Fallout 3 Pre-Review

CanardPC got a chance to print a review for Fallout 3 in this month’s issue but refused out of anger with the circumstances Bethesda set up.

This article is not a test. Just an “introduction for things to come”. Why? Because the conditions under which I had to play this “RPG” were not acceptable: sixteen hours in a row in a luxurious hotel on an almost finished build, Bethesda asking to see my screenshots in order to “approve” them…These factors, going from obnoxious to truly scandalous would have made my review biased or even dishonest. Well, I mean a little more dishonest than what I usually do. But have no fear, even though I was deprived of my screenshots, I’m not deprived from my opinion. Condolences: Fallout 3 is a sluggish device, soulless, not exactly terrible, actually almost enjoyable, but totally forgettable because of uncountable dishonest compromises.

Their definite review will come out when the game is out in Europe, but NMA has bits from their pre-review. Though this is not their final verdict, it’s already clear they really, really hate it.

The second element that makes me think that Fallout 3 is condemned to mediocrity, as a Fallout episode but also as a RPG, is the total lack of coherence between all the elements of gameplay. Just an example. Pretty soon, you’ll discover that the game has more to do with a doll’s house than with roleplaying: you spend your time picking up clothes or armor parts that, *magic trick*, influence your skills. Pick up a surgeon overall, gain five Medicine points. Wear a camping suit, your agility is increased. All of a sudden, the building of a “role” – a specialized but unique and believable character, exactly what made the core of Black Isle’s RPGs – is blown away. You just have to spend your caps on weapons, but even that is not necessary…For the rest, everybody who thinks for at least thirty seconds can make a multivalent character. One just needs the appropriate clothes, drugs to suddenly turn into a pyrotechnician, scientist, or burglar.
On the other hand, don’t expect to be able to convince anybody that originally does not like you. NPC reactions are determined by your Karma and even a professional liar won’t be able to convince someone who does not like him to become his partner. But have no fear: you can change your reputation just like you can switch clothes. You’re too good to obtain what you wish? Steal, kill generic NPCs (those with no name) and here you are: the incarnation of evil! But don’t worry: after three days, people forget about your deeds and you are forgiven.

Your karma is too low for a particular quest? Just kill bad guys and give water to hobos (it comes for free if you have your own house) and there you go: holier than saints. Where the first Fallout episodes where built around balancing your own desires and deciding what sacrifices you were ready to do in order to fulfil them, Bethesda sweeps this and allows you to switch styles at will. Nothing is important any more, everything becomes relative. Everything black. Everything white. No need for grey when redemption and condemnation are made so easy.

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