Another preview, this time from the Telegraph:
‘Destroyed beauty’ is a term we hear a lot these days, the dark grit and grime a popular choice of art style for a nuclear generation. Fallout 3, however, offers a sense of poignancy to go with the hollowed out buildings, with the leftover remnants of a 1950s civilization preparing for a nuclear disaster in vain. “Part of what makes Fallout great is the juxtaposition of this very happy, optimistic 1950s-esque view of life, pre-war, and then seeing it after things went horribly wrong.” says Bethesda’s Vice President of PR and Marketing, Pete Hines, “It’s seeing those two things against one another that adds a lot to it. That everything is blown up but you still see this happy optimism and idealistic view of the world beforehand”
As I walked among the debris and the civilization that has risen from it in the 200 years since the disaster, it’s easy to see what he means. Signs jovially inform the naïve population what to do in the event of a nuclear disaster and so-called bomb shelters house charred bones, becoming coffins. And while the world may change, humanity, it seems, doesn’t. Among the people I encountered, familiar human traits of greed, violence, discrimination and religious fanaticism loomed large.
So while the political message in Fallout 3 is clear and intelligently defined, it’s still a videogame that allows the player to have fun and play in their own way. “We don’t shy away from being called an RPG.” says Hines, referring to the game’s stat-based core, “But from a certain standpoint it limits what the game is really about, to define it by saying ‘you’re just this genre’ sort of says you can’t ever be more than that. It’s a big sandbox and you get to be whoever you want and do whatever you want.”
However, the initial impression of Fallout 3’s combat did suggest it could even be played as a straight shooter. Allowing casual players to avoid the complex hacking puzzles, long menus with stats, perks and the levelling up that the hardcore will love. That the choice is yours is something Hines is keen to stress: “To be perfectly honest the casual guy will probably try hacking once or twice but if he’s not into it, he’s not ever going to do it again, and he doesn’t have to. You can make a choice in the game, and you can run around and play it like a story-driven shooter if you want. It’s based entirely on the type of character you want to play and what you want to do.”