Fallout 3 Preview

Written by Joe Martin

April 19, 2008 | 08:15

Tags: #fallout-3 #hands-on #hines #neeson #oblivion #pipboy #post-apocalyptic #preview #rpg #sandbox

Companies: #bethesda #interplay

The Glowing Truth

Combat in Fallout 3 has been one of the most looked at areas of the game, mainly because as a concept it’s so hugely different from the original games. What was isometric and turn-based before is now a first-person real-time kind of affair.

Well, that’s true for the most part.

Combat in Fallout 3 can actually change depending on how you want to play the game and, while the default is a first-person real-time kind of shooter, it’s not the only option. Players can switch to third-person over-the-shoulder viewing angles whenever they want if that’s their preference and the game can also be switched over to a turn-based mode using the VATS function of the PipBoy computer the player constantly carries.

Switching over to turn-based isn’t permanent though and players have a set amount of action points to use for shooting at enemies before the game reverts back to real-time so the AI can get a shot off. Your action points will then recharge after a few seconds and you get a chance to queue up your attacks once more, unleashing crippling blows however you please.

Fallout 3 Preview Early Thoughts
Click to enlarge

Oh, and crippling the enemy is something we’d definitely recommend – blasting limbs off isn’t only a possibility, it also gives the player a hefty advantage against the enemy.

Of course, if the changes in perspective weren’t enough, there’s also been controversy coming from the other side and after Bethesda’s Oblivion, many fans are worried that the enemy themselves will be spoiled. On that note we have both some good and some bad news.

The good news first then – enemies don’t level with the player. From the start of the game all the enemies are fixed, unlike in Oblivion. You won’t run across lowly raiders in Super Power Armour, and nor will rats get harder and harder to beat as you play more and more of the game. There’s none of all that.

On the downside, it does seem like Bethesda has polarised the enemies a little if you ask me. One of the things that made Fallout stand out was that there never was a true sense of right and wrong as such things as chivalry had long died in the wasteland.

On the one front, Bethesda has mirrored this once more by using Karma to track the player’s actions and popularity, but on the other you won’t be finding any friendly mutants like in past games. Pete confirmed with us that all the Super Mutants are dead – “Once a creature, always a creature.

Fallout 3 Preview Early Thoughts
Click to enlarge

While that definitely makes the game a lot simpler and more accessible to players who want to boil Fallout 3 down to little more than a shooter, it does kind of feel like some of the greyness has been lost as a result. A world of black and white and clearly defined sides isn’t bad, but it is a little less involving.

Early Thoughts

You should be able to tell by now that we already love how Fallout 3 is shaping up. It’s grim and visceral, keeping close to the good source material and barely dealing with the lamentable spin-offs that later ruined the Fallout name.

The best thing of all though is that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the game – in fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the Alpha build of the game which is growing by the second. The ending, which is designed on the same branching model as in the first games, has grown further now too so that there are now around 500 endings on offer.

You may think that that is too many endings. You may be right. If that’s your line of thinking though then the people you should feel sorry for are the Xbox 360 Gamerscore addicts like Jamie – Pete reckons it’ll take at least three or four playthroughs to get all the achievements on offer.

And yeah, that does sound daunting – but personally I can’t wait to give it a shot.
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