Fallout 3 Review

GameShark has snuck in with the very first online review of Fallout 3, giving the game quite a bit of praise while also pointing out a few flaws. The final score is “B+” with this conclusion:

There is, however, a bit too much back-and-forth busy work within certain quests that will surely, at some point, test your desire to keep playing. No place is this more evident than the first time you return to the Jefferson Memorial and end up being directed to go back and forth from its rotunda to its sub-basement something on the order of 11 million times. Bethesda also dropped the ball just a bit with quest tracking. Any significant quest you take on shows up on the PIP-Boy 3000 that you use to do everything from managing your character’s health and inventory to tracking your location in the world. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of little side quests that aren’t tracked anywhere and if you don’t do them as soon as they come up, you risk forgetting about them altogether.

Finally, there’s the issue of how successfully Bethesda has adapted a game for the PC that was designed primarily with consoles in mind. A lot of gamers were unhappy that Oblivion played a bit too much like a console game on the PC. While Bethesda didn’t appear to go out of its way to adapt the interface for PC use, it technically gets the job done. Most input is handled via the standard combination of mouse and WASD keys, but the game does have Windows Live integration built in, meaning you can use an Xbox 360 controller hooked up to your PC to control the game. The only place that seems an oversight is the lack of hotkeys for accessing the Pip-boy’s specific functions. There’s only one key you can use to access it and it always returns to the display you had most recently accessed. It would’ve been nice had Bethesda allowed you to use the keyboard to go directly to specific Pip-boy screens, like quest notes or the world map. The game suffered a few random Desktop crashes, too, but as long as you save often you should be fine.

Given all this, is Fallout 3 worth playing on the PC? Clearly the answer is yes whether you’re a fan of the first two games, a fan of Bethesda’s past work, or a fan of other PC RPG-shooters with a story, like Deus Ex and BioShock. Don’t let the fact that there are undeniable problems with the plotting and some of the game mechanics sway you. This is a good game. It’s a really good game. It’s only failing is that it has a mark of greatness upon it and, ever so cruelly, fails to completely achieve it.

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