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Fallout 3

Fallout 3

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review: March 24th, 2012
Format Reviewed:
Xbox 360
Language / Country of Origin:
English / USA
Online Capability:
Downloadable content available
Prequels: 
Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Sequels:
Fallout: New Vegas
Equipment needed:
None
Maintenance required:
None

Review:

Plot:
Fallout 3 takes place in a fictional future in which the world has been torn apart by nuclear war. The location of the game is an irradiated Washington DC, called the Capital Wasteland in the game. The main character of the game, the Lone Wanderer, lives in Vault 101, an underground bomb shelter designed as a safe haven during the war. This character has spent their entire life in the vault, but is suddenly forced to leave when their father disappears. After leaving the vault, the player is free to explore the Capital Wasteland. This environment is filled with individual struggles for existence, as well as a number of factions fighting for control of the region. The Lone Wanderer’s search for their father will ultimately lead them to a fight to decide the fate of the Capital Wasteland.

Gameplay:
Fallout 3 is a role-playing game and a first-person shooter. The game opens with an extended tutorial that is played as the protagonist’s childhood. Here you learn all of the basics of movement, combat, character interaction, inventory management, and character customization. You will get to design your character’s facial appearance with an in-depth system, and then choose your skill specialization with either a quiz or direct choice.

After the tutorial you will be released into the game world with some guidance, but it is primarily your choice on what to do. Players can complete the main quest line, explore the game world, or focus on numerous side quests. The open-world gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games. The game progresses primarily by finding new locations and speaking with the inhabitants. There is also a quest log to help players organize their actions and give them goals on where to move next. Much of the game will be spent exploring and searching for items in the game world. This is helped by the organization of the inventory system, but it can become overwhelming for new players. Patience is required to fully understand many of the details in this game. Overall the pace of the game is slower than most 1st person shooters. The game is prone to a few small bugs, including freezes, but the addition of an autosave feature mitigates the potential for this to be a problem.

Combat occurs in real-time 1st person with a huge variety of guns and melee weapons. How the player chooses to fight will depend largely on how they customize their character. The combat mechanics are a bit tight and do not feel as streamlined as contemporary titles such as Call of Duty, but they do work well. The addition of VATS, which pauses the game and allows the player to aim at enemies, is a fun alternative to real-time combat.

Player customization occurs by leveling up, equipping new items, and by choosing your SPECIAL skills at the beginning. SPECIAL skills stand for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. They are fundamental to your character, and can only be changed slightly after beginning the game. Weapons and armor can be found or purchased, and there are many available. Leveling up occurs by killing enemies, completing quests, and exploring the map. Leveling up allows the addition of points to one of the thirteen skills in the game, as well as the selection of a new perk, which add unique attributes to your character. This allows for a lot of customization that encourages experimentation and multiple playthroughs.

The artistic direction of the game is wonderful. The cast is fully voice-acted, and the game features a full soundtrack of songs that appear on radios. The level design gives a bleak image of a world that has been torn apart by nuclear war. The game features a variety of enemies that vary from simple thieves to futuristic soldiers and outlandish mutants.

Cultural/Historical Value:
Fallout 3 is a critically acclaimed title. It marks the return of a series with its first release in the current generation of video game titles. It is also a major transition for the series, being developed by Bethesda for the first time, and changing from a 3rd person turn-based game to a 1st person real-time shooter. The game features full voice acting for all of the NPC’s, including Liam Neeson as the protagonist’s father. There is also a rich soundtrack of classic 1940’s music, as well as other in-game references to this era. Fallout 3 also makes references to important places and events in Washington DC.

Teaching/Learning Characteristics:
Fallout 3 features an artistic interpretation of American history and nuclear conflict, and critiques themes such as government and science in society. The game also features a huge game world and high critical praise, so it can be an important example for game designers.

Replay Value:
Fallout 3 has a very high replay value. The game has numerous side quests, as well as a large map that can take up to 100 hours to fully explore. In addition, the game also has five pieces of downloadable content available that extend the game.

Likely Audiences:
This game is best for a mature audience, given the graphic themes involved. The game is suitable for those interested in role-playing games or in first-person shooters. It should also be played by anyone looking to play critically acclaimed games.

Overall Score:
90/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
Mobygames

 

About the Author:
Brandon Clark is an undergraduate student studying Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He intends to continue with this degree into an advanced degree program with the intent of a career in research. Brandon has been playing games for most of his life and considers gaming to be his primary hobby. He particularly enjoys role playing games and anything with zombies in it.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Golden Joystick Awards 2007One to Watch Award Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Graphics Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2008Most Wanted Award Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Original Score Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best RPG Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Best Xbox 360 Game Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Game of the Year Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2008Studio of the Year
(Bethesda Game Studios)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2009Best DLC
(Fallout 3: Broken Steel)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2009Best DLC
(Fallout 3: Point Lookout)
Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Best Game Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Computer Game of the Year Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Console Game of the Year Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009GAME Award of 2008 Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Game Design Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Game of the Year Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Original Score Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Outstanding Achievement in Original Story Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Overall Game of the Year Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Playstation Game of the Year Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2009Role-Playing Game of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Soundtrack of the Year Runner Up
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Story & Character Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2009Technical Achievement Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Ultimate Game of the Year Winner
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Visual Arts Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2009Writing Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2009Xbox Game of the Year Runner Up
Golden Joystick Awards 2009PC Game of the Year Winner

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs

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