Fallout 3, easily one of the best games of the previous generation was most definitely one of my favourites. Arriving on to Xbox 360, PC and PS3 almost five-and-a-half years ago makes me feel weirdly old. Either way, we cannot deny that this game revolutionised games on the Xbox 360, the way Bethesda was recognised in the industry and that it no doubt reinvigorated the gaming industry’s interest in the post-apocalyptic.
Following suit from the previous two games, once again we arrive in post-Nuclear war America, instead this time, the action is set in the ruins of Washington DC or ‘The Wasteland’ as it’s coined in-game. Once again we see new creators Bethesda take the retro-future spin on things, with an excellently executed 1950s aesthetic.
Following the exploits of The Lone Wanderer from birth to adulthood, to venturing out of the safety of Vault 101 (vaults being the places people went to escape nuclear fire) to find his father. The numerous interesting and diverse characters you meet along the way of this journey such as the fantastically quirky ‘Three Dog’ and the badass ‘Sarah Lyons’ of the technologically advanced ‘Brotherhood of Steel’.
The grey, brown and green colour scheme creates a wonderfully dreary environment, devoid of life and sometimes deceptively neutral – danger lurks at every turn. But, never fear, for ‘V.A.T.S’ is here- a gameplay mechanic that allows the freezing of time for pinpoint accuracy and optimisation of lethality.
The sheer variety in this game is staggering. The weapons, the perks, the clothing, the quests, hours upon hours of unique Western-RPG awaits you. And this was only added to with the addition of DLC: Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta, to be exact. These DLC’s consequently led me to pour several hundred hours of my life into several characters because I simply could not resist repeatedly restarting and exploring ‘The Wasteland’ in new ways.
Nothing will stick in my memory of gaming more than carefully tiptoeing across ‘Old Olney’ in fear of the immensely dangerous ‘Deathclaws’ and their ability to tear my character to shreds in five seconds.
Not only this but the immense wit Bethesda put into the game made the game hilarious at times. Be it the vulgarity of the raiders, the ludicrous nature of certain side quests (I’m looking at you, The Nuka-Cola Challenge) or even the knowing references to popular culture such as nods to Mad Max and Dirty Harry, even the slightly buggy nature of its programming led to hilarious moments.
The varied and eccentric companions such as ‘Dogmeat’, your own pet in the wastes and ‘Fawkes’, the soft-souled yet lethal super mutant all add wonderful elements to the game’s character and gameplay.
This is not to mention the story. A sweeping, dynamic story that would have ramifications for all of the unique characters you meet on your journey. Liam Neeson lending his voice as your father, the introduction of the ominous ‘Enclave’ and the amazing climax of the activation of ‘Liberty Prime’- all well known to anyone who has played the game but excellent things to look forward to for those who haven’t.
This all culminated in one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever witnessed. I got completely immersed in a world that was simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. Bethesda showed the advance nature of its Gamebryo engine from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as well its ability to utilise its own technology to create radically different games.
This game revolutionised the way I looked at games. Yes it may have stolen many hours from my life but if you haven’t experienced any of the Fallout series this would be the perfect modern starting point; and if you just want to start a new game, the awesome nature of this game will be the greatest value for money I could ever think of.