Okay so I got a bit moody hearing and seeing all the news about Fallout 76 since I cant really run it with my current rig so I decided to play Fallout 3 GOTY. I had previously played the game but on low setting on an older rig but now I maxed it out and I was so happy. Despite being a old game, its ultra graphics are still quite good and pleasing to see. Obviously they do not match with modern titles but still, they are plenty acceptable.
For the uninitiated, Fallout 3 is an old RPG/FPS/TPS game from Bethesda, the fourth title in the Fallout Franchise, and easily its most influential. Fallout was originally a point and click Isometric RPG, similar in feel to the Command & Conquer Tiberium Sun. Fallout 3 however was a huge leap forwards, transforming into a FPS/RPG, it was fundamentally different from its predecessors in gameplay though similar in its lore and settings. Much like Fallout 76, Fallout 3 received an enormous amount of hate before it was ever released because of its departure in terms of game mechanics from the original trilogy. The issue became so bad that that Jim Sterling of Destructoid even called the fans at No Mutants Allowed (one of the oldest Fallout fan sites) "Arrogant" and "Selfish". Nonetheless Bethesda released the game as they saw fit and many gamers (such as me) are forever thankful.
Fallout 3 is an open world Post Apocalyptic FPS rpg in which you play the role of the Lone Wanderer, a young Vault Dweller who embarks on a journey outside the Vault to find his father who abruptly has left the Vault. The game is set in Washington D.C. or as the game calls it, Capital Wasteland, the half destroyed ruins of what should be Washington D.C. Over the course of the game the player comes across a variety of NPCs, locations, puzzles, enemies and side quests. The game is somewhat linear, in the sense that while all the quests are laid out as A+B+C, it is possible to circumvent some and find new routes and options e.g, Tranquility Lane can be accessed without going to Jefferson Memorial initially.
The gameplay is the standard RPG, you find loot in containers or on enemy NPCs such as weapons, ammo, aid, apparel or Misc. items. There is a weight limit to the inventory that can be carried about and the character will receive experience for performing various tasks, finishing quests or defeating enemies. The player will also receive access to a variety of perks that either provide bonus stats, add traits or bolster existing abilities. What is new however, is the trademark combat system now employed in Fallout, V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System)
Inspired by the ability to shoot specific limbs in the original Fallout games, the VATS pauses the game and allows the user to target different parts of the body by lining them up based on the amount of Action Points(AP) available before resuming and shooting in real time as a graphic movie scene. VATS allows the player to view how much damage a specific limb will take before being crippled and the chances of actually hitting the target. This adds a sort of strategic element to the FPS element. By targeting specific limbs you can cripple an enemy's ability to use particular weapons or give chase to you, or make headshots a LOT easier.
While there is significantly limited crafting in Fallout 3 (Fallout New Vegas has about 10x more) there is still plenty of "repair" skill involved. By combining the same kind of item, any item's health (and by extension its stats) can be increased, relative to the Repair skill point invested into by the player. Likewise, while it is easy to find money and low level ammo, the more advanced the weapon, the quicker it deteriorates and the more AP it uses in VATS. E.g, while the sniper rifle is an excellent weapon, it deteriorates very fast and vendor repairs cannot put it to max health so its only firing at about half power.
However, the real charm of Fallout 3 is the exploration. The Capital Wasteland is a huge place, devastated by war and now scavenged by humans and "others" alike. It is riddled with horrors and quests, intriguing lore and enemies. Thus karma plays a major role. All your actions that affect other npcs reward karma, which in turn change the outlook people take of you and opens up unique companions, e.g. Fawkes will only follow a good karma Wanderer, and Jericho will follow only a bad one. Likewise there are instances where karma, and indeed other stats as well, will open up unique dialogue options for the player, allowing rewards, workarounds or simply content to paint a picture.
The DLCs of Fallout are also pretty good, although adding another ending after Broken Steel is kinda outputting, especially the part where you are made a Knight in the Brotherhood of Steel (BoS) whether you want to or not. Providing a greater look at the twisted humanity and the horrors of the Capital Wasteland, the DLCs while entertaining are pretty ok really against the impactful stories hidden in the Wasteland itself, except Point Lookout and The Pitt.
And so i end this review. Fallout 3 is without a doubt one of the most influential games of all time, it has been revisited time and again, and now that its 10 years old, I'd say its about time to start making a Remaster, much like Resident Evil 2 remake. Here's hoping :)