IGN Fallout 3 Weapons Video

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Spotted at Planet Fallout.

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Fallout 3 at IGN Week

Fallout 3 Power Fist

From Planet Fallout:

What could be better than a whole day of Fallout 3? Think a whole week of Fallout 3. And that is exactly what IGN is offering. Kick starting their week-long Fallout 3 coverage, IGN has published an in-depth look at the various weapons right here. The article touches upon VATS, the ability to get awesome weapons early in the game, the Powerfist, and more.

Fallout 3 Kikizoed

Kikizo has some new impressions about the Fallout 3 demo:

So, what did I learn from my brief taste of Fallout 3? I suppose my most unexpected realization was that I am really, really eager to play the finished game. The overwhelming depth and fantasy setting of Bethesda’s previous big game, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, put me off that game, but the setting, story, and VATS system have won me over here. I wish that I could play Fallout as more of a shooter and less of an RPG but even still what I’ve played is exhilirating. The consistency of the gameworld is the biggest draw. The ambient soundtrack and omnipresent devastation combine to produce an unforgettable experience. I can’t wait to play the full game later this year.

Posted first at PlanetFallout.

A Bit Late For Leipzig

Enclave Soldier

There’s a lot of catching up to do by this blog regarding Fallout 3 in Leipzig, so let’s start, with the help of NMA’s Leipzig news coverage.

First the spoiler heavy UGO Gamesblog Vault 106 walkthrough:

In no time I had my task: deliver a letter from a Megaton denizen to her relatives in Arefu, a nearby settlement built in the middle of a raised section of the DC highway. And so I was off, setting my waypoint on my pipboy and heading straight for it. A few giant moles and rabid dogs pestered me along the way, but for the most part, things were going smooth, until…

Until I got distracted. You’re a man with purpose, and suddenly something pings on your map, and you just have to check it out. The phenomenon happened all the time in Morrowind and Oblivion (and even in Fallout 1 and 2), so it’s not a big shock that it happened. I was just more surprised as to how easy it was for the game to take me off course.

What drew my attention was a sign pointing to a nearby fallout shelter. Not Vault 101, mind you…I was quite a ways from my old home. No, this was Vault 106. I made my way into a cave dug into a large cliff and quickly discovered the telltale massive vault door. A switch in front of it blinked expectantly and, much to my surprise, the vault door clanged open the moment I touched it, gears and levers sliding out of place like the day it was built.

Next up is Gamespot:

We encountered some new enemies after leaving the house: huge insects such as the bloatfly, as well as new armoured human characters called raiders. We used the VATS system (see previous coverage) to take out most of the enemies that we came across, and then played around with stealing more of the things that were left behind. One of the raiders was wearing a hockey mask for protection, and we were able to remove it from the dead body and wear it ourselves. You can press the left bumper to switch to a third-person view, and you can then use the right analog stick to tilt around your character to check out the view from the front.

After making it through the Meresti Trainyard and its abandoned train wrecks, we came across the outskirts of a small settlement. The problem was that it was protected, and we were immediately shot at by a sniper upon entering. We spun around and tried to use the VATS system to hone in on the sniper, but we couldn’t see them, and they’d soon incapacitated us via our arms and legs. When we reloaded the game, we decided to head back and check out the school that was not too far from the starting bunker. The building had been torn apart, but a number of books and chalkboards remained complete, with writing from children and teachers. Underneath the school, a small dungeon with a number of raiders awaited, and we were able to pick up a sawed-off shotgun as a reward for heading inside.

And now MTV Multiplayer Blog:

During press demos, I like to try things I don’t think the developers are expecting. So when I stepped my character out of the vault and fumbled with the buttons on my Xbox 360 controller, I wasn’t just reacquainting myself with the mechanics of a game I hadn’t played since a pre-E3 event in June. I was also trying to find surprises. Hitting the 360 controller’s back button, I got my wish. Tapping the button brings up the option to make time pass more quickly. I jumped the game’s clock 12 hours. I would roam the D.C. outskirts at night. I bet the E3 gamers didn’t do that either![…]

I chose a different path, a path that left me securing my very own house in Megaton with my very own robot butler. I could get a haircut from this butler. Or I could get amusement. That’s what I selected, and he/she/it told me a joke. It was about two electrons walking into a bar. One saying it lost an electron. The other asking: “Are you sure?” Response: “I’m positive.”

I asked my robot butler to tell me another joke. The robot butler replied: “My humor emitter ray needs recharging.”

And finnally GameSpy:

Killing enemies in Fallout 3 is very satisfying, and not just because of the finely blended real-time first-person shooting and the tactics-heavy strategy of the VATS system. It’s also fun because of all the loot. You’ll literally strip your victims down to their underwear when you loot their armor, steal their guns, and empty their pockets of valuable bottlecaps, the currency of the wasteland.

The itemization abounds, with many different kinds of food (like delicious dog meat, squirrel-on-a-stick, and Fancy Lads snack cakes), drink (dirty water, Nuka Cola, all kinds of booze), weapons, armor, and drugs. You may want to indulge in some recreational drug abuse to fight off the effects of radiation or to give yourself a little performance-enhancing boost, but the dangers of addiction are very real.

Again thanks to NMA.

Hines on Pacifism and SPECIAL

I’ve been a bit busy in the last few days, and somehow forgot to post about Guardian games blog posting the second part of an interview with Pete Hines based on questions from fans:

Will weapons require a minimum Strength? Or only a minimum in its governing attribute? (Perception = Energy, Endurance = Big, Agility = Small).

Weapons do not check for minimum stat values, you can use any weapon you want, the skill/stat just makes you better or worse with the weapon.

How will Attributes be weighted in regards to the Skills they govern? If you want to max out your Big Guns or Speech skills, but don’t spend the SPECIAL pts bumping up Endurance and Charisma, how effective will those skills be? Would a 100% skill level in Speech be ineffective if you only had a Charisma of 4, etc?

They provide a boost or bonus to the skills they govern. I don’t think we’ll get more specific than that as far as exactly how they integrate with Skills. If you put extra points into a SPECIAL, it’ll help those Skills beyond what level they’re currently at. If you spend all your time leveling up a Skill to a very high level, it’s safe to say you’ll be very effective at using those skills outside of what the governing SPECIAL is.[…]

In Fallout 1, there were only three key locations that you needed to visit to complete the game – The Cathedral, Military Base and Necropolis (the last one being optional, actually) . These places could be done in any order, creating Fallout’s exceptional nonlinearity. Is Fallout 3’s main quest structured in similar fashion?

Hmm, parts of it are, parts of it aren’t. There are several large sections of the main quest that you can actually skip if you do things right.

Specific body parts cannot be targeted when fighting with melee weapons or in hand to hand combat. What is the reason behind this decision? Does melee/HtH fighting offer something else to compensate?

We tried many ways of doing melee with VATS, and having messed a lot with “missing” in melee, it just felt really bad. So once we changed VATS melee to “always hit”, assuming you are in range, the body part selection became a bit unbalancing, so now it’s a “whole body attack”, but you still do end up hitting a specific body part when you swing, but it’s based on what you actually contact with, as opposed to what you aim at. This avoids the “always punch in the head” problem, whereas with guns, we can balance out certain body parts with hit percentages, like the head.

Charisma influenced the speech skill, NPC’s responses and how many followers you could have. Since Fallout 3 allows only two followers, has Charisma’s role expanded to some other region?

Even though you have only one follower, having a higher Charisma definitely helps in Speech challenges and successfully using special dialog options you have when talking to folks. Also it’s very helpful in bartering with people.

Can you tag Medicine, Repair and Barter, and focusing on those skills, still be able to complete the game?

Sure. We recently had someone play through the game and finish it while only killing one thing very early in the game…a Radroach. I’m not saying I recommend everyone run out and try to play the game as a pacifist, but if you want to give it a try, it has been done.

If you want to know more about the inyards of the game, or want to understand a bit more about the changes in this game when compared to the classic fallout RPGs than this interview is mandatory reading.

Spotted at NMA.

Fallout 3 Welt

Image GamersGlobal

Image GamersGlobal

GamersGlobal already had a Fallout 3 preview, now they added a small interview with Pete Hines:

In our Fallout 3 preview from E3 we have criticized Fallout 3 for feeling too easy in our test session. We’ve asked Pete Hines from Bethesda for some clarifications (by e-mail), and here are his answers:

1. Was the E3 version “simplified”, e.g. by making the hero’s character more powerful than he would be in the finished game at that early stage? Or was every V.A.T.S. hit in the E3 version a critical hit?

Pete Hines: It was simplified in terms of giving you the highest stats for the weapons you start off with. Every VATS hit in the E3 version was not a critical hit. Far from it. It’s random, so some folks may see more or less of it when they play for any period of time.

2. Will V.A.T.S. head shots be always fatal, if they hit?

Pete Hines: No. there is an amount of damage it will do to the limb, and an amount it does to the enemy’s overall health. In the easier creatures you would have faced early on, they don’t have much health so they die easier. As you explore out and fight tougher creatures, you find that you can cripple one or more body parts before you can kill the enemy.

You can read the rest here. Still in Germany there are two new previews, one from Krawall Gaming Network and another from OnlineWelten.

Finnish Fallout 3

NMA gaves us a few ideas taken from the Finnish Plaza.fi Fallout 3 preview:

About Action points:
-It takes about 20 seconds for action points to charge full.

About Fatman:
– With nuclear grenade launcher you could calm even the suburbs of Paris. But bigsized nuclear nades are so sturdy widgets, that their after-radiation stands up even in the well-bombed Washington. It is not recommended to walk over radiation field that nukes produce. Although nuclear nades are quite effective weapons, at the same time they limit the player – the gun weights a lot and projectiles are rare. If player has too much stuff with him, it’s harder to move.

– A funny detail: Enemy was shot in a VATS-mode, but the nuke missed him just slightly. But instead it hit a column behind the enemies, exploded and the pressure wave hurled mutant in to air.

About missions:
– There doesn’t seem to be any “kill 50 rats and bring their tails”-style missions in the game.

About AI:
-There is still a question that has not been answered, regarding the A.I of enemies. How will enemies act and move? From what we have seen, we are hopeful. The smarter human opponents could move and take cover during firefight. Occasionally they started firing from their cover, then they hide or changed location. They are not the smartest guys around, but they’re not the most senseless idiots either. Some enemies tried to escape when starting to lose, some accepted to stand still and get their ass kicked.

-Even though the AI didn’t yet shine, the situation is promising. Game is still unfinished, the tested version was over a month old and there still time before release date. That means that Bethesda has time to work on AI. Lets keep our thumbs up.

Telegraphic Preview

SentryBot

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.”

Videogamer Fallout 3 Day

Megaton doors opening

Megaton doors opening

A pretty detailed and filled with spoilers preview at Videogamer:

We know we’ve played something great, perhaps even something special, when we find ourselves thinking about it when we’re not playing it. When we find ourselves wishing we were playing it while we’re sat on the underground, or browsing the internet, or listening to our editor prattle on about Geometry Wars 2. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it reminds us of the power video games hold over us, how entrancing the spell they cast really can be. It happened again recently, and the game was Fallout 3.

It seems ridiculous to have to form some kind of informed opinion based on a two hour toe-dip into Bethesda’s stunning post-apocalyptic world, given the gargantuan nature of this sci-fi RPG, but that’s what we’re paid to do, so here goes. Haters be quiet – Fallout 3 is shaping up to one of the best games of 2008, and, fingers crossed, could be one of the best RPGs ever.

Amoral, subversive and pulp. It sounds like we’re describing a particularly bad kind of orange juice, but it’s actually the three words our new previews editor Neon Kelly came up with when we asked him to sum up the Fallout series, a series that a lot of PC gamers still care a great deal about.

You can’t, of course, please everyone, and Bethesda knows this. It also knows that, actually, if it can make a game as good as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it’ll have done it’s job. From our time with the game, Fallout 3 might even be better than Oblivion.

You may be wondering why we’re comparing Fallout 3 to Oblivion in the first place. It’s because the game could almost be Oblivion 2, or, as some journalists are calling it, Oblivion with guns. What’s certain is that it feels very similar. The trademark vistas, the dialogue system, the camera angle when you talk to NPCs, the instant teleportation to already discovered locations, it’s all there.

Simply saying Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns doesn’t do Bethesda’s hard work justice. Fallout 3 looks better than Oblivion, even though it’s not finished.[…]

But it’s also a world with a few technical problems. We noticed a degree of texture pop up as we explored the world. The camera sometimes has a fit when in VATS slow motion mode. The third-person perspective we imagine will go largely unused. And at one point we were forced to reboot the game after we got stuck under part of a collapsed bridge – fast travel wouldn’t work because the game thought we were falling. Our hope, and our belief, is that Fallout 3 won’t be let down by any technical issues that might make it into the released code.

And Videogamer continues the coverage with some words from Pete Hines:

“I have no doubts in my mind that, at its core and for everything that it provides that Fallout is a better game than Oblivion was. For sure.”

Bethesda Softworks vice president Pete Hines was unable to confirm if its upcoming post apocalyptic RPG Fallout 3 would feature PS3 Trophy support.

“I don’t know. I can’t tell you for sure whether or not we’ll have them or not,” said Hines.

It’s a different story regarding Xbox 360 Achievements though, with Hines confirming that they are “mostly complete”.

“… we still like to mess with that stuff sometimes in late stages, just in terms of ‘yeah it’s taking a little too long to get this one’, which is why we didn’t want anybody to look at them, because I wouldn’t want you guys putting something out that we then changed and is completely different,” said Hines. “Yeah, they’re largely in there and there’s some really good ones in there… some that I rather enjoy.”

Asked about the PS3 version of the game which wasn’t available to play at the recent preview event, Hines said: “It’s coming along. We’re getting down to the final strokes on all three versions. The goal is to have all three of them be the same game, the same kind of performance on all three platforms.

“That’s the goal, that you can’t tell the difference.”

Spotted at NMA.

Fallout 3: Emil Clears Things Up With More Detail

Clear shot at the Super Mutant Behemoth

Pretty relevant post from Emil Pagliarulo, this one clears several issues of importance:

What was said recently, by both Todd and me, is that in real-time, skill affects chance to hit less than it used to. This change was made after extensive playtesting. Why? Most everyone found it annoying that you’d have your crosshair over an enemy, and your bullets would go completely wide. So we dialed the accuracy penalty back so it would feel good in real-time. Two things, however — 1.) it’s still not completely pinpoint accurate, unless your skill is really high. So accuracy is still affected, just less than it used to be. Again, it felt better this way, after loads of testing 2.) your damage output is affected with increased skill, so in run and gun, putting points into, say, Small Guns, will certainly improve your combat effectiveness when you use an assault rifle. Etc. etc.

Another thing to consider is that in V.A.T.S., it’s different. It’s much more of a numbers game. It’s all character skill. Your percentage numbers to hit are going to increase as your skill increases. So yeah, putting points into weapons skills is pretty damn important to your survival, whether you prefer run-and-gun or V.A.T.S.

Now, to answer the lingering misconception that you can just somehow blow everything in the game away with the Fatman. Look, the Fatman shows great in demos and movies because it packs a big punch and is visually impressive. And yeah, it’s very powerful when you use it in the game. That said, you’ve got to remember a few things: 1.) The Fatman is huge, so it weighs a lot. Carry it around, and it means you can carry less of other stuff. Your choice. 2.) The Fatman shells aren’t exactly littered around the Wasteland. They’re a valuable resource WHEN you find them (hell, the same is true of the Fatman itself). So you’ve got to use them wisely. 3.) Try using the Fatman indoors and you’re more likely to kill yourself than anyone else. In all of my playthroughs of the game, I’ve only used the Fatman a small handful of times… usually to kill a Behemoth or take out a concentrated group of opponents.

And last but not least, the original topic of this thread. Are Charisma/Speech characters gimped? Not by a long shot. There are tons of speech options in the game. I can’t even count how many quests and situations can be bypassed/modified/overcome by using the Speech skill. It’s incredibly valuable. In fact, with my most recent character, I’m not concentrating on Speech, and boy there are times I wish I had. It’s a completely viable play style.

So I hope this answers some of your questions. It’s always a pleasure to surf the forums and see such lively debate… and most of the time I just hang back and watch you guys discuss/ponder (as it should be). But in this case, I’m happy to clear up some misinformation.

You can read the full post here, thanks Incognito.

Fallout 3 Impressions At Guardian.co.uk

On the Guardian Games blog Greg Howson announces that he will have an interview made during the Fallout 3 demo session that happened last Friday, and gives some early thoughts on the game:

But yes, you can play this as a first person shooter, though think more Mass Effect than Halo.

I also had a quick hands-on play with the 360 code. More on this later but I was far more impressed by the landscape and setting than I expected. Admittedly I was only on for about an hour but the novelty of wrecked concrete bridges, 50’s paraphernalia and two headed cows didn’t wear off. The epic draw distance helped too – it certainly felt that you could see more than in Oblivion, though obviously Fallout’s wasteland has a few less trees than Cyrodiil.

The combat felt a little bit spongy, similar to the early stages of Mass Effect. But then the character I played was right at the start of the game so things are likely to improve. The VATS system will clearly come into its own when you have better weaponry and skill but even at low levels it seemed to work well. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was how much the game felt like Oblivion. From the way armour is stripped from enemy corpses to the insane amount of junk that is quickly picked up Oblivion fans will feel at home. And yes, the voice acting seems better – not that it could be worse of course – with the four conversations I had each voiced by someone different. Yes, previews tend to be positive but from what I’ve seen so far Fallout 3 looks hugely promising.

Fallout Fries

French CanardPlus Emil Zoulou is asking for questions from fans about what he saw in the Fallout 3 demo, here’s something from NMA:

Here’s some chances to scratch out some more info from the meager offerings of this E3. First, Canardplus (who you may remember from this preview) contacted us to extend the offer to try and clarify any questions we have based on what they’ve seen:

This morning, we had the opportunity to try the 360 version of Fallout 3. The cheats weren’t enabled. So ask your vicious questions and we will try to offer some honest answers.

If you know French you can ask them here, if not place them at NMA or in this blogpost and we’ll try to translate them for you.

Meanwhile he already started answering the first batch of questions, and NMA got a (very good) translation from Vaultaire with the help of Mr.Bumble and posted them in English:

Is the gore associated with violent death logical or over-the-top?
That is the problem with E3. During the Fallout 3 Demo, Bethesda wanted to emphasize the games “adult” content and pushed the gore through the roof. During the initial demo, Peter Hines did the same: using the “Bloody Mess” trait, which makes every death really bloody, really pushed the gore over the top. Shoot someone in the foot and the entire body explodes in a fountain of blood. When actually playing it is a lot less impressive, the enemies die without too much fuss. On the other hand, the inconsistencies are apparent, like when a mini-nuke just cuts off an enemies foot.

Is playing Fallout 3 with a controller a good experience? How will the interface be adapted to mouse/keyboard combination?
We are not big FPS aficionados, I had a lot of trouble controlling my character and aiming was really hard. VATS helped with this a lot, something I was not expecting. When confronted by a group of enemies, it seems like the most sensible solution. On the other hand, I was much better on the PC. The mouse/keyboard interface allowed for more accurate aiming. One can imagine that the RT aspect will resemble Quake 3 where the player strafes around his enemies; avoiding their shots while simultaneously emptying clips into them – totally negating the need for VATS. Like Oblivion, character skill along with line of sight plays a factor in determining to-hit success but the translation to FPS must be tempered with the next question:

If the PC version is exactly the same as the one tested for the Xbox 360) ; it is very likely that this is the case, will the interface be marred by this (interface, save/load, …)
Oh yes, I think that on the PC the interface will prove unwieldy. Bethesda has chosen to put all the menus inside the Pipboy affixed to your arm. If it is a question of immersion, the intention is commendable, ergonomically it’s an absolute disgrace: A stick to switch between 3 large menus (stats-item-data) the other to navigate within the window and all the sub menus. On top of that, the inventory is reduced to simple lists of names, a miniature picture of the item appears to the right for each item. Also, forget about the two quick items found at the bottom of your inventory (in the originals) as Turn-based is completely dispensed with. In this system, one is faced with equipping a single thing or weapon at a time.

With real time combat, Is the concept or use of Action Points ala “Turn Based” useful or even captivating?
Like I said on the 360, the VATS system is indispensable for survival. Often, melee enemies get within range very quickly and VATS allows the player to get out of tight situations. I did not feel it was over-powerful and I was often forced to close the gap to improve my chances of hitting the target. In addition, aiming for specific body parts will appeal to the jokers amongst us: Fire at a super-mutants weapon and it will fall from his grasp. Such accurate shots are difficult to reproduce in real-time mode. In practice, we find ourselves using all our APs to fire at an enemies chest not even trying for the head. APs recharge in real-time mode but don’t affect ones ability to access the inventory. It seems to me that AP could be used for so much more than aimed shots. It is a terrible blow for the tactics of combat that existed in the franchise previously.

Adaptive difficulty Yes or No (Level Scaling)
Big question. The Bethesda lot have assured us for months that level scaling; railed against by Elder Scrolls Fan; was out. Permit me to cast strong doubt on this. See: towards the end of my half hour, whilst wandering through Washington DC, I fell upon a group of three super mutants. One was equipped with a Gatling. I was level 3 and I was only equipped with light Raider armor. For weapons, I had a baseball bat and a basic 10mm pistol and an ammo-less laser piston. I switch to VATS and aim for the Gatling mutant in the hopes of making him drop his weapon. I miss and the other two mutants head straight for me. I grab my baseball bat and alternate between VATS and real-time whilst waiting for my AP to recharge. The first mutant is downed, I loot a bat with a nail in it and kill the second mutant in much the same fashion. During this some sort of mutant spider joins the fray and attacks me. I kill it with my bat. The third super mutant fell to a combination of grenade and 10mm pistol. I’m a half hour into the game, level 3 and I manage to take down three super mutants and some unidentified thing without much trouble and find myself in possession of a Gatling fun. All is good.[…]

Once again, it is not easy to get a fair idea of what Fallout 3 will be like on release. All in all, the development team has a pile a bugs of all types to fix. It is in all cases certain that this will not shine on technical merits, with empty interiors, outdated and badly used character models, “Rigor Mortis” animations..
Disassociated from the gameplay of the preceding Fallouts, Bethesda try to impose their view of an action RPG, in the same vein as Oblivion. It is impossible for me to guarantee that this will be a good fallout game, or even a good game at all…

A must read, there’s a lot more there.

E3 Hands On At TGR

Post Apoc town

Capitol City

Fallout 3 preview at The Games Reviews:

Perhaps the only thing better than actually playing Fallout 3 was watching everyone else do it. Looking at the ten or so consoles around the room, I was struck by how no two people were doing the same thing. One soul had headed straight for Megaton, found out some more of his character’s backstory, and immediately set off for the next objective. Another player was simply wandering the world blasting raiders and looking for loot. Still another soul had wandered to Megaton, shot the sheriff, and was now being pursued by an angry mob of citizens who were demanding his head. Hines took a particular joy watching this poor chap as he was chased across the map by gun toting and bottle wielding townsfolk. I suppose even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, some people just don’t take kindly to folks who shoot the only existing authority figure in cold blood. Also, since the sheriff was a figure important to the story, Hines hinted that now the poor soul who slaughtered him would have to work that much harder to get the missions necessary to advance the plot.

Still, with a game this massive, engrossing, and fun, who needs objectives? You could just wander the wastelands, Dogmeat by my side, snapping pretend pictures of former DC landmarks. We can see the postcards now, “Greetings from the smoking hole that used to be the White House!”

Fallout 3 Preview In Orange

Dutch Pc Gameplay has a Fallout 3 preview, here in a partial translation at NMA:

On every press conference where multiple games will be presented, there is always one game that is handled in such secrecy that you get the impression that it involves the launch codes for nuclear missile launch facilities.  During the Ubidays 08 this honor fell clearly to Fallout 3, the post nuclear RPG from Bethesda (Oblivion) and long awaited sequel to the successful Fallout-series of the 90’s.

For Fallout there was no flashy stand, no large bill boards or invited booth babes but a small forgotten room in the Louvres where you could only enter with four people at once after you had undergone a thorough bodycheck en had surrender all cameras and other high tech recording equipment. (…)
During each life phase you learn something new. From crawling in your box you learn movements, and during which you find the children’s book ‘S.P.E.C.I.A.L.’ which immediately sets basic skills (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck). (…)
The real turn based game play of the originals is gone but through VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) you can stop the time to choose your actions.
This is where your perception and Agility choices come into play.

With a high Perception you will be better in discovering the weak points of your opponents and will increase the chances (expressed in percentages) to hit your target.
Each creature has six target zones with each zone reading your hit chance.
A shot in the leg can cripple him and a hit in the arm can disarm him or reduce the effectiveness of using his own weapon. A headshot can be fatal in one blow, cause blindness or can confuse the opponent for a long time.
How many actions you can undertake during such a VATS pauze is the number of Action Points which on their turn depend on your agility skill, the higher the skill the more Action Points[…]

We saw a nice example of the AI when our hero had to cross a camp of enemy raiders.
Confronting these openly would be equal to suicide so that was not an option.
As long as it was daytime the camp would be well guarded, but as soon as the night fell most of the raiders were snoring loudly and our hero could sneak past the guards to continue his journey.

You can read everything in Dutch on the magazine, and a bit more of the translation at NMA.

Fallout 3: E3 Awards and Opinions

IGN gave Fallout 3 his Best of E3 Award:

While I knew that Bethesda could deliver in terms of story and convincing world creation, the big unknown for me has always been the actual gameplay. Fortunately, I got to play through a good bit of the game at the show and I was really impressed with the overall feel of the game. I was particularly happy to see how well the turn-based VATS combat worked. I was worried that the pause and play nature of the system would interrupt the flow of the game, but it really only served to make the game feel more tactical and heighten its cinematic appeal.

— Steve Butts, Executive Editor, IGN PC Team

It’s either pause and play or TB, Steve. You can’t have it both ways. And it’s actually “a glorified aimed-shot mode”.

Fallout 3 continues to impress with an engrossing story, great visuals, and a compelling mix of gameplay styles. It is predominantly a Western role-playing game similar to Oblivion (with guns). But you could choose to play it like a run-and-gun first-person shooter, if that’s more your style. V.A.T.S., the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System, adds turn-based strategy elements. However you slice it, Fallout 3 looks like it will deliver one of the largest adventures in gaming this year. The post-apocalyptic world Bethesda has created is an intriguing dystopia we can’t wait to explore. There were several standout games at this year’s show. But none of them seem to offer the freedom and unique vision of Fallout 3.

— Daemon Hatfield, Associate Editor, IGN Nintendo Team

Nintendo? Anyway that Oblivion with Guns talk isn’t good news, but for Bethsoft the fact that they also won Best RPG, Best XBox Game and Best PS3 game and a few other runner up citations is good news.

Still at E3 the Bethblog brings us some other awards:

In other online coverage, Fallout 3 has pulled down a few more E3 awards. Here’s a rundown:

  • GameSpy honored Fallout 3 as the Xbox 360 and PS3 Game of Show. The game was also was named the Game of Show Overall Runner-Up.
  • GamePro has their awards up, where they awarded the game with a E3 2008 Silver Award.
  • Planet Xbox 360 awarded the game their Best of Show honor.
  • GameDaily listed the game among their Best of Xbox 360 here.
  • At Gamezone, there’s a Top Ten Games of E3 list where Fallout 3 makes the list at the #2 spot.
  • Scrawlfx declares Fallout 3 their Game of Show.

Also Fallout 3 is referred in this article about the problems of the event itself at Gamezone:

There was no enthusiasm, no energy that should be associated with the vibrant industry that brings imagination to life. This year’s show was dull to the point of boring. Yes, there were still good games to see, but altering the format, visiting their studios on media tours would have accomplished the same thing, only with deeper experiences with the games. The studio visits are more advantageous because instead of getting 25-30 minutes with a superb title like Fallout 3 in the Bethesda booth, a visit to the studios would likely mean more hands-on time, access to developers … in short, the kind of visit that means robust coverage, giving players and consumers not only a sense of the game itself, but also allowing for interview time with key developers.

All through E3 was happening I was at the beach relaxing. I’m still trying to catch up on things.

Fallout 3: The Mother Of All Interviews

Very interesting and detailed interview with Todd Howard and Emil Pagliarulo at GamesRadar/PCGamer, it’s filled with spoilers though:

PCG: Do you have a rule for a bare-minimum number of ways to solve a quest?
Todd: No, we just do whatever comes naturally. We made a list initially showing the paths, so that we weren’t doing an overabundance of stealth paths versus other skills so that there was a good matrix, but if something fit in one we did it, and if it didn’t fit…
Emil: But as the game grew, just like we ended up making the game bigger, putting more stuff in, I think the quests themselves started to expand. We realized during playthroughs, you know what, there’s no talking path through this quest, or there’s no stealth path, so we went back and added that in. There are fewer quests and fewer NPCs, but probably just as much dialogue as Oblivion, just in all the variations.
Todd: It’s like when you were doing the bomb quest, and you were asking “Can I do this this way?” And so through testing we asked the same things, like “What if I kill Lucas Sims?” And ok, you have to go to the son. That kind of stuff.
Emil: We wanted to cover as many of those bases as we could.

PCG: So you tried to make it so that even if you take a few people out of the equation, the quest is still solvable?
Todd: As much as possible. It’s not always the case. You might kill someone and it will tell you “You can’t finish this quest anymore, this person has died.” Pretty much 99.9 percent of people in the game can be killed.
Emil: Yeah, even the quest-givers. They give you a quest, you blow their head off, that’s your decision. It’s simply more fun for the player where you might close off branches of the quest, but other branches are still open.
Todd: And the other answer to that question is that we don’t want players to have the expectation that they’ll be able to do every quest any style. Pretty much, Super-Duper Mart, there’s no way to talk your way through that. We get the question a lot, “Is there a non-violent path through the whole game?” No. I mean, you might be able to, I guess, but it’s not a goal.
Emil: I guess technically, because there’s a Stealth Boy, and because there’s a Protectron [security robot] in the back room of that Super-Duper Mart, if you could sneak in there and hack that computer, you could activate that Protectron, he’ll go and he’ll kick the s*** out of all of those raiders.
Todd: There are probably too many for him to kill every single one of them.
Emil: But enough to whittle them down so that science-boy could definitely get through there.

Another must read piece by Dan Stapleton.

More Fallout 3 At E3

Some more previews, most of them spotted at NMA:

Tom’s Games:

If you don’t have enough Action Points to attack using VATS you can still fight as if it were a standard first or third-person shooter. After a couple VATS fights with wild dogs we tried approaching it as a straight-forward shooter and found that it was faster and easier to take out the enemies that way.

So why use VATS when you can just run-and-gun your way through? As Executive Producer Todd Howard told us VATS ensures more critical hits and allows some strategic choices like deciding whether to destroy an enemy’s leg to hinder movement or their arm to make them drop their weapon. Frankly the low-level monsters we were fighting – wild dogs and fire ant warriors – didn’t pose a big enough threat or much opportunity to engage in strategy.

I loved Fallout 2 as much as the next PC gamer but some of the early fights, like when you’re beating rats to death with a stick, get a tad tedious using turn-based combat. Tedious? Actually I found them to be soul-destroyingly boring. Thankfully, this won’t be a problem with Fallout 3.

GameShark:

While we’d like to see the accuracy of real-time fire increased a bit, it’s clear that the reduced precision comes as a way of balancing use of V.A.T.S. Still, combat is full of visceral thrills. One particularly cool scene during our time with the game took place when blasting a raider at point blank range, first with a pistol and then with a baseball bat. The action slows down and shows you’re kill shot in all of its bloody glory. This is without a doubt an eye popping game and is certainly M rated. The combat looks wonderfully brutal.

Fallout 3 distinguishes itself with this inventive combat system and we’re pleasantly surprised at how well it works. Longtime adherents to the franchise shouldn’t worry that their beloved universe has been torn to shreds in some shooter, as Bethesda looks to succeed in revitalizing it with a sequel that retains the spirit of the series while introducing interesting new element. The game should be ready to roll this fall.

GamingShogun:

I was one of the purists who believed that a Fallout FPS would not be nearly as effective as the isometric games we are used to. Well, I am man enough to admit when I am wrong and I tell you now: I was wrong. During that half hour, not only did the first or third-person perspective increase immersion into the Fallout universe, it also gave the new combat system a much more approachable interface.

GayGamer:

Fruit Brute and I got a few tightly-scheduled moments with Fallout 3 last week, and the experience managed to be all I’d hoped and familiar at the same time. What’s familiar is the lore and world of Fallout, which Bethesda has managed to reproduce and elaborate upon in a way that only a company that focuses on complete world building can do. Fallout purists may still resent Bethesda’s position, but as a die-hard Fallout fan myself, I was more than satisfied.

What’s also familiar is the control scheme and general gameplay environment – if you’ve played Oblivion, you’ll find a lot of familiar elements here. That’s no surprise, of course, as we’ve known this would be both a Fallout game and a Bethesda game, but the menu system, camera, and basic control layout are all more or less the same.

PS3 Fanboy:

This will all be familiar to Fallout fans, but seeing this combat system integrated so well into a next-gen 3D game has us very excited. We came away from the game thinking that Bethesda was the perfect choice for the game. They know how to make incredible, living worlds on a huge scale and clearly know and understand the Fallout franchise inside out.

As you play Fallout 3 you’ll constantly be reminded of Oblivion, but you’ll also be experiencing something unique and new. For fans of the series, this will be set in a universe you know and love. We’re very interested in seeing more of this title — particularly the narrative and character development. The thirty minutes of hands-on we had went by far too quickly.