Fallout 3:
Questions Answered

By Shamus
on Nov 18, 2008
Filed under:
Game Reviews

In the aftermath of E3, when people were still nursing their post-convention hangovers and writing about how E3 was destined to be the BEST GAEM EVAR, I was a big mean spoilsport and fired off a few questions in the general direction of Bethesda.

Now I’ve sunk a weekend into the game and had a nice deep draught from the well of first-hand experience. So I want to go back and answer those questions with the help of my newfound knowledge.

Here are the original questions, along with my take on how well it turned out in the final product:

1. Will this game run properly on the computers available on this planet?

This turned out pretty well. The game looks good and runs on high-ish settings on my decidedly ordinary mid-range machine. I’ve been watching, and I haven’t seen any Oldblivion-level problems. Apparently the game runs well enough on mid-range hardware, and the minimum system specs are nonfiction.

I could go on my usual rant about how the latest graphics advancements aren’t really worth the price we’re paying for them, but that’s not the point. The game runs on machines it claims it will, and it doesn’t have absurd Crysis-level specs.

2. Is the game going to be infected with auto-leveling foes?

Rumor has it that there is some area-based leveling going on, but on the macro scale the game works the way you would expect: There are places where a newbie can get himself into deadly trouble, and there are places where a built-up character can steamroll foes.

I might nitpick the leveling in a later post, but still: No auto-leveling. Yay.

3. What kind of DRM are we talking here?

The DRM was nothing new. Just a CD check. Whatever. Thank you for not making things worse, I suppose.

4. Do you have any plans on playtesting the game this time around?

While far better than the software jalopy that is Oblivion, Fallout 3 follows in the Bethesda tradition of games that feel like they’re held together with masking tape and hope. The problems cover the full spectrum, from amusing flukes to show-stopping crashes. Some of them are humorous. Some are aggravating. Here is a sample of them to give you an idea:

  • A super mutant was having a scripted conversation with a victim he was about to eat. From the shadows, I dropped him with couple of sniper rounds to his ugly green dome. He was dead on the floor, but his conversation with the captured NPC continued on for several more lines.
  • The interface is a mess for anyone who doesn’t use the default inputs. I can’t imagine that a singe playtester tried re-mapping the keys. One example of the key-mapping problems: You can re-map the “pip-boy” key (something you’ll be pressing a lot) from TAB to something else. But you still have to press TAB to close the pip-boy, and there is nothing you can do to re-map that behavior. Lots of things work like this. Some functionality can’t be re-assigned at all. Some can be “partly” re-assigned. It’s a mess.
  • I rescued a couple of guys in downtown DC. As a reward, they pledged to “protect” me while I was in the area. Eventually I left and forgot all about them. Hours and hours later, after many quests and level-ups, I found one of them in my house in the city of Megaton.
  • The game seems to crash about 1 in 3 times when I exit. There are also random crashes when roaming around outside.
  • In Megaton, citizens keep coming up to me and offering me gifts for “all I’ve done for them”. This has happened a dozen times, despite the fact that I’ve only done one quest related to the town, ages ago. What the heck are these people going on about?
  • If you are unfortunate enough to have an NPC follow you around, you’ll discover that they are horrifyingly stupid in combat. They will run right into your line of fire and will think nothing of hitting you if you get in their way. The brotherhood guys I mentioned before were a horrible curse because I was trying to engage foes at close range and one of my “friends” kept using a rocket launcher, which was more likely to kill me than my foe. Just appalling stupidity. Having actors immune to damage from allies wouldn’t fix the shortcomings in the AI, but it would at least stop punishing the player for it.
  • I entered someone’s open room in Rivet City. They came in and went to sleep for the night, locking me inside with them. I didn’t have the lockpicking skill to escape the room. I woke them up and talked to them, but there wasn’t any option for “please let me out of your house”.

5. Will you be supporting the game after release?

A patch is out to address some of the crashes. I’d really, really, like to see a fix for the key-mapping problems, since the current state of things is a constant irritation.

Time will tell.

I’m happy to see that things have turned out well for Fallout 3. (Aside from the bugs.) It runs, the DRM doesn’t get in the way, and the underlying mechanics don’t have any egregious flaws. We can argue all day about how this compares to its 2D grandsire, but at least we’re having that conversation from within the game, not standing outside with our noses pressed against the glass, bitching about DRM.

I’ll be even happier if they knuckle down and take care of some of these rough edges.

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A Hundred!207There are 127 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

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  1. Kel'Thuzad says:

    I believe it has SecuROM, but it’s less bad then other versions somehow. What ever happened to that Sam and Max Episode DRM problem you had?

  2. Ron says:

    ” In Megaton, citizens keep coming up to me and offering me gifts for “all I’ve done for them”. This has happened a dozen times, despite the fact that I’ve only done one quest related to the town, ages ago. What the heck are these people going on about? ”

    This is because of Good Karma. No other reason.

  3. MJG says:

    Agree with just about all of them. I really do enjoy the game, but it does have its fair share of bugs that keep me from totally loving it.

  4. krellen says:

    This is because of Good Karma. No other reason.

    It’s also annoying as hell. I ended up killing her (it’s actually the same girl over and over, not different people) just to get her to stop.

    We can argue all day about how this compares to its 2D grandsire

    Oooh, can I start?

    The lack of stat-based conversation penalties is depressing. The lack of narrated results for the various settlements you visit at the end of the game is depressing. The over-abundance of blatant references to make this a Fallout world are depressing (here I’m talking about the no less than 6, and possibly more, “iconic” factories or headquarters that are all miraculously in the DC area.) The preponderance of robots (and especially the new robot designs) is depressing. The idea of androids in Fallout is depressing.

    I still maintain that Fallout 3 is a myth. This game tries very very hard to prove it is Fallout, and doing so is perhaps its worst failing. If they had made their own post-nuclear setting without trying to convince me it was Fallout, I would probably enjoy this game. But since they stuck the name “Fallout” on it, I spend a lot of time looking at choices they’ve made and shaking my head because it is not Fallout.

  5. Nick Pitino says:

    I tell myself I have at least one true fan, because for me in Megaton it is never a RANDOM citizen who gives me free crap, it’s the SAME citizen every time.

    So I call her my groupie.

  6. Jeremiah says:

    I rented Fallout 3 for the PS3 a few weeks ago, and I really had a lot of fun with it. I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but I enjoyed it. And I just finished beating Fallout 1 a month or so ago, and I’m currently playing through Fallout 2 (thank you Good Old Games) and even though it’s all 3D and first-person I still feel like it’s pretty true to the Fallout world.

    Luckily, in the 10 or so hours I played, I didn’t come across any major flaws. I figure once I get a little more room in my video game queue I’ll buy it, I just don’t know for what system, yet.

    One of my favorite thing so far: no having to do the overland travel like in 1 and 2 and chance a random encounter. Damn, I hate that.

    I didn’t particularly enjoy the character creation sequence. The exposition was nice, but it felt drawn out; I was ready to move on. And speaking of that, I didn’t have a manual to read, so I made a lot of assumptions on how things worked (based on 1 and 2) and got thrown for a loop when some things worked differently. Namely, tagged skills and not having the option of starting traits.

    Hell, even my wife enjoyed watching me play to some extent. And she rarely cares much for anything I play, unless it’s particularly pretty. So, it’ll be nice to have a game that I can play and she’s somewhat interested in.

  7. TehShrike says:

    Many PC users are plagued with issues where the software freezes and crashes so often as to make the game unplayable. I know this, because I’m one of them. The forums have quite a few posts of these people who have been unable to resolve their problems:
    http://www.bethsoft.com/bgsforums/index.php?showtopic=892770&hl=

  8. Nick Istre says:

    One of the more amusing bugs I came across. At least I think it was a bug.

    Basically, when escaping from the vault, that bully comes up and pleads with you to save his mother from the rad roaches. So, I save her, he gives me his jacket, and I proceed to take out my baseball bat and beat him with it. Before, his mom would then trigger to run around screaming and yelling “murder”. No, this time, while I was beating his son, she sits down, grabs a whiskey bottle, and downs it. And when I talk to her after I’ve killed her son in front of her, she asks me to sit down to have a drink with her…

    It felt quite surreal.

  9. Steve S says:

    Well, it sounds like the idiot NPC ‘helpers’ being more like to waste you than the bad guys is at least true to the original games!

    I think I’ll be waiting a fair while for Bethseda (or, much more likely, some helpful modders) to sort things out a bit before trying this.

    Does make you wonder how all those gushing, 10/10, best game ever, ‘professional’ reviews managed to gloss over the whole ‘held together with masking tape and hope’ side of things though…

  10. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:

    I’m 70 hours into this game, and still loving it. Personally, as someone who was kinda “meh” about the first two, I find this game to be the most immersive and rewarding of the entire franchise. Hell, there have been some in-game moments that almost brought a tear to my eye.

    Shamus, your video game posts on here have grown increasingly ranty and mean-spirited over the last year, and I’m really glad to see your first post on this game post-release actually be something fairly pleasant. Kudos.

  11. qrter says:

    Only a disk check?

    I bought my copy through Steam and I think the game has made it mandatory for me to login to Windows Live, or otherwise it won’t let me load a previous savegame (‘continue’ and ‘load game’ are actually greyed out)..

    There was a general Steam patch that would integrate Windows Live (or Games For Windows) games better with Steam itself, so maybe that has been removed? (I haven’t played since that particular update)

  12. JT says:

    One of the hits that people have leveled against Bethesda’s implementation of SecuROM on Fallout 3 (’cause there’s different pieces of its functionality that they can enable or disable) is that they’ve blacklisted perfectly legal and purchased-above-board CD-burning software like Nero and the like, simply because they categorize it as “copy-making software”, and forcing people who have purchased both Nero and Fallout to choose which one they want installed on their PC. The Fallout installer refuses to run if it sees software that’s on its blacklist.

    Also, the same sorts of your-mileage-may-vary complaints that SecuROM has broken or in some way affected the operation of their DVD drive itself.

    Personally, when they announced they weren’t going all EA on us, I was primed to buy the PC version (new, even!) as a vote-with-my-wallet high-five to Bethesda, but with those two things I decided against it and went ahead and bought the 360 version used off Craigslist.

    Maybe after a video card upgrade early next year and a SecuROM-removing patch (maybe?) I’ll get the PC version to perhaps take advantage of the mod community. Speaking of which,

    The game looks good and runs on high-ish settings on my decidedly ordinary mid-range machine. I’ve been watching, and I haven’t seen any Oldblivion-level problems. Apparently the game runs well enough on mid-range hardware, and the minimum system specs are nonfiction.

    Can you tell us a bit about what system you’re running it on, Seamus? Mostly, what generation video card, etc.?

  13. James Pony says:

    My biggest problem with all games that incorporate mechanics for good-bad effects is that EVIL is always easier and more fun. There’s very little reward to being good.
    When being good, the assholes remain assholes even if you bust your ass off doing quests just to get them to say what color Napoleon’s white horse is. Being bad, you can just threaten them and kill them anyway – and many times you can find the info you need on a piece of paper or tattooed on their genitals or something along the lines.

    And when you’re good, you never get to nuke a town full of irritating shitheads. And I really, really like having more options than just “Bend over” and “Fellate “. And bullets are faster than words.

    And the next paragraph too would begin with “and”, because the list goes on and on and on and on and on – unless you shoot it in the face.

    Also, I take it Steve S never gave Cassidy a Gauss Rifle. And Sulik was only ever a problem if you used burst fire and didn’t tell Sulik to watch his chem intake; a swell battle it was, the little textbox in the lower left corner spewing line after line of “Sulik uses Jet. Sulik uses Jet. Sulik uses Beer. Sulik uses Antidote. Sulik uses Psycho. Sulik uses Nuka-Cola. Sulik uses Jet. Sulik uses Beer. Sulik uses Antidote.” And he never even got close enough to hit the enemy. I don’t think I ever let him carry any consumables after that.

  14. Arson55 says:

    I played through Fallout 3 on PS3. Now, I haven’t played any of the old Fallouts, but I did like 3. It was just a fun game. It had a few flaws, but overall I really enjoyed it.

    And Shamus, warning you now, you will find autoleveling foes out in the wasteland area, less so in the downtown regions. The wasteland is initially full of vicious dogs and molerats, but eventually you’ll come across almost nothing but giant radscorpions and the various robotic enemies (and eventually deathclaws). Other enemies are somewhat more subtle about like raiders and such. As you level up their typical equipment will change. Early on most of the raiders you find have melee weapons or Chinese pistols. Eventually you’ll notice more of a tendency for assault rifles and other more dangerous weapons. You’ll still see the piss-poor weapons on some of them, but overall they will be better equipped.

  15. DosFreak says:

    You may not have had issues with the DRM in the game but alot of people did.

    In my case I couldn’t use the Launcher (SECUROM is embedded in the Launcher not the Fallout3.exe).

    So I could launch the game but I couldn’t configure the game. :rolleyes:

    I downloaded a russian crack for the launcher so I could configure the game but I don’t know russian so I fiddle in there for about 10 minutes guessing at what the options did.

    There may be a US crack for the Launcher but I haven’t bothered to look for it since I had the game configured fine.

    Sadly you see alot of misinformed people on the tubes claiming that the copy protection in F3 is the same as Oblivion, I don’t know where they get this information. They seem to hear something they want to hear and then regurgiate it as the truth.

    (Fallout 3 has SECUROM in the Launcher, Oblivion didn’t use SECUROM just a CD check, Oblivion Shivering Isles used SECUROM in the installer which prevented alot of people from installing it (like me) ).

  16. Duoae says:

    1. The game’s performance is great. I’m running on Vista with a P4 (single core) 3GHz, ATI X1950pro 512MB with 2 GB RAM. Most new games are really starting to push my system to breaking point but believe it or not (game bugs notwithstanding) the engine has been optimised since Oblivion in which i had to turn down more of the settings.

    2.The levelling is pretty good – nothing like in Oblivion – and at level 20 i’m still enountering enemies that i can kill with one shot whilst also encountering others that take two whole clips of ammo to take down.

    3. I was very happy with the level of DRM in comparison with other games and this was the primary reason i purchased FO3 – to support the decision. The fact that i’ve been loving the game for 80+ hours is a great bonus. I’ve hardly played the main questline but i’ve heard it’s pretty badly written and, once finished, the player cannot explore the wasteland afterward.
    I think, although i know you are generally down on DRM, that for the disc-based version of the game this is the ‘perfect’ solution for developer/publisher and gamer and a big step forward (backward) to what we had before all this limited installs schtick. I’m a bit disappointed that you’re so off-hand about the whole issue considering it’s what you’ve been asking for in many other posts on the issue.

    4. Yeah, there are lots of bugs but so far i’ve only crashed twice and otherwise the game has run fine for me though i am aware that other people have been having problems with FFDshow etc.

    5. Can’t wait for user mods. Hopefully Bethesda will release some tools for the game.

  17. Michael says:

    The biggest thing I’ve noticed so far in my less-than-3 hours playing, is I killed someone up on that first over-head highway section you come across with my pistol and without the required velocity or effort to cause such a thing, they literally went flying off and landed who knows where hundreds of yards away… Humorous, but also annoying as I kinda wanted to loot him. :)

  18. Tizzy says:

    Allies who shoot you in the back is a time-tested Fallout tradition. It wouldn’t be a Fallout game without it.

  19. Matt says:

    follows in the Bethesda tradition of games that feel like they’re held together with masking tape and hope.

    Fallout 2 had plenty of bugs, but no one seems to really fault it for that.

  20. yd says:

    It’s a bit buggy, but not too bad for me on my configuration. I’ve had it crash up a few times, and VATS goes into weird artifacts mode, and once I got stuck inside a wall. All in all, it hasn’t been a problem. Definitely not “unplayable” for me, although I’d certainly prefer more stable.

    The lack of key mappings (and I didn’t realize the ones you have available are broken) is horrible, though. It just screams console. There’s no reason why, for example, the three tabs of the Pip can’t be assignable… Or holster gun assignable to something other than “hold R”.

  21. Tizzy says:

    #16: I’ve hardly played the main questline but i’ve heard it’s pretty badly written and, once finished, the player cannot explore the wasteland afterward.

    Is that true? That’s really a dumb departure from the Fallout tradition here!

  22. Fenix says:

    @JT:
    I have nero and it installed on my computer just fine.

    I’ve played this game for over 40hours and have only encountered one crash and that was because I had windows update updating in the backround. Remember 70% of errors and crashes are processes in the backround saying “HEY I WANNA DO SOMETHING!!!” I’m running windows xp and have only 18 vital processes running in the backround and pretty much all these “BUG RIDDEN GAMES” seem to not be nearly as buggy as people say. However the supermutant still talking after you killed it is both understandable and funny in my opinion.

  23. Sven says:

    I hear a lot of people that sound like krellen above. I believe that no matter what game was put out they would have had the same “this is not Fallout” opinion. You don’t have to shun the new game to be a fan of the old ones, it’s just elitism coloring your perception.

    If they went as subtle as krellen suggests he would be here crying, “Where’s the Nuka-Cola?! Where’s the Brotherhood of Steel?! Where’s the Jet and Psycho?! Where are the cheesy robots?! This is not Fallout.”

    For what it’s worth, Shamus, the 360 version’s control mappings are pretty decent and I don’t have any of those problems you described. I’m not saying everybody should buy the console version – but I’m glad they seem to have got it mostly right the first time around for the 360. I’ve got a ton of play time in without a single freeze, crash, or glitch.

  24. Arson55 says:

    James Pony, I actually didn’t find being Good in Fallout 3 as bad as it is in most games. In a lot of games you are actually penalized if you play a good character, in Fallout 3, there were a handful of things I found superior on the good side of things. One was simply the homes. I found the Megaton home more convenient than the one in Tenpenny tower. It was in a better location as I actually went to Megaton for other things, whereas with the suite in Tenpenny tower I find myself going there just to go home and then immediately leaving. Also, I liked that there was one fewer load screen to get to the Megaton home.

    And though both perks are largely irrelevant, I thought the Lawbringer perk was clearly superior to the Contract Killer perk.

    And really, though there were a lot of jerks around in the game, someone being an idiot and asshole is never enough reason to kill them. Besides, there were a few decent/amusing people around.

  25. krellen says:

    If they went as subtle as krellen suggests he would be here crying, “Where’s the Nuka-Cola?! Where’s the Brotherhood of Steel?! Where’s the Jet and Psycho?! Where are the cheesy robots?! This is not Fallout.”

    Nuka-Cola should be there. The Nuka-Cola bottling factory should not. The Brotherhood turned out better than I expected, and I’m okay with them – you’ll notice I didn’t mention them. Jet was introduced in Fallout 2 as a plot-point, but I didn’t feel particularly put off by it even through it’s not instantly addicting.

    And I’m dismayed by the new robots, not the cheesy ones. There are too many of them – they were a rare treat, generally localised, in the previous Fallouts. In this game they are everywhere, which makes them less special and less obvious relics of the past. The DC wastes are crawling with robots – especially the new “Protectrons” and “Sentry Bots” – with no obvious source for them. The wastes are supposed to be wasted, which means robots would all be pre-war relics. In the previous Fallouts, the only robots were centred around old military bases – not wandering randomly everywhere.

    I’m really getting sick of people telling me that not liking something new means I’m elitist, prejudiced, or backwards. There are certain things about a setting and theme that define them, and if they’re lacking, there are problems.

    I’ll refer you over here to what Brad Wardell said. All they had to do was not call this Fallout 3 and I would be fine. Fallout: DC Wastes. Fallout: Another Story. Anything. But they called it Fallout 3.

    I hear the same bullshit from people when I talk about the Star Wars prequels, too. They aren’t bad. “Fallout 3” is not bad. But neither is particularly true to the feel of the originals, and both hold a fair number of factual inaccuracies when compared to the originals.

    Something can be good and yet still be unworthy of comparison to a classic.

  26. eloj says:

    I’ve been keeping a crash log. It’s about 1 crash/hour, and I’m 37 hours into the game. :-\

  27. R. Landau says:

    The stupidest thing I’ve found with it is that your windows Live account is tied to your save game. If you start a game logged into windows live, you cannot load that game unless you are logged in. WHAT. THE. HELL? So i get 50 hours into the game, and my net connection goes down. Whee, I don’t get to play that game until its fixed! If I had known this BEFORE i started playing, I would never have setup windows live.

  28. LintMan says:

    Overall so far, I’m quite pleased with Fallout 3, though it certainly has its share of flaws. Like most Bethseda games, Fallout 3 is big, ambitious and sorta buggy. I really liked the first two Fallouts but am not into them enough to be upset over, say, the stuff krellen complains about with the iconic locations and android additions.

    Compared to Oblivion, I’d say that Fallout 3 does seem smaller and not quite as buggy at release as Oblivion was. The auto-leveling is definitely less apparent and obnoxious, but that might be helped by the very low level cap of 20. FO3 also feels less like a console port than Oblivion did, thankfully. Though, Shamus’ hot-key experience proves they still spent little effort on the PC controls.

    Shamus: if you get locked in with an NPC again, you can unlock yourself using a simple console command: Just enter the console (~\` key), click on the door, and type “unlock”. Presto, you’re free.

    qrter: The Windows Live stuff is a pain, but it’s unrelated to Steam. Basically, if you are logged in to Windows Live when you start a new game, you ALWAYS have to log in to Live to continue that game. If you don’t want to deal with Live, log out of Live (or don’t log in to it when you start up) and then start a new game. Now you should be able to play without needing Live at all. The one downside to this is that you can’t get any Live “Achievements” or rewards or whatever they’re called. I don’t give a rat’s ass about those, but YMMV.

  29. James Pony says:

    Arson, I actually played as a magical superhuman the first time. Not only was I good, but I made sure to establish myself as strong and heroic. It was pretty good all in all.

    But then I played bad and blew up Megaton.

    And that’s my problem. Good is never as cool as bad.

  30. Namfoodle says:

    @ James Pony: You gave the guy with a bone in his nose Jet? WTF? I only ever gave him stimpaks. And what the hell kind of bone poked through his nose anyway?

    Overall, I’ve been pretty lucky playing with allies in FO1 & FO2. I managed to keep all of the NPCs alive to the end of FO1, including good ol’ Dogmeat. And they almost never shot me in the back. In FO2, if you adjust the settings right, the allies are reasonably helpful in combat. Sulik charges to point-blank range and opens up full auto with his H&K, which usually reduces opponents to “meaty mist”.

    I haven’t played through FO3 yet, but it seems like there wasn’t anything wrong with being Good in the first two games. Most of time, if someone is an asshole, you can kill them and actually get good karma from it. I haven’t played an “Evil” or “Stupid” character in the first two games yet. I only bought them recently from GOG.

  31. LintMan says:

    krellen wrote:
    “I’ll refer you over here to what Brad Wardell said. All they had to do was not call this Fallout 3 and I would be fine. Fallout: DC Wastes. Fallout: Another Story. Anything. But they called it Fallout 3.”

    My take on what he was saying was that he was talking more in terms of overall gameplay – both MOO3 and Star Control 3 had substantially different (and worse!) gameplay than their predecessors – I don’t think he expects the sequels to be identical. But then, that’s pretty subjective: to me, FO3 “feels” a lot like the older games in the most important ways, but to you it doesn’t.

  32. krellen says:

    More or less correct.

    From pure game play, it’s not even close to the originals, though. I’m not sure you could get game play that “feels” like the original two while being in FPP. I’ve yet to see a FPP game that involves turns, and the turns is a big part of the game play feel of Fallout.

    And if anyone comes along and posts that “Turn-based is old school man, get with the now”, I swear I will trace your IP back to an address and hunt you down just so I can paint your face blue. With purple polka dots.

  33. McNutcase says:

    #16: I’ve hardly played the main questline but i’ve heard it’s pretty badly written and, once finished, the player cannot explore the wasteland afterward.

    Is that true? That’s really a dumb departure from the Fallout tradition here!

    Actually, not so much. Fallout ended once you finished the main quest. Fallout 2 merely gave you the option to continue exploring once you completed the main quest. Fallout Tactics ended when you completed it. So, of two-and-a-half, one gave you the option. Really strong “tradition” there…

  34. Nilus says:

    What people seem to forget is there is a really good reason why they don’t let you play after you beat the game. If you want to keep playing after you won just load a save game right after you escape the Enclave(I wont say more to avoid spoilers but the next main quest you do after that is the end game). The last quest doesn’t really give you that much more experience or any special equipment so its not like you gain some awesome ability and then they tell you game over. So just play all you want before you take that last quest and win the game.

  35. Apathy Curve says:

    Nathanael whatever:

    “Shamus, your video game posts on here have grown increasingly ranty and mean-spirited over the last year…”

    Only reason I come here. Any drooling moron can be critical in a nice way; Gamespot employs lots of them.

    If the game deserves biting critique and “mean-spirited” jabs, I expect to see it. Sarcasm and cynicism are an art form, as well as being quite humorous when conveyed properly. Perhaps you just don’t “get it.”

  36. Colonel Slate says:

    For a guy that played the original Fallout and Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, repeatedly, for months and months of his life when he had nothing else to do, Fallout 3 is a Fallout game.

    Krellen, talking about how it’s so strange that there’s robots everywhere, let’s just say, look, Robco is here, makes sense, I mean, where were the others set? California, which had been so completely nuked that there was nothing at all there, only scrap metal and depression.

    Besides that, Interplay boys have always said that they would have liked to put more stuff in the games, but computers and time couldn’t take it. Remember also that Interplay went out of business shortly after Fallout 2.

    If everyone complains so much about Vault-Tec headquarters being in the DC area… then you obviously didn’t play Fallout 2, considering the Shi (and the hubs) mention that Valut-Tec was located in the “Capital Wasteland”

    Also, why shouldn’t the Nuka Cola bottling plant be there? I mean, look at real companies and their plants, also, remember that Nuka Cola is the ONLY COLA in the Fallout world, so popular that it beat out all the other competition.

    Back to the robots though, I don’t know why there are so many, I do know that there a tons of military bases around DC, I could say they came from there, but in all actuality, the only seem to be the “Middle Range Enemy” where you’re not high enough level to fight Deathclaws, but too low to fight bugs or rats

    No idea where the “Protectron” or the “Brain” one came from, but Sentry bots and the Mr. Gutsy models have always been in Fallout.

    Now, I like the turn based Fallouts, I love them to death, but I also accept Fallout 3 as a great continuation of the story. No it’s not turn based, but it’s quite well rooted in Fallout tradition.

    And besides, if you really want to complain about it, I’ll call you elitist, why, because you’re not doing a damn thing to fix it, are you?

  37. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:

    Apathy whatever:

    Perhaps you just don’t “get it.”

    Eh. No need for that.

  38. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:

    Colonel Slate:

    I am pretty sure the robots are there mainly because there’s a mostly intact RobCo Factory right there in the Capital Wasteland. It is quite feasible that many of the models survived, and wandered out into the wastelands. Additionally, I’ve frequently seen them in the employ of the Talon mercs.

    As for the Nuka-Cola bottling plant, agreed. I’ve lived in three different cities in the US that had their own local Coca-Cola AND Pepsi bottling plants. “Bottling Plants” for the vaious companies are ALL OVER the damn country, and I see no reason why DC wouldn’t have one as well.

  39. krellen says:

    Robo-Brains were in the original. I don’t recall any Sentry Bots or Mr. Gutsy, though at least the Gutsy is a fairly obvious variation of the Mr. Handy, which is from the original.

    List of factories I found in the “Capital Wasteland”:
    Robco
    Nuka-Cola
    “Red Rider”
    Chryslus
    Corvega

    One or two of those would be okay, but even in the 50s the DC area did not manufacture that much stuff.

    And the Robco and Nuka-Cola factories are both also corporate headquarters, which is also ridiculous. Given the nature of Vault-Tec’s experiments, its headquarters in DC makes sense, but that part of the country simply is not a common place for corporations and factories.

    The only reason to include all of those is for the “Look, we’re really Fallout, really!” factor.

    … And what the hell am I supposed to do about the game not being Fallout? That’s one of the silliest things anyone has ever said. “You’re elitist because you’re criticising without doing anything to fix things you have no power to fix”?

  40. Nathanael Phillip Cole says:

    Re Krellen:

    “One or two of those would be okay, but even in the 50s the DC area did not manufacture that much stuff.”

    You DO know that the nuclear apocalypse hit in 2077, and not in the 50’s, right?

  41. krellen says:

    You DO know that the nuclear apocalypse hit in 2077, and not in the 50’s, right?

    Of course I do.

    Fallout is the 50s version of the future, however, so “this is how things are now” is not a relevant argument; “this is how things were in the 50s” is, as is “this is how people thought the future would be in the 50s”.

    The Fallout universe diverges from ours in the 50s, which is why the technology is all vacuum tubes and nuclear power.

    But really, I don’t expect people that really really like this game to have been enough into the original two to know that.

  42. Robyrt says:

    On the subject of locks: I once lost about an hour of playtime by falling from the 2nd floor of a ruined building to the 1st, and the only way back out of the 1st floor was a locked door too high for my lockpick skill.

    On bugs and crashes: On the 360 version, I had a whopping 1 crash total, although I have missed some collisions a couple times (stuck inside objects until I jump out). As far as I know, you can’t significantly remap your controls, but the all-important Pip Boy button is the easily accessible B.

    On NPCs: None of the NPCs I recruited had this problem, because none of them used a rocket launcher. Note that unless the rockets are their original equipped weapon, you can just take it away from them and give them a minigun or Gatling Laser instead.

  43. UtopiaV1 says:

    Well, you guys can argue all day over whether this is a ‘proper’ fallout game, but if it’s a half-decent RPG/FPS then i’m getting it (haven’t played a good one since Stalker).

    I can’t wait to get this game (UKer here, and a poor one at that!), but until then I’ll just play on the REAL fallout 3… fallout tactics! Gotta love that CTB combat…

  44. krellen says:

    Utopia: It is at least a “half-decent” RPG/FPS. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve got it.

  45. Groboclown says:

    I’m just about to purchase the game, so I don’t really have a leg to stand on. However, as a fan of the original 2 Fallouts, here’s some of the things that I’ve heard:

    The first two were great in that, different character builds created a completely different approach to winning the game. This one is fairly limited in that:

    No Stupid Mode Shamus, you already mentioned this. Stupid mode was one of the greatest Easter Eggs I’ve seen – it permeated the entire game, and even had a great gag (the town idiot).

    You can’t win by not killing anything The originals did let you win by not killing anything. I never was able to do that myself, though.

    You can’t win by not speaking to anyone You can win the originals by killing everyone, and never speaking (well, except for the introductions, which force a conversation).

    I also heard another great comment:
    “I didn’t like the game, but then I realized that it wasn’t anything more than a total conversion of Oblivion into the Fallout world. That’s when I relaxed and enjoyed the game.”

    So, I guess that means that, in the end, it’s just a game.

  46. LintMan says:

    “From pure game play, it’s not even close to the originals, though. I’m not sure you could get game play that “feels” like the original two while being in FPP. I’ve yet to see a FPP game that involves turns, and the turns is a big part of the game play feel of Fallout.”

    To me, the gameplay essence of Fallout was that it was an wide-open non-D&D-based sci-fi RPG with an elaborate skill system, detailed quests with multiple solution paths, elaborate conversation choices, the ability to play as good or evil, and a turn-based combat system that allowed you to target specific parts of your enemies. By that measure, the conversations are somewhat lacking, and the new VATS system is just an ok compromise, but on the whole, it stands up pretty well. For me, the turn based combat in FO was good up until it gets repetitive: trying to cross some area and then the game grinds to a halt as the panel slides open so you can kill some rat you come across for the 50th time. So for me, the real-time FPS combat is sometimes a plus. Not always, though: I’d have liked a full-time turn-based combat option rather than the VATS mode where you have to let your AP’s “recharge”.

    “Fallout is the 50s version of the future, however, so “this is how things are now” is not a relevant argument; “this is how things were in the 50s” is, as is “this is how people thought the future would be in the 50s”. … But really, I don’t expect people that really really like this game to have been enough into the original two to know that.”

    I think everybody knows that. It’s the future as envisioned from the 1950’s – but it’s not *set* in the 1950’s. You said the game was unrealistic because the DC area in the 1950’s did not manufacture much stuff, and he was pointing out that the apocalypse was in 2077 – 127 years after the 50’s. A lot can change in 127 years – even if they’re 1950-style-imagined years.

    UtopiaV1:
    “Well, you guys can argue all day over whether this is a ‘proper’ fallout game, but if it’s a half-decent RPG/FPS then i’m getting it (haven’t played a good one since Stalker). “

    If that’s what you’re looking for, FO3 is way way better than Stalker. (But then IMHO Stalker was really not an RPG – it was a FPS with an inventory and a really weak quest system. Meh.)

  47. The Unknown says:

    “I entered someone’s open room in Rivet City. They came in and went to sleep for the night, locking me inside with them. I didn’t have the lockpicking skill to escape the room. I woke them up and talked to them, but there wasn’t any option for “please let me out of your house”.”

    Am I the only one who found this scenario insanely hilarious?

    I understand how that’d be annoying, but if I stumbled across that myself while playing, I think I’d just about high five the screen due to sheer awesomeness.

    Then again, if I hadn’t saved in a while, my hand would probably go flying towards the screen again, but for a different reason. =P

  48. Vegedus says:

    I second the first. I hadn’t expected to run the game properly, with my mediocre PC. My graphics card is exactly the one on the minimum specs. As it turns out, I can play it with a mediocre, but completely workable framerate (20-30 I vager). I’m on minimum settings, but I can bump up the resolution with little issue and the game still looks signifigantly better than most other things I’ve played on this machine.

    On 4, I’d like to point out that the original Fallouts had plenty of odd and annoying bugs. I remember once in fallout where opening a door to the family that had made me a made man made them all hostile towards me. Either both Bethesda and Interplay suck at fixing bugs, or freeroaming games are just more suspeticle to them (actually, that must be at least part of the reason). Also, in 5ish territory, that bug there was after the game was fully patched with official patches.

  49. Kellen complained: “One or two of those would be okay, but even in the 50s the DC area did not manufacture that much stuff.”

    You’re kidding, right? Heck, I typed in “manufacturing, Washington DC” in Google maps and got 13,599 hits. Seriously. Almost 14K hits.

    There’s a LOT of manufacturing around every city in the U.S.–probably MORE in the 50’s when there weren’t so many restrictive regulations that prevented them from putting their plants in good locations.

  50. krellen says:

    Simple fact: No one has ever built cars in the DC area. EVER. Find me evidence otherwise or stop telling me I’m wrong to be upset over finding not one, but two car factories in the game.

    If they wanted an excuse to include “iconic” factories for everything Fallout-y, the game should have been set in the Great Lakes area, where all that manufacturing actually does take place.

  51. krontekag says:

    Yeah I’m with you, The Unknown, I love absurdity.
    As soon as I can afford it, I’m buying this game.

    Krellen, I think you are stretching a bit with your “too many factories” crticism. I mean, this is a game with only tenuous connections to reality – in the real world, large doses of radiation will not create mutants in the style of deathclaws and radscorpions. So come on, you let that pass but then get upset about a few factories?????

  52. R4byde says:

    One of the hits that people have leveled against Bethesda’s implementation of SecuROM on Fallout 3 (’cause there’s different pieces of its functionality that they can enable or disable) is that they’ve blacklisted perfectly legal and purchased-above-board CD-burning software like Nero and the like, simply because they categorize it as “copy-making software”, and forcing people who have purchased both Nero and Fallout to choose which one they want installed on their PC. The Fallout installer refuses to run if it sees software that’s on its blacklist.

    Also, the same sorts of your-mileage-may-vary complaints that SecuROM has broken or in some way affected the operation of their DVD drive itself.

    Personally, when they announced they weren’t going all EA on us, I was primed to buy the PC version (new, even!) as a vote-with-my-wallet high-five to Bethesda, but with those two things I decided against it and went ahead and bought the 360 version used off Craigslist.

    Maybe after a video card upgrade early next year and a SecuROM-removing patch (maybe?) I’ll get the PC version to perhaps take advantage of the mod community. Speaking of which,

    The game looks good and runs on high-ish settings on my decidedly ordinary mid-range machine. I’ve been watching, and I haven’t seen any Oldblivion-level problems. Apparently the game runs well enough on mid-range hardware, and the minimum system specs are nonfiction.

    Can you tell us a bit about what system you’re running it on, Seamus? Mostly, what generation video card, etc.?

    There is no limit on what you can run in the background, the problems people are having with installing the game are from outdated disc drive firmwares. The version of SecuROM used by Fallout 3 doesn’t work with old firmware versions for some stupid reason.
    I know because I was unable to install the game for several days because my DVD drive (which is also a burner) wasn’t allowed to run the installer (the only part of the game actually protected by SecuROM) once I hooked up a newer external drive it worked fine. just a note you don’t have to have a disc in the drive to play the game if you run the EXE directly instead of through the launcher.

    I still maintain that Fallout 3 is a myth. This game tries very very hard to prove it is Fallout, and doing so is perhaps its worst failing. If they had made their own post-nuclear setting without trying to convince me it was Fallout, I would probably enjoy this game. But since they stuck the name “Fallout” on it, I spend a lot of time looking at choices they’ve made and shaking my head because it is not Fallout.

    I have to agree with Krellen, it’s a good game, but it’s not a Fallout game. Why? Because, just like Wardell said, you don’t take something and sell it on the good names of its predecessors when it has so very little in common with them. What kind of major differences are there? Let’s see, in Fallout games you can play an entirely non-combat character and talk your way into or out of anything. I’m also a little pissed about the raider armor, it looks ridiculous, I always liked how the original game put people in clothing that made sense. I mean what women in her right mind is going to where nothing more than kitchen sieves? That would not only provide no protection, it’d be a bit uncomfortable.

    Hopefully they’ll give us a CS so I can fix all these problems.

  53. krellen says:

    I’m upset with the factories because the only purpose they serve is to scream “I’M FALLOUT”.

    The Vault-Tec HQ is “okay”, because it makes some sense and serves a fair story purpose. Other than that, however, the only reason there is a Nuka-Cola, Corvega, Robco, or Chryslus facility in this game is either a) the folks at Bethesda went “Oooh! I wanna explore the ROBCO factory!” or b) the folks at Bethesda said “What’s Fallout-y? Throw that in too!”

    I harp on the factories because it’s the most blatantly obvious artefact of padding in the game. There’s simply no reason for there to be so many of these things in the game except as either fan service or self-justification, neither of which are things I enjoy in my entertainments.

    It’s like happy-fun-ball Yoda. Sure, some people think it’s cool, but adding it is silly, and can ruin the whole tone.

  54. JT says:

    There is no limit on what you can run in the background, the problems people are having with installing the game are from outdated disc drive firmwares.

    My impression from some of the posts on the Bethsoft forums, and I could very well be wrong, is that these are two separate issues. Some of the errors I’ve seen quoted there mentioned specific software being already installed (not running, just installed) on the PC.

    The version of SecuROM used by Fallout 3 doesn’t work with old firmware versions for some stupid reason. I know because I was unable to install the game for several days because my DVD drive (which is also a burner) wasn’t allowed to run the installer (the only part of the game actually protected by SecuROM) once I hooked up a newer external drive it worked fine.

    Good thing I didn’t go the PC route then, my drive is positively ancient – bought it from Newegg back in 2000 when I built my first homebrew PC, and it’s still running fine. In fact, after wrapping a new case around the system last year, I think the DVD drive is the single last remaining piece of that original build, which if I recall correctly featured a GeForce3 (built so I could run Max Payne, w00t!)!

    Hmm – perhaps my DVD-RW drive (a different one, BTW) just needs a firmware update to quit burning coasters. I suspect the SecuROM in either Dreamfall or the final BF2142 patch caused the problem earlier this year.

  55. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Just to mention a funny thing about #1:I saw numerous players rewievs that say the games graphics is outdated and scored between 3 and 7.So,it seems that its not really the developers that push shiny pixulz so hard.

  56. Gahazakul says:

    Krellen, I think there are some subtle differences in how you describe “Fallout-y” and interesting locations.

    (On a side note, Fallout-y, really? So the other two titles weren’t Fallout-y? I get the idea you are producing with the, uh, “term” but it sounds like a fanboyism used on an angry forum)

    The game is in 3d. Of course it is, you can’t make a 2d isometric game today and not be a JRPG for the most part. It also has no travel system like the originals, it doesn’t cut away for a random encounter, its all rendered right there in front of you. This makes for a huge amount of work. That leads to a smaller landmass, so instead of cutting locations because in reality they would be further away from the town center, they just put them closer and allow the player to glance over it in favor of building the areas to explore “up” instead of out.

    All that creates a smaller landmass centered around the city directly which makes a little less sense but is still giving the player a lot to explore. Now we have these areas the game makers want you to enjoy, now do we have 2 nameless car makers or do we name them for brands in the game? We also have to have the Nuka-Cola factory in here, it was alluded to in the earlier titles.

    You can see where I’m going. Fun is something games are supposed to create and that should never be cut or mangled in order to keep things word for word realistic. Sure the city layout is very unrealistic, but its one hell of a fun place to explore. Did they cut down on the ways to play? Of course! Those 2d iso games portrayed most of the interaction through text for your active imagination to interpret. In this brave new world of 3d they can only model and script so much.

    Yes, the first 2 titles were great. They live on in my mind and will stay there forever (I can still remember my porn star name in New Reno, Rod Rocks) but things have changed, the company originally responsible for those titles is flailing due to some interesting events, the fanbase has changed and grown colder to change (as Krellen you are a great example).

    This game is fun, it evokes the “Man, look at the world broken down” feeling the old games gave me. More importantly than anything else is the way it takes up any time I give to it in a most enjoyable way, how the open nature and exploration still entertain me every time I turn it on.

  57. krellen says:

    God am I sick of hearing people say “You’ve got to do 3d these days”. Spiderweb Software does just fine without 3d.

  58. Gahazakul says:

    In a commercial title meant to sell as many copies as possible, yes, it is almost a requirement.

    They do just fine yes, but they aren’t putting out “AAA” titles that are ranked at the top of the charts on a regular basis either, for better of for worse.

    As you have no longer decided to engage in proper discussion or thought and have basically come to this level I have a simple statement you may recognize from the forums you visit.

    Go Troll somewhere else. We are trying to discuss things here and your childish rabble is making it difficult at this point.

  59. ehlijen says:

    About the factories:

    The worst part for me wasn’t there was so many. It was that, once you went inside, they were all the same. Just like most other buildings were the same.

    I’d have exepected a car factory to be nothing like a bottling plant, yet the prefab interiors seem to scream otherwise. And on top of that, there wasn’t even anything to do in most of them excpet perhaps:
    loot generic boxes
    hack generic terminals
    pick up macguffin if you happen to be here for a quest

    Even the ‘wow I can launch a nuke from this computer’ becamse a resounding ‘meh’ once you realise that changing the words ‘open lock’ to ‘launch icbm’ was the only that made it different from every other terminal in the game :(

    The game has all the good things about oblivion, but also all the bad ones. You have an open world in which you can go anywhere and do anything (that isn’t politcally incorrect; hurry for nuke proof children). But at the same time, why bother? It’s not like there’s really much difference between most locations :(

    Oh, and the ending will make you cry. Out of sheer bad. Escpecially if you brought fawkes along :(

  60. krellen says:

    I disagree with you, therefore I am a troll. Lovely logic.

    The assumption that everything has to be 3d is an untested one. No one has tried anything else. Heck, no one even tries isometric with 3d sprites, which would probably look beautiful.

    I’ve heard “It’s got to be 3d, you’ve got to accept the differences” so many times that I have grown sick of the argument. It’s a useless and meaningless argument. There’s no reason why you couldn’t have town/area exploration in the first-person 3d interface of the Havok Engine while retaining a sense of vastness with an in-game overland map as they used in previous Fallout titles. You don’t have to have a “seamless” world to be 3d, or to sell boxes, or to be high quality.

    And for the record, the DC ruins area, at least the parts not blocked off by rubble for the sake of the engine, are actually accurate, and thus a horrible example for you to have used.

    ehlijen: Yes, the ending is quit disappointing. And I did have Fawkes along.

  61. JT says:

    The assumption that everything has to be 3d is an untested one. No one has tried anything else.

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but from what I’ve seen of BioWare’s Dragon Age, we’re about to find out. I know it may not be “truly” isometric, if “truly isometric” means the floors and walls can’t move in the player’s view and “3D” means they do move – but the gameplay looks like a well-done mesh of the old Baldur’s Gate/Fallout-style isometric with the power provided by today’s 3D engines. That’ll probably be the title that actually makes me upgrade my video card and deal with whatever DRM EA decides to put on there (yechh).

  62. Gahazakul says:

    No, you are a troll because you have deteriorated from mildly informed argument to “No your wrong”.

    I did not say its 3d now deal with it. I said a commercially successful title nowadays is almost always going to be 3d.

    The seamless idea is a good one in my opinion (don’t forget we are discussing opinions, even some of the biggest old fallout fanboys from NMA has loved this game). It allows the lack of immersion breaking screens and makes thge world, well, a lot more seamless.

    I do believe I was talking more about the outer ring of DC being roped in to save space, not the city center. Try a little more comprehension before using fuel for your flamer.

    Ehlijen, that was the one thing that eventually started to wear on me, the interiors are dungeons, in every sense of the word. Repeating set pieces and all. Then again, maybe its a bit of a jab at the cookie cutter society of the time, who knows. (I do believe the Shadow may know)

  63. UtopiaV1 says:

    Wow, the conversation’s getting heated in here…

    Btw, if I make one throw-away comment, I’d like to not have my head bitten off! :P

  64. acronix says:

    As a note on the turn-based and 3-D discussion:
    The Temple of Elemental Evil (of Atari) used isometric view with 3D sprites, and it was turn based too. It was the best aplication of D&D on a computer game ever. The look and gameplay was superb. Unfortunately, it didn´t made it for long, because people thought “it´s outdated” and maybe “complicated”, which is true, because they are the ones making them outdated. EDIT: Oh, yeah, and it was buggy. That didn´t help.

    To the Fallout 3:
    I´ll start saying what I liked about the game: The beggining. It was nicely done. The hacking mini game is fun and serves people that don´t use their brains (more than to “point and click” that is) very often to start using it (a little) with some basic logic. The first quarter of the game was good too, until I got further in the plot and got some quest with outcomes I didn´t like, where the solutions were being what we know as “lawful stupid” or being uberly-evil.

    The bad things, now:
    Armor is useless. You can go naked, with a swimsuit, a pre-war businness man suit or a power armor, and you´ll get killed in more or less the same quantity of shots. Also killing radscorpions and ants require more shots than killing any of the power armored foes, for some reason. Which gets me to a question: Why, if vermin exoskeletons are so hard, the Brotherhood doesn´t use Radscorpion Armors?

    The main plot is a complete sillyness after half the way, not to mention the ending, which is not just “quite disappointing”. That is being excesively nice with the worst ending in the videogames world. Those that haven´t finished it yet: consider yourself warned.

    Also, let´s note that the game includes in various points moral decitions which are either BAD or GOOD depending on how the developers felt about it. Killing someone who is indiscutibely bad can result in karma loss, just because that bad guy was gooder than his antagonist, who you were suppoused to kill.

    I think this game should and COULD have had a better writting if Bethesda didn´t used 3GBs for the voices. The old rpg´s had only voice acting in key npcs or in key parts of dialogues: which returned in more interesting and deep dialogues, instead of the generic character with their generic answers to our generic questions.

    Finally, what about the massive simplification of the game system? Perks all almost “Give X points of Y to Z”, Traits are gone, the medic skill is modified in the stupidest way. Being an expert medic means the fluid in the stimpacks have more effect on you. You have a broken limb? Don´t go to a doctor! Stimpack yourself! (Which makes me ask: If using the stimpack in any part of the body heals that part and a few hitpoints…where does the PC use it to regain the 41 hitpoints?)

    @ Krellen: The massive quantity of robots that are roaming trough DC have a “logical” answer. I think (if I recall correctly) that you can find a “computer mastermind” (there are quite a lot in this game, tough) in some ruin that controls them. Destroying it returns in less roaming robot population.

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