Fallout 3 Reviews

I hope you’re holding your breath for this one because it’s going to take a while, the floodgates being full open and Fallout 3 reviews streaming in. GamePlayer 9.5/10.

For example; rather than looting treasure from caved dungeons filled with murderous trolls, you’re now scavenging for scrap metal and water from subways filled with cannibalistic super mutants. Rather than chatting about virtuous quests with noble knights and chaste village maidens, you’re now haggling for a discount with the Bartertown prostitute or telling your arch enemies to go fuck themselves. Rather than elegantly swinging a sword at miscreants and firing arrows at a pesky rogue, you’re belting the pus out of giant radioactive scorpions with a sledgehammer and messing up some punk’s hairdo with a .44 magnum to the face. Needless to say, this is all quite different to what we’ve previously seen from Bethesda, but it works.

Make no mistake, Fallout 3 stays true to the edgy source material – and if you thought the dismemberment in Brothers in Arms was vicious, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. It’s so deliciously gory in fact, that it is quite possible that the turn-based haters out there will come on over to the dark side, just to watch enemies get shredded into chunky kibbles.

Gamer.no 9/10 (snippet courtesy of NMA).

This is not the first time Bethesda delivers a phenomenal RPG. What is truly admirable is how they have managed to capture the atmosphere and feeling of the original Fallout games. They have done the impossible by creating a sequel to some of the most recognized games in gaming history and still land on their feet. Yes, Fallout 2 may have been deeper and more strategically demanding, but Fallout 3 sucks you in and really holds you there. The sum of story, challenge, graphics and audio equals a fantastic atmosphere. This just has to be experienced. Be prepared for blood, tears, deceit, proud moments, defeats, bitter power struggles and innocent victims. Because war, war never changes.

Kikizo 9/10.

Whilst Fallout 3 does suffer the same failings as Oblivion, and one can’t help but think these could have been improved upon, it’s easily forgiven when Oblivion was such a outstanding game to begin with. It brings with it the same awesome scope; the 30 hour or so main quest really is nothing compared to what the side quests and exploration have to offer. Every player who creates a character will find their own playing style and perks to carve a niche into the Super Mutant Behemoth’s forehead. It is a game which successfully replaces fantasy for science fiction, managing to create a dissonant yet familiar and completely immersive world.

GamingExcellence 9.5/10.

One of the most talked about features in Fallout 3 is V.A.T.S. – the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, and it’s slick. During combat, V.A.T.S .allows you to freeze frame the action, and enter a targeting mode to queue up attacks on your foes. Given a certain number of action points, you’re provided hit percentages on different parts of their body, and once activated the game enters a slow-motion cinematic perspective that shows the debilitating hits in gruesome detail. If you enjoy gore and lots of it – this is where you’ll really have some fun. Once consumed, the action points will slowly replenish themselves. As such, V.A.T.S. really needs to be used sparingly to be most effective. Outside of V.A.T.S., the real-time combat system is solid, albeit less predictable in terms of damage delivered. Third-person combat is a bit of a mess, and the game does offer a few cheap tactics (like the ability to run backwards at full speed), but all in all the combat system works. Besides, you’ll never get tired of watching Super Mutants explode into a bloody pile of guts.

GameFocus 9.8/10.

Some gamers might say Fallout 3 is The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion with big booming guns and they will not exactly be wrong. The game feels like Oblivion in many ways, but it is so much more then just switching off swords for shotguns. It actually has some interesting gameplay additions which take it above and beyond the last Elder Scrolls game.

GamePlasma 9.8/10.

The only way to describe Fallout 3’s graphics is (jaw-dropping.) There are moments where you will find yourself completely infatuated with the terrain, detailed buildings and creatures. Seeing the Potomac Bridge in ruins or walking through Georgetown was a treat and was created in, what appears to be, painstaking detail. Every graphical element in Fallout 3 helps create the feeling that you are actually in a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. and you must be weary of what lurks in the dark corners of the wastelands.

Cheat Code Central 4/5.

Outside of the fully realized, detailed world, the game’s presentation suffers from an outdated engine: Gamebryo. The resolution is crisp and the landscapes are impressive; however, the unrealistic ragdoll physics during the V.A.T.S. animations, flat and generic textures, repetitive environments, and poor, emotionless facial expressions combine to make the visual experience decidedly less than stellar. The background music, radio function, and sound effects are all nicely captured, but the star-studded voice acting is fairly grating; the silly comments made during fights and the consistently inane conversations detract from the overall sense of accomplishment.


Now, if I was looking for a reason to dock percentage points from a great game, I could pick out some flaws in Fallout 3. The stiff character animations that often lead to embarrassing mid-hallway collisions. The repetitious dungeons, in the form of the ghoul-infested metro tunnels.

But despite its flaws, the game more often surprised me with its polish. Every time I tried to creatively “break” Fallout 3, it defied me. When I jumped into a slave pen from above, trapping myself inside, a guard was triggered that opened the door from the outside before attacking me. When a quest took me deep into a dungeon, and then left me wandering all the way back out after completing it, the game interjected with a scripted sequence that whisked me off to another location–one of, if not the only time this happens in the game.

GamingTrend 9/10.

First person shooters are routinely the strength of the PC platform. There is no substitution for the mouse and keyboard interface, but as controllers have gotten more accurate, this advantage gap has certainly lessened. Fallout 3, at its base, looks like a first person shooter, but it really isn’t as simple as that. The turn based nature of the Fallout series meant that Bethesda Softworks had to build some sort of turn based system or they could lose the entirety of the old school Fallout fans. To that end, they have integrated something called the Vault Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. for short. The V.A.T.S. system is essentially the body part targeting system present in the previous titles, with a few differences. No longer can you target the groin or eyes, so you won’t be able to complete the entire game using eye shots and the BB gun. There are often specialized areas such as the combat inhibitor on robots, or the antennae on giant ants, but the face is your primary target for the vast majority of the game. When you start creating your own ambushes using landmines, you might switch that up to tear off the legs of your incoming enemies. I can certainly say that the V.A.T.S. system is not a get out jail free card, and once you start engaging multiple enemies you’ll find out why. You can split your attacks between multiple opponents, or different body parts, but once those action points are used, you’ll have to wait until they regenerate over time. You can use items to instantly regenerate your AP, but many of them have negative effects including radiation, or worse yet, addiction.


VATS has two problems. The first is that its stats-based nature makes it quite possible to miss with a point-blank shotgun blast, which looks faintly ridiculous. The second is that your Action Points quickly run out after a few shots. You are therefore forced to use the real-time shooting while they recharge, which is twitchy, inaccurate, and subject to the same stats-crunching as the VATS percentages. Missing when you see the aiming reticule directly over an enemy’s head is even more annoying than a nailed-on 95% VATS flub. Unfortunately, as soon as Bethesda decided that real-time shooting was in, it chose to go up against the likes of Call of Duty and Halo, and Fallout 3’s attempt at FPS combat is markedly inferior.

The Escapist.

Bottom Line:After the apocalypse, only the strong will survive. Fallout 3 gives us a glimpse of whether we’d really want to. It is, by turns, hilarious, enthralling, and downright terrifying. And it’s easily one of the best games I’ve played all year.

Recommendation: If you like role-playing games, the post-apocalyptic genre or both, then this game is a must-own. For those unfamiliar with either, I can’t recommend it. It’s far more user-friendly than the originals, but still not for casual players.


The audio aspect of Fallout 3 is a bit mixed. The actual sound work is fine and lends some rather impressive atmosphere to a few areas. As for the voice acting, some of the actors are fine, but others are heartless and awful. Thankfully, the important voices tend to be quite good, with noted actor Liam Neeson headlining the bunch as your character’s father. The use of music is really quite interesting, with many of the ’50s-style throwback tunes emanating from portable radios or other music sources. You can even use your Pipboy 3000 as a radio to listen to the various ham radio stations being broadcast around the wasteland.

Xbox World 360 9.3/10.

To arms then. For starters, Fallout 3’s Capital Wasteland is a considerably smaller, albeit denser, environment than Cyrodiil. As for the main quest itself, we’re talking proper short – in head-down slogging mode we caned it within a paltry nine hours. It gets worse – unlike Oblivion, once finished the game ENDS FOR GOOD – a real step backwards in our humble opinion. Worse still, it’s not until the closing stages that you’re really gripped by the seismic events overtaking DC. We know perfectly well that that’s not the way you’re meant to play the game, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t ever so slightly disappointed. Worse still, we’re totally mystified as to the complete lack of any guild-style quests in the game – especially when the various factions (Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, Raiders, Slavers) surely offered every bit as much questing potential as Cyrodiil’s Thieves, Mages and Fighters’ guilds.


Considering my satisfaction with the new combat and beautifully detailed wasteland, imagine my surprise to find that (despite a completely ingenious opening half-hour) the first few hours of the post-apocalyptic adventure left me just the slightest bit cold.

It’s not a result, as you may suspect, of trying to stretch the Fallout skin over the Oblivion skeleton. By lifting some of Fallout’s core systems and aesthetic cues, this current-gen entry does an admirable job of capturing the spirit of the series. Honestly, if you’re still wishing for an isometric, third-person view by the end, you’re just being contrary.

No, the problems didn’t come in the merging of setting and engine, they’re the problems that Oblivion already had and the baggage that Fallout 3 is still saddled with.

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