Developer/Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
The Xbox 360 version of Fallout 3 made an appearance at E3 2008 in Bethesda’s meeting room. Gamersmark, along with a select few others, was given the opportunity to play for exactly 30 minutes. While a half hour isn’t exactly a long time to be playing a game of this size, it definitely does let you get enough of a taste and a feel for what the game will offer.
Fallout 3 takes a first person shooter approach to the RPG genre. This approach is unique since we don’t see many AAA games that combine those genres. As such, it is really vital to use the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, better known as the VATS, which essentially makes the game into a 3D-Tactical RPG. The VATS is very important to use as most of the enemies you encounter will be hard to shoot in a normal FPS way. Using the VATS depletes an AP counter in the bottom right-hand corner. When you run out of AP, you’re able to shoot the enemy using your traditional FPS skills until it recharges. Couple this with a chance that the shot you make doesn’t even go straight, on account of your weaponry slowly degrading with use, and the VATS becomes a necessary element of gameplay. We definitely found it difficult to shoot when outside of the VATS.
The gameplay pauses and allows you to choose your target carefully while using the VATS. A percentage will appear for the different body part you want to shoot at and tell you what the chances of hitting it is. You might want to disable an opponent by shooting out their legs so they can’t run away or shoot them right in the head if they’re about to beat you with a baseball bat. Depending on how much AP you have, you can tell your character to shoot up to four different times – this may change if they let you get more AP or if shooting with different weapons costs more AP.
The only weapons we were able to find and use were a couple of different pistols. The shooting was pretty fun though, as every time you use the VATS system it goes into a cinematic slow-mo shooting sequence. The camera follows the bullet as it shoots through your gun and into your enemy. When you shoot normally, you won’t see any of that. We’re not sure if there is a way to turn it off, either. Visually, reloading seems a little funky – we couldn’t really see what was going on too well for the pistols we used. You also have a flashlight at your disposal at all times, since it is attached to your Vaul-Tec console.
While we weren’t able to explore the world in-depth, the game itself looked expansive while we ran around the desolate area that was once a city. There are tons of dead trees, rocks, burned out cars and radioactive water. You could technically call the game a post-apocalypitc Oblivion. The content itself, however, is all about Fallout, so it should be pleasant for series fans once they adapt to the new way to play the game. We were also able to venture into Springvale Elementary and explore the burned-out and barely recognizable remains of the school.
There weren’t any noticeable frame rate drops while playing, which is a pretty big change from Oblivion. The graphics are okay, and the sound is also enjoyable. Some textures aren’t exactly that great, but the scale of the game is quite large, excusing some of the graphical inconsistencies. Looking out over the expanse of the desolate wasteland is something lends a feeling of awe, similar to the first time we walked around the world of Oblivion.
There are a lot more features in Fallout 3 that we didn’t get to experience. Perks, repairing weaponry, finding gear, choosing whether or not to be good or evil; there are so many things that the game will offer. Fallout 3 will definitely appeal to anyone who liked Oblivion, or want to experience something in the Fallout universe.