E3 2008: Fallout 3 Impression

I’m a Fallout fan. I’ve been following this game since it was a GURPS title. I was saddened when Interplay lost their way and the franchise seemed doomed to obscurity but when Bethesda scooped up the game three years ago I found renewed hope.

Last year Todd Howard, and the team fresh off of The Elder Scrolls Oblivion showed a very tight, controlled demonstration of the game in action, and this year I actually got 30 minutes of hands on time with the title. While the areas shown in the live demo area covered much the same content as last years presentation I didn’t care. This wasn’t my shot to gauge the story or the acting; this was about finding out if Fallout could translate to the 1st person RPG space and not lose its charm.

Well I have good and bad news for Fallout fans. Fallout 3 makes the transition well but only if you’re a fan of the Oblivion style of gaming (which I most definitely am). Controlling the character, implementing stat points and choosing perks using the Pip boy interface were all simple and intuitive.

Unlike Oblivion, Fallout 3 does not rely on a clunky interface. There is inventory management but its reminiscent of the older Fallout’s turn based grid with a few modern updates. The change of setting – from a medieval combat system to a modern gun-slinging wasteland works well also. I demo’d the game on the 360 and the title showed the same visual finesse of Bethesda’s earlier game. Those who found fault with the dialog interface or camera system of that title will find it virtually unchanged.

I spent a good deal of time navigating and interacting with NPCs. Dialog choices that could be influenced by skills were set apart – including the percentage chance of success, though the actual “roll” was hidden it was obvious when you succeeded or failed. This little tweak felt like a good reflection of the classic games and the content of the dialog also followed a more adult, humorous bent in the area of Megaton.

Wading into combat with some rabid scavengers in an old elementary school, I used every chance possible once engaged to test out the V.A.T.S. targeting system. This turn-based mode freezes combat momentarily and displays a digital overlay of a foe. The various target spots of the baddie glows and players can choose trick shots with likely success indicated by percentages based on skills and perks your character has.

All in all I’m just as excited about this game as I was last year. The hands on experience felt familiar in many good ways and with the game coming soon on the 360, PC and PS3 at least I won’t have to wait long to wander around at the end of the world nuking super mutants.

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14 Comments on E3 2008: Fallout 3 Impression


On July 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm

<–Mad Jealous. But then I’m sue you knew that.


On July 17, 2008 at 7:38 am

Hey – if you ever get the chance again to talk to the people from Bethesda, tell them they have to spend more money on the translations (at least on the German one).
Oblivions translation SUCKED (and i was NOT able to play the game in English). Buying the British version is expensive and you never know if a us version (cheaper) works.
E.g. Fireball (“Feuerball”) was the healing spell, and vice versa. A lot of people greeted you with a “good bye” “Auf Wiedersehen” … ohhh .. good old Wolfenstein 3D Times ^^ … i remember that some NaziSuperEvilGuy greeted me with “Auf Wiedersehen” before he used the two Gattling-Guns he carried .. that was fitting :D .

But i envy you – i´m happy i don´t have the time for this kind of game at the moment anyway. ^^

And i´m happy to read, that it´s still turn based … the trailer made me think this was some kind of Egoshooter like Bioshock. Old School Feeling and Ego Shooter Look … AWESOME :)


On July 17, 2008 at 7:43 am

PS: ohh and forgot one of the most annoying translation errors .. you get a quest to find some herbs, but the quest translation of the herb was different than the translation of the herb in the game (happy searching !).

I will buy this game definitely in English – but still, they should think of the way a gamer feels in a situation like this (wait let me heal you, upppppsssss).


On July 17, 2008 at 7:54 am

VATS isn’t turn based. Its just real time with pause.


On July 17, 2008 at 8:02 am

They still call it turned based when it actualy isn’t, but it is cool to be able to que up attacks. Bethesda does plan on making more Fallout games, hopefully when F3 is out they will tweak the style of future Fallout games to be more like Fallout and less like Oblivion. I’m still buying Fallout 3 though.


On July 17, 2008 at 8:16 am

Vulture thx for the information … i haven´t invested much time in research, do i have to aim myself most of the time (like in a egoshooter) or will this be done by the computer and i only have to choose where i want to hit my target ? I don´t mind a little action in these games, but i would prefer a more strategic approach in a rpg.

Shawn Sines

On July 17, 2008 at 9:42 am

@vulture: True, VATS is not a true Turn based implementation.. but that is the closest analogy most action gamers would understand. I enjoyed critical hitting a few times in the Elementary, I managed to remove a few heads and the animation was suitably rewarding and graphic.

plz die

On July 17, 2008 at 1:28 pm

If I ever meet a game dev, I’ll ask them to stop making translations unless it’s a children’s game. If worthless losers are too lazy/stupid to learn some english, they shouldn’t play games at all. The same goes for movies/tv series that are dubbed.

Shawn Sines

On July 17, 2008 at 1:42 pm

@ Plz Die: What about Japanese language games? Would you feel the same if someone told you you had to stop being lazy and learn Japanese or Polish or German? I think you’re being a bit ridiculous, global development is a good thing and is the heart of gaming, always has been. That said, there is no real excuse for a poor localization… and it usually comes down to low budget for localizations.


On July 17, 2008 at 7:16 pm

@Plz Die – You can’t be serious. I’m going to laugh at you when Mandarin/Cantonese becomes the “official” world language. English is already dying out. A billion people live in China. If you look at the US, youve got 300million. Definetely not all those speak english. There will come a day when someone from China (or maybe India or another country) that will say the same thing to you. Then what are you going to say?

Davn Kincade

On July 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

@Plz Die

Take a good look at the games you like.

Now think back to the games you played when you were younger.

Now imagine, if you will, that these games were never translated into English….gadzooks! the plethora of games you experiences has now dropped to a staggering low number!

It works both ways my friend.


On July 18, 2008 at 8:02 am

@plz die … in Germany every child learns English in school, but the idea that i have to learn 10 more languages to play my games seems a bit harsh. And i doubt that many people would have played Crysis if it would have been released in German only.
But since you don´t mind … eine Einstellung wie deine ist nicht nur furchtbar arrogant, sie lässt auch vermuten, dass du neben Englisch nicht eine weitere Sprache ordentlich beherrscht.

plz die

On November 7, 2008 at 2:36 am

lol at posting at old news….
Ever heard of subtitles? Let them speak the language they originally did when it was made and add subtitles.

plz die

On November 7, 2008 at 2:36 am

and my native language is NOT english, which you can probably see.