Every once in a while there is a game that is released that pushed past all of the console barriers that seperate us gamers and makes us fall in love with gaming again, Doom was an unequalled classic, Goldeneye, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, I am not going to recite a list of the classics but you get my point. I would like to put Fallout 3 somewhere up there, but not a classic.
Fortunately Fallout 3 has survived the extremely short life span most games suffer these days, but I wonder if it's survival is based solely on it's name and the continued reinvention of the Fallout brand rather than it's originality, compelling story and innovating interactive comcepts (better AI's).
It's 2009 and we are by no means strangers to the common RPG's that are continually pumped out, with generally similar faces, different skins and surroundings, but basically they are made up of the same things, skip if you've heard this before:
A single central story line to follow, many different side quests along the way to upgrade your character's stats (or make the gamer feel like their character is special and different from everyone elses) customisable appearance (unfortunately only a more recent development) Strange AI's that don't seem happy to see you, and finally anything and everything is (or can be fashioned in to) a weapon.
But is that what we are lokoking for, YES I fell in love with the illusion that I was completely in control whilst playing Fallout 3, that I could do or say almost anything despite the concequences (and I even loved the various pieces of weapons scattered around this post apocalyptic 1950's esq world that you could collect and piece together) but it wasn't enough. It delivered too much of one thing and not enough of what we want.
In a nutshell, every gamer simply wants to make the game their own, and believe that they themselves are running around a nuclear wasteland fighting off mutants with a flamethrower, and until that technology becomes available where we can play in that state, I think that it is the duty of the gaming developers to give their target audience more choice, make the games (specifically the characters) more customisable, where the story line changes depending on the decisions of the characters, Star Wars - Knights of the old Republic I & II were beautiful for this, I am not saying that Fallout 3 was without variation in the story, but I was very aware whilst playing that I was being lead along. But maybe it's just me and I am beging way too harsh.
In summary, despite my harsh attack on Fallout 3 (and it's massive media hype) I did enjoy playing it, and I do believe that this was a masterful game, I will manage to find flaws in every single game I play unles I make it myself (I won't even start on the wrestling genre). The cinematics are astouding, the surroundings are breathtaking and seem to stretch out for miles, and I felt a familiar attachment to my character despite his lack of charisma, an attachment that I haven't felt since we met Master Chief in the first Halo.
For anyone who is looking for a good RPG, I recommend Fallout 3, for someone who just wants to kill bad guys with big guns, I recommend Gears of War, Fallout 3 does not deliver on everything, only what it promises. I'll see you later, i've got to find my dog.