Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3

An incredibly deep and astonishing game, Fallout 3 gives gamers an excuse to anticipate the apocalypse.

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Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3
  • Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3
  • Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3
  • Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3

Pros

  • Deep character development options, huge open world with tonnes of quests, satisfying combat, dangerously addictive

Cons

  • Poor partner path-finding, many characters share the same voice, third-person view is useless, some perks of questionable value

Bottom Line

The first two Fallout titles are classics in their own right but Fallout 3 might just be the best one yet. Heck, it might just be the best console RPG of all time. It's deep, complex and tremendously addictive. From the amazing character development system to the engaging and satisfying combat, Fallout 3 has everything you could want in an RPG experience. Play this game. Seriously. Do it.

Would you buy this?

There's no way around it: Fallout 3 has a lot to live up to. Many regard the first two games in the series as RPG classics. Those post-apocalyptic treasures shook off the tired constraints of swords-and-sorcery cliches to create free-roaming worlds of postmodern danger and moral consequences. Luckily for fans and newcomers alike, Fallout 3 isn't just a fitting tribute to that legacy, it's one of the most persistently absorbing role-playing worlds ever created.

Sheltered Existence

My own experience begins, just as yours will, in a makeshift birthing chamber in a sealed Vault deep beneath the nuke-blasted ruins of Washington, D.C. I chose a white male (but there are options galore) and tweaked him into a fair approximation of myself using facial dimension sliders and a small library of hair styles. I then leapfrogged through childhood and adolescence, shaping my vital statistics and core skills until I hit the age of nineteen; that's when my Father disappeared into the wastelands and I headed out on his trail.

It's easy to obsess about the decisions you make during your formative years. Do you fancy yourself a beefy brawler or a stealthy marksman? Do you put a little extra into your strength, so you can carry more gear, or boost your intelligence, so you earn more skill points to spend on thirteen core abilities? You can even choose from dozens of special "perks" as you gain levels, like Swift Learner or Gun Nut. However, not long after I set foot on the irradiated soil of the surface it became clear that these are the least of the choices I would face the sprawling and desolate wonderland. Within ten minutes of stepping outside, I'm inspecting the nuclear warhead that rests in the center of the town of Megaton, trying to decide if my character is the kind of guy who would defuse or detonate this dangerous relic.

Choose Your Own Adventure

From the sheer acreage of the world and the astounding level of detail inherent in the environment, you get the impression that Fallout 3 is all about exploration. You can set out to catalogue every inch of this ashen world's crumbling highways and pockmarked monuments, and the variety of horrors and wonders you'll uncover along the way provide plenty of thrills. Whether you're enduring radiation sickness in a flooded city rail station, hacking a defence computer to help clean a derelict museum of green-skinned Super Mutants, or disarming mines while a crazed elderly sniper goes wild in a forgotten and distant suburb, you could write one hell of a personal history without ever talking to another person.

You would, however, miss out on what transforms Fallout 3 from a great game into a bona fide classic. Sure, the people you'll run into seem to have adjusted just a little too well to a world where every glass of water comes with a heaping helping of radiation, and you'll get pretty tired of hearing the same voice come out of dozens of supposedly different people. But the quests these jokers dole out demand that you make some pretty major decisions, and accept the far-reaching consequences that accompanies each and every action. Will you earn good karma points by fighting for android rights and foiling corrupt government goons, or get yourself addicted to drugs and kill indiscriminately? Between the list of branching quests and the deep well of character development options, Fallout 3's replayability is incalculable.

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Read more on these topics: Bethesda Softworks, XBox 360

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