I was sitting next to my friend on a park bench, under the summer sky, talking about new video games and what he should buy and what I should buy. I noticed that one game kept cropping up when he was talking, Fallout 3, made by Bethesda Softworks. Me being me, I was highly sceptical at first, relentlessly asking about what’s good and what’s bad, particularly what’s bad. He just said wait and see. I then went to the store and bought it for the PC.
You begin your life in the 23rd century, 200 years after a devastating nuclear war between (majorly) the Democratic United States of America and the Communist china. The war nearly obliterated nature…nearly. You and your family survived and continue to survive the horrors of Armageddon in an underground vault, officially known as Vault 101, where no-one comes in and no-one goes out legally. After a brief birth scene, you are allowed to customise the basic features of your character, known throughout the game as ‘The Lone Wanderer’. I was disappointed at the lack of body customisations, as not everyone is exactly the same height, weight and build. At least some variety in other characters would be appreciable.
You go through the basic steps of life in the vault until you awake one day to find things rather hectic in the usually calm and tranquil vault. Your father escapes the vault; what would any good child do? Go after him of course! But before that you must systematically eliminate the security guards and not get your brain turned into mush. Eventually you take your first steps out of Vault 101, the sun beating down on your face; blinding you temporarily. The sky is tinted green and the ground nearly annihilated. The place you are now in is the Capital Wasteland; it is called that because Washington D.C. is just a short walk away (if you don’t get brutally murdered on the journey.) The heart of your journeys will be your Pipboy-3000: a wrist-worn device that acts as a personal inventory, checklist and radio among other things.
Now is your chance to find your father. Complete quests for clues to his whereabouts; earn money, new weapons, armour and much more. The game uses an Experience Point Levelling system. A kill will yield a certain amount of exp depending on the difficulty you selected and on the general difficulty of fighting that particular enemy. Quests will also yield exp. Each time you level up you receive a special perk that will aid you in your goals. The original level cap is 20 meaning any exp gained at level 20 does not count. Be warned, every time you level up, the creatures of the Wasteland will too, becoming more damaging and more resilient, maybe even adding more creatures to the list of predators ruthlessly hunting you down.
One thing about this game that immediately struck me was the sheer size of the map! It truly was colossal. This unfortunately sometimes unique feature in games gives you the chance to explore your surroundings almost limitlessly. But this is also a big con of this game. Having to walk back and forth to places constantly gets a bit tiring (in both worlds!); the fact the Capital Wasteland really is just an almost completely barren wasteland is quite a boring aspect of the game.
The game uses a karma system. A good action will gain good karma and good people will react positively towards you. But do something that would be considered bad and your karma will sink; slavers and other distasteful people will treat you like the badass king. From defusing a nuclear bomb to detonating one, there is so much to do to affect this. Remember that there is no law in the wasteland, so even a minor crime may cost you your life, which will be taken from you in the most agonizing ways imaginable.
There were a total of five DLCs released for Fallout 3: Broken Steel, Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta. In Broken Steel, you get to continue your story as you fight the evil American Government known as the Enclave for freedom alongside the Brotherhood of Steel. You also gain access to many more items, locations and sidequests. In Operation Anchorage, you step into a simulation which puts you in the shoes of an American soldier in Anchorage, Alaska, fighting the Chinese invaders.
You hear a distress signal. A man is calling for help. You track him down and he tells you of a place called the Pitt, A.K.A Pittsburgh, which is now like a massive slave labour factory. Riddled with mutation and disease, only the raider masters are immune to the destruction as they have a cure. Will you steal the cure for the good of the slaves? Or will you leave it be and become a master yourself?
Do you get tired of the Capital Wasteland? Does life get tedious easily? Well I have just the place for you! Hop aboard a boat and travel to Point Lookout. Once a thriving tourist attraction, it has been reduced to a wasteland comparable to the capital itself. It is now a desolate swamp inhabited by xenophobic ghouls, swampfolk and tribal warriors. Let the carnage begin.
A weird signal pops up on your trusty Pipboy-3000. An incoherent voice calls out. Naturally being the curious person you are, you travel to the source of the broadcast. But then you notice something strange… your Pipboy starts to detect lots of ionized radiation present nearby. What you see shocks you: an extraterrestrial craft complete with a body. You creep towards it, your rifle in your hands, when suddenly you are lifted from the ground in a whirlwind. You quickly lose consciousness. Welcome to Mothership Zeta. Brutally fight against your alien captors, turning their own weapons against them. Make your way to the bridge and escape the antagonising aliens before they can decimate you. But don’t worry, you’re not alone…
The graphics aren’t exactly Crytek Engine 3 stuff but they are still stunning. There is indeed an incredible amount of gore. In total I give this game an 8 out of 10, as it provides most of what I expect from a game, but things could still be improved and/ or altered. I recommend this to any gamer comfortable with gore and swearing looking for a thrill.