This will be our first entry in "Fallout" week (sorry for missing yesterday...).
So, lets talk a little bit about Fallout 3 shall we?
First, a brief history of Fallout. Fallout was originally developed by Black Isle studios and Interplay, whose most notable games include the Baldur's Gate series.. The rights to Fallout 3 where sold to Bethesda (makers of The Elder Scrolls Games: Morrowind, and Oblivion being the most recent.)
The previous versions of Fallout where Isometric Turn-Based RPGS. Fallout 3 takes the system used in Oblivion, the 1st and 3rd person perspective and twitch based action. The new feature in Fallout 3's combat system that we didn't see in Oblivion is the V.A.T.S system. The V.A.T.S. system allows you to spend a set amount of action points to target specific parts of your adversary's body: Head, Torso, right and left, arms and legs, as well as their weapon. This typically ends in a the targeted body part exploding in a bloody mess. One hilarious result of these explosions: each piece of your enemy is searchable. I found two pieces of armor, a gun, and some ammo in a jaw bone. A JAW BONE.
V.A.T.S. in action
Other than the V.A.T.S. system, combat is inaccurate and annoying. And don't even think about using the 3rd person view. It is really only good for watching your character skate around D.C. and looking at his armor. I find myself running out of ammo and switching to a crappy baseball bat, or board full of nails, which tends to do very little damage very slowly. This means that I end up losing most of my health during each fight. This further complicates my situation because I am always low on health items. And the ones I DO have all increase my radiation levels significantly.
Visually, Fallout 3 exceeds Oblivion in most aspects. I say most because there are no lush landscapes that you would expect in a fantasy game. However, the level of detail in each ruinous city, town, and ravaged landscape is very impressive
The scope of this game is very ambitous. With a total of 200 possible endings (though each only minor change from the previous) it should keep people (like me, who tends to get all or most of the endings in games like this) busy for a long time. The endings are based on choices your character makes through out the game many with far reaching consequences, like setting off the nuclear device in the town of Megaton ( I did. ).
There are many things in the asthetic of Fallout 3 that reminds me of some other great First Person games recently. The black humor of all the fallout games, but specifically the radio stations and music (which I love), remind me of Bioshock. The open areas, and mutated enemies, and general lonliness of most areas reminds me of Half Life 2.
Though there are some negatives in Fallout 3, in general, my journey from vault 101 across the vast wastelands of post-WW3 Washington D.C. has been an enjoyable one. If you enjoyed Oblivion, or Bioshock, you will love Fallout 3.