June 05, 2014

Let's Talk About Fallout 3 (Page 2/2)

I know I've probably come off as extremely critical of Fallout 3. But I am not harsh for humour, this is what I genuinely think of the game. I understand that there was no way it would be the same as the old games, but as I said before, there's just some stuff that should go without saying. Fallout was so unique because of things like interactions being remembered and shared across locations. You can't just not include that, especially when you put great emphasis on factions in your new Fallout game. Thus, I have officially gotten to Fallout 3's plot, an unusually personal affair.

You can even decide which genitals you want!
Fallout 3 starts with you being born. This is one of more favorite introductions to a game. Fallout 3 uses the backdrop of the player character growing up in Vault 101 as a tutorial, which is a brilliant use of conveyance. It also helps that your dad in this game is voiced by LIAM NEESON. Time skips forward in several places, because while I would love a game where you just rp as a Vault Dweller, I imagine that wouldn't be the best idea of fun for most. You meet some fun characters, build your character in a nicely made interactive sequence (Or it would be, if you didn't have the option to just pick and choose.), and then shit happens. See, Vault 101 was one of those experimental Vaults brought up in Fallout 2. Nobody is allowed to enter or leave the Vault after it is sealed, and the Overseer is the supreme power. Naturally, your dad mysteriously leaving the Vault causes some "Problems"; The Overseer goes batshit crazy, kills your friend, and sends security to hunt you down. You are forced to leave the Vault in a rather cool little escape sequence. Then you re-roll your character...Way to ruin the immersion, guys. This is when you save to avoid playing this bit again, because it's only good the first time around, and chances are you will play through multiple times.

It's a beautiful wasteland...
Of course, the game sucks you right back in as you step outside for the first time. The sun blasting in your virgin eyes as the Wasteland slowly appears before you is a sight that is appropriately breathtaking the first time playing. From here, you can basically go and do whatever you want to do, though it's rather obvious the game wants you to follow a certain path, what with your very first quest being checking out the nearby town of Megaton. Despite being physically improbable, Megaton is a nice enough town and an interesting location, where you get a number of easy starting quests. Now the ultimate goal for the first half of the game is find Liam Ne- I mean your Dad. The plot is the conventional Fallout method: You go to a town, you talk to some dude, he leads you to another dude who saw your Dad, but he won't tell you where he went until you do some quest for him, rinse and repeat two more times. The good news is, like all the good Fallout games, there is plenty of interesting stuff and strong dialogue to boost this otherwise straightforward structure. The game doesn't end when you find him either, as you get some personal bonding with dear old Dad as you discover what exactly he was doing when he left.

Note: Spoilers ahead.
Dad is actually not from the Vault, and neither are you. You both came from the outside world, but your dad managed to convince the Overseer to let you both in as he was a capable doctor. Your dad was working on making a mass water purifier that would provide all of the Capital Wasteland with fresh clean water, but that sorta ended prematurely when you were born and your mom died in childbirth. He always intended to go back to the project when you grew up, and did so after learning about the GECK, which would be the last component needed for the purifier. This twist, while not particularly surprising (The hints too it are as subtle as an elephant stampede.), is still a pretty good one. Sadly, just as it looks like you are gonna finish the job, everyone's favorite group of assholes show up: The Enclave!

The Enclave: Ruining good times since 2077
Now one might pose a good question: Where the fuck did these guys come from? The answer is...Nowhere in this game. It is suggested that the Enclave had bases all over America, but if that's the case, why is this branch's agenda the exact same one as the original, when the entire reason the original had such a plan was that the Enclave found the intact vats at Mariposa; It was not the game plan from the moment the War began and ended for all branches everywhere! Where the fuck did they get their sample of the FEV virus? How did they make it in such a short amount of time. Where did they get the new Power Armor?! Why are they so united in their cause until the very last second, WHEN VICTORY IS LITERALLY WITHIN GROPING DISTANCE?! Either this is the single greatest coincidence in the history of storytelling, or Bethesda just didn't want to make a new antagonist. Great fucking job making it believable at least...

The Brotherhood of Steel: ALSO ruining good times since 2077
I haven't even gotten started on the other faction that appears for seemingly no reason: The Brotherhood of Steel. They gotta be in every single game, don't they? I guess it's because of the Power Armor, right? You need at least one faction that can provide Power Armor, because you NEED Power Armor, it is absolutely necessary. At least the Brotherhood have a logical reason for being here. Clearly this means Fallout Tactics is canon, and after expanding in Illinois, more Brotherhood decided to go check out the Capital for technological goo-gahs. The Brotherhood has gone from isolationist techno-zealots to altruistic peace keepers, losing all sense of identity, and they really are The Brotherhood of Steel in name and appearance only. So much so, in fact, that a good amount of them split and became the Outcasts, which would be cool if the game had a Faction system. But, wait a minute, I thought these guys were from the Chicago Brotherhood. You know, the group that already decided to be helpful to the community...Why would they trek all the way to DC then suddenly decide to go back to the old ways they'd abandoned long ago...Unless they AREN'T from Chicago....WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK.

Why does anyone like these assholes?
Borking of factions aside, the game has plenty of fun side quests to partake in, and the local radio DJ will spout off about your exploits regularly over his show, Galaxy News. The sidequests are where the game really thrives, offering up a number of really fun things to do and people to interact with, like stealing The Declaration of Independence from a robot convinced that he's Button Gwinnet (Don't ask). There's also the campaign itself, which offers some intense drama and action for those seeking it, and the story may very well suck you in with its steady and strong flow. Now of course I suppose I should mention the ending. The original ending to this game sucks; It's short, skimps alot on details, and then just sorta cuts out. It was so bad that one of the DLC, Broken Steel, was dedicated to fixing it.

Liberty Prime honestly makes the whole game worth it
So that was Fallout 3, how is it really? Well, the roleplay elements are threadbare, the difficulty is all over the place, and I could drive train sized holes through the plot, but I have to say it's enjoyable. The combat is visceral and deeply entertaining, the characters are fun and enjoyable, and the story's emphasis on family and striving for the greater good felt nice and sweet. It's definitely not better than Fallout 2, but it stands on its own as a solid game that successfully brought the series back from the brink. What do you think of 3?

More Let's Talk About:

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4