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Jeremy Jastrzab
01 Jul, 2008

Fallout 3 Preview

360 Preview | Fall in! Bethesda are working at a revival.
It has been ten years since the post-apocalyptic isometric RPG Fallout 2 was released, following a year after the release of the original Fallout. Since then, publisher Interplay Entertainment has gone belly-up and the license was bought by Bethesda Softworks, a.k.a the home of the Elder Scrolls RPG series. The title has been in development since 2004 but work didn’t truly start until the completion of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. While the lid on development has been held down rather tightly, we recently got a chance to get an extended look at how the game is progressing.

The representative from Bethesda went to great lengths to reassure everyone that the Fallout 3 experience will genuinely hark back to its predecessors, despite a major overhaul in certain areas. The opening of the game unfolds in a fascinating fashion, as it takes a rather bleak standing on things following a nuclear explosion (due to a war between the US and China) that wipes out a considerable amount of the world's population. However, numerous pockets of the population have survived by living in ‘vaults’. Fallout 3 centres on a character that is born into Vault 101, where occupants are born and die in the vault, and are never allowed to leave.

You literally start from the moment that you’re born, picking out a name for yourself and your future appearance, through numerous preset and customizable options. Your mother dies at birth, so you are raised solely by your father, who is voiced by Liam Neeson and whose appearance is meant to resemble what you pick for yourself. The game then skips one year ahead, to when you are a year old. Here, you learn to look around, move and pick ‘specials’ for yourself, just as you do in other RPGs. However, it’s done in a rather novel and innovative fashion. Basically, you look through a picture book entitled “You're Special” and use the info provided to pick the skill concentrations you want.

Home sweet home.

Home sweet home.
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The game also briefly picks you up at age ten, at age sixteen, where you take the G.O.A.T test to further pick what skills you want to have attributed to you, and finally, at age nineteen the game really kicks off. Your father, a highly regarded scientist/doctor in Vault 101, leaves the vault without a trace, and the vault overseer ‘sends’ you off to look for him. So the story essentially revolves around the search for your father and the exploration of a world 200 years post-nuclear decimation. Specifically, it’s set around post-apocalyptic Washington D.C, which is backed-up numerous though barely recognisable monuments.

Upon first leaving the vault, you're greeted with the signs of those who perished trying to get in and a momentary eye adjustment. From there, three things struck us. Firstly, the game was very brown, so it's well in line with current-gen standard. All jokes aside, the second thing was just how desolate the world really was and thirdly, just how far the devastation spanned. While apparently not as big as Oblivion, the world, as well as towns, dungeons and underground areas look like they will take a long, long time to explore.

Just like the Elder Scrolls titles, the depth and intricacies could be harped on about for days on end, so we are going to focus on some of the key aspects. Through out the demonstration, we were under the impression that Fallout 3 was something of a cross between Oblivion and Bioshock, which for all intents and purposes is pretty sweet. The game’s unique concepts and setting, the close relation to its predecessors and depth in what you can do will surely make the game better then the aspects that at the moment still look like they need some work.

So this is the result of a nuclear war...

So this is the result of a nuclear war...
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From a gameplay perspective, most aspects are very solid. The emphasis on exploration and discovery are also punctuated with the interactions that you have between others in world and the numerous factions that are out and about. So exactly how you go about these things will determine your course towards the final destination. For example, if you are a jerk towards the sheriff in the first town you’ll likely visit, he’ll diplomatically blow you off. However, if you are polite, he will confide in you, which will have further implications. Your personal interface is now governed by the PIP-Boy 3000, which is upgraded from previous games and gives you access all your stats and inventories and what not.

Interacting with your environment is very important as well. Often you’ll search for water, though it will be contaminated by radiation. So you need to make a choice whether or not to heal yourself and take radiation damage, or go at it until you find another source of healing. At one stage, a radio signal was picked up about a man sheltering his family and asking for assistance. Upon discovery of their location, it was actually found that they’ve been dead for a long time, but left a lot of items for you to collect. It’s this part of Fallout 3, the numerous choices behind what you’ll be able to do that drive the game.

A point of contention in Fallout 3 is change in perspective. The game is now played from either first or third person. From the above mentioned gameplay features, the perspective fits in very well, though the one issue that remains relates to combat. Relying on playing like a first person shooter isn’t bad, though just like Bioshock, the combat doesn’t excel as much as the other aspects in the game. However, there are some great additions. In particular, the fact that you’ll have to be on the ball as weapons wear-and-tear, you’ll get to build custom weapons and pick-up and play with whatever you find.

Dogmeat returns.

Dogmeat returns.
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The game also has an addition known as VATS, or Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System. Here, players will slow down time and be able to queue up a set of moves on individual enemy body parts, for as many ‘action points’ that they’re allowed. Once the action points replenish, VATS can be used again. At least the balance of the system looks to be fairly solid at this stage. As mentioned earlier, you’ll have plenty of options surrounding character customisation, so your abilities in and out of combat will be almost completely at your discretion. Again, it’s really hard for us to emphasis the scope of this game in the limited space that we have.

According to the rep on hand, the build being played was rather early and pre-alpha. So even though there were a few minor glitches and technical hiccups, the game was still in better shape then what Oblivion was at later stages. Still, in a game of this scope, it’s obviously a very difficult job to get these things spot on. While Fallout 3 has sacrificed some micro details, the macro scope of the game is hard to fault. While it may not end up being a visual masterpiece, it has the potential to provide a truly foreboding atmosphere.

With the development team behind Fallout 3, it’s hard to envisage the game being anything other then great. The question then becomes, just how great? Fans of the original may still have their knickers in a knot over some aspects, but from what we’ve seen, the developers are doing their utmost to make the game faithful. A few minor issues concern us, but in the midst of all the exploration and depth that will likely be on offer, we’re quite happy to let some of them slide. And though a massive amount of content is promised, we’re informed that you’ll only need to dedicate around 25 hours to the actual story, so you’ve got the best of both options.
Overall:
For all fun that is post-apocalyptic, players need not look further than the upcoming Fallout 3.

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35 Comments
5 years ago
Good preview. I'm really excited about this game, even though I've only played a little of the original games. I just think Bethesda and a post-apocalyptic pseudo-steampunk world were always supposed to meet. If it ends up somewhere between Oblivion and Mass Effect I'll be a happy man.
5 years ago
By hook or by crook, somehow I'm going to play this one. God knows how I'll get the time given Bethesda's track record, but I'll swear by my name, I'll find it. icon_smile.gif
5 years ago
Ahh this game looks oh so amazing. Fallout 2 was one of the best game experiences i have ever had, and i truly hope this delivers the same sort of retro feel, it really is fantastic
5 years ago
Fallout 1 & 2 were two of the finest gaming experiences I've ever had the pleasure of undertaking over and over again. I really don't think making it a FPS will do the game justice, but to be honest I still want to play it, I love the fallout universe more than is natural.
5 years ago
WHY ME!

I really want that damn Amazon preorder but they're not offering it outside the US/Cananda (Cananda? Sorry, I meant Canadia). FASCISTS!
5 years ago
I never really got into the Fallout games (see reason why I didn't get into the Diablo games) but the actual setting and themes in the game has me very very interested. I'm fascinated with nuclear themes, the fallout, the mutations, just the unnatural things that can happen cuz of it (imo it's the closest we're ever gonna get to having real life monsters). I did pickup the Ps2/Xbox iteration that was a rip-off of Baulder Gate: Dark Alliance called Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and a mate and I played that co-op all night one day and then decided to bench it. It just wasn't as polised as the Baulder's Gate games and I think by then we were getting abit sick of them (had played Baulder's Gate DA 1 & 2, along with that one on PS2..the 4 player one....sorry forget it's name, so the last thing we needed was a lacklustre one).

Anyways since then i've actually been waiting for another Fallout game so I can get into it and looking at the perspective (3rd person action rpg) and gametype this is actually one of my most anticipated games at the moment.

Can I ask, with the combat in the old games, was it real time, or menu based like in jrpgs? I remember playing X-Com and as much as I loved that game I just hated the turn based crap (always have, always will) and I think that might be the reason I gave the first couple of Fallout games a miss (cuz they were turn based), I could be wrong though cuz like I said I never played them.

I want bobbly bobby for my car thou, so i'm gonna try and get my hands on that special edition.
5 years ago
Quote
The game is now played from either first or third person.
Stopped reading at that point, game failed, won't buy. Most of the reason I liked fallout 1&2 and even to a lesser extent tactics was the gameplay, take that out and replace it with quite possibly the worst ever gameplay for an RPG and the game will suck.

I mean wtf is the point of having skills and attributes if it all just comes down to your own skill as an FPS player, chances are I'll end up being a totally unstoppable character from the 1st second in the game and put it down when I realise theres no point in progressing any further since it'll only get easier icon_sad.gif. And if they try to make your accuracy based on you stats then that's even worse since it'll just frustrate and annoy since it makes the whole FPS gameplay pointless as it'll just be random if you hit them or not completely removing any reason for having FPS gameplay in the first place.

They did the same thing to shadowrun, take an awesome RPG and make it a FPS, look how well that turned out (complete failure). At least it might be avereage since it sounds like the story could be half decent saving it from complete failure, but I'm not going to be looking forward to this game any more icon_sad.gif. Thank god blizzard know how not to screw over their gameplay fanbase (Diablo 3 FTW icon_biggrin.gif).

Edit: HOLY FUCK! I hadn't noticed it was 360, now I know for sure it'll suck it's probably going to get the console fanbase dumbing down icon_sad.gif. Totally screwing over the fallout fanbase yet again by not targeting the PC, I hate bethesda now icon_sad.gif.
5 years ago
^ haha, i love seeing PC users get all up in arms when games come out on consoles, seriously that's where the money is at and i'm a hardcore gamer I just wanna get rid of PC's, I hate using keyboard, I hate sitting at a bloody desk, it's too much of a hassle and ugly to have one setup in your lounge hooked upto you big tv etc.

If Daiblo 3 ends up getting a console version I think we can pretty much guarantee almost every game will get a console version.

I don't get all upset when Resident Evil games get a crappy PC version so it just boggles my mind to see why PC users care so much when console owners get a version of a PC game. Imo it's cuz they're such huge nerds and it's almost like a piece of their soul is getting ported and they just cannot stand it. I hope PC gaming just dies off altogether because it completely eliminates the chance that the console might not get a version e.g Diablo 3, if there were no PC's that game would definately be coming out on consoles. So yea nothing personal I just want console version of everything and this way it guarantees it.
5 years ago
In my opinion this game is going to suck. hard. It seems to me that bethesda just made the game that they wanted to make and slapped the fallout label on it so that people will buy it. Everything that makes it fallout is gone (aside from the post nuclear apocalypse setting) and has been replaced with everything that makes oblivion and elder scrolls game. It will be interesting to see how this turns out but I have no glimmer of hope that it will be good.

My prediction is that people who have not played fallout will love it because they would have heard about fallout before and they would like oblivion. They would also think that this is how fallout has always been. Basically it will appeal to those xbox owners who call themselves "hardcore" and like shooting games and nothing with substance while those that played and loved the originals will loath this game for ruining their franchise.
5 years ago
Psy Storm wrote
In my opinion this game is going to suck. hard. It seems to me that bethesda just made the game that they wanted to make and slapped the fallout label on it so that people will buy it. Everything that makes it fallout is gone (aside from the post nuclear apocalypse setting) and has been replaced with everything that makes oblivion and elder scrolls game. It will be interesting to see how this turns out but I have no glimmer of hope that it will be good.

My prediction is that people who have not played fallout will love it because they would have heard about fallout before and they would like oblivion. They would also think that this is how fallout has always been. Basically it will appeal to those xbox owners who call themselves "hardcore" and like shooting games and nothing with substance while those that played and loved the originals will loath this game for ruining their franchise.
Agreed.

ugh the boot wrote
^ haha, i love seeing PC users get all up in arms when games come out on consoles, seriously that's where the money is at and i'm a hardcore gamer I just wanna get rid of PC's, I hate using keyboard, I hate sitting at a bloody desk, it's too much of a hassle and ugly to have one setup in your lounge hooked upto you big tv etc.

If Daiblo 3 ends up getting a console version I think we can pretty much guarantee almost every game will get a console version.

I don't get all upset when Resident Evil games get a crappy PC version so it just boggles my mind to see why PC users care so much when console owners get a version of a PC game. Imo it's cuz they're such huge nerds and it's almost like a piece of their soul is getting ported and they just cannot stand it. I hope PC gaming just dies off altogether because it completely eliminates the chance that the console might not get a version e.g Diablo 3, if there were no PC's that game would definately be coming out on consoles. So yea nothing personal I just want console version of everything and this way it guarantees it.
Hold on, I don't mind PC games going to console but hate console games that go to PC because a proper PC version would almost always be MUCH better with out the cut downs and simplification that console games get/need.

I'd rather see the console market die off and the PCs being reduced in size to fit in the lounge with KB/Mouse AND Controller inputs being standard. Remember there's alot the PCs can do that consoles cant and nothing a console can do that a PC cant, and usually a PC can do it MANY times faster.
5 years ago
ugh the boot wrote
^ haha, i love seeing PC users get all up in arms when games come out on consoles, seriously that's where the money is at and i'm a hardcore gamer I just wanna get rid of PC's, I hate using keyboard, I hate sitting at a bloody desk, it's too much of a hassle and ugly to have one setup in your lounge hooked upto you big tv etc.
I'm even more hardcore with my hi end gaming PC and all that jazz icon_razz.gif

As for Fallout 3, I also attended this preview event and it looked pretty damn solid. I've never played a Fallout game before but the game reminded me a lot of Oblivion which has my interest piqued, as I was a fan of Oblivion.

It'd be a PC buy for me, as I love high resolutions.
5 years ago
Hey I used to game real hard on PC's, but it just became too much of a chore (stoner).

Skiller - Yea that's a good way of putting it, if controls and interface get dumbed down cuz of a console port then yea bad devs, but you can't blame the fact that the console is actually getting a version just cuz the devs chose to be lazy. Imo they should always make the PC version first and then port it to consoles or whatnot, the interface always needs to be worked on a little more on consoles. Also I agree PC's should be the way to go but it would be good to have unified specs and a control pad (anything other than keyboard and mouse) which unfortunately is what would basically turn it into a console, so yea as much as I love the power of PC's and the variety of things you can use it for, I hate the hardware aspect and I hate the control method (for games only, obviously for work, spreadsheets, forums, internet etc it's much better). So basically when it comes down to it, i'd rather consoles for games PC's for everyrthing else....which basically re-iterates what I said earlier.
5 years ago
i would love to play games on a PC if it existed like you guys have stated but at the end of the day the reason why people are driven to pick up consoles is because they cost less and have a longer shelf life, having to upgrade a PC all the time to play a game must become such a chore not mention expensive.. icon_smile.gif
5 years ago
ugh the boot wrote
Can I ask, with the combat in the old games, was it real time, or menu based like in jrpgs? I remember playing X-Com and as much as I loved that game I just hated the turn based crap (always have, always will) and I think that might be the reason I gave the first couple of Fallout games a miss (cuz they were turn based), I could be wrong though cuz like I said I never played them.
The combat was turn based, you had a set amount of action points each turn and could make as many actions as your points would allow before switching to another character. It created a strategical form of gameplay not unlike X-Com in that you could choose to take a couple of shots at the enemies body (you could aim at different areas) from where you are, or risk moving closer for a greater chance at a much stronger headshot.

Having seen an image of Fallout 3 with percentages on an enemy implies that it could be turn based again, as what is the point of offering percentages if you're the one actually aiming?
5 years ago
^This must be when you have the 'VATS' system activated.

Basically, you line up as many commands as you action points allow. Each command refers to you shooting a body part - arms, leg, torso, head etc, and each has an associated percentage. That percentage is the chance of a successful hit.

You can still fight in real time, though you'll have no percentages.
5 years ago
huge fan of the originals, and very much looking forwards to this.

i was initially concerned when i heard Bethesda had taken over the licence, since i really didn't like Morrowind or Oblivion, but the more i see of FO3, the less concern i get - and the return of (essentially) a turn-based mode is pleasing too. (i was one of the people who turned "Tactics" real-time combat back to turn-based.

but i'm especially looking forwards to re-encountering the Deathclaws...
5 years ago
Denny wrote
As for Fallout 3, I also attended this preview event and it looked pretty damn solid. I've never played a Fallout game before but the game reminded me a lot of Oblivion which has my interest piqued, as I was a fan of Oblivion.
Which is also why a lot of the old fans are pissed off. Fallout never played even slightly like Oblivion.

Eh, I really hope Bethesda pull this off. Fallout is on of my all time favourite franchises, and one of the most influential RPGs ever made. I've been dying for a true sequel for years, and even though I'm not impressed with Bethesda's take, a part of me holds some hope, even if its ignorance.

I still think Troika should have been given the license.
5 years ago
I play consoles for games like Dynasty Warriors or GTA and shit. FPS and full blown RPG games EAT THE BIG FAT ONE on consoles.

I also hate the control scheme and the fact that games on consoles are over simplified for the casual gamers or lazy gamers ie our stoner friend up above here. Games lack depth and complexity now, it's almost a chore to play them because they present no fucking challenge or discovery, everything is painted for you in big arrows saying 'GO THIS WAY RETARD'.
5 years ago
teknohead wrote
I also hate the control scheme and the fact that games on consoles are over simplified for the casual gamers or lazy gamers ie our stoner friend up above here.
What, me?
5 years ago
Eat: I believe he was referring to Ugh (see his post).

As for fans being annoyed at it being too much like Oblivion, that's understandable. I never got into the Fallout games so I don't have that background experience with the game to compare. It is fairly solid at the moment though and is far more consistent than oblivion even at the stage of development they showed us.

And I agree, I would've loved to see what Troika can do with the game. Vampire Bloodlines totally shows why. But Bethesda are still pretty damn awesome, Morrowind in particular.
5 years ago
Troika not just because of their talent, but because the founders of Troika created Fallout.

I'm pretty sure in one of the post-Bankruptcy interviews they said they pitched for the license, but unfortunately lost it to Bethesda.
5 years ago
Fallout 2 is one of if not the best game i have ever played imo, i will probs end up buying this to be able to see its great land/setting etc in 3d, and it sort of has a nostalgic feel about the whole thing, using many old style drawings etc video not unlike something such as bioshock. If you think about it fallout also had many gameplay elements like oblivion, such as being able to pickpocket every person/shop you see etc, for me making or breaking this game will be the combat system. btw ill be getting it on 360
5 years ago
From what I've played of Oblivion and what I've played of Fallout, I can definitely see the parallels between the two and if Bethesda simply translate the Fallout 2 gameplay and humour into a 3d setting it can't possibly fail. Especially if there's all those awesome perks and a buttload of new ones. Sure a lot of them were useless but half the fun was simply reading the descriptions.

Oh, and I don't know if anyone else did this but I always tried to piss bolt to San Francisco right at the start of the game so I could score some awesome weaponry, the risk factor was high, but it's rare that a game allows you to literally (sp?) go anywhere right from the start. Much to the dismay I'm sure of those who recklessly venture off the beaten path.

In fact Fallout felt far more like a MMO than Oblivion or Morrowind ever did.
5 years ago
teknohead wrote
I play consoles for games like Dynasty Warriors or GTA and ****. FPS and full blown RPG games EAT THE BIG FAT ONE on consoles.

I also hate the control scheme and the fact that games on consoles are over simplified for the casual gamers or lazy gamers ie our stoner friend up above here. Games lack depth and complexity now, it's almost a chore to play them because they present no **** challenge or discovery, everything is painted for you in big arrows saying 'GO THIS WAY RETARD'.
I don't want controls oversimplified I want them streamlined, i don't want a whole keyboard with useless keys, I want only the keys that i'm gonna use. Also "GO THIS WAY RETARD", if any game has auto aiming, or help hints, or pointers etc I always turn them off so it's not about the controls having depth and complexity, it's about the mechanics which you seemed to have gotten confused. Also what a stupid thing to say about a turn based game, which don't normally have very complex controls hence 'turn based'.
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Australian Release Date:
  31/10/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $109.95 AU
Publisher:
  Red Ant
Genre:
  RPG
Year Made:
  2008

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