Falling out of Fallout 3

In my previous Christmas article I talked about how disappointed I was in Fallout 3.

So now I am back again to bash on Bethesda’s newest RPG, this time in more detail and anger.

Now I know what most of you fanboys are thinking; “Wrewdinge, Fallout 3 is like the best game ever! How can you be shooting down something as awesomely amazing as this game?” Well I am going to tell you. I even have proof of my issues with the help of visual aid.

Technical Issues

Lets just go to a fantasy world real quick where the game is flawless except for the few technical issues that Bethesda fails to recognize. If that were the case I would still be putting down the game and telling myself that I’ll never play it again.

It has progressed from the occasional texture glitch to more common texture glitches and multiple game crashes. The glitches and crashes don’t happen during large battles or areas filled with lots of NPC’s. They instead happen out of nowhere.

I was fighting one bandit, just one. I was up on a ledge and he was down below me. So I pulled up my Pip-boy to bring out a Grenade and was greeted with this:

Lucky for me I knew where all the buttons were.

Of course I still get the texture glitches when using V.A.T.S. in combat that seem to go in a certain order.

First you get a blurred image on your screen, resulting in something like this:

Then when you attempt to use V.A.T.S. again, you receive Fallout 3′s very own blue screen of death:

For those of you who are thinking that I am only receiving this glitches while in combat, you’re wrong. I also received a nice glitch on the buildings of Megaton when I quick-traveled back to the city. Some nice 2-D boxes encased all the buildings and extended out a good 2-4 feet.

Those are just the texture glitches. Now I’m going to talk about the game crashes I have been receiving, while doing practically nothing.

While my geeky hero was out getting his morning jog through the radiated wastelands while on the search for a damsel in distress to save. I encountered a problem on the short trip. The game instantly froze, with no warning, and all I was doing was about to cross under a seemingly harmless bridge.

So I waited a few minutes, pounding rigorously on my W key, trying to get my character to move. I tried hitting escape to quit the game, I tried alt-tabbing to another program – also to desktop. I even tried Ctrl-Alt-Deleting my way out, nothing worked. The game had frozen my entire computer, no commands were working so I was forced to do a manual shutdown.

For those of you thinking that this was just a one time thing. It has happened to me two times since then. Here’s my proof, a screenshot of the error message I received most of the time.

Fallout 3 Crash error popup.

Game Mechanics

Now it’s time to talk about the game’s mechanics excluding the combat system (We’ll get to that later). Unlike what most of you are thinking right now, it’s not just the annoyance of all the bugs in the game that are driving me away.

***Spoiler Alert***

Highlight below to reveal the spoiler

Now normally games that Bethesda comes out with, like Oblivion, after you beat the main story you can continue playing. Well apparently not in Fallout 3. Once you’re done with the main story you die no matter what you do.

This annoys me, a Bethesda game with an ending. I play the games that Bethesda for the freedom to do whatever I like – just the fact that the game ends when you finish the main story is discouraging.

I feel as though the game is lacking a lot of essentials that Oblivion had. Fallout 3 seems lacking of the ability to control your own characters story. Unlike Oblivion the game doesn’t have the ability to join organizations to make yourself who you want to be. Fallout 3 feels like a trap, your character feels like a programmed robot.

No matter what you do it feels like you’re forced to go off and do as other people tell you to do. You’re trapped within certain areas by the fear of going out and dying from something in the wastelands, because every where you look there’s a group of enemies waiting for you. So you go where quests tell you to go, praying that you do not run into anything along the way. You do the quests for the chance to level up to get better, to get better weapons – but usually you only end up with a small portion of money and some junk.

Which raises the other issue of how to sustain your ammunition stockpile. In order to keep a good portion of ammunition you have to follow the vicious circle. You need money to buy ammo, so to get money you need to go out and kill some things, but to kill things you need ammo, so you need money. That my friends is the vicious circle of surviving in Fallout 3. When you run out of money – you’re screwed. If you run out of ammo – you’re screwed. So basically you’re screwed either way unless you keep a close watch on everything that you have. Which is harder than it seems, because when the adrenaline starts to rush in a battle scene you start to throw out everything you have.

Now there’s the good old ‘evil’ deeds. In fallout 3 these pertain to stealing, hacking a terminal, and picking a lock.

Seeing as Fallout 3 has no justice system you really aren’t punished for doing any of the above things. All you do is loose karma, which can be easily regained by the use of quests. So depending on what you do your only punishment would be a bullet to your face.

There is a major annoyance, in my opinion, about the ways that you can break into safes and what not. You break into things via hacking a terminal or picking a lock. The lock picking just annoys me because the in game directions on how to pick locks doesn’t explain it all too well, and I still have no idea how to do it.

The mechanic for hacking a terminal is terrible, absolutely terrible. You are given four chances to pick one word out of a massive list. Upon selecting a wrong word it tells you how many letters were right out of the selected word but even with that knowledge you’re still in a creek with no paddle. You can waste the next three tries on trying to figure out the letters and then you’re locked out forever. There’s no going back to try to access it later, you’re locked out forever, rendering it impossible to get beyond the door. So unless you’re a really good guesser it’s near impossible to use a terminal when you choose a word with “ing” at the end of it and the machine tells you that 3/8 of the letters are correct and there’s 20 other words listed with “ing” endings.

Combat System

Oh how I wish this game shared some aspects of a decent FPS combat besides bullets and explosions.

You’re normal FPS has a pretty decent sensor for head shots and what not, the ability to one shot people. They’re mostly pretty realistic when it comes to gun battles, with your character being the Messiah who can take twenty bullets before dying.

In fallout 3 none of these rules apply as you’d like them, besides being the man of steel. With any gun that shoots actual bullets you can walk up to someone, point blank, and fire multiple rounds straight into their skull and they’ll still pull out their weapon and fire back. Upon them firing back, depending on where you are, you basically end up dying before you can reload your gun.

The only one shot kills I have ever delivered were from high explosives. The only problem with the high explosives is that they don’t even dent some of the things running around in the game. Take the Fat Man for example, the mini-nuke launcher. There are certain super mutants, the leaders I do believe, who when you fire a mini-nuke at them all it does is remove a sliver of their health.

There are still some other things that annoy me about the effectiveness of the weapons you receive on your adventure. For starters explosive grenades, it usually takes around two or three to kill any target with these when the grenade lands right under their feet. Then there are the mutated animals you see in the Wasteland, Moles, Radscorpian, etc. that take more shots to kill than someone wearing armor. If that is you can hit them.

In my experience with the game, upon using any weapon ‘free-style’ you almost always miss. But when you decide to switch to the really cheap and lazy man’s FPS, the V.A.T.S., your bullets go straight to their target. They don’t spray off to the side of the target or by some chance miss, they travel in a straight line right to where your target was – for the most part.

In my opinion this game is a sad excuse for a FPS, and I would still play Oblivion over this. To me Oblivion seems more like you’re in control of your story, and more realistic to a degree.

/end rant

Okay now that I got all of that off of my chest, I can start talking about some of good things about the game

There’s the quest system previously mentioned by Slurm.

Finally there’s the graphics. Which includes the pretty environment, people, explosions, etc.

So now I say my adieu to fallout 3 with a Megaton Massacre. Due to the recent plague that has been sweeping across the united states, I could not talk all that well. So instead of listening to my awesome voice, you get to listen to the musical styling of Queen.

Watch more videos of Fallout 3

- Wrewdinge

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