I think we’ve all suspected for a while that the fine folks at CanardPC are not huge fans of Fallout 3’s new direction. They’ve recently rebelled against the BethSoft imposed review exclusivity by publishing a not-quite-a-review article summing up their feelings and criticisms on Fallout 3:
Even when you want to explore things and let alone the main quest for a while, it still tastes weird. Besides the cardboard sets, the feeling of emptiness suddenly goes away. Just like in Oblivion and Gothic 3, adventure awaits at every corner of the street. Literally, unfortunately. A two minute walk and you’re there! A design decision which probably has everything to do with the average attention span of the console gamer.
On the other hand, don’t expect to be able to convince anybody that originally does not like you. NPC reactions are determined by your Karma and even a professional liar won’t be able to convince someone who does not like him to become his partner. But have no fear: you can change your reputation just like you can switch clothes. You’re too good to obtain what you wish? Steal, kill generic NPCs (those with no name) and here you are: the incarnation of evil! But don’t worry: after three days, people forget about your deeds and you are forgiven.
Your karma is too low for a particular quest? Just kill bad guys and give water to hobos (it comes for free if you have your own house) and there you go: holier than saints. Where the first Fallout episodes where built around balancing your own desires and deciding what sacrifices you were ready to do in order to fulfil them, Bethesda sweeps this and allows you to switch styles at will. Nothing is important any more, everything becomes relative. Everything black. Everything white. No need for grey when redemption and condemnation are made so easy.
This is an interesting criticism. I think we’ve all been a little concerned about the ‘gamey’ implementation of karma in Fallout 3 and the level of importance it has been given in NPC interactions. It sounds like a system that was mostly broken in Fallout 2 is now completely broken in Fallout 3. Progress!
PS – Many thanks to Xark for the header art.