3 is such a difficult game to critique. My biggest complaints about the game (too much dead space and aimless wandering; all of the drab colors and depressing scenery wore on me after a while; etc.) are the kinds that simply come with the territory. For what it is -- an artistic marvel and game that broadens our definition of what a sandbox game can be -- it's unparalleled, one of gaming's great accomplishments.
I do agree about all of the subway stations, though. I understand why they're there, but they didn't all have to look completely identical. At times when I was exploring Megaton, I backtracked without initially realizing it because I could never tell the subway stations I'd already been through from those that were unexplored.
As a minor note, my first quest in the game was the one with the fire-breathing ants. NOT a good way to start Fallout 3.
Posted: February 17, 2009 (07:18 PM)
^ yeah, I found that quest way too early, and I had shit equipment at that point. Most of my guns wouldn't even make a dent on those damn fire ants. All because the little boy found me when I'd finished exploring the supermarket for Moira.
Posted: February 17, 2009 (09:07 PM)
That's the game my best friend and I are playing when we get to hang out (about every couple of months). We did the fire ant quest, but were at a decent level due to his car having problems, so when I had to go into the office for a couple of hours, he just wandered the countryside and built up our character. Still was a major league bitch. Especially when we reached carrying-capacity-max and decided to head back to Megaton to sell off stuff and buy other stuff......and got ambushed by Talon Company Mercs right outside the ant lair subway. Took a while to get through that mess....
But, yeah, the biggest difference between this and Oblivion is just how you can inadvertently get yourself messed up hardcore because you can run into brutal stuff at any time. I like that. Our first real sidequest was the one some chick gives you in Megaton where you have to go to some settlement on a bridge that's being assaulted by "THE FAMILY" gang. The old guy there told us to check out three nearby places. Between two of them is a semi with a pair of mutants, one with a mini-gun. We died repeatedly for nearly an hour before finally deciding we just weren't meant to fight those guys at that time. Now, they're pretty easy foes.....but then, that minigun dude was a monster!
Posted: February 18, 2009 (04:27 AM)
"too much dead space and aimless wandering; all of the drab colors and depressing scenery wore on me after a while"
This is the problem I had with Fallout 3, which is why I put it on hold for a while. But then I realised, like you said, that this sort of design comes with the territory (it is "post-apocalyptia" as the GNR dude continually states). And actually, the more I played the more I grew to appreciate the small wonders and little details present in the harsh world (like the view from Tenpenny Towers). I think Bethesda's commitment to this uncompromising aesthetic is actually quite impressive, too. It truly feels like a post-nuclear wasteland.
I see the difficulty as part of this whole package. Characters continually warn you that the wasteland is dangerous and this is apparent when you wander into places that are off-limits to low-level characters, like overdrive's example. Getting slaughtered by Deathclaws is not fun, but then neither is walking around the map in Oblivion without any fear or worries at all. Even at Level 20 in Fallout you can still die quickly and easily. (as a side note, I think Johnny Cairo is wrong is suggesting that enemies scale with the player like in Oblivion. I found Fallout 3 much harder than Oblivion as a low-level character.)
But that damn kid tricked me into accepting the fire ants quest outside the Super Duper Mart, too. Those solider ants were a nightmare.
Posted: February 18, 2009 (06:02 AM)
It's worth noting that that I absolutely despise bugs, so while the fire ant quest was really difficult as a starting mission, it was also just... scary as hell. Really. Those things have ridiculous attack range.
Posted: February 19, 2009 (01:42 PM)
I think the only real way enemies scale with you is that raiders and human-type foes get better equipment as time goes by. Kinda like how in Oblivion, they'd go from wearing leather crap to chain stuff and so on.
Posted: February 19, 2009 (03:33 PM)
Oh yeah, that's true. And you see more of those annoying Giant Radscorpians out in the wasteland.