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For 200 years, Vault 101 , a fallout shelter, has faithfully served the surviving residents of Washington DC and its environs, now known as the Capital Wasteland. Though the global atomic war of 2077 left the US all but destroyed, the residents of Vault 101 enjoy a life free from the constant stress of the outside world. Giant Insects, Raiders, Slavers, and yes, even Super Mutants are all no match for superior Vault-Tec engineering. Yet one fateful morning, you awake to find that your father has defied the Overseer and left the comfort and security afforded by Vault 101 for reasons unknown. Leaving the only home you've ever known, you emerge from the Vault into the harsh Wasteland sun to search for your father, and the truth.
- Limitless Freedom! ? Take in the sights and sounds of the vast Capital Wasteland! See the great monuments of the United States lying in post-apocalyptic ruin! You make the choices that define you and change the world. Just keep an eye on your Rad Meter!
- Experience S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! ? Vault-Tec engineers bring you the latest in human ability simulation ? the SPECIAL Character System! Utilizing new breakthroughs in points-based ability representation, SPECIAL affords unlimited customization of your character. Also included are dozens of unique skills and perks to choose from, each with a dazzling variety of effects!
- Fantastic New Views! ? The wizards at Vault-Tec have done it again! No longer constrained to just one view, experience the world from 1st or 3rd person perspective. Customize your view with the touch of a button!
- The Power of Choice! ? Feeling like a dastardly villain today, or a Good Samaritan? Pick a side or walk the line, as every situation can be dealt with in many different ways. Talk out your problems in a civilized fashion, or just flash your Plasma Rifle.
- Blast 'Em Away With V.A.T.S.! ?Even the odds in combat with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System for your Pip-Boy Model 3000! V.A.T.S. allows you to pause time in combat, target specific body parts on your target, queue up attacks, and let Vault-Tec take out your aggression for you. Rain death and destruction in an all-new cinematic presentation featuring gory dismemberments and spectacular explosions.
- Mind-Blowing Artificial Intelligence! ? At Vault-Tec, we realize that the key to reviving civilization after a global nuclear war is people. Our best minds pooled their efforts to produce an advanced version of Radiant AI, America's First Choice in Human Interaction Simulation. Facial expressions, gestures, unique dialog, and lifelike behavior are brought together with stunning results by the latest in Vault-Tec technology.
- Eye-Popping Prettiness! ? Witness the harsh realities of nuclear fallout rendered like never before in modern super-deluxe HD graphics. From the barren Wasteland, to the danger-filled offices and metro tunnels of DC, to the hideous rotten flesh of a mutant's face.
|Minimum Specifications:||Recommended Specifications:|
|Processor:||2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor||Intel Core 2 Duo processor|
|RAM:||XP: 1GB System RAM |
Vista: 2GB System RAM
|2 GB System RAM|
|Video Card:||Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 256MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better/ATI X850 or better)||NvidiaDirect X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA 8800 series, ATI 3800 series)|
|Supported Video Card Chipsets:||NVIDIA GeForce Series 200, 9800, 9600, 8800, 8600, 8500, 8400, 7900, 7800, 7600, 7300, 6800; ATI HD Series 4800, 4600, 3800, 3600, 3400, 2900, 2600, 2400; ATI Series X1900, X1800, X1600, X1300, and X850|
- Supported OS: Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Vista
Steam account required for game activation and installation
|Hard Disk:||none specified|
Top Customer Reviews
First off, graphics. I'm running the game at High quality (as opposed to Very High) on a computer using parts that were cutting edge about two years ago. Visually, this game is a total knockout; painstakingly and stunningly rendered down to the smallest detail, from the wreckage and debris everywhere even to the level of most NPCs. The character models in particular stand out as a vast improvement over Oblivion's, although the character animations - particularly on hills - is still as stilted as ever and you will notice some repetitive faces. Where the game truly shines is in the environmental design, particularly on the graphical level - I can safely say that no other game has ever felt as real and vibrant (albeit dead, considering it's post-apocalyptic) as Fallout 3. The environment truly feels real, especially coupled with a surprisingly logical and high-quality approach to level design - office buildings and schools are laid out like office buildings and schools, most buildings have bathrooms inside. Wreckage and debris are used strategically to block off areas and direct the player, rather than bizarre architectural choices as in Oblivion (who builds a fort in the shape of one long tunnel?). I can't rave enough about the high-quality graphics, a few relatively minor animation issues and mild NPC face repetition notwithstanding. Downtown DC, with its half-demolished monuments and museums, is absolutely breathtaking. The game is also fully voiced, and the voice acting is relatively high-quality. Although you'll likely begin to notice NPCs who sound suspiciously similar - especially old women, who all sound identical - the acting is considerably better and they've reused voice actors a lot less than in the Elder Scrolls games. People who follow such things may recognize Raphael Sbarge (KotOR) and John DiMaggio (Futurama; FFX) in a few places. Liam Neesan does a decent job with fairly bland lines as the PC's saintly father and Ron Perlman is back to narrate the surprisingly tepid introductory and final movies. But Malcolm McDowell steals the show as the unsettlingly patriotic President Eden, mostly through a series of Roosevelt-esque radio speeches the player can choose to listen to at will through.
This is easily the most fun game I've played in a long while. They've stripped out a lot of things that bogged down earlier Bethesda efforts and even to an extent earlier Fallout games, which lends itself to a much more fast-paced, almost survival horror-esque feel to much of the game. The VATS system is a huge disappointment to anyone expecting true turn-based combat - it's much more like bullet time than anything else - but taken on its own merits is a pretty clever gimmick that is actually pretty fun to use. Combat in general is satisfyingly fast-paced, and a clever, logical approach to level design keeps the player moving along nicely in most areas while still giving the feeling that you might be down to your last clip of bullets or stimpack. Radiation - and particularly irradiated food, which heals you at the cost of adding to your rad level - is an interesting new dimension which is unfortunately barely touched on, as weightless, radless Stimpacks are weightless and much more effective than drinking water or food. Buffs take the form of drugs with a variety of effects, and can make the difference between survival and death - but watch out for (easily cured, and mostly pointless) addictions. There are a few glaring issues with the gameplay, however: the speech and dialog options, while again an enormous improvement over previous Bethesda games (FO3 features dialog trees instead of topic buttons, allowing for more dynamic conversations), require little to no thought on the part of the player - a far cry from the clever dialog puzzles former Fallout developer Black Isle was known for. High stats in Lockpicking or Science basically just buy you the ability to play their associated minigames at higher difficulty levels; if you're bad at Mastermind or have poor reflexes, don't expect to succeed at them, even with a maxed-out skill value. Combat is decently balanced but startlingly illogical in places, and at low levels it frequently takes an entire clip of shotgun shells to the face to take down a single human opponent; similarly, the economy is bizarrely stacked, with the reward for single-handedly saving a town from total annihilation being less valuable than a single night at the local inn. Cash in general is hard to come by for much of the game; even vendors rarely have enough to buy more than a fraction of your loot at a time. Fortunately, there are a few nearly limitless sources available to you, if you're willing to put in the work for the money, and the trade system allows for direct bartering. Character design and advancement is basically just a dumbed-down version of the previous games' systems, and badly in need of balancing. A few of the non-combat stats are ridiculously overpowered (you'll have a tough time getting through the game without a high Lockpick and Repair skill) and, unlike its predecessors, you won't be able to get through much of Fallout 3 without putting a significant commitment into combat skills (which comprise about half the skill set). However, it's still easily possible to cater to most play styles, and clever players with an eye on the strategy guide will have little trouble maxing out all their skills and most of their attributes before hitting the level 20 cap.
The main plot is extremely short by design, taking somewhere between 8-10 hours for players progressing at normal speed to complete; taking note of one of the defining characteristics of the Fallout franchise, Bethesda opted to make huge swaths of the main quest optional (you can stumble upon information or people who will lead you further into the plot, bypassing intermediary steps), lending the game a feeling of versatility that more tracked-in games lack. Consequently, the game feels a lot more dynamic and flexible, even accounting for several quests that are essentially good guy/bad guy choices and at least two where there isn't even a bad guy choice. However, because Bethesda opted to only consider quests with their own subplots "sidequests", there's a lot to do in the Wasteland that is entirely freeform, and the game often rewards players for free-roaming and for following clues provided in the game's copious flavor text. The result is an unusually detail-oriented, lovingly crafted world that feels logical and realistic, aside from the relatively limited dialog options. The game is well worth buying solely for the wealth of awesome content lurking in the wings of the game, and already has an active modding community likely to produce still more content to keep you entertained long after the game's disappointingly average main plot has faded into memory. This is even true on the item level: there are a variety of awesome and entertaining gimmick weapons, the opportunity to buy and customize houses (which provides extremely tangible benefits, unlike the Oblivion equivalent) and several unique items lying around that can by claimed and repaired by the player. Fallout 3 has a level of detail rarely seen in any game.
On the downside, a few of the sidequests have glaringly obvious logical errors in them. Your character generally acts like an old hand at wandering the Wasteland straight out of his hermetically sealed childhood home, regardless of what dialog options you choose. And despite the general emphasis on free roaming, you do get railroaded in several places - your response options to a given NPC's behavior generally consist only of fairly transparent light side/neutral/dark side options where they exist at all, and the main plot abandons all pretense of player control in the second half - but for the most part, you're free to turn around at any point up until the very end and go back to free roaming, which is where the real meat of the game is anyway. The main plot itself is significantly better than Oblivion's, but falls apart at the climax, leading into an unexpected, abrupt and deeply unsatisfying resolution; also, in a radical departure from the rest of the game, the last few subquests in the main plot are essentially mandatory dungeons followed by a staggeringly black-and-white moral choice. Fortunately, the weakest elements of the game are mostly contained in the last two or three subquests of the main plot, and you can easily get months of playtime out of this consistently excellent sandbox exploration game without ever having to sit through the most disappointing parts ever again.
A few other things to mention that I left out of the review:
-The only DRM included with the game is a simple disc check (you only even need a serial number for Windows Live)
-There is a large and skilled pool of modders already producing custom content for the game, even without official word on a Construction Set.
-The load times are blazing fast. I have Word files that take longer to open than FO3 maps.
-The game is excessively buggy at the moment, and only PC users will be able to use most of the bug fixes. Console users may want to hold off until a patch is released.
- Spectacular Graphics (I'd have said beautiful, but we ARE talking about a post-apocalyptic world here). From blown-up highway overpasses to angry super mutants, players will be completely visually immersed in the game.
- Massive World. Fallout 3 is not a "first ten hours and you're done" game. The developers have said that F3 contains over 100 hours of game play if all of the side quests are done and, having played a good portion of them, I can say that this seems to be correct.
- Interesting World. There's a lot to see and do in post-war D.C.! Visit the Washington Monument, try and find historical documents, join a cult, stop slavers, or become one yourself! There are plenty of new (and different) things to do in Fallout 3.
- No Turn-Based Combat. Fallouts 1&2 featured turn-based strategic combat; Fallout 3 is primarily First-Person Shooter style. The V.A.T.S. system of location-specific targeting has been added to sort of simulate turn-based combat for those interested, but it is poorly done (EX: what appear to be high-percentage VATS shots with a clear view from first-person end up being completely blocked by the target's slight movements; VATS will not stop the shooting even though precious ammo is wasted). Gameplay is primarily first-person, though a buggy "shoulder camera view" can also be used. If you love FPS games, this will not be an issue.
- Lacks Original's Dark Humor. Forced jokes do not make a Fallout game - the creators simply were not able to capture this aspect of the original.
- Linear Solutions. Initially, it seemed that there would be a lot of choices in how Fallout 3's quests were to be solved (EX: Lie to solve a quest or do the actual legwork? Blow up a city or disarm the bomb?); the problem is, these options tend to disappear shortly after the game starts - especially in the main story line. Most of the time, players can choose between the "Good" option and the "Evil" one - and that's it. Small choices like hacking a gun turret to clean out a room of Super Mutants or tossing in a few grenades to clean them out (two different skills) still exist, but the results tend to be the same. Fallout 3 tends to offer players the illusion of choice rather than actual choices, and that's not in the spirit of the Fallout series.
- Poor Music. The background music is both repetitive and boring; The "radio" songs are too few/not fitting to the zones.
- Quest Bugs. Many of the side quests have bugs in them that, while they can be worked around, still detract from the game. The Big Town quests have many examples of this.
- Crash Bugs. I didn't have any problems installing the game on my Vista system (many people report such install problems, however). I played the game for many hours without any crashes. A few days after installing the game, however, it crashed on loading a saved game and then refused to load up at all. Allowing my game to connect to the internet/Live seems to have cleared the problem up, but it is still very strange.
- SecuROM. Parts of your system will be scanned and various aspects checked to see if installation will be allowed. This is a very serious issue for some consumers (especially those that get installation errors), but not a big deal for others.
Fallout 3 is an excellent First-Person Post-Apocalyptic Action Game. Older fans may be extremely disappointed with the changes that have occurred to the series since Fallout 2, and may want to avoid this game if they are looking for a direct update. New players, however, will greatly enjoy the game if they liked Bethesda's previous game, Oblivion, or if they had fun with 2K Game's Bioshock. In my view, Fallout 3 is definitely worth playing - it just isn't the Fallout fans of the franchise might be expecting.
12/18/2007 Update: For those interested, Bethesda Softworks - the creators of Fallout 3 - have released an official worldbuilder/editor for the PC version of the game. It is called the G.E.C.K. (like the item in the game), and can be downloaded from the official Bethsoft website.