Bit Tech: Fallout 3 Love Waxing and Waning Into Trepidation

Player Character

Player Character

And another review, this time from Bit-Tech:

I have an odd relationship with Fallout 3 and considering the stark divide between Fallout 3 fans and all other gamers in the world it’s probably worth me stating my allegiance now. I’m in the former category – an ardent and vociferous supporter of the franchise, fuelled by a love of post-apocalypse stories.

And yet, like most Fallout fans, I’m actually a little bit nervous for the release of Fallout 3. There’s a nagging suspicion that this really could just be Oblivion but with guns and more brown.

But it isn’t. I know it isn’t because I’ve just played it and that’s the root of my rocky relationship for the game – my love waxing and waning into trepidation as the months between sightings stretch ever longer. I’m saying all this to help put my thoughts in a context that other hardcore gamers can understand. You may think, just as I did only yesterday, that this is Oblivion with guns and that’s it – but you’d be wrong.

Here’s why.[…]

Of course, that might be the problem – that Fallout 3 is just too damn similar to the previous iterations of The Elder Scrolls games. It’s the accusation most commonly levied against Fallout 3 (by those who haven’t played it, of course) – that it’s just Oblivion with guns.

And to an extent, it could actually be true – but in a good way.

Fallout 3 carries much of the accessibility of the past Elder Scrolls games; that perpetual, gaping openness that puts the world at your finger tips at all times.

Previous Fallout games have always funneled the player into a particular character type based on past actions and responses. Act like a fabulously magnanimous arse for your first few quests in Vault City and certain quests will start dropping out of reach for you – you can’t become Captain of the Guard if you’ve got false citizenship papers and a liberal, peaceful attitude to nearby towns.

Fallout 3 however has a slightly different ethic and has spun this round somewhat because there’s a hidden flaw wrapped in the model of the previous games – that the player doesn’t always know how their options are being trimmed, their choices culled. You might miss out on important quests and information without knowing it, so as well as extending development time by factoring in all this redundant content, you can leave players feeling falsely trapped or locked into a game they don’t want to play.

Fallout 3 avoids this neatly then, giving players a constant string of second chances. You’re reputation is still tracked locally and globally via the karma evil-o-meter that labels you with different titles and insults based on your allegiances and actions, but you have a permanent ability to disobey your own ethic.

You can, for example, take on a specifically evil quest to slaughter the entire population of kittens a town, but doing so won’t prevent you from taking a good quest later or having a chance to expand the kitten orphanage to nicer premises if you want to turn your life around.

Spotted at the BethBlog.


2 thoughts on “Bit Tech: Fallout 3 Love Waxing and Waning Into Trepidation

  1. You might be a little careful using the words “review” and “preview,” man. You can’t really review/score a game until you can play the gold version. 😉

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