As the narration hits its stride and a skull and ribcage half-buried in sand appear in Fallout 3’s introduction, I suppress the little voice that’s asking, no, begging me to stand up, stride around Bethesda’s viewing area Poirot-style with my index finger raised in the air before pointing directly at the game’s executive producer and loudly saying: “I put it to you, Todd Howard, that this very scene is taken directly – directly! – from the image you saw when you died in Fallout!”
At this point everyone would have applauded, and Howard would have come down from his control platform and given me a medal for being the biggest, bestest Fallout fan that there ever was. I would then have rolled over to let him tickle my tummy and we’d live forever in a little house on a prairie, where I’d often fetch sticks for him.
Eheh anyway he points some caveats:
Any caveats so far? Well, I’m a huge Fallout fan. You don’t really get much bigger. (Well, you do but I guess I’m the smiling face of an unhappy bunch – one far less susceptible to throwing furniture at the walls or squatting atop my swivel chair, holding my knees, hopping up and down and hooting balefully at the internet.) I was just slightly concerned by the emphasis on spectacle and high-intensity action on show at my sneak-peek’s climax – namely picking up a Fatboy missile launcher and firing miniature nukes at a goliath super-mutant behemoth.
Now, I’m just as aroused at the thought of running through a wrecked Washington DC with the famed Brotherhood of Steel as the next man – but for me, Fallout should be more subtle, almost like a cinematic Western in its approach. Games developers often throw in as much eye candy as humanly possible into their early presentations because they assume games journalists are stupid and only respond to the loudest and most blatant stimuli. And I honestly hope that this is the case here and that, as it was in the earlier games, the absolutely stupid big guns only come out in the end-game.
The same stand-off between spectacle and subtlety is perhaps true of the BIG DECISION laid forth with Megaton – essentially choosing whether or not to vaporise it. Megaton itself is a lovingly constructed little area – a place which, having had my threat level assessed by robot law-enforcer Deputy Weld, opened itself up through the machinations of an ancient airplane engine and fuselage.
Here, happy cult members (helpfully indicated by a direction sign marked ‘Local Cult’) worship an unexploded bomb, while townspeople go about their business – all of whom seem to have similar voice-actors to Oblivion by the way, even if they are far more expressive in looks, sounds and motion this time. Oh, and I’m sure that Megaton Sheriff looks just like one of Cyrodiil’s Redguard guard models.
But remains confident on the efforts made by Bethsoft:
But what else haven’t I told you yet? The neat hacking mini-game in which you spot words in a wall of computer code (far better than BioShock’s effort, I reckon). The fact that drug addiction and jet abuse is still rife in the wastes. The delightful way in which a re-energised and rather officious underground-train bot will demand tickets from super-mutants (“tickets please!”, “stupid robot!”) before rating them as a ‘threat level Omega’ and blasting them into chunks. The return of the two-headed brahmin.[…]
Will the rubric of Fallout 3 reach the depth that the fanboy inside me demands? It certainly has the potential to. It’s a tried-and-tested stonker of a game concept, in the hands of some genuinely passionate people who have adopted the license as if it were one of their own. The wasteland seems to want us back, and I for one can’t wait for the first bomb to drop.
Spotted at RPGWatch.