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4.4 out of 5 stars227
4.4 out of 5 stars
Platform: Xbox 360|Edition: Standard Edition|Change
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on 12 November 2008
I'm now on my second playthrough of Bethesda's marvelous Fallout 3. The first go took around 40 hours to complete the storyline, and it was at this point that I looked at the huge map of the post-apocalyptic wasteland that my adventures had taken me through and realised that I'd barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. So I loaded in my most recent auto-save and went exploring again, and having just finished a mammoth 5 hour session exploring just one building (and getting seriously spooked in the process) I thought I'd take a break and share my love for the game by reviewing it.

I've never played the previous Fallout titles but was familiar with Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series, the phrase 'Oblvion with guns' in a few previews got me interested, and just by reading the comprehensive 40-page manual that ships with the 360 version that's pretty much the impression you'll get if you've played Oblivion.

Your character is born in Vault 101, located in the environs of ex-Washington DC. Ex- because the world has suffered a nuclear holocaust. Your first few interractions are basic - set your initial gender, looks, stats and get to know the controls during a brilliant tutorial featuring your father (voiced by Liam Neeson). You'll go from baby to toddler to ten-year old to 16 year old and eventually progress into the main storyline - your father has left the Vault and everyone's after him, so you'll have to escape to try and track him down to find out what's going on.

Fallout 3's scenario is quite unique, although the year is 2277 the setting is an America that never moved on from the cultural norms of the 50s, right up until the nukes hit 200 years ago, 2077. So expect to see lots of beehive hairdos, art deco and get used to the greatest hits of the 1940s.

Exiting the vault is a glorious experience (enhanced by the fact that you can press Back on the controller to enter 'wait' mode), if you wait until 9am in the morning and then step outside you'll get the best impact of entering the Wasteland for the first time. From this moment on, just as with Oblivion, you can do whatever you wish. Play goodie or baddie or inbetween, follow the main quest diligently or just wander off in a random direction to find what's out there.

To survive you'll mostly have to fight, although if you boost your charisma, science, lockpicking or sneak skills there are usually alternative paths through every situation. Note that Fallout 3 isn't a true FPS, you won't last long lining up targets in your crosshairs and pulling the trigger because every shot takes into account distance, weapon condition, your own stats and of course lady luck. It's much easier to take advantage of the Vault-Tec Assisted Targetting System (VATS) which, if you have the Ability Points available, allows you to freeze the action, select a bodypart on your target and calculate your chances of success.

When VATS is active everything is slowed down - you can watch your bullets, missiles, nukes, frags and so on slam into your target and critical headshots will remove a head completely replete with all associated gore (the main reason Fallout 3 has an 18 rating, the other would be the frequent swearing, keep an eye out for the potty mouthed Mayor MacCready).

Enemies are varied, ranging from easy (Radroaches) to medium (Raiders) to all-out terrifying (Deathclaws). Inbetween you'll be up against feral ghouls, Mirelurkers, vicious dogs, various robotic types, anyone you manage to upset enough and of course the two main factions in the game (The Enclave, led by Malcolm MacDowell, and The Brotherhood), both of whom have some nice Power Armor variants that you'll be itching to use. (You need specialist training to use it though).

Your methods for dealing with enemies are more varied, choose from melee (sledgehammers, combat knives, tyre irons, knuckles, barehanded and so on), small arms using ballistic, plasma, dart and laser pistols, rifles, snipers, right up to the heavy weapons including the wonderful FatBoy which fires tactical nukes, handy for those moments when you come up against the most deadly Super Mutants.

Basic gameplay for explorer types consists of leaving your house (once you've earned one, which you can decorate, kit out with specialist labs, healing stations, use for storage, make your own weapons using any schematics found, display your collection of bobblehead toys collected or just pfaff around with your robotic butler), picking a direction and heading out.

Your arm-mounted Pip Boy keeps track of your quests, your map and locations, your health, your radiation levels, inventory, even allows you to pick up any broadcasting radio stations, some of which lead to further quests.

Health is managed by the application of various drugs either directly to a crippled body part or to the entire body. Radiation is managed by either keeping clear of it and only using clean food sources or catching a dose and using Rad-aways, visiting a local medic or popping back to your house which can have its own infirmary installed.

Your weapons and armor will degrade over time, but as you build up your repair ability you can repair them yourself on the go by combining similar types of gear which brings their damage/damage reduction back up to scratch, or you can get someone else to repair them for you, but that'll cost Bottlecaps, the ingame currency.

For quest fiends if you want to just blast through the main storyline (which involves purification on a number of different levels) you can do so, but note that the ending is absoloute, there's no more exploring afterwards. Fortunately you can load up your last autosave and step back outside before the main quest finishes if you want to be more completist.

For achievement fiends you're probably looking at 200 hours or so to get 1000/1000, although if you're following a guide meticulously and know your way around you'd probably be able to do it in 50 hours and one playthrough, but this would take a lot of karma micromanagement (you can be good, neutral or evil and there are achievements for all 3, and you can adjust your state using specific dialogue options, NPC turn-ins and actions).

For RPG fans, if you like your open world games then Fallout 3 is setting new standards. Locations (and you can use an Oblivion-esque 'fast travel' system to nip between them as long as there are no enemies nearby and you're not overencumbered) range from finding a few picnic tables, a shack or two (if they have a bed you can rest and heal up) to the underground system, multi-storeyed buildings replete with their own basements which lead to tunnels and caves which can also hook up with other areas. You'll be exploring factories, military bases, abandoned malls, the infamous Super Duper Mart (you'll get an aggressive welcome in most of these areas), raider camps, slaver towns, the fantastically huge Rivet City, you'll be tip-toeing through minefields, avoiding trip-wires, sniper fire, dodging missiles and keeping a wary eye out at all times for feral ghouls who are just after your flesh and are relentless in their pursuit.

In all these areas you'll find handy items, you can loot desks, toolboxes, filing cabinets, bodies, find recorded transcripts which you can play back through your Pip Boy, keys (one of the best lockpicking mini-games ever means you'll usually prefer to pick locks), and you can use a 'process of elimination' code-cracking system to hack terminals which can turn off deadly turrets or let you reprogram them, open safes, open up new areas for exploring and so on.

Everything from dented tin cans to medical items, motorcycle parts to engineering equipment, weapons, ammo, quest items, search high and low for items to use or sell to traders and you'll never find it all, there's just so much stuff.

Possibly the best thing to find are skillbooks. Everytime you gain a level you can increase stats in a choice of your areas. You have 7 'primary attributes' and 13 'secondary attributes'. Skillbooks boost these secondaries further by either 1 or 2 points depending on your perks, up to a maximum value of 100, as do Bobblehead toys (20 to collect which increase primary attributes by 1 and secondaries by 10, gotta catch 'em all!). There's a real challenge here to try and max out all your stats by the time you hit the level 20 cap, I'm not sure if it's possible but I'm scrambling about for those skillbooks and balancing my points distribution like crazy to see if it can be done.

Everytime you gain 2 levels you get to choose a Perk. Perks allow you to do things like increase a particular stat, raise your combat effectiveness in certain areas, make more skillpoints available each time you level up, and at end-game you get many interesting abilities - a deadly Mysterious Stranger can turn up during VATS to help you out, or you can get the Explorer perk that reveals all primary locations on your map in one go. There are so many perks to choose from that you can never get all of them at once on one character, which leads to replayability and experimentation.

As with Oblivion, Bethesda just can't seem to nail third person, it's handy for looking at the new armor or weapon you just equipped, but for the most part you'll be playing in first person. This isn't really a bad thing, it tends to add a great deal of immersion when you're exploring the cramped tunnels and ruined cities, or opening doors when you're not entirely sure what's on the other side of them, or dropping down through a hole in the floor into what you think is a cleared area but in fact you got your map slightly wrong and fall into a pit of ghouls, first person few can be incredibly spooky for these kinds of activities.

Endgame is further enhanced by Fallout 3's 'party' system. If your karma is high or low or neutral enough there are certain NPCs that will join you on your travels and follow you everywhere (unless you fire them or tell them to stay put). They'll carry items for you to stop you becoming overloaded and you can tweak their combat styles. Currently I've got an 8ft. tall Super Mutant called Fawkes backing me up with a deadly gatling laser although I've heard that there's also a certain dog you can team up with that's particularly effective against humanoids.

On the 360 downsides there are occasional freezing issues reported, I've had maybe 6 in 70 hours but nothing gamebreaking as the autosaves are usually very recent and none of my freezes have impacted on quest progression. I think my freezes are due to overheating as they usually come towards the end of a 7-hour session. Others have reported that thier storage in their player housing has been mysteriously emptied, but this hasn't affected me personally.

Overall, yes, it's Oblivion with guns, but it's a totally different world to play through, much more traditional 'kill stuff to get xp and level up to manage your stats' system and a much, much bigger place to explore. If I could give it 6 or more stars I would, my favourite title this year with the added bonus that my favourite all-time voice actor is in it too (Paul Eiding, probably best known for the 'Colonel' in the Metal Gear Solid series).
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2008
This year has seen the release of many highly anticipated titles such as Gears of War 2, Fable 2, Battlefield: Bad Company, GTA 4, Dead Space and of course; Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2077, but not as you'd expect. Fallout 3 is set in a parallel universe where things are the same up until about the 1950's, which is where it all changed. In the Fallout universe, nuclear war broke out between the east and west and left the earth devastated.

In this post-apocalyptic universe you find yourself in an underground vault shielded from the radiation and key events in your childhood play out before you until your character becomes 16, when your father mysteriously leaves the vault (Vault 101) and you follow after him. This part of the game only lasts about half an hour and serves as a nice tutorial.

Upon exiting Vault 101 Fallout 3 certainly has the "WOW" factor. The plains of a post-nuclear Washington DC are set before you. You will find yourself looking around the local landscape a bit (which is very detailed and fun to explore) and then proceeding the the main quest (to find/save your father) or one of the many deep side quests.

The world in Fallout 3 is an "open-world", this means you can go anywhere and aren't restricted to pathways etc. (except for when in the capital of Washington -which is about 1/10 of the game world- where you are restricted a bit as many streets are blocked by rubble). As far as gameplay is concerned Fallout 3 is amazing, with the option of first or third person viewpoints and the ability to either play it like any other first person shooter or as a combination of first person shooting and use of the VATS system.

The VATS system is hard to explain, but lets say it involves limb-targeting and gory close-ups. Gore in general is not something that Fallout 3 is a stranger to.

To sum up:
Graphics: 9/10 Overall incredible, some minor glitches.
Gameplay: 8/10 Very good in general, lets you use a variety of tactics.
Presentation: 10/10 Whilst bleak, the Fallout Universe is lightened with plenty of dark humour
Lasting Appeal: 9/10 Whilst there is no online play, the single player could last you forever.
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on 4 November 2008
At first it didnt seem the type of game I had expected, but I continued to play and after only 2 or 3 days of casual playing, I became hooked as it came clear that 'Fallout 3' is an excellent game and makes huge strides foward for this genre of game. In the beginning I couldnt get the hang of the combat system but that comes in only a little amount of time.

This is an outstanding game and the freedom of choices you can make within the story really appeals to me. This is the way games should be evolving ... ie. open-ended and the choice of being good, neutral or plain evil. Whilst playing this game you really feel like your wandering through a war ravaged waste land. You get the sense that you and your fellow waste-land population are seriously struggling to survive a very hard way of life.

I cannot recommend this game enough. Best game Ive bought in 2008. I look forward to Fallout 4 .... eventhough Im going to be busy with Fallout 3 for the next couple of months.
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on 1 November 2008
Combine the forbidding dystopian atmosphere of Bioshock with the huge open-ended world of Oblivion and you have Fallout 3, one of the most satisfying games I have ever played.

Right from the beginning you will be amazed at the unique story telling aspects featuring you playing through the protagonist's childhood from baby to late-teens to stepping out of Vault 101, a place where no-one ever enters, and no-one ever leaves. Graphically, the game is stunning. Take one step outside the vault to see a vast, destroyed landscape of Washington D.C. in 2277 and you will appreciate the time and effort that went into making this game unusually beautiful for a post-apocalyptic theme. I have run into very few graphical glitches (the most serious of which was a car whose texture just would not render, no matter how many times I walked past it) which is a rare treat for modern day games. Guns and weaponry look fantastic and move fluently with each shot or swing. Baseball bats in particular look nice, showing off the grainy wooden texture impressively.

Gameplay is just unreal. You can do anything. Either follow the main quest, or don't. It's inevitably up to you whether you whether the protagonist kills a person for bottle caps (the currency of the game) or saves them for fewer caps yet possibly get help later in a quest. The world feels smaller than that of Oblivion, yet still large enough to be able give players near unlimited freedom.

The inclusion of the VATS system is very welcome, allowing you to pause the action for a bit and target an enemy's body part, shooting accurately at a Raider's head, for instance. Whether or not you hit the enemy's head is utterly dependent on your skills with the weapon you're using, your distance from the enemy, the accuracy of the weapon and your Luck rating. The overall success rate is indicated by a percent making VATS incredibly easy to use at the touch of a button. It's limited to Action Points (AP) which I find good, otherwise VATS would be too powerful and would make the game too easy.

Combat is very open ended. They have included pretty much every weapon that could come into your head. From a bog-standard 10mm pistol to a Chinese assault rifle, passing through a sawn off shotgun and ending with flamethrowers, miniguns and a mini nuke launcher, you'll find it hard to choose which one to take with you on a quest (as, like Oblivion, you're limited as to how much you can carry/loot) and that's just firearms. Melee weapons (if you're a more close quarters combatant) are varied in such a way it almost feels like Condemned. You can pick up baseball bats, lead pipes, knives, 2x4 with nails, tyre irons and the list goes on, each having its own personal statistic in terms of strength and condition (yes, your weapons wear out and break over time, including your guns).

The audio is powerful, supported by a very strong voice cast (you'll recognise a fair few voice actors from Oblivion), solid gun-shot audio and satisfying bullet-to-flesh sound. Music is also present, utilising you PIP-BOY 3000 (a device on your arm that tracks everything you need to know - and more) to pick up radio broadcasts from 2 radio stations (I personally whish the selection was larger), Enclave Radio, a never ending loop of presidential speeches with patriotic American marching band music, to a News Station hosted by Three Dog, a DJ who plays records that sound like they were from the 40's 50's, maybe earlier. Both fit incredibly well with the combat and overall theme, and so I applaud that.

Overall, this is a stunning game. I personally have been waiting for years for a game like this, and it's better than I dared imagine. 10/10, without a doubt, and VERY highly recommended.
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on 7 August 2010
Wow. This game is brilliant. I enjoyed it from start to finish. After I completed the normal game, I couldn't resist buying a DLC. I bought Broken Steel. It was by far the best one. But this is a review of the main game so I won't get into Broken Steel, and the other DLCs.
Good points:
I thoroughly enjoyed roaming the wasteland, with my dog, Dogmeat.
The best feeling you get from this is running through the Metros, with an army of Ghouls chasing you. You're running out of ammo, and you can hear the Ghouls shrieking behind you. And you are genuinely frighened, because the brilliant music sucks you in.
I loved the karma aspect of the game. Because you can get known as an evil sod, or basicly Jesus.
And I also loved the companions.
The main story was intense. I loved it. It's starts with you as a kid in 'Vault 101'. 'Vault 101' along with other Vaults, were cities underground which the goverment built before the nuclear war. And you often see posters saying 'Reserve your spot today!'. But when you grow up, your dad flees the vault. And you escape after him. Thats the main story of the game. But I cannot tell you what happens at the end, because that is only the outcome of my game and there can be loads more outcomes. Which tells you how vast this game is. And how anything can happen.
I like the survival(ness) area of it.
Bad points:
It's not really a shooter, you find yourself hiding when you've used up your 'AP'. Waiting for your A.P to recharge again. AP is used for V.A.T.S. V.A.T.S is basicly a huge advantage over your opponent. You slow down time to pick an area of there body to try and hit.
I can't think of much more. It's that good! A must buy for anyone!
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on 17 November 2008
When I first started this game, I was amazed by the graphics and the combat style. VAT's is just great fun, especially when you get a few levels higher and have skills to blow people in to shreds. Okay, a bit gruesome, but still it's part of the game.

The main quest line is slightly short, but you can easily crank out 30-40 hours playing this game, which for me is a decent amount. The problem with these 30-40 hours is that quite a lot of it you will be wondering around a huge map, trying to work out how to get past rubble. Once you get all the way points on your map, its a lot more fun because there is less walking involved.

Some of the quests can be slightly confusing, with not much explaining of what your supposed to do, so exploring is in order and a bit of patience is needed sometimes. Other than that the game is awesome.
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on 4 February 2009
Many people compare this game to Oblivion.. Well, I've never played Oblivion so wont be commenting.

From various of my mates comments on LIVE whilst i was playing, they have been saying that Fallout 3 is like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. i found out that the gamers with more patience to get into a huge open game like Fallout 3 went through to the end of the main quest and loved it. where as the gamers who liked to get straight into things and looked at games.. less logically i suppose, got lost and bored with the tiny details. However, it's these minute details which i think makes a game, especially single player and being an RPG, what it is.

The achievements take a while to get but almost all are achievable giving a steady rise to your gamerscore. This is a game where a high GScore sends out a message of hardcore gamer.

If you've played it around a friends and watched them massacre an unsuspected town bring backed up by their dog called dogmeat and a huge friendly supermutant with a Laser Gatling Gun thing, you probably wont be in the same situation as them in your playthrough. Everyone plays Fallout 3 a little differently with many different ways to complete the same quest. For instance there is a town which worships a huge bomb in its center. Me and of my mates all had different outcomes.
1. I chose to deactivate the bomb and was rewarded with a house :)
2. My mate got paid by some guy to detonate the bomb.. he told the sheriff of this trouble maker and watched as the sheriff tried to arrest the evil dude but lost. so my mate robbed the sheriffs dead body and continued with the main quest.
3. Dave, for some reason thought it would be funny to detonate the bomb with the promise of a payment at the end.. however, he shot the guy who could have paid him and watched him bleed BEFORE getting his payment. Dave didnt get a house and lost an entire town from his actions!

There was recently some DLC (downloadable content) to purchase for 800 Microsoft Points Xbox LIVE 2100 Points Card (Xbox 360) which is called "Operation: Anchorage". this isn't too long but is worth buying. it sets you in a high tech virtual reality realm (as seen in the main quest of the core game) of the past showing some of the time before the nuclear fallout. The Sword you get from the quest is immense, also some cool winter bortherhood power armour :D

I would say BUY! Cheaper now than when i got it too you lucky people.
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on 2 December 2008
Fallout 3 is a triumph why? There are many reasons and the first is the story.Right from the beginning you are given the choice to select your characters Race, appearance and name. Then after an initial opening meeting other vault Dwellers and your father voiced by Liam Neeson. You emerge into the hellish Landscape of capital wasteland.

The combat system used is called V.A.T.S and allows for various ways of disposing of enemies. It also allows for some unique and gory kills, hence the 18 cert and enemies can be killed with a shotgun blast at close range or laser fire at long range. Or you can place mines Or throw grenades giving the game a strategy in how the player chooses to dispose of Attackers.

Main story quest involves the search for your father, but I stress this game is total freedom you can do what you want. Explore the land take side quests, kill good people and receive bad karma or get good karma for freeing captives. This is what I Liked about it. This game gives the player moral choices, do you treat ghouls the Same as other humans for example.

To some this game can seem to be an acquired taste and
criticism saying its boring with little action is unfounded. You cant walk in any direction for more than 2 mins without being attacked by scorpions, mutants raiders etc. And the inclusion of companions especially the dog is genius if you can find it. Although having companions fight with you will mean they may take away some exp points by killing enemies which is the disadvantage.

Graphically it looks fabulous the landscape is desolate with ruined buildings smashed Bridges radiated rivers and warring bands of slavers ghouls and raiders. Audio is ok but the songs do begin to grate after a while especially DJ 3 dog who keeps everyone Informed of your developments. Their is no one way to play this game how you play it is up to you. I can't recommend it enough excellent graphics, great story characters And deep moral choices for the player.
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on 3 December 2008
When I bought Oblivion I was single, jobless and penniless. I had never really played an RPG before and i wanted to get into games design. Oblivion was so life-afirmingly good that i played it obsessively! 15 hours a day easy, I fell in love with the characters i loved the game play and the story was awesome, but i think it was the freedom to do anything i wanted that i preffered the most. And sucked me in, it was very immersive. They've made it easier to jump around things too, no invisible collision walls or boring, linear, one directional maps. The metro system for example is like a rabbit warren! lovely.

Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns. But that my friends is not a bad thing at all. Its a brash statement anyway, its not Oblivion, its in a post-apocalyptic world where you have to survive. There is no enphasis on building powers or anything, instead gameplay has moved the other way and everything you do is aimed at your staying alive. Whcih at first glance maybe doesnt sound exciting, but exploring becomes an obsession. you want your character to survive because you care about her (I always go girls in games for some reason!)

The animation is much better so you can wuite happily run about in 3rd person view without feeling like you're controlling something animated by chimps. I'm an animator and that was one of Oblivions biggest let downs..was how crap it looked when you jumped. There's still a slight element of that in Fallout but its been cleaned up alot.

There really is just so much to talk about. I got the hospital last night, i was playing at about 2 in the morning and it is so atmospheric its scary. It beats games like Condemned down with a stick, and Condemed's knack at scaring the bejesus out of you is unrivalled. Apart from begin atmospheric it is devestatingly beautiful. The textures are rich and lovely and the environment design is beautiful. You will often find yourself just standing... *sigh* :)

You need this in your life. although admittedly you might want to think about moving in by yourself or losing the girlfriend. I've had it for 3 days and already notched up 16 hours.
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on 12 November 2008
I'll try to keep this short and without spoilers.
Ok so i played the game first of as a MASSIVE Fallout 1 & 2 and Tactics fan.
Now when playing Fallout 3 around the first 2 hours i felt very empty and didn't like the game ATALL i was actually pretty angry but like alot of people here say, something clicked and i ended up playing for the next 9 hours!
The story is good one major problem i have is the end-game, when the main story is over then thats it! So play the game fully before you finish the main story you can't carry on playing like in Fallout 2.
Another problem for me is that your actions over the course of the game won't effect the ending except from afew tiny points. (i won't say)
But in Fallout 1 and 2 if you don't help certain people or help certain people then the ending video will change to suit your actions.
In Fallout 3 this does not happen! It seems as if abit of lazyness settled in and when producing the end video they would only change the wording slightly depending on what you do.
But don't get me wrong this does not effect the enjoyment of the game just a die hard Fallout fan will notice that doing the right or wrong thing won't effect the game in a major way except what Three dog may say about you on the radio.
Awesome and something that lives upto Fallout 1 and 2.
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