Saturday, March 26, 2011

Finished Fallout 3

Yeah - I had an awesome time playing Fallout 3. I own Fallout 2 and absolutely love it - played it through many, many times - enjoying the humour, gruesomeness and expansive gameplay in a post-apocalyptic world with a deep mythology and backstory. It's incredibly well designed.

So after loving Fallout 2 so much I was especially sensitive and wary that the follow up couldn't live up to its standards. And as soon as I opened the packaging and saw some of the artwork in the manual, I realized they'd used some of the iconic artwork from Fallout 2 and then had someone try and match that artwork style to create more material - and that itself didn't live up to the Fallout 2 standards.

I guess this sensitivity was all exacerbated because an entirely new company took the Fallout franchise and developed it for themselves - how often does that work out? Well -

Now that the game is said and done, I absolutely loved wandering the wastelands and finding random encounters, villains and weapons. The storyline, environment and mythology were all well put together, the perks and attributes were all fantastic, although I found the difficultly level too challenging for me.

My approach to gaming is not to enter into a difficult situation, but rather to have fun - being a superhero that dominates over others in a world where atomic weapons and fighting for survival were necessary. Yeah - I died a few times, but I certainly wasn't interested in dying all the time. My first few adventures from one town to the next on "Normal" went awful - slaughtered left and right by guys holding nothing but a board with a nail in it. I was very disappointed - and it became frustrating - and there's nothing worse than me grumpy and frustrated over a videogame. It's nonsensical and unfounded - so I try my best to alleviate any tensions from my end decreasing the difficulty levels when necessary.

That being said - after that initial adjustment, things were much, much better and fun. There were few apprehensions in entering areas and confronting enemies was no longer a problem.

- -

My thoughts on the game and its place in the Fallout franchise? I liked the atmosphere and world of the wasteland - it was incredible. The baddies you fought all the time were awesome, the equipment and weapons you got were great and the overall storyline was welcoming, too - you weren't on an endless race to find a GECK or waterchips, but rather are chasing your father after he escaped from his vault to followup on his project from a lifetime ago.

I loved the extra things you could do like build your own weapons, maintain and upgrade your own equipment and listening to the radio while you're on assignment.

BUT I found there was little association between regions in the game - and there are literally dozens of locations that are completely unrelated to the main story narrative. If anything, you're required to explore unnecessary corners of the mpa for the hope of finding a new location. In Fallout 2 your missions and side-missions linked you to new cities and eventually graduated you to a new town where you greater skill level was challenged. This just wasn't quite the same in Fallout 3.

Also, there was great humour and many, many Easter eggs throughout the wastelands, which you don't find so much (or, at least they're not as obvious) in Fallout 3.

But the landscape is different now - while the first two games were based on the west coast of California and Nevada - this is all around Washington D.C. and filled with all the monuments and locations you'd expect to find in the area - it was really welcoming.

The game was a lot of fun, the world and backstory well put together, and the franchise was definitely honoured well in the new game -

not to spoil anything, but let's just say, at the end of the Fallout 2 you could explore the world some more after the final mission was complete, to endlessly upgrade your character and dominate over the rangers, mutants and legions of the Masters' Army. This game limits your levels to only 20 - so strategically upgrade your traits and skills appropriately, as 100 % in some skills is imperative to make progress in some areas (whether lock pick, computer hacking or repairing).

Also - this means your perks are limited to only 20 as well, which means you'll have replay the game to simply try new traits that you might otherwise not have considered useful during your first run through the game.

In the end, the story was very, very well tied together. It was cohesive, meaningful to the character and progressive - I was very pleased when it was all said and done, because "War ... war never changes." I could almost speak the lines before they were even delivered, it was so natural and authentic, so well put together.

While there's definitely replay value there - I think I'm going to have to focus on a new game for a while. This one took a lot of time to explore and enjoy so I welcome something new for a while and perhaps some time in the future I'll pick it up again and see what else there is to enjoy out in the wastes.

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