Fallout 3

I don’t know what it is about the end of the world that piques my interest so much at the moment. Now that Blackett and Morgan have swanned off to Edinburgh and left me all alone (Boo and indeed hiss, but check out their fun and japes at ed.thisisdavid.com) I have been able to take advantage of some of Blackett’s games collection. Namely Fallout 3 for the Xbox 36:

“Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277, 36 years after the setting of Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear war between the USA and China that devastated the game’s world in an alternate post World War II timeline.

The game places the player in the role of an inhabitant of Vault 101, a survival shelter designed to protect a small number of humans from the nuclear fallout. When the player’s father disappears under mysterious circumstances, the player is forced to escape from the Vault and journey into the ruins of Washington D.C. to track him down. Along the way the player is assisted by a number of human survivors and must battle myriad enemies that now inhabit the wasteland. The game has an attribute and combat system typical of an action role-playing game but also incorporates elements of first-person shooter and survival horror games.” (thank you Wikipedia)

Now I’m useless at scary games although I love them. I have to prepare myself for playing them and will scream like a tit every time something moves. Fallout 3′s combat is just perfect for me. The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S. slows down enemies into bullet-time so I can pick which areas to target and I don’t have to instantly die because my reactions are crap. Its kind of a mix between FPS and turn based action (you have a limit on how much you can use the VATS before having to use old fashioned aiming) which I thought would be clunky and disruptive but it works very well indeed.

Not only is Fallout fairly easy for people like me to pick up fairly quickly but it looks and feels gorgeous. Changes in weather, terrain, weapons, enemies, lighting and movement are smooth and realistic and is probably the most contributive factor towards my utter immersion in this game. That and the stunning voice-acting and characterisation. Being a Nintendo fan for so many years has made me content with pages and pages of written dialogue and a measley sprinkling of actual voices but Fallout is really spoiling me with actors such as Liam Neeson and Ron Perlman offering their vocals.

I think what I like most about this game is the suspense. Wandering through a deserted city in the middle of the night is eerie and peaceful all at the same time. I enjoy the difficulty too; which seems to be pitched just right as this is a game which requires attention and commitment and making it eye wateringly hard would have been a mistake. The gore is brilliant too. I rarely look for it in a game but when you shoot someone in the face at point blank with a shotgun you need to be made to understand that decision in all its grossness. And thats the best bit about Fallout. There are decisions. Although of course you are guided along a path to some extent, minute decisions you make will affect how the game plays out for you. I’m pretty sure I’m going to regret murdering my best friend’s dad as I get further into this.