Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

I’m Suddenly Impatient

Posted by deckard47 on April 11, 2008

I know I recently, posted a somewhat skeptical bit about Fallout 3, but there are some new pieces up on news sites about it, so I thought I’d write a bit more. A lot is being made out of the ways in which you create your character (being born, growing up, learning your skills and creating your appearance), which is supposed to be organic and interesting. I’m not quite sure if that really excites me. I mean, I remember how excited people were about Morrowind’s character creation system, and then I remember what it turned out to be… Maybe I’m just less romantic about telling people where I’m from and what my name is.

Regardless of the feral screams of my newborn avatar, there is the fact that your mother dies in childbirth (I think). It’s too bad that they made it this way; honestly I’d be more interested if your mom was the one who was mentoring you and then disappeared (then again, maybe there were no famous, female Irish actors who wanted to voice a video game character). Plus, it’s a bit odd to have you start out the game being expunged from within a character that then dies shortly thereafter. It’s an uncomfortable way to take control of the character. It’s not like your father falling into the ice and dying, or your father being “killed” by an evil nemesis, or you unleashing ancient sandy undeath on your father, or any other number of early plot father deaths. I think it would have been cool to have a mother character that was someone secretive, who left, and have that be the reason you left the vault. I mean, how often have we dealt with wayward/mentor/evil/whatever fathers in games? Lots of times.

Regardless of that concern, on to how the actual gameplay sounds. I like how the new turn-based (partially) combat sounds, and that they’ve given you the option to play encounters in real-time or in TB mode. The effects sound pretty extreme and bloody, which is good: I think that it would be weird for Fallout not to be extremely violent (plus I love how inventive the death animations were). I like the fact that you’ll get Dogmeat back as your companion, although I don’t know how useful he’ll be in the long run (it’s obvious he isn’t meant to be as integral as a certain other canine). I like the screenshots of regular mutant (the super mutants look a little orcish), but I hope we’re going to be seeing more than mutants and BOS guys (radscorpions, robots and deathclaws, please).

As some commentors have pointed out, the game seems to be focusing on mutants = bad, humans = less bad. In the games, there may have been evil mutants, but there were always good mutants or neutral mutants or sympathetic mutants to round things out. Just like most of the humans you met were hideous people.

As regards the 500 endings or whatever, that could rock. I like the idea of them taking a ton of elements, and working them into a final cutscene or montage. That way we feel that all of our actions actually did make a difference, not just the big ones. I hope they do that well, because it actually sounds like it could make for amazing game endings.

Finally, their idea of mixing 30s and 40s stuff with modern weapons and style is cool. Sure, it might seem like cribbing from Bioshock, but remember, Fallout and Fallout 2 were mixing Mad Max, Louis Armstrong, and other elements long before Ken Levine and his team showed up.

In the end, I am much more excited than I used to be, the inclusion of a companion (who better not get lost), the idea of mixed endings and mixed art, all of them sound good, and in keeping with certain aspects of the Fallout cannon. They seem like they’re on the right track to paying homage to a great game while creating a unique new franchise of their own. I wish them all the best of luck.

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