Top critical review
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A great game, but it fizzles out by the end
on February 25, 2009
This game was wonderful, I would have considered this an easy 5 star game within the first 20 hours of gameplay, but as I continued on, I began to realize the game is lacking in many departments.
Gameplay: The game is, first and foremost, an RPG. It does this well, from the unique VATS system, to the SPECIAL stats distribution, the game, despite appearing as an First Person Shooter, has the feel of an RPG game. Attacking opponents have HP. You can disable their weapons, injure their extremities, or just go for a headshot, which can be performed in a slow motion cinematic sequence which often shows lots of guts and gore. Sometime it shows you shooting, sometimes it shows the bullet flying, sometimes it shows your opponent disintegrating. Some people have reported getting bored of this sequence, which you may choose to perform on most of your enemies, since shooting the old fashion way can lead to a lot of wasted ammo. I have never really gotten bored of it, and I take it in stride, just like the end credits at the end of a random encounter in the old Final Fantasy video games.
Graphics and Glitches: Graphics of this game are suburb. This game, I should warn, is incredibly gory, consisting of grotesque scenes of mutilation, blood, body parts, carcasses, torture, drugs, and prostitution. The language is bad to, as bad as it can get, so if that is something that would bother you, stay away from this game. Yes, I understand M ratings, but there is M ratings like Gears of War, where you got blood and can cut your alien enemies in half, and then you have this, human beings being savagely murdered, and their carcasses strung up on hooks. Anyway, the VATS kills are incredible, the graphics show at the far edges of the screen, you can literally see a tower from a 15 minutes walk away, as opposed to some games love of fogging out the area in front of you. Absolutely beautiful game, you know, in that dreary depressing post apocalyptic kind of way. The game does have many glitches; many of which force you to reload from a previous game cause you can't get out of it. Typically, the errors are getting stuck, you jump somewhere, and gt stuck, you fall somewhere, and get stuck, and my personal favorite, fawkes( your giant traveling companion) stands in front of the door entrance and won't move.
Music: The game really only delivers music via 2 radio stations (and a third unlockable one) One plays old patriotic music, the other play 50s and 40s music, nothing famous or popular. It is kind of lacking, Fallout makers really needed to step up and add a couple more music stations, or quests to increase the music selection, perhaps and in game CD player, and you find CDs around the world, or mp3 player if you wanted to be more update, with mp3s that you can download from computer terminals, you could even create your own playlists, but a man can dream, can't he?
Story: The story was pretty good, if not pretty short. This is where I felt the game fizzled, Just as the story line was starting to go somewhere, the story ended, in a rather crappy way. Don't get me wrong, the climax was amazing, epic, and hilarious, but the game just ends without too much warning, and gives you no ability to continue to play, which it makes kind of impossible with the way it ends. They really should have put more thought in to ending the game in a manner in which you can continue on to play, and see people praise you in the aftermath, and find out how their lives are after all the stuff you have done for them. The 200+ endings is true, but kind of an embilishment. The ending is pictures complete with narration, what you did effects what pictures you see and what narration you get. The ending is in 4-6 parts, with 2-3 possible outcomes (such as good vs bad vs neutral karma effects 1 part), thus you have 2^6 or 3^6 or whatever, which gets you your many many endings, but it won't seem like it to you, and most anybody should not waste their time to see anymore that the basic big 2, bad or good.
The Failure: So I teased you with the reasons to why it is a measly 3 stars. In truth, Fallout 3 is lacking. The greatest things it is lacking in is reason. Past level 10, every enemy falls down easily. I had massive amount of caps, the loose story lines of the side quests where barely enough to keep me playing. Any new area I visit just doesn't matter, you go their, find ammo (sorry got tons), find healing supplies (72 stimpacks and counting), find money( already got 15,000 caps I don't know what to do with) and gain experience (ok I like experience, but level 20 is not that far away). I would run to any city I could, sell what I could, which as I started to get laser rifles and plasma rifles, was never really worth it, unless I wanted to buy a bunch of junk I don't need. The game just lost it's edge. There are no super hard ultimate weapons to defeat (in fact, the hardest enemy in the game I have fought thus far is fawkes, and he is on my side), there really are no bosses at all in the game except the behemeths, which don't really get you much (although I hear anchorage dc has a bosslike enemy.) None of the armor acquired from side missions is particularly better than what you get from following the main story line, the "special" weapons are only slightly better than their normal counterparts, and don't really add anything to the game. By adding things to the game, for example, you could get a grenade launcher, which allows you to shoot frag grenades more accurately at a longer distance, upgrades that can improve your weapon; such as attaching a silencer to the weapon of your choice, artificially increasing a weapons power or efficiency, or given it more stats, such as poison enemies. They also needed to introduce elemental damage, in my opinion, so there is actual reason to pick one weapon over another. A quest to find a weapon that does not wear down would be cool, or, you know, just more. Also with perks, maybe you should have special harder to get perks that actually alter the dynamics of the game, so that upon getting them, you can have fun playing a little differently, like something that lets you jump higher, which would be required to get to certain other areas in the game.
Formations: Your followers in this game are also pretty crappy. While potentially powerful and useful, you can't give them orders in the heat of battle, which sucks. Also, they get in your way, and can potentially block your ability to move somewhere. They continually repeat the same pieces of dialogue over and over again, which is kind of annoying, and their presence creates several continuity errors in the story, such as you being known as the lone wanderer and for those of you who know the ending, I mean, seriously, how stupid is that?
Finishing Up: So in general, I did love the game. But once you become powerful enough that the challenge is gone, which occurs around level 10-12 if you do a couple side missions ad end up with a special weapon or 2, there is little to really keep you interested, unless you just LOVE exploring, the game just doesn't offer the incentive to continue playing. I also must mention the lack of minigames. You have the computer hacking game, and the lockpick thing which is 10 times easier than oblivion and thank you for that. I mean, they should allow you to play pool, maybe get an old arcade galliga shooter or pacman up and running, or other mini games that potentially reward you with stuff and maybe gamerscore points. The stuff does get kind of repetitive, go to new place, pick up every gun, ammo, skill book, and other useful items you find, kill every bady, hack every terminal, pick every lock, sell your items, unload your inventory, rinse and repeat. The game was great, however the more I played, the more I realized I just needed more.
I have played 4 of the 5 expansion packs. Several of the packs actually offer me a challenge. When you lose all your equipment in The Pitt, it was incredibly fun for a couple of hours. Mothership Zeta offers a couple of alternate styles of gameplay that break up the monotomy such as controlling a ship and blowing aliens up by touching buttons. Broken Steel naturally fixes the end game issues and level cap problem. At level 30, Point Lookout has given me enough challenge that I am considering lowering the difficulty level off of hard. Had this game came with these expansion packs (say a game of year edition that will eventually come out) I would consider it a 4 star game.
My BIGGEST problem with the game, which I did not mention in my review, and will restrict me from giving this game five stars, is the fact that the game centers around caps. Half the decisions you make are to earn caps. The only advantage of being bad is to get caps, and 90% of your motivation is for more caps, yet they serve virtually no purpose, since you will find so much ammo, stim packs, and other random junk that you will never need to spend your caps after 5 hours of gameplay. They need to throw in some ultra unique weapons that cost 10,000 caps, buy properties in other cities (there is an empty room in rivet city that would have been so easy to program into a room you could purchase), buy mininukes, so I don't feel bad every time I use the incredibly limited supply, even if they cost 1000 caps a nuke, I have plenty of caps sitting around, and trading my growing supply of plasma rifles for mininukes would be great. Buy vehicles, even if it costs 20,000 caps, what else am I using them for? So if they fixed that problem, I would bump the score up a star, and with the expansion packs included (free not $50 more), I bump it up another star, so that is what it takes to reach 5 stars in my book.