Fallout 3 was a truly brilliant and original game when it came out in 2008, no wait that isn’t right… Fallout was a truly original game when it came out in 1997, no wait that isn’t right either. Wasteland was a truly unique game when it came out in 1988. So this really proves once and for all that if you can’t come up with a good idea of your own, you can always rip someone else’s off and pass it off as yours. In the case of Fallout 3 though, there was no ripping off (so long as you don’t ask the people at Black Isle Studios). The licence was bought and paid for (possibly in blood) and Bethesda could do what ever the hell they liked with it.
And so they did. You begin by playing through your birth and deciding how you will look as an adult. Then, as you grow up, your father played by Liam Neeson tells you all about how miserable life is outside and how your mum died giving birth to you. It’s a wonder you don’t have to play through your teenage years in counselling with all the poor childhood moments. It’s nice to know that your dad is voiced by someone so interesting, but it’s less interesting when out of the blue he ups and fucks off without so much as a good bye, thus setting in motion a journey of self discovery as you go search the Capital Wasteland for him. Nah I’m kidding. It’s a journey to kill people and be a dick. Well it was for me anyway.
Fallout has a wonderful system called Karma that basically works on a scale of doing good or evil, so the more evil you are the more people will be wary of you and the nicer you are the more they will try to walk all over you. Well I’m not a doormat and this is a harsh new world. So when I was offered a swanky apartment and a few bottle caps to Nuke a town and kill its inhabitants, I didn’t have to think twice. A few hours walking and I was sat on a balcony looking out at the mushroom cloud that was once Megaton. Occasionally a survivor will come and hassle me but I always remind them which end of my pistol is deadly and shoot their head off.
What I’m saying is, in video games it’s fun to be a dick but Fallout has thought ahead of this. If you’re a total knob the game starts to get back at you, missions get locked off and people won’t sell you stuff. Touché Fallout, touché. So I started to be a bit nicer to people. I purified some water and fought alongside the brotherhood, but much like the Germans I never shook off my genocidal earlier adventures. Discussing the plot is a bit difficult because with a few exceptions it will be different for everyone.
Like I said earlier, the game is by Bethesda so it’s expectant that the game is massive. But with this comes some problems. It’s really easy to get lost from the main plot with a detour or two which means that when you do pick the plot back up you can be rather lost with what the hell is actually going on. Also being too gung-ho can be disadvantageous if you accidentally kill a character who will be needed later. Once you’re 40 hours into a game who can really be bothered to go back and start again? I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the game’s glitches, which again is to be expected of Bethesda, but it’s not as bad as you may think. I only came across two real problems: there was an entire game area I couldn’t access without the whole thing freezing up and a Deathclaw who was walking on water.
The game does an excellent job of building up the atmosphere but unfortunately this is somewhat to its detriment. Five or six hours in I stood atop a mountain with literally the whole world before me and as far as the eye could see everything was rubble, radiation and death and it hit me, the only thing to do is kill myself, survival is pointless. That may come off as depressing but that’s the point. The game is thoroughly depressing and the upbeat 40s/50s soundtrack just adds to the depression somehow. The game misses the flair that the originals had and its definitely lacking in humour. I won’t go out and say that I love this game but it is definitely not without its charms.
Enjoy at your own risk but don’t come crying to me when you’re taking Prozac like smarties and listening to Emo music with the lights out.
Next week The Walking Dead.