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on October 16, 2009
I am old enough to have played the original game when it first came out in 1997. I was a great fan of the series that followed and, thus, was very eager to get my hands on this latest installment. In a short sentence: FALLOUT-3 is A DREAM COME TRUE! And now the dream is complete.

It is a cRPG game in which the player can alternate between the First and Third person perspective roaming a world comparable in size with OBLIVION. The action has moved from Vault 13 and Southern California to Vault 101 and Washington, D.C. and the story brakes away from the previous bloodlines. However, the atmosphere of the original has been maintained and its scents sharpened: veterans will find it fitting like and old glove - whereas the new gamers are in store for a bag of pleasant surprises.

The graphics are wonderful, the guns detailed and the environments highly interactive. Short of a screenshot, imagine what would HalfLife-2 would look if released today. And similar to HL2, FALLOUT-3 does not require an...ubercomputer to run smoothly. Once you see a NPC move though, you understand where the corners were cut.

Character customization is carried out in great style using the new and improved PIP-BOY at the beginning. You exit the vault and the harsh reality of a world that barely survived annihilation slaps you on the face. Adapt or perish.

The main storyline is there to be followed but FALLOUT-3 offers the greatest number of alternative choices I have ever encountered in a game! There is always a great number of paths to follow in order to achieve any goal - but every choice comes with a consequences tag. This is common feature of most classic cRPGs but in FALLOUT-3 I saw it implemented like never before. If nothing else, this sends replayability through the roof.

Side-quests offer little besides distraction and experience points (XP) to be spend on character improvement. XP are gained solely by completing quests, emerging victorious from fights, finding locations, picking locks and hacking terminals - and they are not limited by the action they were earned. Leveling up is based on 7 basic attributes [Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility & Luck - acronym?;)] that, in turn, affect your (13) specific skills. Leveling up used to be capped at Level-20 (increased to 30 by installing the DLCs), as the game designers wanted to encourage replaying the game. However, with this increase, now your character can realize its full potential. Replaying the game is still a joy though.

The game is violent and gory but well within tasteful limits. Not so with the language - but it is trade off with realism. In a radioactive world, Sunday-school niceties are bound to go out the window.
What deserves a special mention is V.A.T.S. (:Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) which opens new vistas in cRPG design. It is an ingenious system which lets you pause the game and target specific body parts of your opponents. The success of your attack still depends on your skills but the end effect is cinematic and amazing (remember SWORDFISH?).

This GOTY edition includes all 5 DLCs released so far: OPERATION-ANCHORAGE, THE PITT, BROKEN STEEL, POINT LOOKOUT and MOTHERSHIP ZETA. Compared to the basic FALLOUT 3, applying the above improves the experience immensely! As mentioned above, since one used to reach the Level 20 cap long before the endgame, increasing this by 10 levels will give you a brand new ballgame.
Augmented weapons, new territories, novel foes and unexpected story branching - all for the price of the original game. I own the original game and coveted after these DLCs in the past months, waiting for a complete edition such as this GOTY one. When it became available I jumped at the opportunity to get them all. And did not regret it for a moment.

After the nuclear summer of 2008 (with all the Limited-Installation/defective EA releases), this seems like a post-apocalyptic dawn indeed! BETHESDA decided to listen to the gaming community and did NOT cripple this beautiful game with any idiotic DRM scheme. Inputting a serial number and a DVD-check is more than reasonable.
The publishers of FALLOUT-3 understand that there is a fine balance between "protecting the product" and..."insulting your own customers". And they obviously view respect as the two way street that it is - and for this they deserve our support: buy this game, today.

Voting with our wallets is the only argument the gaming industry cannot afford to ignore. And it is about time to cast some well deserved positive votes.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 4, 2011
I originally bought Fallout 3 back in 2008, and played it about 3/4ths of the way through. I loved it, but it's a huge game, and it's hard to find enough time to finish a game like this if you explore every possible area and do every side quest as I like to do.

Fast forward to 2011. While looking for a new game for my PC, I saw the Game of the Year Edition (GOTYE), and noticed that it included the five add-on packs for the game, priced for under twenty dollars here on Amazon. If memory serves me correct, the add -on packs to the game were each around twenty dollars when first released. So, it was cheaper for me to buy this GOTYE than to try and get all of the add-ons.

If you've played either Fallout 1 or 2, Fallout 3 is very much the same, and I mean that in a good way, even though it's produced by a different company (Bethesda rather than Interplay). It's added new tweaks and improvements, but these are more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and again, that's a good thing because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Basically, this is a single player game where you are a vault-dweller in a post nuclear apocalyptic world, and after your father leaves the vault, you follow after him. I won't say any more about the plot, but it grows tremendously from there. Along the way, you can help or hurt many non-player characters (you can play as basically good, neutral, or evil, and each has a somewhat different play experiences, particularly between good and evil), and the game is very non-linear. You also have a great deal of latitude on your play-style, although the game revolves around combat.

The game comes on two DVDs ... the first one has Fallout 3, while the second one contains the five add-on packs. When installing, you'll be given an option to check data files corresponding to each game. Be sure to check them all; if you don't (or at least Broken Steel), they won't install and you won't get the new level cap (raised from 20 to 30) or new perks. You can always go back and do it later, but it's easier to do it when first installing the game.

One caveat ... the game does not officially support Windows 7, as it was released before Windows 7 came along. The game works, but a lot of people, myself included, have had the game freeze or crash on them. At first, it was happening about once an hour or so, which I can live with. But it suddenly got worse. At one point the game was literally locking up on me every 30 seconds. I downloaded new drivers and re-loaded the most current patch, which seemed to help somewhat but didn't get rid of the problem. Finally, I read that running the game in windowed mode might help, and it has ... I've played about twelve hours running in windowed mode without any crashes. Note that you have to select "windowed" mode from within the game. Run the falloutlauncher.exe from folder where the game installed, and then click on "options". From there, put a check in the box that says "windowed". You may need to adjust your screen resolution to get it near "full screen" on your display. Finally, after that, I went to my taskbar on the bottom of my screen and went to properties and hid taskbar, so it wouldn't cover up some info on my screen when playing the game. You don't need to do this to get the game to run properly, it just kept the taskbar from covering some the bottom part of the playing screen. But Fallout 3 now runs flawlessly for me in Windows 7. If it starts to crash again, I'll come back and update this review.)

This is a great purchase and a tremendous value if you like this type of action/Role-Playing Game. It's funny, well-plotted, well written, and offers hours of game play and replay. A big five stars.
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on October 17, 2009
Fallout 3 is just an amazing game in every respect. If you're familiar with Bethesda's other RPGs, you will have a fair idea of what to expect. It is an open world "sandbox" RPG with elements of a FPS. When it was released a year ago, Fallout fans somewhat derisively called it "Oblivion with guns". Truth be told, on the surface, it is a very fair assessment of this game, but that's not a bad thing at all! It's definitely a similar kind of game, but the setting and humor are quite unique. At no time does it feel like any other game you've played before, other than the fact that it's got Bethesda's signature style all over it. There is so much to do in this game that you can easily get as much or more playtime as a normal game without even touching the main storyline quests. When you take into account the 5 add-on packs that come with this GOTY edition, the "bang to buck" ratio is increased quite a bit in favor of the bang. The add-on packs alone retail for the price of this package. If you already have Fallout 3 without the add-ons, you may as well get this edition and sell your original. If you don't already have Fallout 3, then there is absolutely no reason to pass on this edition of the game. It was named Game of the Year for a very good reason. In fact, it's easily one of the best games of the last 10 years.
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on May 25, 2010
I had some trouble getting started on a Windows 7 computer with an i5 processor. At first I thought the problem was W7, but it turns out that F3 does not work well with more than 2 cores. Here is the fix:

Open up the fallout.ini file in: My Documents\My Games\Fallout3
Find the line:

bUseThreadedAI=0

change it to:

bUseThreadedAI=1

Add another line after it and insert:

iNumHWThreads=2

This worked for me.

I'm only getting started but the game is beautiful so far ... it's amazing to be IN the vault, rather than viewing it from the top down.
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on October 22, 2009
I already own Fallout 3 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was holding out for the GOTY edition, as it would have been way too expensive to obtain the expansions separately.

What can I say ... you mean you haven't bought it yet! Not only do you get an immensely immersive first-person shooter / role-playing game, but an immensely rich diversity of places to explore and weapons and equipment to use.

Also, vote with your wallet. This game only has a simple disc check and not the draconian limited install nonsense that EA is so fond of. I want to support companies that use lighter DRM schemes and I recommend that you do too. EA is a dangerous giant and if left unchecked by competition, it could have us all locked into endless cycles of micro payments and activation hurdles, dispensing more money than we need to for much less value. Support the makers of Fallout 3 and you will preserve that essential level of competition that keeps the PC Games Market so innovative and vibrant.
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on October 15, 2009
Rated 4 stars alone but with the all the expansions (and including broken steel that like magic
wil make the games fantastic by adding 10 more levels and increasing the degree of difficulty a lot
from the beginning of the game not the expansions only) So you install all of them and start the
game from the very beginning and it becomes more difficult a lot faster. Stronger enemies, Great new weapons, and fantastic variety of locations, etc. to me there is nothing out there that can match this game as a total package. So I rated 5 stars. This will only apply to the PC version... NP
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on October 31, 2010
this game may or may not work on a windows 7 pc. for some people it works fine, and for others, it will simply not run at all regardless of how many "fixes" you try. i had hoped that bethesda would improve all the compatibility issues and bugs that their previous games (like oblivion) had on pc's, but i am very disappointed that they have not. if you wanna take a gamble and HOPE that it works on your computer, go for it, but dont get your hopes up.
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on March 3, 2016
never got it installed on the computer, 3 friends who work in tech support for the local municipality could not get it to run, another guy who fixes computers could not get it to run either, gave up, its buggy and imposible to install
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on August 2, 2010
When you first install this game, if you like games of this type, you will find it very addictive probably. The first few days I couldn't stop playing it! After maybe a week or two, it does start to get a bit repetitive and lose it's luster, but all games usually have this problem. One good thing about this game is that it runs good on a very old system like mine (amd 64 3200, 2gig ram, nvidia 7800gt). I did run it in medium graphics setting, but to be honest that is what the auto-detect set it at, I didn't really try running it at highest settings. The game looked fine in medium level detail though, and ran smooth (graphically) throughout the 75+ hours I played the game.

What's good:

1. Huge post-apocalyptic wasteland map you can explore and get lost in. When you enter many buildings, caves, etc...an entire new and sometimes very large map area loads up. So even though you can walk from one end of the main map to the other in a reasonable amount of time, if you count in the different areas and maps through doors that you zone into, there is a HUGE amount of space to explore.

2. Very creepy atmosphere. You really feel like you are in a post-nuclear wasteland. There are lots of tiny details on the maps that add to it like garbage and old tires and the shells of old cars. There are plenty of buildings and houses / neighborhoods that look like they got blown to pieces and burned crispy. Old roads and bridges and overpasses litter the landscape, often having been adopted by "wastelanders" as a new home.

3. Lots of cool weapons to kill your enemies with from sawed off shotguns to laser and plasma rifles. Cool armors as well. Some very cool explosives as well like grenades, mines, plasma grenades, rocket launchers, and even a grenade launcher type weapon that launches mini-nukes.

4. If you buy the game of the year addition you automatically get all the down-loadable content which adds easily another 20 hours of game play and new weapons and armor to play with. For me actually one of the best moments of the game is when I encountered the "mothership zeta" content, which I kind of discovered by accident, and it was quite fun.

5. The V.A.T.S. system is a unique combat system, that has both some good things about it, as well as bad. The good is that it adds a unique, groundbreaking element to the game (at least, I have never seen a game with this type of system before). And when in the VATS mode, you get some very cool cinematic effects (sometimes). And it makes some fights that would be impossible, possible (due to you being heavily outnumbered).

6. There are a lot of other cool details to the game that add to the experience like leveling up your character and raising skills and learning "perks" which give you special abilities and bonuses.

7. And basically just the hours and hours of game play is a plus, since many games these days you pay $50 and then get disappointed when it has only 6 hours of SP game play. If you do all of the side quests and explore the map thoroughly, you can easily play this game for 100+ hours (not including reloads).

Some negatives:

1. Incredibly stupid enemy AI. I suggest you play this game in the hardest difficulty setting, or it will be too easy most of the time. Unfortunately the harder difficulty only makes the enemies hit you harder and probably gives them some more hit points, but doesn't make them act any more intelligent. The AI is just your basic "spot you and then charge at you with guns ablaze". If you use the sniper gun....you'll find that at a certain far range, you can just take your time shooting at the enemy AI, while they do basically nothing, other than perhaps walk back and forth in confusion. So it's not recommended you do this, otherwise the game will be silly. One thing they could have done that would have drastically improved the AI is perhaps give the AI the ability to take cover...many games in the years before this game were made, have already done this with success, for example half-life 2.

2. While it's great that they made a game with 100+ hours of content, the fact that much of the content is somewhat generic and repetitive kind of kills the benefit of this. I'd rather have 50 hours of game content, but higher quality with more variation. Bethesda's other well known predecessor to this game, Oblivion, suffered from the exact same thing ---hundreds of hours of possible game play, but so much of the same thing over and over and over again, that you probably had your fill by hour 25.

3. The game employs a system, nothing new, that causes weapons and armor to degrade until they break and are un-usable. A weapon or armor at 100% health gives it's full benefits, damage resistance or damage done etc...You can only repair a weapon (beyond 50%) by using up / destroying a weapon of the same type. Some weapons are extremely rare and degrade much faster than other weapons, like for example the sniper rifle. My guy was like level 10 when he found his first sniper rifle, and maybe level 20 when he found his second....Basically this means that, at least for my game, it was impossible to have a sniper rifle in 100% condition, for most of the game, due to their rarity, and thus the inability to repair it beyond 50% (all the shopkeepers can repair it to around 50%, sometimes at great expense though). Anyways, I found this repair system to be very annoying, to be honest. It didn't seem to add any fun to the game, just the opposite, because it means for the most of the game you are always using inferior / damaged gear that does 50% of it's potential.

4. The V.A.T.S. system....has so many bugs it's not even funny. It doesn't even work at all for ranged weapons, like the sniper rifle (at a far range that is). I don't want to go into detail and describe the exact way all the bugs happen, but basically, VATS is extremely unreliable. When it does work, it can work great, but when it bugs it is very annoying.

5. The game doesn't work very well as a FPS. While in theory you can never use the VATS system at all, and just try to shoot manually all the time, this game doesn't really work smoothly as a pure FPS. For some odd reason creatures / enemies always seem to zigzag in weird ways that makes it near impossible to hit them. You can sort of get around this by running backwards while they chase you, and then they tend to move in a straight line. But sometimes trying to shoot down 1 enemy will be a frustrating thing to do. You'll see once you play it. If you have played FPS games extensively, this game will just not feel as smooth and natural as any good FPS. Now combined with the fact that VATS is terribly buggy at times, this can cause problems. No worries though you will still have a relatively easy time killing enemies and not dying yourself. It just is a bit of an annoyance at times.

6. While the RPG element is kind of cool at first, later on you may realize that every character you make will basically end up the same. Meaning, there doesn't seem to be any real significant variation you can do with character building, which is a huge part of the fun for an RPG. Stats, skills and perks don't seem to make that huge a difference, in the long run. It'd be nice if they had made a more well defined set of classes like a stealth class, soldier class, sniper class or whatever and had given each class special advantages and disadvantages, but the way the game is designed you can basically max almost all the skills on one guy, if you build him right. And some skills seem to be fairly weak or useless like unarmed fighting, or speech.

7. For some reason, as I got closer and closer to the end of my game, the game started getting hanged up more and more, especially when quicksaving or entering / zoning into a new area (which triggers an autosave). It got so bad that I was afraid to hit the quicksave button because that would usually end up locking the game up for several minutes. I discovered if you just wait patiently for....perhaps 2-3 minutes, it would ALWAYS unlock and start playing as normal. I'll admit the first few times I was not patient and I hit the reset button on my pc, but later I discovered just waiting for a few minutes would eventually work....2-3 minutes can seem like a LONG time. I think it had something to do with my save game files / folder getting larger and larger, i.e. it was probably something to do with all the huge amount of information loading / saving like your character stats, perks, quest flags, thousands of individual items you had in your inventory or storage containers! Once I started another game with a new character and an empty save folder, saving and zoning were back to normal...

Anyways, I still have to give this game 4 stars because it is really one of the better single player games to come out in a while, and at least for the first 25-50 hours it can be pretty fun. It has many flaws, but no game is perfect, and the sign of a good game is when the good far outshines the bad, and I think for the most part this game does just that. Do not let my list of negatives throw you off -- 90% of the time you will really enjoy this game, the flaws will likely only start to be noticeable after you have been already playing for several hours, having a blast, and even then, they won't ruin the game. I would definitely add this game to my list of "must-play" games.
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on February 26, 2013
Fallout, of course, is the darkly funny post-apocalyptic game by Interplay, set in a future that reminds one strongly of 1950s America. After the bombs dropped (with China, not the USSR, being the heavy here), America (and, presumably, the rest of the world) became a devastated wasteland, populated by mutated creatures, scavengers, and denizens of the underground Vaults that were supposed to preserve life until the radiation diminished.

That's pretty much the basics of the game released in 1997. This is the fifth actual game in the series (Fallout Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel making up the unnumbered ones), and was released in 2008. I won't go much into the fun of playing in a violent, immoral, dark future, because that's pretty much a given at this point-- if you don't like the genre, don't play it-- but the question is whether a game that's five years old as of this review is worth getting.

The short answer, for the ADHD crowd: Yes. Buy it.

For anyone still reading, let me assure you that the game does work on more modern hardware, albeit with a few tweaks. Installed straight from the DVD (which uses Digital Rights Management only to check whether the original is in the drive, a perfectly acceptable level), the game froze during the first "quest" (to walk to your father). There is an updater program available online, and editing the .ini file also helped. Suffice it to say that I have it working on a Core i7 860 processor pushing an ATi Radeon HD 5870 graphics card.

I have three monitors attached, and couldn't find a way to get a panoramic field of view out of it. Therefore, the same image was mirrored on all three monitors. It works at 1680x1050 with pretty much all the graphical settings at maximum and no glitches or low frame rates, except occasionally when entering VATS. Once in a while the screen will freeze with the targeted area highlighted but no hit percentage chance markers visible. Most of the time just waiting will bring control back to you, but I've had a few times when it froze completely.

Switching processes doesn't work at all. If you switch to the Desktop, a browser, or any other application, you will have to force-quit the game, as it will not come back. I lost some progress this way. Using the mouse wheel is also a recipe for disaster, since it causes a momentary disruption that the game never recovers from. Even with thousands of things stuffed into a suitcase, you'll have to scroll by clicking on the arrows.

The game occasionally crashes outright, usually preceded by warning signs like NPCs walking in thin air or hostiles suddenly turning neutral. If this happens, save to a new save-game file and quit/restart.

The texture mapping is very well done. The Trogs in "Into the Pitt" look particularly oily and twisted, and I have yet to see an opponent in a pose that doesn't look natural. That having been said, the blank stare of a well-smoothed character model looks artificial when having a conversation.

As for play value, the basic game plus the add-ons have given me about three months of play-- sometimes not starting it up for days at a time but often playing for eight hours straight. And my interest has been held throughout, even after the point where I achieved level 30 and could expect no more skill bonuses or perks. I suppose I was 80% of the way through at that point, and you want to see how the story ends. So, yeah, it's well-written, only occasionally taking the easy way out.

Replay value is nil, if you're anything like me. Nearly all of the quests can be started and completed no matter what decisions you've made; deciding how to resolve a situation mostly affects your "Karma," a simple Fable-like evil-to-good scale. That's one of the few disappointing parts of the game. I hope designers will put more thought into a better system for dealing with player actions. As it is there's very little meaningful difference between the way you play, and by level 30 you have all the perks you value most; characters near the end-game seem remarkably similar. I got good Karma throughout, and have no desire to see what playing evil would look like, since I'd be going through the same landscapes and meeting the same people with the same dialog. But hey, three months of straight-through play isn't to be sneezed at.

A little disappointing was the muddy landscape. The palette is rich in browns, greens, and greys. Sure, that Nuka-Cola Quantum glows a brilliant blue, but everything else seems to be covered with dust. (Which could be washed off any time you want, since all the plumbing still works even 200 years after the bombs have dropped. My house's plumbing lasted for eleven years after I bought it, with no bombs.) Lights sometimes glare unmercifully, making it hard to see places you can get to.

Downside: There is, of course, no more official support for this game. After two years, websites go away and Customer Support turns their attention to more profitable products. However, there is a Fallout Wiki with a lot of helpful advice, and searching various Forums can help with game issues (that's how I got it working). Also, because of the monochrome nature of the environment, things get lost easily; you killed a Raider but can't loot the body because it's vanished into the rubble. This is less important later in the game, but early on it's frustrating, since a corpse's armor and weapons can help you a lot-- even if you just sell them to merchants for the bottle caps.

I had a blast with it, and it definitely was worth the price. If you're a fan of dark humor, post-apocalypse Road Warrior style action, or first-person shooters in general, you'll get good play value out of this entry into one of the better game series. Just don't be afraid of doing a little research and work to get it running, and you'll be fine.
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