Best of 2008 #1: Fallout 3

Fallout 3

I may have put Fallout 3 off to finish some of 2008’s other big games, but as we move into 2009 there’s only one of those games that I’m still playing.

Fallout 3 is a slow starter, taking a good hour of talking and being taught the basics before you even hit the Capital Wasteland. It’s far longer than the equivalent opening dungeon of Oblivion – that’s Fallout 3 without guns, or so I’ve heard – and when you eventually get kicked out of the relative safety and into the big wide world, it’s even more overwhelming. It was a good few hours before I even had sufficient money and ammo to even consider taking on human enemies.

But even during this crawl, I found myself intrigued by what I was finding, being tempted to explore beyond the safety of Megaton at the risk of running into mercenaries who could burn me into a pile of ash with weapons that I wouldn’t find for hours of play and giant scorpions that I’d have to dance around and hit with a baseball bat for five minutes each.

At the risk of going over the same stuff that I said about Fable II, I just fell in love with the world that Fallout 3 presents, albeit for different reasons. It’s bleak and depressing, but it’s also liberating and exciting, and I like playing an RPG where a new town might offer great loot but equally might lead to a massive gunfight. I like the implied stories, like the charred skeletons huddled on the bed in a bombed-out house, left over from when the bombs fell. I like the exhibits in the pre-war technology museum, showing off the utopian vision of life in a Vault that’s a bit more like the brochure than the reality.

But most of all, I just love playing this game. It’s buggy as hell and, being a Bethesda game, most characters are like talking to slightly creepy mannequins, but I found the story and setting – let’s face it: those are the things that keeps anyone going through the monotony of even the best RPGs – as interesting as it was in the original games. Oblivion with guns? Maybe, but Oblivion with slow-motion decapitations and a teddy bear launcher is more than good enough for me.

So now that Bethesda has two big hitters and a successful formula, here’s to an even better Elder Scrolls V in 2010. But let’s get to the DLC for this one first, eh?

3 thoughts on “Best of 2008 #1: Fallout 3”

  1. Yeah, Fallout 3 is what I’d pick, too.

    Also, I always very much enjoy – and appreciate the obvious time you must spend on writing – your game of the year countdown.

  2. Cheers. It’s a year-long effort, and I already have a text file going with a list of the easily forgotten January/February games that I want in contention in December this year ;)

    I’m currently working on a quick look at a few more that narrowly missed out, including some that were a whisker away from making the list, that deserve a bit of a mention. Should be done with that in the next few hours.

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