The wasteland landscape is appropriately bombed-out and desolate. I actually felt that it may have been a little too cluttered with debris, although that might have been because the areas near the starting point were just designed that way. I thought it was interesting that while it was definitely wasteland, it was clearly a northeastern wasteland. It’s not a classic desert, though water is scarce.
Interiors were appropriately drab and post-apocalyptic looking. They got that 50’s style twist down pat, which is great, and it’s interesting to see the bombed out environments up close and in 3D. While I didn’t like it at first, I think that the move from isometric to 3D was a good one for the series. As much as I liked turn-based isometric, this was very cool too.[…]
I kept asking the people I was watching to try different approaches and use V.A.T.S. in different ways just so I could see what would happen. Speaking of V.A.T.S., words don’t do it justice. It’s absolutely incredible, and you need to see it in action to really appreciate it. Trust me: Old school aiming is alive and well, and it’s glorious. Taking out specific limbs or shooting the weapon out of someone’s hand is cooler than it ever was in the original series, and the slow-motion death shots are mind-blowing. I’m amazed at how well they captured the feel of a classic Fallout death shot in a completely new way.[…]
The actual interaction with the NPCs was great. Again, I didn’t see enough of the writing to make a definitive call about tone, but I noticed that there were plenty of dialogue choices when you were talking with an NPC. It does the Oblivion zoom-in thing when you engage people in conversation, but the interface is very minimal: just a small green box with your response options. I liked it a lot.
One irritating thing I noticed is that there are still some oddities with NPC AI. As much as Bethsoft wants their NPCs to interact with each other in seemingly realistic ways, I just don’t think it works. I saw some NPCs walking into each other and conversation between them is still stilted and weird… not real conversations. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with NPC interaction before it’s convincing, and Fallout 3 isn’t the game that’s going to take us there.[…]
Long story short, I can’t wait for October 28th.