Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fallout 3 Impressions

I took a celebratory day off yesterday, and between going out for Korean food and helping hang some curtains, I got in some pretty solid Fallout time... all in President Elect Obama's honor, you understand.

I have to admit, that much like Bill Harris, the game wasn't quite clicking for me a first... though for me, I was overwhelmed by the openness. It's been so long since I played an RPG that wasn't on rails that it was almost frustrating to have so many options. It felt like I actually had been locked down in Vault 101 my whole life and then thrust out into the wide world. After I finished a quest or two, however, I started to get into a groove and really enjoy that I had so many different things I could do. The world is amazingly detailed... and sort of bizarrely beautiful in a post apocalyptic way(if that makes any sense). The radio is fantastic, and is probably the most surprisingly enjoyable aspect of my gaming experience so far... surprising, because I don't normally even notice music in games... and enjoyable because there is just something surreal about humming along to Billie Holiday as you blast the heads off of mutated fire breathing ants. But maybe that's just me.

The V.A.T.S. combat system is... interesting, but I'm not quite ready to render a verdict. The basic mechanic, for those not familiar, is that instead of being a straight up run and gun shooter like Call of Duty or something... you can pause the game and queue up shots to various body parts that get executed after you unpause. Based on your ability scores and what kind of weapon you are using, you get to line up 3 or 4 shots when your "action point bar" is full... after those points are used your bar will slowly regenerate, but you're pretty much stuck playing a gimped shooter until they come back. The slow motion cinematic aspect of firing three bursts from your assault rifle into a raider are pretty neat (though as reviews have noted, sometimes the camera gives you a boring view of the action) but I wonder if it will get old 30 hours in? I plan on picking up the "Bloody Mess" perk, so maybe that will keep it interesting... and I certainly can't deny that I've been caught laughing evilly as decapitate peeps with a surprise snipe from the shadows. Difficulty wise the combat has been fairly easy, but I have been outmatched by multiple foes and it is very early yet.

One of the other things I like about the game so far is how it stirs my pack rat tendencies... I've probably spent half the game encumbered and moving at half speed because I can't bear to leave behind a broken vacuum cleaner... what good is a broken vacuum cleaner? I don't know, but it's gotta be good for something, right? Right!?

Anyway... that's all I have for now.

photo by flickr user Leeks used under a Creative Commons license

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