Well I promised a review when it came out, but have been very busy so apologies. I’ve now managed to squeeze a reasonable amount of gaming time in on the side and I have to say that Fallout 3 is a masterpiece.
The stats system lends itself to the original two games, enabling you to create a diversely skilled and seemingly unique character. There are also multiple ways to solve each quest so you get to play the game the way you want.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS, plays an important part in the fighting phases of the game. While using VATS, real-time combat is paused creating a combat system that the Bethesda developers have described as a hybrid between turn-based and real-time combat. Various actions cost action points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a turn, and both the player and enemies can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries. The game features a new health and radiation system as well. The player can measure an object’s radioactivity and gauge the effect it will have on the character.
Another cool thing is that firearms wear out over time (they are over 200years old since manufacture!): as a weapon degenerates, its rate of fire slows and it loses accuracy. However, worn out firearms can be used to repair a similar weapon, or to make more reliable and powerful weapons. Weapon schematics can also be found and used to create various devices such as the Rock-it Launcher, created by combining a vacuum cleaner, leaf blower, fire-hose nozzle, and a conductor, that can fire various items such as lunchboxes and stuffed animals, or the Bottlecap Mine, made out of a lunchbox, cherry bomb, sensor module, and bottle caps. Along with equipping various weapons, the player can also utilize different armors and clothing that may have effects that can alter various skills. For example, a pair of mechanic’s coveralls may boost the player’s repair skill while it is worn. Armor and clothing come in two main parts for the head and body, allowing a player to wear different combinations of hats and armor. Also, a player’s inventory has a specified weight limit, preventing a player from carrying too many items. Some items like weapon ammo have no weight, due to the developer not wishing to bog down inventory management.
The karma system is an important feature in the game-play. The player’s actions, including conversation and combat choices affect the player’s status in the game world; a player who makes good choices will be received more positively by NPCs, and a player that makes bad choices will have the opposite reaction. Extremes of karma also have other effects: a high karma leads to the player being attacked by bounty hunters, and for random NPCs to give the player gifts in thanks of their service. Crimes can also be committed by a player, and whichever faction or group that is harmed by a crime will be fully aware of the player’s action. Other factions that were not affected by the crime will not be aware of it, and since a town is usually its own faction, news of a crime committed in one town will not spread to another. Factions can range in size and boundaries, however, and may not be restricted to a single area. The game world itself is similar in size to that of Oblivion, which has a 16 square mile game world.
The fact you have such a huuuge amount of area to explore and the 100 hours plus in game-play and quests means you won’t get bored of Fallout 3 any time soon!