Released on: Xbox 360 (version reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC
Developed By: Bethesda Softworks
Who Also Developed: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, etc.
Published By: Bethesda Softworks
Additional Content: Additional areas/quests and raised level cap for 360 and PC, and soon for the PS3.
Ben’s Progress: Game completed on hard difficulty with bad karma, second playthrough in progress with neutral karma. 49 of 50 achievements earned in base game (non-DLC).
You enjoyed Oblivion and aren’t turned off by the sci-fi setting – despite the change of scenario, you should feel right at home.
You enjoy exploration and freedom of choice in RPGs more than decent writing and story – you can spend days just exploring and filling out the map, but the dialogue is largely forgettable.
You liked what Oblivion was trying to be but didn’t like the generic fantasy setting – Fallout’s world adds huge amounts of personality to the experience.
You enjoyed previous Fallout games and can get past Bethesda’s effort not living up to them – think of it as a reinterpretation, or fan fiction with high production values that doesn’t need to sully the original games.
You value the Fallout world too much to enjoy a version that doesn’t live up to their legacy – and for all it does right, Fallout 3 arguably serves Elder Scrolls fans more than it does Fallout’s.
You didn’t like Oblivion at all – this is a Bethesda console RPG, through and through.
You don’t have a significant amount of time to spend getting the most from the game – anything less than 40 hours is going to mean missing lots of the game, and even 40 hours is a little light to see everything.
Open RPG. Leave the safety of the Vault to explore the ruins of Washington D.C. on a personal quest.
Competently written for the most part with a good variety of quests, often non-linear with multiple approaches. Poor ending (which is changed by DLC).
Standard Bethesda fare. Explore at your own pace, kill and scavenge your way across the Capital Wasteland, carry out each quest to one of their multiple conclusions.
Combat can be approached as a stat-based shooter or employ the V.A.T.S. system to carefully take aim and queue up attacks. Both ways are valid approaches to the game.
Essentially the same as Oblivion, standard first-person RPG controls. A bit menu-heavy at times, but no real problems.
Looks very nice and incorporates most of the style of the previous Fallout games. Lots of time is spent travelling across the empty, brown/grey Wasteland, which can be a bit bland at times.
Character models much better than Oblivion’s.
Generally good. Choice of music on the radio matches the game’s setting, though sometimes feels out of place in combat.
Voice work mostly competent, some performances better than others. Some actors used to voice more characters than is ideal.
Possibly the best game Bethesda have made so far, and certainly better than Oblivion. Fallout’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting adds a lot to the character of the world.
Approaching it as a sci-fi Elder Scrolls makes for a fun RPG with lots of exploration. Approaching it as a first-person Fallout can only disappoint, as it lacks a lot of what makes the previous games so well thought-of among a certain generation of gamers.
Nuke picture: Fallout 3 PlayStation Blog
Other images: Eurogamer