There’s another hands on preview at Crispy Gamer, with several concerns:
So why am I so unsatisfied?
Maybe it’s that this demo did little to show how Fallout 3 is truly different from Oblivion. Ok, the lock-picking mini-game is slightly different (and better) but the dialogue trees, skill breakdowns and overall feel seem so much like Oblivion, at least in this early stage of the game, that the untrained eye could mistake it for a mod.
Combat is one place where the two games really diverge, but how can I really see that playing as a level-two noob with a couple of weak machine pistols? I had a difficult time fending off dogs and even a couple humans weakened from exposure and hunger. Not terribly appealing. Why not start the demo deeper into the story, where better weapons and skills could make the combat differences between Oblivion and Fallout 3 glaringly apparent? Or are they really as different as we’ve been told?[…]
At E3, Fallout 3 made a lot of “best of show” lists. I’m sure Bethesda is thrilled with that. Even in an E3 that felt positively anemic on the game front, being called out as one of the five or 10 most crucial is significant. But I don’t see it. I’ve been told for months that this is a dramatic step forward from Oblivion, but very little of the open-ended demo I had supported that claim.
They also added another interview with Pete Hines, this one is quite substantial and interesting:
Crispy Gamer: What about the gameplay — what new stuff have you added or changed this time around?
Hines: Much of the basic gameplay systems and character systems are still there: SPECIALs, skills, perks, XP-based leveling up, etc. We’ve spent a lot of time working on the quests, characters, and dialogue in the game to have it match up with the tone of the original games. It’s still a “go where you want, do what you want” game, which is, of course, what we like making. But the game is played in first- or third-person, rather than the isometric view of the originals. The combat is also different; it’s a mix of real-time and this new paused mode, called VATS, where you spend action points queuing up attacks and then watch it play out using a special camera system. Our goal was to capture as much of the originals as possible while still trying some new things we think will add to the experience.[…]
Crispy Gamer: In a way, the game seems like it’s going to be a first- or third-person shooter but with deep RPG elements. Am I wrong?
Hines: It is a deep RPG with shooter elements. How to handle combat doesn’t define the game. Just because you’re holding a gun and shooting at things doesn’t make it a shooter, although some people are going to see it that way, which is okay. If you decide to play the game because it looks like a fun shooter, we don’t mind. Whatever reasons you have for giving it a try, we hope there is enough compelling gameplay to make you want to keep playing. You may not buy it because of the quests or dialogue, but if you play the game and end up really enjoying the game for those things, where’s the harm in that?
Ultimately, what makes Fallout 3 somewhat unique is that the game is all about what your character can do, which is decided by you. What you want to be good at, what kinds of things you want to do. Those choices will affect your overall experience and how you decide to play the game, but there’s nothing wrong with getting in a big fight with some Super Mutants and having a great time running around blowing things up. Many really good RPGs have quite a bit of combat to them, so we might as well make that as fun as it can be.[…]
Crispy Gamer: Do these choices have any real consequences, though? Like if you play as a dick the whole time, will certain areas be closed off to you, but if you’re nice, then you get to sleep with the blue alien lady?
Hines: To some extent that may happen, but it’s mostly about what happens in each specific instance.[…]
Crispy Gamer: So what do you think Fallout 3 does better than Oblivion?
Hines: Guns. Much better in Fallout 3.
Crispy Gamer: And what, if anything, do you think Oblivion does better than Fallout 3?
Hines: They’re really very different games. We’ll let folks like you guys debate the merits of those things. We’re just trying to make the best game we can every time out.[…]
Crispy Gamer: Finally, in a 2006 interview with TheEscapistMagazine.com, Leonard Boyarsky, who worked on the original Fallout games, said that Interplay’s decision to sell the rights to Fallout “…felt as if our ex-wife had sold our children that she had legal custody of,” though he did qualify this statement by admitting to be “possessive” of the franchise. How do you think he, and other people who worked on the original games, will feel about Fallout 3?
Hines: You’ll have to ask them. I can certainly understand that the people who created Fallout would feel strongly about it. But we saw a franchise we loved sitting there not being used, not being worked on, and it was something we really wanted to work on, so we did. We hope the folks that worked on the first two will play Fallout 3 and like it and find a lot in there that stays true to what they created, just like we hope people who played and liked the first two games will like this one as well.