Oct 29, 2008

Fallout 3: Megaton of Fun?

So far, F3 really nails the Fallout feel. Especially the opening "character growth" / character creation sequence - that was really well done.

A quick comment on the organic character generation, though. Although it's fun to see what kind of character gets spat out, players may not get what they ultimately want. I tried not to "game" the aptitude test sequence, and did get a character that was pretty much want I was hoping for, barring one weirdly-placed skill focus point. Wisely, Bethesda allows you to tweak your three skill foci though, so all was well. (I think the original Fallout let you do a final tweak too.)

I'm not fond of the real time melee combat - the control feels muddy and mushy - maybe even drunken. Note that this comment is based on solely on baseball bat vs. nightstick scuffles in the cramped quarters of Vault 101 - hopefully melee is less annoying out in the open wasteland. I found this fact strange, because melee in Oblivion had seemed a bit more precise. (That said, my Oblivion character was an archery specialist, so I didn't do as much sword hackery as pointy-stick-launching.) Hopefully, the VATS system will make up for the mushy-melee shortfall, but my jury is still out on VATS.

So far I've played through the (extensive) opening sequence, left the vault, and after a quick scout around the surrounding landscape, made my way to the first town (Megaton).

I'm enjoying the characters, atmosphere, and dialogue so far. The Oblivion-engine facial models though, are still creepy. They are stiff and lifeless - especially compared to Mass Effect's exemplary showing in that area. I find the effect jarring, especially paired with the excellent F3 voice acting and dialogue writing. Given that older games (Half Life 2 comes to mind) have done a much better job with facial animations, Fallout 3 character faces end up looking very dated.

One last early observation - I can't seem to access a description blurb of the items present in Container or Barter windows. Sure, "Sawed-off Shotgun" is self-explanatory, but WTF is a "Schematic: Shishkebab"??

More after additional play time.

1 comment:

Ken Newquist said...

I'm liking it. I think the characters are rendered and perform better than in Oblivion, though they still aren't up to Mass Effect standards. (I imagine it will take a few years for everyone else to catch up in that regard).

I don't get into that many melees, but clubbing molerats with Fallout feels similar to clubbing mud crabs in Oblivion; it's not brilliant, but it works. I think Oblivion gave you more melee options (in terms of blocking, shields, etc.) so that may have made it feel more robust.

I don't fight hand-to-hand that often though, as I'm more of a gun guy. My big problem there (even more so than in Oblivion) is not having enough ammo; I really need to find the blueprints for some bullets!

It's the little things I enjoy most though; the casual addiction that happens when you down one too many vodkas while trying to survive out in the waste. I love that a critical to the head will have you seeing double as you try and get back to Megaton, and that you can try and shoot the freaking gun of your enemy using Action Points.

The world itself is cool, but it's the little things that really draw me in.