With the close of the current console generation fast approaching, we at the overseas connection are taking time to look back and relive some of those seminal 7th generation experiences. As I look back at the last eight years of gaming, one game stands out among the hundreds that really defined this generation, Fallout 3.
I initially skipped Fallout 3 because I had not played any of the previous Fallout games. After I finished Fable II, a friend offered to trade me Fallout 3 for Fable II as he found Fallout 3 too depressing. Given Fallout 3 was from the developers behind Oblivion, which I enjoyed, I decided to go for it. Ah, trading games….remember when we could trade games? Moving on.
I have always been a fan of turn based combat systems. Both tactical turn-based games like XCOM: UFO Defense and Final Fantasy Tactics, or the more familiar turn-based systems from Final Fantasy games. With the new generation, I started to get more into First Person Shooters. Along comes Fallout 3 with a near perfect blend of First Person Shooting (we’ll ignore the awful third person perspectiv) and turn based combat. The VATS system gave the player the option to use FPS controls or dive into a freeze frame targeting system. The transition between the FPS and the VTS was seamless and the slow motion kill animations just never got old.
As if the shooting crisp shooting and precision targeting weren’t enough, Bethesda laid a brilliant leveling system on top of that allowing the player to choose how they would fight. Many other games that offer multiple fighting styles have balancing issues and ultimately give one or two styles that are really viable if you want to get past the tough enemies. Not in Fallout 3. With some thought, you could make an unarmed fighter every bit as lethal and survivable as a small arms expert. Small guns, energy weapons, explosives, hand-to-hand…pick you poison, every combat style is viable.
But wait, there’s more! A gun that shoots bullets to blasé for you? How about picking up some random junk and hurling it at you foes with the “Rock-It Launcher?”. The game also allowed you to build your own weapons from random parts that could be found in the environment.
All of this sounds great, but the real magic behind Fallout 3 was that the world seemed alive. Remarkably so, considering you were wandering a post nuclear holocaust wasteland. It was quite common to come upon NPCs that were just going about their business and it seemed that they would do so whether you were there or not. While the main quest line was pretty short, you could seemingly never run out of places and quests to discover. In terms of value for your entertainment money, you would be hard pressed to find a better buy than than a copy of Fallout 3. Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe there are some Supermutants lurking in the DC Metro that require may attention..