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on October 14, 2009
Writing guides for expansive games like Fallout 3 must be a daunting task. However, David Hodgson did a fantastic job of organizing this guide in a smooth and logical order.

I ordered this in conjunction with the Fallout 3: GOTY Edition and was very pleased. At over 750 pages, this guide covers every aspect of the game on all platforms (PS3, 360, and PC). As an owner of Hodgson's original Fallout 3 guide released in 2008, I was pleasantly surprised to see a vast number of improvements.

First and foremost: pictures! In the 2008 guide, it listed each enemy, weapon, and armor on pages upon pages of tables. It wasn't flashy, and it wasn't very exciting to look at. Now, though, there is a compendium that includes large, colorful photos of each enemy, weapon, and armor (including helmets and eyewear). Also included is an entire census of NPCs that you will find in the wasteland, each accompanied by a portrait, their location, their significance to the game, and other vitals. This really is a nice touch.

As for the guide itself, each quest is mapped out with the precise locations and steps needed to accomplish each task. The guide avoids spoiling future quests as well. In open-ended games, it's easy to get sidetracked or even completely lost when trying to achieve your goals. That won't happen with the help of this guide.

Just like the previous guide, there is a large foldout map included. It's about as big as a normal size state road map, which just goes to show how big this virtual world really is. Every location that you can unlock on your Pip-Boy map is shown and easily located with the help of a grid system. Never get lost in the Wasteland again!

Additionally, until I purchased the strategy guide for the original Fallout 3, I had no idea how many side quests there were. As it turns out there are about 17 of them (as well as many more in the DLC expansions and countless other freeform "mini" quests). Sometimes to initiate these quests, you must travel way off the beaten path. In fact, they will often be in the far stretches of the Wasteland where you may only stumble on them accidentally. Without this guide, I probably would have missed about half a dozen of them (maybe more). You don't want to miss these quests, either, since many of them offer unique rewards such as secret weapons/armor, hidden perks, followers, and a nice boost in XP as well.

All in all, this is a complete book and there are no glaring omissions. If anything, it has additional helpful content that was left out of the original volume. And since it covers the entire game, including all five DLC expansions, you really can't go wrong. The binding is strong, and overall, it looks and feels a little more polished than the previous guide.

I know some people like to play games without aid, but even then, this guide could come in handle with its immense inventory/bestiary/character database. The pages are crisp and glossy, the pictures are bright and colorful, and the maps are finely detailed.

If you're looking for the definitive Fallout 3: GOTY Edition companion, this is it!
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on October 28, 2009
Here's a quick review of the GOTY Edition for those who want to compare it with the first edition.

The obvious: GOTY Edition contains material on all the new main, miscellaneous and side quests, in the same quality and style as the first edition. All the factions, beasts, weapons, perks, etc. covered in detail. 752 pages versus the original 464 and the binding holds together. Great manual overall, especially if you want to find all the things to do in the game.

What's missing:
- Some of the "Overview" charts; for instance, the 'Perks' overview chart and the 'Weapons, Armor & Items' table are missing. The bestiary and appendices charts are all still there.

What's new:
- An expanded "Factions & Bestiary" section has all the new character classes with pictures.
- A new "Census" section has pictures & some bio information on every NPC in the game (seriously, its 40+ pages).
- A new "Gear" section has pictures, stats & info on all weapons classes and special weapons. I preferred the missing chart for ease of comparison versus looking at 3 identical pictures of gatling lasers but oh well. The Gear section also has pics and stats of all the apparel you can find in the game.
- The fold-out map is updated with new quest locations, a smaller map of Point Lookout is printed on a book page, and the pages changed to a slicker magazine style paper.
- And, saving the best for last: an index! Sorely missing from the first edition this is almost worth the cost of the book alone.

Worth the cost of an upgrade? Yes if you want to get the most out of the new quests or you really need that index. Lots of goodness here.
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VINE VOICEon June 27, 2010
This full-color, fully-illustrated book clocks in at 752 8.5"x11" pages. If that is not a testament to its depth, I don't know what is.

As its name suggests, this guide covers the main game and all five expansions, including complete walkthroughs of both the main quests and all the secondary and freeform quests. The book also has detailed maps of every location in the game, all the items in said locations, enemies you can encounter, and anything else you would want to know.

There is also a complete listing of all the characters you may encounter, and similar listings of all the available weapons and clothing. All include about a paragraph of description and a list of stats.

Every quest, prior to the walkthrough, is presented in a flow-chart format, so you can quickly see at a glance the ideal path for your character. There are also markers throughout the walkthrough guiding you on the karmic implications of any actions you might take.

Handy appendices in the back list locations of item sets (e.g. mini-nukes or bobbleheads), achievements/trophies and logs/holotapes (needed for some quests/achievements).

The book also comes with a full-size poster with a map of the entire Capital Wasteland on one side and detailed maps of the DC Metro area on the other.

And, to top it all off, it has a complete listing of perks and stats, with tips on how to level up. In short, if you want the full Fallout experience, you want this book.
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on June 8, 2014
OK, I hate the main quest: My "Dad" is annoying in both speech and behavior... But the open world of the Wasteland is epic: I love, love, love the "self-appointed" quests of
1. ...going to Rivet City to access copious ammo...
2. ...going to Canterberry Commons to get better inventory for Lucky Harith...
3. ...going to The Museum of History for Lincoln's repeater... (.44 caliber unique "small gun" repairable with a hunting rifle)...
4. ...going to save Red so I can wear her bandanna...
5. ...getting the Reservist's rifle...
6 ...getting my pad in Megaton and then (eventually) killing all life in Ten-Penny Tower...
7. ...doing the quests for Moira...
A post-apocalyptic world is not a great place to live, except here, virtually!

"Eat, love, play Fallout 3" ...? :-)
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on June 13, 2011
I have never used a game guide for a game before, but I honestly don't think I could've accomplished 1/2 of what I accomplished without it. The game itself is so huge and there are so many nooks and crannies to look inside that I absolutely needed this game guide to help.

So far, I have beaten all of the main quests and I still only have less than 1/2 of the Xbox achievements. But, with this game guide, I was able to easily locate all 20 bobble-heads, as well as easily navigate the entire Wasteland.

Here are my favorite things about the guide:
- There is a pull-out map in the back for easy reference of not only all of the Wasteland, but on the back side there is an in-depth look at all of the DC Metro areas (to include all DLC areas)
- The appendices: There is an appendix for everything! There is one for all of the achievements, the bobble-head locations, the locations of all of the stat books, etc.
- There is a great chapter on advising you on how to upgrade your character and what all of the stats and perks mean and what they do for you.
- I also loved that for every location that you go to, there is a detailed map that points out every collectible item, danger areas, and plot locations; so, if you're ever stuck on where to go, just flip to the map of your location, pull up the map on your Pip-Boy 3000 to get a reference and then cross-check that with the map in the book and you will be able to find your way anywhere.

The only thing that I felt was lacking, was that in the game guide, the author would tell you to turn on your Pip-Boy flashlight (when in areas of extreme darkness), but never explained how to do it and I couldn't figure it out to save my life. There were definitely a lot of moments spent wandering around dark caves and caverns with little (and in some cases zero) light available until I finally managed to find the little trail or ledge I needed to navigate out of that area.

You wouldn't need a game guide on all games, but I think that for this game - it's a must!
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on December 30, 2009
My review compares the old Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Collector's Edition (Hardcover) to the new Fallout 3 Game of the Year Collector's Edition (Hardcover).
I will from here on out refer to the old Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Collector's Edition as "the old guide".
I really loved this game and spent more time than I'd like to admit reading the old guide. Mostly, I purchased this new guide so that I could get all the maps for the DLC.

First: I love this guide. It's a joy to read and I can tell the Author loved this game. The vast amount of detail available in this guide is overwhelming. If you're intending on using this guide to its fullest, plan to spend hundreds of hours playing Fallout 3.

Second: My review may sound negative but that's because I'm comparing the old guide to this new one. For what ever reason, Prima decided to not include some very important sections from the old guide into this new one. By no means does it make this new guide unusable. It's still a fantastic guide. This review should merely be used as a reference to compare the two guides. Plus, this is all just my opinion. So, here we go:

Things that are missing from the new guide that shouldn't be:
- Perks Overview chart - Old Guide Page 14
Shows a brief summary of all perks and when you receive them. A very nice summary, but unnecessary. It would have been nice to see an updated version of this table in the new guide revealing all the new DLC perks.

- Character Examples - Old Guide Page 28
Section that helps you create your first character based on how you want to play the game. A real shame they took this out.

- The Wasteland Weapons, Armor, & Items Table Old Guide Pages 41-45
This is a big one. A very nice table showing a summary of all common and unique weapons and armor in the game giving it's weight, cost/value, clip size, ammo type etc... Why did you take this table out Prima?? They did leave in the section of this table dealing with Comestibles and Chems (page 40 of new guide). However, this part of the table is no where near as useful as the weapons and armor section. The weapon and armor section was replaced with a new chapter (chapter 4 pgs 104-148 in the new guide - see below) called "Wasteland Gear" in which it details every weapon/armor and gives a nice description of each. However, this omitted table from the old guide is a lot more useable in that one could compare the weapons and armor quickly. True, all the new extra detail in the new guide is cool, but at the cost of usability. Additionally, in the new guide, they reused the same picture of different versions of weapons over and over again - basically wasting valuable game guide space. This makes no sense.

- Exclusive Content (hardcover only). Like the other reviews already mentioned, Prima deleted the 40 pages at the end of the old guide giving an "exclusive insider look of how they recreated the whole wasteland, the idea(why choose DC, how they make use of the Oblivion heritage and keep the feel of original Blackisle game), the concept art, and the design" (thanks fellow reviewer - Shuhao Cao). This section of the old guide also had a cool little narrative from Moira Brown that was fun to read. Considering Prima wasted a ton of pages on other new sections (see below), it kind of sucks they didn't include this cool section.

Things they added that they shouldn't have:
+ Chapter 3 "The Wasteland Census" New Guide Pages 59-103
In my opinion, 44 wasted pages. This section gives tons of details with pictures of every non-playable character (NPC) in the entire game including downloadable content (DLC). Yes, it's fun to read through, but entirely unnecessary for a game guide. They should have omitted this section in favor of The Wasteland Weapons, Armor, & Items Table which is much more helpful. Additionally, this section should have been in the Appendix, not in the front of the guide.

+ Chapter 4 "Wasteland Gear" New Guide Pages 104-148
Again, a waste of 44 pages. This chapter must have been the reason Prima didn't include "The Wasteland Weapons, Armor, & Items Table" from the old guide. This chapter gives big fancy color pictures of each and every weapon on the game and DLC along with their respective locations and a brief description. In my opinion, this is really "neat" to read but not as user friendly as the old "Wasteland Weapons, Armor, & Items" table in the old guide. This just creates a whole lot more page turning than necessary to compare different weapons and/or armor. Here's an example of the wasted space: page 105 lists 4 Flamer weapons, three of which are unique. Because all 4 of these weapons look identical in the game, Prima decided it was a good idea to put the same picture for all 4 Flamers into the guide. They do this over and over again (3 Gatling Lasers, 3 Alien Blasters, 4 Laser Pistols, 4 Laser Rifles, etc... etc...). Attention: Prima! This section was better in the old guide! Tables are our friends. It's a huge waste of space. I would have no problem with this chapter being in this book if they would have also included "The Wasteland Weapons, Armor, & Items Table" from the old guide. Again, this chapter needs to be in the Appendix.

Things they added that I LOVE
+ All content related to the downloadable content. All the new maps are awesome.
+ Prima updated all appendices with new relevant information from the DLC. Very nice!
+ Prima took the time to update all the page references throughout the entire book to point to the new pages that they refer to. If you think about it, this probably wasn't an easy task.
+ The new magazine style paper is really nice and glossy. Sure made the pages thinner.
+ The big poster sized map is updated detailing all new DLC content.
+ Every guide is uniquely numbered. I guess that's pretty cool.
+ FINALLY - an Index! Hooray!

Mistakes they didn't fix - also in the old guide
:( Lots and lots of spelling mistakes - other reviewers already mentioned this. Prima, it's called spell check... use it!
:( Some minor map mistakes. Example - DC ruins Zone 20 Mason Distinct. The Pulowski Preservation Shelter (20.D) isn't located where it shows in the guide (pages 451-452 new guide). It's up by the statue (20.A). This doesn't happen a whole lot, but when it does, it's kind of confusing. Especially since this shelter holds a Dean's Electronics skill book!

In conclusion - Best guide ever made, period!
I just wish the Oblivion guide was as good as this one.
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on October 18, 2010
Simply put, this text is so full of information it was almost an overload. It has just about all the information needed for getting the most out of this expansive game. I am relatively new to gaming and find the occasional hint very helpful for solving whatever puzzle has me stumped. I prefer progress to the minor thrill I get from solving the mystery unlocking the boss battle.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't find this a simple walkthrough but a sort of encyclopedia of information necessary to survive in an empty, hostile wasteland. There is also a tear out map in the back of the book for those of us who need a device to figure out just where the heck we are. It is also helpful to know the "good guys" from the "bad guys" to facilitate deciding on the action you want your character to take.

In summary, this is a very comprehensive yet different from other gaming guides making it more difficult for me to use right away. It made me have to think and didn't lead me from treasure to treasure etc. That kind of walkthrough can likely be found online, but what this book offers is far superior. Prima is quite good at what they do. I have already ordered my copy of Fallout: New Vegas (the book) but don't have the game yet.
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on October 1, 2014
With a game as extensive as Fallout 3, I found myself on the internet looking for so many items and quests. Then I shouted FORGET IT!! and bought this guide.

It's pretty much my bible when it comes to the game (I use them for all Fallout/Elder Scrolls games). I utilize this book for character development, perk selection, item locations, and occasionally, story spoilers.

Overall, this book is packed with helpful gameplay tips and tricks, lists, and walkthroughs. Yes, the internet also has a lot of the same information, but being able to flip through the book is much better and more enjoyable.
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on October 21, 2013
I've been the biggest Fallout fanboy since the release of Fallout 3. After playing F3 I immediately had to play its predecessors and well so I did. Anyway, I have always been picky when it came to Strategy Guides and whatnot seeing that Fallout Wikipedia is available as well as Youtube. However, I got this because it adds to your collection, plus there is a lot crammed into this book that you can see by simply turning the page instead of looking for something in particular over the internet. In short, this book has so much in it, comes with a map -detailing locations, and it has somethings that I didn't even know even after playing for 3 years! So if you're as much as a fan, buy this. You will spend a lot of time reading each page living in the world of Fallout as I did.
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on September 20, 2016
The book is great, has everything I was looking for, and is the correct book. It also came in early so I was super excited. And I knowingly bought it used. However the amount of damage that was on the front cover alone is far excessive to just be used in like new condition. Be sure that if you are buying for longevity you pay attention to whom you are buying through.
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