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Don’t Call it a Comeback, I’ve Been Here for Years

November 15, 2008

1,000 Gamer Dad Weekly points to the first person who can tell me what the title to this post is a reference to. That’s right, 1,000 points! Collect enough points and you can trade them in for fantastic Gamer Dad Weekly prizes like dirty diapers, old D&D character sheets, a copy of Carmageddon 2 and much, much more!

So it’s been a while since I posted last! Things have been pretty busy with work, where my mind is finally starting to settle down and get into the game. It’s been long enough, but I found out the key to keeping myself organized. I tried all sorts of fancy productivity programs, but I found the best thing for the job was a simple printout of an Excel spreadsheet. One of my faults is always trying to find a gadget or piece of tech to help me with a problem, when sometimes the best solution is a simple solution. Now, I did try out some very interesting pieces of software geared towards productivity, but most just confused the issue.

I’ve also been spending my free time playing Fallout 3. A lot of people who ask if it’s any good are told “If you liked Oblivion, you’ll like Fallout 3. It’s like Oblivion, but with guns.” That’s pretty much true. Made by the same folks who made Oblivion (Bethseda), this isn’t your grandma’s Fallout. Gone is the isometric turn-based combat. This is an FPS (with the option, on the PC at least, to switch to an over-the-shoulder third person view). I tend to stay in third-person view and switch to first-person when I enter enclosed spaces like buildings, Vaults, or caverns.

Let’s back up a step. The backstory is the same – a nuclear holocaust wipes out North America in the late 21st century. For some reason, industrial and advertising design has had a throwback to the late 1950s, which could be the very reason for the holocaust in the first place. As a matter of fact, you don’t really know the reason for the nuclear holocaust, but that’s not really the main part of the story anyways. The main part of the story are the Vaults. With nuclear war imminent, a company called Vaultec started selling spaces in underground Vaults that they had constructed to keep people safe from the nuclear bombs. The idea was that these Vaults would keep everybody safe until radiation had dissipated, whereupon the survivors (or, their descendants) would emerge into the sunlight once again and recreate a perfect world.

Nothing ever works out that way. Your character is born in Vault 101,  twenty years before the game begins. You play through your childhood in an interesting way to develop the character you want to play. You choose your main attributes as a toddler reading a child’s book. As a teenager, you choose your skills via a storyline where you take a test to see what your job in the Vault will be. Pretty soon the shit hits the fan, and you end up outside the Vault in the Capital Wasteland, doing quests for people and generally making a nuisance of yourself. The area of game play takes place in and around Washington DC, filled with various settlements and interesting locales. I’m not familiar with the DC area so I’m not sure how closely it’s mapped out, but you do get to see the key points by doing quests. These aren’t the ridiculous “Go kill six Atomic Moose and bring me their doodles” quests, but more interesting quests like “Go to Minefield and bring me back some mines”.

Oh. Wait. I guess some of them are ridiculous.

I do find it interesting that of all the settlers, raiders, adventurers and generally tough bastards in the Wasteland, the only one who really decides to help people out and try to make some caps (the monetary standard in the Wasteland is bottle caps), is a greenhorn fresh out of a Vault. I guess not knowing any better is a pretty good reason for this. If you did know of all the hazards out there, you’d hunker down in a settlement like Megaton, keep your head down and wait for a raider to come and stab you in the face.

With the graphics settings turned up to eleven, the game looks pretty fantastic. Blasted rock and irradiated water make for a fairly brown landscape, so when you run across something colourful it makes it that much more impactful. With a massive open map to explore, if you can see a building off in the distance, you can get there and poke around in it. The urge to simply explore is pretty strong, and a sandbox game like this allows you to completely ignore the main quests (or even the multitude of side quests) and just meander around.

Combat is a shining point for Fallout 3. While generally point and shoot (or hack and slash), an interesting point of combat is the use of the V.A.T. system, which allows you to pause combat, select a specific area of your enemy and see the percentage you have of hitting that area, and then strike it. You then see a slow motion cinematic of your strike. If hidden, you have the chance of making a sneak attack critical hit on an enemy, which gives you the chance of seeing a fantastic display of gore and splatter. A headshot with a sniper rifle from 500 yards away can end up with many a shattering skull cinematic. AI is decent, and NPC enemies don’t seem to have bionic eyesight and mutant enhanced senses.

Following the main quest path equals out to about 40 hours of gameplay, but if you follow all of the sidequests you can end up with over 100 hours of gameplay from Fallout 3. This game is bound to win some awards for games of 2008… watch and see!


From → video games

  1. David permalink

    I really should go to minefield and get that sniper rifle….

  2. accidentalrob permalink

    You can get one from Alistair Tenpenny as well, in Tenpenny Tower, if you’re willing to kill him.

  3. Melodie permalink

    Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J

    Now, where are my 1000 points?

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