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Fallout 3 7-Years Later Review



Fallout 3 starts in both a logical and unusual place: your character's birth. After your birth a medical device comes over that allows you to edit your character's appearance, although in-game it is just showing what you will look like all grown up. Once this is done, your mother dies, which is a very significant event because of how it affects your father's life. He had been part of a project to rejuvenate the Capital Wasteland, but left it to focus on raising you instead. As you can guess, this project becomes central to the remainder of the game.

The beginning of the game that serves as the tutorial is set in Vault 101. This and other vaults were built by Vault-Tec to protect people in the event of a nuclear war, which happened two hundred years earlier. In the vault, the Overseer is the most powerful person as they are responsible for the lives of everyone. As you can possibly guess, things in the vault go wrong, especially when your father leaves. Naturally you follow after him, entering the wasteland and encountering all of its wonders.



Okay, maybe 'wonders' is not quite the right word, as it typically has a positive context. Several places you encounter are housing raiders and slavers, but others, like Rivet City, an old aircraft carrier that houses many families now, are positive. Megaton could also be considered a wonder, but it is also a little insane as it is a town built around an unexploded atomic bomb. Megaton also leads to what is probably the most significant morality choice in the game. You can choose to save the town by disarming the bomb or actually trigger its detonator. I won't judge you for your decision, but the game will.



While Megaton's fate is certainly one of the biggest impact on your character's morality rating, there are many, many other decisions you will face that will impact how some people interact with you. Personally I always tend toward positive/good morality scores in game, because that is how I am, so I do not know what will happen if you make other decisions. One thing to note is that some decisions will not be obvious in their morality outcomes. You can always check your morality by looking at the stats in your Pip-Boy. It does not give a specific value, but a title for you.

The DLC all add on to the story in some way, like The Pitt taking you to the ruins of Pittsburgh, where slavers rule and there may be a cure for the mutations seen there. Operation Anchorage lets you enter a simulation made to train soldiers for retaking Anchorage, Alaska, from Chinese forces. This gives you an interesting look at the time prior to the nuclear war of the Fallout Universe, and gives you access to some special weapons and equipment. Point Lookout lets you visit the region of the same name, and explore it like the original game. It has its own campaign, but also side quests from the locals, and one of these can even lead you back to the Capital Wasteland of the main game. Mothership Zeta is probably the most self-contained DLC of them all, which makes sense since it takes place on a spaceship and not just another area on Earth. It also adds a significant amount of loot to the game, including new meds and special weapons. All of the areas of these DLC can be discovered and visited at any time, and revisited after you complete them. The Broken Steel DLC is unique among the DLC, as it gives the players additional missions after the completion of the main game's campaign.





A lot of the story is delivered by NPCs talking to you, which can actually be a little weird at times. When you enter a conversation, the world pauses so everything stops moving, including any NPCs who may be standing between you and the one you are speaking with. Objects, too, may be caught between you, and in some cases you will not be facing each other. The latter only occurs if there is some reason for the NPC to not be able to move, or has limited movement that only allows them to turn their heads.

Other means of learning the story include reading texts and notes, and listening to recordings. Naturally the character is stopped when reading, just like you are stopped when in a menu, but recordings you can play while you do other things. If you have subtitles turned on they will be displayed for the recordings, but only when you are out of the menu, which I find a little unfortunate. What I mean is that the subtitles can really help one understand what is being said, if you read along (or read ahead) and I would prefer it if they would be up all the time, instead of only when outside of the menu.

One thing actually a little odd about this game, compared to many other games, is that the main story is pretty short. A lot of the time you spend playing can be just on exploration and completing side missions, like rescuing a group of rangers, collecting special drinks for a survivor, and ending the threat of fire-breathing ants. While some of these missions may be less important than others, they are all important to someone. They can also help you out a lot, as they are means to gather resources and experience. They may be distractions from your primary goal, but they can be quite rewarding.


Aside from those idiosyncrasies concerning conversations, the story of Fallout 3 and the telling of it are both pretty good. That curiosity I just mentioned about the length of the main story does both work well for the game and works against it slightly. It works well because of how it leaves so much room open for you to do more in the game, but it also works against the game because of how the main story is not always the primary focus of the player. This makes it possible for a player to wander away from it for a long time and forget where they are in the main story, which is something I personally do not like the prospect of, but you might. That comes down to personal taste.


  1. Fallout 3 Review - Introduction
  2. Fallout 3 Review - Graphics
  3. Fallout 3 Review - Story
  4. Fallout 3 Review - Gameplay
  5. Fallout 3 Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Fallout 3 Review - Conclusion
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