After a gap of some ten years – between the release of Fallout 2 and “the void” of there being no other Fallout games – came Fallout 3 from Bethesda. Like a bolt from the blue: Fallout was back, and this time it was in 3D.
The year was 2008, and it seems like an age ago now, but the release of Fallout 3 onto the market really invigorated the RPG scene. Not to mention: brought back a much-loved series with a modern twist on the game world and mythos. Not everyone was happy, though. A few fans were unhappy with the change to first-person, or the fact that Super Mutants were ubiquitous early on in the game (when, in their minds, Super Mutants should only appear at higher levels). Which is nonsense. Fanatics will be fanatical…
What were slight problems with Fallout 3, though, were the bugs (the game is notorious for having an abundance of game-breaking bugs); the sometimes ridiculous story-telling (the ending is much debated on those terms); and the rather trite voice acting. Not all the voice acting is bad – only some of it – and it kind of holds the game back a little.
Personally: as an admirer of the original two Fallout games, I spent hundreds of hours playing Fallout 3 and enjoyed every minute of it (except when I had to replay because I’d saved a game-breaking bug into my game). I was just so happy to be back in the Vault again. It was only later, after I’d played the superior Fallout: New Vegas, did I realise how limited Fallout 3 was.
Fallout 3 is still a huge amount of fun to play now. The seamless mixing of real-time action and (optional) turn-based combat impresses me a lot. The combat system – called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) – is a joy to use and gives you a great view of the action while it plays-out. As long as you’re not taking on an opponent who is way stronger than you, you always feel in a control of the action, and as you level up you can face stronger and stronger enemies. Which is just how it’s supposed to be.