Blog posted by JPickford on Mon, 17 Nov 2008
Over last week or so I've clocked up 35 hours on Fallout 3. Now this game is brilliant. I haven't played the earlier games in the series and wasn't attracted to the scenario at all but the general excellence of Oblivion convinced me to give this a try.
Essentially it's a total makeover of Oblivion (with a smoother version of the engine) and the excellent V.A.T.S system which allows you to pause the action to direct your attacks at particular enemies (and their various body parts). This quasi turn-based combat makes the game more accessible for those of that don't get on with FPS style games.
My first attempt at following the main quest lead me into a far-too-difficult area so I went back to an earlier save and decided to explore a bit instead. This turned out to be a wise decision and the game world opened up to me more gradually without any difficulty spikes. Eventually I stumbled back on the main quest (apparently skipping the bit I found hard the first time*) and finished it with around 24 hours on the clock. Of course I wasn't about to stop at that so I went back a previous save and carried on exploring.
The sense of freedom and exploration is astonishing. Lots of situations have multiple possible solutions which, as well as providing replay value, give you a genuine feeling that you're in a credible world rather than working your way through pre-scripted 'content'. An illusion of course but a convincing one. While the game doesn't feel quite as big (in terms of missions) as Oblivion I think it's a bit more successful creating a credible game world.
Although I loved Fable 2 I think Lionhead were luckywise to get their game on the shelves before Fallout 3. Visually the games look like they are running on different hardware. And most of the moral decision stuff is WAY more convincing in Fallout 3. It's a shame Mr Molyneux felt the need to criticise Oblivion the other week. I think he'd be better off playing and learning from Bethesda's games than criticising them. They manage to successfully pull off a lot of the things Lionhead were shooting for.
*The museum bit.
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