Seboss:I have the preview right here. It’s 6 pages long so I won’t do a full transcript but I could give you guys some more excerpts if you’re interested.
[right after the ability points allocation] Daddy comes back in the room, is very pleased by your agility […] and cites an excerpt of the Apocalypse (“I am the Alpha and the Omega”), a passage of the Bible your former Mom used to like a lot, an element not so insignificant that should play an important role in the main quest.
Fade to black and you’re now at your tenth birthday, ready to get your Pipboy3000, “the indispensable companion of the modern man”. This scene introduces your first social interactions.
You’ll go then from a little flirt with a girl your age through the confrontation with a little bully desiring to strip you from your birthday cake, to a surrealist discussion with a schizophrenic Mr Handy.
And there, I feel reassured. The dialogs and the argument with the dumbfuck in the making come right into the series spirit. During your conversation with the little scum, the game offers you ten different dialog options: immediate cowardly capitulation, insult leading to a brawl, lies, […] spitting on the cake before offering it to him. The list is more than satisfying.
Seboss: The author states that many dialog options have tags like [Lie], [Charm], [Intimidation], [Science] and so one. Very Biowary.
A little later, you’ll eventually receive your first AirSoft Gun, the famous RedRyder that allows you to familiarize with the combat system, then you choose your skills on the benches of the Vault’s school.
Teenage hood will also be the occasion to solve a number of optional quests that influence the perception the other vault dwellers might have of you, as well as your karma and your personality. Undoubtedly, these first minutes make me comfortably euphoric.
While I was expecting an outright treason of the Fallout setting, more because of ineptitude than vice, I have the feeling the game is spot on. The ambiance, scenery and lighting of the Vault seem perfectly faithful to the series, with just the right dose of rust to enhance claustrophobia.
In opposition to Oblivion and Morrowind that just kicked you into the game without bonds of any sort, this time Bethesda clearly states its will to make you a part of a community, to create relationships right from the beginning. […] What is the better way to make the player feel lost in the irradiated desert and make him realize the importance of his mission than create a genuine bond to his home just before kicking me out.
Seboss: Well, kicking him out right away worked pretty well in FO1 if you ask me.
About the SPECIAL system:
First satisfaction, the SPECIAL system have really been kept, no facade without substance. Every actions in the game, from the combat to bluff attempts through gambling are resolved by dice rolls against your skills and abilities. However, we can observe a whole lot of discrepancies, starting with this confession painfully extracted from the demonstrator: atypical character builds, like very low intelligence characters, won’t have as many options as in the previous games. Some dialogs are heavily influenced by your IQ, however you can forget about your project of roaming the wastelands with a complete moron barely able to string two syllables together . What’s more shocking for hardcore integrists like me, you can forget about beating the game as a cowardly pacifist weasel: most combats will be inevitable especially during travels and desert and ruins exploration.
Seboss: The wastelands are 65% the size of Cyrodiil, blah blah, the game is supposed to have a lot of landmarks like collapsed buildings, junkyards, diners, motels and baseball fields. These places are inhabited by people influenced by the nature of the location. Baseball fields should have descendants of the Baseball Furries from the movie Warriors, stuff like that.
The author hopes these places won’t feel as generic as the bandit/goblin/wraith tombs of Oblivion , but he seems confident about that.
The game will have a significant dose of level scaling for the main quest. There are three difficuly levels (as you already know), but that seems a bit cheap.
Stimpacks won’t have any side-effects anymore. There are just the regular “Cure Light” potions now.
To this point, the author was pretty confident about the quality of the game. Now there’s the negative part:
Now here’s the point where things get messy. We’re going to get onto the thorny problem of the combat. […] We’ll note that the developers repeated ad nauseam that the efficiency of your shots depend on your statistics and that the FPS skills of the player don’t have any importance, and that all shots fired in real-time mode will be automatically aimed to the torso. [Here goes a lengthy description of the VATS system]
The idea seems to stand theoretically, but in facts I’m far from convinced. Firstly, during the presentation, either he was wearing a Power Armor and holding a Gatling gun and fighting hordes of super mutants armed with heavy machine guns, bakookas and supersledges or fighting ghouls with a 9mm and wearing just a leather armor, the demonstrator was just standing there, shooting long bursts without using any kind of tactics.
Besides, aimed shots, possible even with a minigun, looked far less effective to me than just “run right next to the baddy and empty my magazine in one burst”.
Seboss: Ouch. He also says that “bullet time” death animations are just as pleasant as stuffing rusty nails in your urethra after the third one. Or something like this.
The battle locations that were presented seemed a little dull. First was the no man’s land surrounding the super mutants base in Washington DC. Like during WWI, it had lots of trenches where big green monsters ran into before attacking in melee or opening fire from not-so-far. Regularly, a monster set on high grounds would attack you with a rocket launcher. This scene painfully reminds me of some run-of-the-mill FPS.
Regarding monster design, I’m afraid they are completely off the mark. Forget about quirky, clumsy supermutants or weird ghouls with tree branches sticking out their skulls. All you’ll get is overmuscular, overarmed orcs and undeads Oblivion style. But that was expected.
Seboss: Another expected shortcoming is the animation quality. The author confirms that they are as stiff and unnatural as ever.
Another summary comes from MrBumble at NMA:
Mr.Bumble: Finally bought the magazine. The author is rather critical, especially as regards combat. I love that, for one, he does not say that VATS is turn based, but ” a sort of real time with pause combat system directly stolen from Bioware “. He says that the slow motion gets old really fast because it lasts for 15 seconds ( . . . ) and looks like a parody of Max Payne.
He also says that the wasteland themselves, outside of Washington look really uninspired, with lots of trenches ( wtf ? ) and that combat situations often lack of originality ( “does not get better than the most average FPS you can get” ). He also criticizes the appearance of Ghouls ( “zombies coming right from Oblivion” ) and Supermutants( “Orcs on steroids” ), very far from the previous designs. He also says that even though Bethesda are trying hard to be humourous ( at least they are trying eh ) it sometimes sounds like a little bit too much, a little bit forced.
Gory effects also look “a bit too much”. He concludes by saying that he wants to see more of it because even though he liked some things ( Vault 101 ), some other elements really failed, that even though he has a long time ago lost the hope that Fallout 3 could be a decent Fallout, there is still hope for a good post apocalyptic RPG. Actually the first time I read that in an article…We are no longer alone brothers and sisters !
Characters with high Perception not only aim better but are able to “see the enemies coming a few seconds in advance”. I’m not sure what it exactly means but that’s what is said in the article. I should maybe ask the author on the forum.