Fallout 3 takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States in the year 2277 and you are a member of Vault 101, a fallout shelter serving Washington, D.C. You live with your widower father until one day you wake up find that your father has left the vault and ventured into the wasteland for reasons known only to him. The vault Overseer becomes suspicious of you and orders you killed, forcing you to go out into the Capital Wasteland in search of your father.
That’s how the story begins, you watch yourself grow from birth to adulthood. I have to admit that I wasn’t sold on Fallout 3. As I began to play it I found that it was much more interesting than I had thought it would be. Initially, I was very taken with the premise of why did the father leave and what and who would I come across on my journey to find him. Then I came in contact with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S) system and I was really excited. When the V.A.TS. system is activated real-time combat is paused, and action is played out from varying camera angles in a computer graphics version of bullet time, creating a combat system that has been described as a hybrid between turn-based and real-time combat. Initially, this I thought this system was very cool and I liked it a lot, though the more I played it the more I disliked it.
I can understand what they were trying to do and it was cool but when you use the system and it tells you the odds of getting a direct head shot on an enemy is over 90% and you see it happen and you still have to shoot the enemy multiple times to make them die is frustrating and takes away from the joy of using it. The actual targeting system leaves something to be desired so as you can imagine this makes the fun run out pretty quickly.
V.A.T.S. system in action
The directional system is not intuitive and it is very hard to actually find what you are looking for as the game does not have a on screen map that you can follow, you have to use your PIP boy. On a map this big, not being able to figure out where you should go easily is a sure fire way for players to get frustrated and not want to play anymore. This game doesn’t have any real high points in my opinion, I mean if you were a fan of the series before then you may like this title but it just didn’t do it for me.
I did like the ability to talk to a lot of the characters and build relationships with them and I also liked the karma system that went up or down based on your actions which in turn affected how NPC’s reacted to you. In the end, the game does get a little more interesting as you play through, but it is not sufficiently engaging to even make you want to play that far. Fallout 3 was an ambitious undertaking but it just didn’t do it for me. With the less than exciting storyline, at times terrible controls, and the absence of an online component, Fallout 3 doesn’t have a lot to keep players playing and with little if any replay value I give Fallout 3, 3.0 out of 5.0 stars. Definitely a rent first.