A few weeks ago a good friend of mine and I placed a bet that I couldn't finish 3 games by X-mas. The victor would receive a 6-pack of excellent beer (though what that beer will be remains a mystery). So, I have started this journey by completing Fallout 3.
Let me start talking about this game at the same place that a lot of people seem to start: is it Oblivion with guns? Well, if you strip the story away, the atmosphere, the physical environment, and the characters, pretty much yes, it is. You have the same kind of enemies, who act essentially the same way, the same "I'M GOING TO TALK TO YOU SO ZOOM INTO YOUR FACE" speech system, and the same feeling when walking around in the D.C. wasteland as you did in Oblivion's Cyrodiil. Of course, whether or not this is a bad thing depends on whether or not such things annoyed you about Oblivion. They didn't annoy me, so, I was fine.
But adding back on all of the attributes I previously mentioned places this game in an entirely different realm that is not only brilliantly crafted, but a blast to sift through. I simply love the 1950's-future future that's in the game. Now, I didn't play the other installments of Fallout, but I did read on them extensively so to completely understand the universe I was getting myself into. Everything about this game is fascinating. You will find yourself saying "that's cool" pretty much constantly, which, aside from being a great way to pull you into the game's offered experience, really shows how much thought was put into this installment.
And even though I beat the game, I still know that there were probably several hours of other side quests I could have gone through. And if I wanted to explore everything, whew, that'd take me forever. This is, after all, a life-sucking RPG at its core.
The notable addition to the game's FPS nature is the inclusion of the "V.A.T.S." (Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System). This was something I thought would get annoying very fast. Essentially, you hit a button and time stops. Then, your view will zoom in on an enemy in front of you, and you will be presented with the option of firing at any of its various body parts (torso, arms, legs, head). Your decision will most likely be based on which part you have the best chance of hitting, which the game aids you with by telling you what percent chance you have to hit each area. Each attack launched on that area uses up "action points" which then need to be recharged before you can use the V.A.T.S. again. Oh, and the attacks are done in super slo-mo for maximum awesome. See how that can get annoying if you use it over and over and over?
Well, it didn't. Not for me, at least. There's something extremely satisfying about blasting a creature's face off in slow-motion that never seems to get old.
The real prize of this game are the options given to the player. You can be pretty much whoever you want to -- from Jesus to Satan. Want to kill everyone and wreak havoc everywhere? Go for it! Want to help everyone out? You can! Want to help most people but every once in a while shoot a shop owner? Kinda weird, but, sure! The options are yours and the story you can create has a ton of possibilities. This play through I found myself being nice to everyone and by the end of the game I was a "Wasteland Savior" -- like I said, Jesus. Maybe next time, if I go through it again, I'll be a total asshole.
Simply put, this game is great. Though I wouldn't recommend getting it if you don't like the color gray. There's a shitload of that here. Like, it's everywhere. I understand that the post-apocalyptic world is supposed to be dreary, but damn. Any other shortcomings can be overlooked. There were several times that the game sucked me in and I didn't want to stop playing not because the gun play was excellent, but because the particular story I was following at the time was so damn intriguing.
So, what's next? It's 12:40 on a Saturday...hm. I don't know. Someone leave a comment with what to play next: Metroid Prime 3, Wipeout HD, or Crysis. Eh, I'll probably just end up coming to a decision on my own.