Fallout 3 E3 Previews

Another set of Fallout 3 hands-on previews has surfaced from E3. FileFront.

Well I have good and bad news for Fallout fans. Fallout 3 makes the transition well but only if you’re a fan of the Oblivion style of gaming (which I most definitely am). Controlling the character, implementing stat points and choosing perks using the Pip boy interface were all simple and intuitive.

Unlike Oblivion, Fallout 3 does not rely on a clunky interface. There is inventory management but its reminiscent of the older Fallout’s turn based grid with a few modern updates. The change of setting – from a medieval combat system to a modern gun-slinging wasteland works well also. I demo’d the game on the 360 and the title showed the same visual finesse of Bethesda’s earlier game. Those who found fault with the dialog interface or camera system of that title will find it virtually unchanged.

I spent a good deal of time navigating and interacting with NPCs. Dialog choices that could be influenced by skills were set apart – including the percentage chance of success, though the actual (roll) was hidden it was obvious when you succeeded or failed. This little tweak felt like a good reflection of the classic games and the content of the dialog also followed a more adult, humorous bent in the area of Megaton.


I had to hurry up and get to town if I wanted to see any of the game’s dialog within my allotted time, so I hightailed it to Megaton and visited with some NPCs. The system looks similar to the Elder Scrolls and old Fallout games, with many options in the tree and the ability to use your character’s skills to your advantage. There is nothing terribly revolutionary here, but it definitely looks like players will be able to cultivate the character personality of their choice using the appropriate dialog selections.

Character customization plays an important roll in Fallout 3. Fans of previous Fallout games will be happy to learn that the game retains many of the specific design elements of earlier titles in that area. Each character will have the familiar basic statistics of strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck, as well as a long list of skills that can be leveled up independently in order to shape the individual play style of each character. From energy weapons, small guns, melee combat, and explosives to science, sneak, speech, and medicine, there are plenty of skills that players can focus on. Lastly, perks are back. They grant players bonuses to certain skills or provide other benefits like faster leveling or increased damage to certain types of enemies.

Joystiq has a short QA about the Survival Edition in anticipation of their hands-on.

Q: Like something you would snap onto your wrist?

We talked about it being a modified controller. Instead of having to pull it up in the screen, it had a screen that you could just pull up and [screen button punching noises]. Then we talked about a snap-in on the PS3 that would work the PSP. You could just snap your PSP into it and talk to your screen. It just became too crazy. “This thing is gonna cost $500! Another screen? How does it work on the platforms?” It was just too much for us to bite off.


Fallout 3 uses the previous titles’ SPECIAL attribute system. We had access to a small spattering of perks as our level 2 selves, which ranged from increased ability with numerous types of ranged weapons to the ability to have extra dialogue options with people of the female persuasion. While we didn’t have access to a great deal of the dialogue with the perk or otherwise, Bethesda promises that the game’s choices will be beefy and will actually matter to the player. In addition, choices the player makes aren’t limited to dialogue options. When I killed the sheriff of Megaton and stole his cowboy hat, the citizens of the city were none too happy with me and began to mob me. I had to flee the city and I lost access to the quests in the city. On the up side, however, I had a cowboy hat.


The coolest thing about Fallout 3 without question is the ability to zoom in and scan your intended target before you start shooting. If you tap R1, your camera will zoom straight to the nearest target on screen. If you’d like the target to the left or right, you simply tap left or right with your analog and it’ll sail across to the next available option. Once you’ve finally found the enemy you’re looking for, you’ll be able to see what percentage you have of hitting a certain section of its body. Depending on how probable the percentage it, you’ll choose which part to fire at and how many shots you’d like to take (from a maximum of four). At this point, you’ll click X and the game will move into a slow bullet-time like state where you can watch your shot float majestically through the air into its intended target.

Yes, this looks as cool as it sounds. I actually shot the head off of a giant ant from a great distance utilizing this tactic. Watching the head explode in a marvel of green ooze was beyond stunning and amusing to boot. This small, simple addition ended up working wonders for the game’s presentation and overall enjoyment level.

Finally, Polish website gry-online tried out the game. As per usual, NMA offers snippits and translated bits.

It’s too early to give my final opinion on Fallout 3, but you know my personal feelings. There’s lots of cool little things and solid RPG craft, but… I lost all illusions I had. Fallout is no longer Fallout – it’s a post-nuclear version of Oblivion. For good and bad, as Oblivion is a great game and Bethesda is one of the best RPG developers on the market.”

Ars Technica blog.

By the end of my time I had a sweet gas mask, some spiked armor, and I had taken to wielding a sledge-hammer instead of my gun. I killed all the scavengers inside a very creepy school, got into some extended combat against super-mutants, and was ready to keep playing by the time I was forced to leave. The game play feels solid, the graphics are very impressive, and the whole thing just feels right. While all plot details and spoilers from the loading screens are verboten to discuss, the experience was a grand. This is going to be a very popular game.

Share this article:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments