Set in Washington – the other side of the country to Fallout and Fallout 2 – there are many familiar landmarks, even to people who haven’t been in the country. The build Pete brought with him showed off a destroyed version of the Washington Monument while what’s left of the Capitol building loomed on the horizon.
Details like those are really going to sell the game to players. Even places that aren’t necessarily landmarks are carefully thought out to reinforce you are living in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. Drinking water gives you health back, but also irradiates you. The monsters in the game – mutants and ghouls – are deformed messes with one focus. Your demise.
The V.A.T.S. system tying the first person shooter style to the original Fallout feel looks like it might break the game, but Hines insisted thorough playtesting wouldn’t let that happen. The camera system which accompanies V.A.T.S. is fantastic regardless – each shot cues a cinematic camera angle change which really reinforces the impact of that bullet/rocket/nuke you just shot.
While the isometric view, groin shots and car are all gone (plus probably quite a few other things we didn’t get to see) what’s important in Fallout 3 is the feeling. Even in the build we saw – with it’s messed up lighting, hilarious voice-acting and occasionally buggy AI – Fallout 3 felt right. The worst thing about watching Fallout 3 in action? Having to wait for the game to hit later this year. Looks like I’m reinstalling Fallout 2 again.