Fallout 3 Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

To have ambition is one thing, but to have the skill to carry it out with any degree of success is another. As those who have played any of their past output well know, Bethesda are a highly ambitious company that don’t do things by the numbers. Their latest offering Fallout 3 is a typically big undertaking, but it’s also got as many bugs as a particularly bad B-movie.

The opening events sees your character being born and it’s up to you to determine what he or she looks like when they are all grown up. Next, you’ll choose their skills, then you’ll spend much of your time exploring and conversing with the denizens of the vault where you were born.

Like Oblivion though, the game doesn’t really hit its stride until you make your way into the big wide open world. The world of Fallout 3 is a contrast to the greenery of Tamirel, it does take place in the ruins of Washington DC after a nuclear holocaust after all. As different as it is to Oblivion’s lush world, something it does have in common is of how well realised the universe is. Trawling the wasteland is an atmospheric experience, that has much in the way of rewards for those who like to go off the beaten path, doing so is as much of a focus as playing through the main story arc is.

Many of the quests offer you contrasting methods to fulfil them, usually of the good and evil kind. Karma will be won or lost based on your decisions here. In regard to being evil, Mass Effect is about as evil as an angel in a field full of flowers in comparison to Fallout 3. An early example is the chance to wipe out an entire town by exploding a nuclear bomb, which gives you an idea of just how devilish you can be as well as the degree of choice the game has in store for you.

Regardless of your alignment, there’s plenty of fighting along the way. Combat can be played out in a typical FPS way, though the slightly loose aiming means it can‘t quite cut it as a full fledged FPS. The V.A.T.S targeting system on the other hand fares better and will please those who like their combat to play out at a slower pace. This allows you to pause the action and freely choose the area of enemies you want to hit, action then switches to a brief slow motion, cinematic and usually very gory scene that sees body parts disconnected from their owner. This comic book like gore makes for plenty of highly satisfying fight sequences.

Something that will please many of the Oblivion detractors is the fact that enemies no longer level up alongside you, so for example those flies that may have been giving you a spot of bother in the early stages, will become squashed like the bugs that they are as you advance in level. A slight downer is the fact, that it’s all too easy to wander into areas where the enemies are too powerful.

Levelling up, will allow you to allocate points to various categories, you’ll also get to choose one of many perks. The level cap is twenty, which will take you many a hour to reach, but it’s still not enough for a game that can potentially last seventy hours and upwards as maxing out your character results in combat that feels slightly less interesting, but still never less than entertaining.

It’s all wonderful stuff, until some nasty bugs show themselves. Glitchy animations and framerate hiccups are acceptable in a game of such scale, but on top of that is a long list of serious bugs. I currently can’t get into Rivet City myself without the game crashing on me, whilst others have been locked in rooms, have had important people disappear, amongst other game breaking bugs. Others have been far luckier perhaps because they haven’t done whatever it is that triggers such issues. A patch has been announced, which will hopefully eradicate all these bugs, making it a fantastic experience for all.

But as it stands, Fallout 3 is a broken game, with some frustrating issues. Away from this, the combat, the world and exploration are all real strengths of the game and if not the games complete saviour, they can certainly be considered as a saving grace. Potential buyers are recommended to wait for the incoming patch, which could very well transform the game into the fantastic game that, given its high quality in most areas, it has every right to be.