Polish gaming magazine Click! has published a review by Tymon Smektała of the PC version of Fallout 3. Here are some excerpts and a brief summary of the rest of the article:
This premiere was controversial from the very beginning – at least among those for whom Fallout is a legend. And there are lots of those, as the first two parts of the series are considered to be the absolute canon of RPGs. They set the standars when it comes to non-linear plot and freedom of gameplay. (…) A decade ago, when the graphics were relatively simple, it was enough to make up as many dialogue variants as possible to achieve impressive non-linearity. Now they also have to be recorded and shown with advanced 3D graphics. Which is why the fans of the original were afraid that the game would not meet their expectations, lose the atmosphere and destroy the franchise. Were they right?
- The main quest is ca. 10 hour long, with additional 30-40 for the side quests
- The most faithful fans of the series can be disappointed by the end of the story, less complex than in previous games – e.g. it doesn’t show the future fate of characters you meet throughout the game.
- There are five difficulty levels
- Most of the sidequests are interesting mini-adventures that succeed at avoiding typical RPG cliches, like e.g. having to kill 12 mutant moles. They are more atmospheric than the main quest.
- Traveling between locations is boring, the random encounters are pretty rare and not very interesting. Fortunately, there’s fast travel.
- Both main quest and side quest objectives can be achieved through a number of ways. However, they mostly depend on the player’s statistics, so mostly only one option has a chance of being successful for a given character and to know the other variants, you’d have to play the game again with a new character. Unfortunately, probably few players will.
- The stat-based real time combat feels more natural in Fallout 3 than in Hellgate: London and Mass Effect. However, the reviewer prefers the active pause-based VATS, which is a way of pleasing both old fans of the series used to turn-based combat, and new players who expect dynamic action. Curiously, VATS seems to play better with PC controls, while on the console the real time combat seems more natural.
- The graphics look dated. Some textures, looked from up close, are pixelized. There’s clipping and bad character animations.
- The general technical quality is not that great. After a longer gaming session, the computer tends to freeze.
- Access to many options requires the use of Pip-Boy 3000, which is not really handy.
To sum it up, Fallout 3 is not a perfect product and people will be as divided about it after the release as before it. The malcontents will harshly criticize Bethesda for simplifying the gameplay compared to previous iterations of the series, and the PC version will require a patch or two (one is reportedly to be released on day 1). (…) The most important thing is that the makers managed to keep the mature atmosphere of the series and its most important trait – the ability to shape the story yourself. The new game begins (and ends), just like its predecessors, with the legendary words: “War, war never changes.” The same can be said about Fallout.
Fallout 3 is a game different from its great predecessor, but it doesn’t mean it’s worse. It’s just a continuation of the series adjusted to an entirely new age of interactive entertainment – fortunately, it keeps the atmosphere of the originals. Despite minor flaws, it is a strong contender for being the RPG of the year!
- A good recreation of Fallout’s atmosphere
- Freedom of play
- The VATS system
- Somewhat simplified gameplay compared to previous games
- Slight technical problems
The general score is 8.75/10, broken down into several parts:
- Gameplay – 9.25 (Playability: 9.5, Longevity: 9.5, Variety: 9, AI: 9)
- Graphics – 8.25 (Appearance: 8.5, Animations: 8 )
- Sound – 9.5 (Music: 9.5, Effects: 9.5)
- Technical quality – 7.38 (Fluency: 7, Loading times: 8.5)