Let’s start with Gamersglobal interviewing Pete Hines:
GamersGlobal: Pete, at E3, Fallout 3 seemed to be rather easy to play by due to the V.A.T.S. mode. By queuing up all those headshots or shots into the legs, I could win nearly all fights very easily. I was playing in normal difficulty, by the way. Is this something you’re going to tweak? Or do you want to have it so easy in the beginning?
Pete Hines: For the most part the stuff that you find in the beginning should be fairly easy for you to deal with. We certainly don’t want it to be like you come out of the vault and start fighting and keep dying. So the enemies you face in that part of the world, will not be that difficult to deal with for someone who just turned level 2. As you go out in the world, you definitely find tougher enemies, folks that are bigger and a tougher challenge.
GamersGlobal: Was the E3 version “simplified”, e.g. by making the hero’s character more powerful than he would be in the finished game at that early stage? Or was every V.A.T.S. hit in the E3 version a critical hit?
Pete Hines: It was simplified in terms of giving you the highest stats for the weapons you start off with. Every V.A.T.S. hit in the E3 version was not a critical hit. Far from it. It’s random, so some folks may see more or less of it when they play for any period of time.
GamersGlobal: Will V.A.T.S. head shots be always fatal, if they hit?
Pete Hines: No. There is an amount of damage it will do to the limb, and an amount it does to the enemy’s overall health. In the easier creatures you would have faced early on, they don’t have much health so they die easier. As you explore out and fight tougher creatures, you find that you can cripple one or more body parts before you can kill the enemy.
Now for the IGN impressions:
The raider encounter was interesting because it showed how it’s possible to stumble into an area of the game that you are simply not quite ready to tackle yet. That’s a departure from Bethesda’s fantasy RPGs; those games scaled the difficulty to your experience level, so the game always feels “just right” and you can never get into too much trouble. These raiders were armed with sniper rifles and worse, and while I managed to kill three or four, they still managed to cut me down.
This is my second or third time to play around with the turn-based VATS combat system, and I’m now really feeling comfortable with it. It also helps that they’ve done a lot to polish the system. You have an action point meter that’s usually full when you enter combat; hitting the right bumper pauses the game and kicks you into the turn-based targeting system. Since this was a demo and I was never going to see this character ever again, I dumped all my points into small guns skills, which made me especially lethal with pistols, hunting rifles, and assault rifles. This let me target the heads of my opponents with a decent chance of hitting. If you have a full meter, you can queue about four pistol shots or three rifle shots up. Then hit the execute button and watch how the combat unfolds.
I’m an old school fan of the Fallout series, and the one thing I will always remember is the over-the-top level of violence in those games. I’m glad to say that Fallout 3 made me chortle and laugh and gasp as I saw gunfire blow heads apart or even saw heads off of bodies. Blood doesn’t just squirt; it fountains out of severed arteries. It’s graphic, and gratuitous, and thoroughly awesome.
Now you should be getting enthused about the Nuclear Airstream too. Turns out that Bethesda plans to donate the amazing piece of schwag to Child’s Play following the launch of the game. Can you imagine winning this bad boy and parking it in your front yard for late night gaming sessions. The whole thing, I’m told, even runs on electricity.
Spotted the rest at the excelent NMA PAX coverage.