I thought this would be a good game to talk about given the recent release of Fallout 4. I really enjoyed Fallout 3 and have completed several play-throughs over the years. It was my go-to post apocalypse game for a long time and I’ve played it more than any other.
Of course, there’s also New Vegas, which is a good game but I personally preferred F3. I know that mechanically there are quite a few things New Vegas does better than F3 but I preferred the world of F3. One of the biggest discrepancies I had was that I preferred the karma system of F3 over the faction system of New Vegas. It was my introduction to the series as I’m sure it would have been for many others too.
You play through segments of your upbringing in ‘Vault 101’ including the ‘General Occupational Aptitude Test’, the ‘GOAT’ at the age of 16, which would determine your future job in the Vault and also determines your suggested tagged skills (start with a 15 point bonus). Shortly after this, you’re forced to leave the vault for a new life in the ‘capital wasteland’. There are plenty of memorable characters to be found throughout, such as a clan of cannibalistic vampires that only go out at night, a church that worships an undetonated nuclear bomb and a crowd of trenchcoat-clad morality police, just to name a few.
There are a number of recruitable companions. Being able to recruit them is mostly reliant on your current karma rating (evil-neutral-good). You can take one companion with you as well as a dog you can find, by the name of ‘Dogmeat’. One thing to be aware of, though, is that if your companions don’t get knocked unconscious in firefights, they die. It really raises the stakes in those higher difficulty fights and makes you constantly aware of what they’re doing. My personal favourite was Charon, a shotgun wielding ghoul whose service is indentured to whoever holds his contract. There is also a super mutant with a gatling laser, your childhood bully and a robotic companion and quite a few more. I liked to think my adventure with Charon would end up as a radio show.
The story is quite engaging as well. You leave the vault in search of your father and, upon finding him, learn of his ambition to clean the wasteland’s irradiated water supply, an endeavour which you of course join. There’s plenty in the way of sidequests and towns and the like. For example, my primary flow of income is through the slave trade and 200 caps per head is no small amount. You take a hit to your karma for this of course (I tried to enslave raiders or enclave soldiers primarily) but I’d remedy this by giving bottles of purified water to the homeless guys found outside of most towns.
This also gave me one of my favourite weapons in the game, the ‘Mesmetron’, an energy based weapon which shoots a circle of blue light which would do one of three things to human enemies; do a tiny amount of damage, daze them (allowing you to attach the slave collar) or it could cause their head to explode, which is always fun.
A fun challenge to be found at several points throughout the game is the ‘super mutant behemoths’, gigantic super mutants, as the name implies. One of which can be released in a raider camp while you can sit at a safe distance and watch the chaos unfold. One of my favourite reveals was a teddy bear in a cage (made of shopping carts) only to turn around to see the behemoth charging at you from over a distant hill. It’s always amusing to pile a huge amount of mines before it spawns to try to launch it into the air.
There are a few problems with the game, though; there’s no one in the base game that can fully repair your weapons, which degrade very fast, and since you lose damage as soon as damage is taken, the repair skill maxed is a necessity if you want pristine gear. You also can’t aim down the sites of scopeless weapons, you just zoom in slightly. The scoped weapons can be inaccurate regardless; despite lining up your shot with your target’s head, the shot may skew slightly in any given direction, despite the weapon being in perfect condition and having 100 points in the associated skill. It can be rather annoying at times. Also, for me anyway, it tended to freeze often enough.
I didn’t play it on the PC and I’ve not gotten it on PC. The fact that it’s being sold in a state that doesn’t work without messing with the files is just too off-putting. It’s a pity as playing on my PC is just more convenient now generally.
It’s a good game though, and you should give a go if you can find it on PlayStation or Xbox.