| Fallout 3 (Xbox 360, PC) |
The third title in the Fallout series is a drastic departure from the first two and brings the games from 2D sandbox games on the PC into a sort of hybrid RPG/shooter type of game. The world of Fallout 3 is huge and filled with adventure as well as its fair share of danger.
The game begins with the birth of the player character who proceeds to grow up in the safety of vault 101 before venturing out into the wasteland in search of their father. You see, the world ended in a nuclear war 200 years before the events of the game and humanity is just barely scraping by. Most cities are simply large settlements in fairly secure locations and it isn't uncommon for a town to have less than a dozen people living in it.
The world of Fallout is very hostle with giant insects, mutants, and rouge humans attacking settlements on a daily basis. Very few places are truly safe and depending on the players actions entire towns can be wiped off the map permanently. The game is wide open for the player to explore and every choice they make affects the world around them.
Players can easiy be good or evil as they see fit and leave the wasteland a much better place than they found it or turn it into a complete hellhole even worse than it was before. The game gives the player complete freedom to do as they want, but all actions have consequinces. Being too evil can result in hit squads gunning for the player or missing out on quests because of killing a vital NPC. Even noble actions can sometimes turn on the player and there isn't always a "right" path and a "wrong" path to accomplishing your goals.
The graphics are really well done and an amazing level of detail was put into the game, which really makes the world feel alive. The soundtrack is mostly retro tunes from the 50s or earlier to fit in with the style and mood of the rest of the game. Even the music that plays when the player turns the radio off is hauntingly beautiful and fits the setting perfectly.
This game creates an atmosphere of ruin and despair extremely well and the vast world means that there is always something for the player to do. A large portion of the player's time is likey to be spent just exploring the massive game world and discovering new locations.
I will admit that the game can get pretty dark at times, with cannibalism, rape, death, drug abuse and violence being constantly encountered problems in even the most civil of places. As mentioned above players can help with most of these issues or make them worse as they sit fit, but squemish players may want to skip it if they can't handle the harsh themes the game deals with.
On a more positive note, I'm happy to say that sexism as a whole seems to be absent from most of the wasteland. Female raiders and slavers appear alongside male ones and people of both genders can be good or evil. There are a few quests that might come off as a bit sexist, but with the somewhat broken karma system its kind of hard to tell what the developers intentions were exactly. There is one other minor issue that annoyed me though... the Black Widow perk.
As expected this perk gives female characters special dialog choices when talking to men as well as a +10% damage bonus against them. Men have a similar perk that does pretty much the same thing, but due to an oversight Black Widow is made far more useful because there are more male NPCs in the game than female ones and they play a somewhat bigger role in the games main story.
Dispite this it was clear that the developers had intended for both genders to be balanced and this small flaw isn't that big of a deal for me. If you happen to be a fan of Mad Max or The Book Of Eli you'll probably love this game, just don't be be too surprised when the giant mutants and insane super soldiers start showing up to ruin your day.
- Reviewed by MidnightUndead
Rating: M (Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, sexual themes, use of drugs)