With the final DLC for Fallout 4 releasing in the next week, we wanted to go back and review one of the fan favorites from the franchise: Fallout 3. Taking place in the Capital Wasteland (Washington D.C.), this game has a lot to offer. Despite its dated graphics and color pallets (browns, lots and lots of browns). You take on the role of a vault dweller from Vault 101, where you're told you'll live for the rest of your life, until your totally awesome scientist father (voiced by Liam ...like I said, awesome), decides to up and leave with no notice. So your quest begins with you stepping outside for the first time in search of your father.
Until that point, it's mostly just tutorial stuff and character creation. But from then on it allows for total exploration or whatever you want to do. A lot of the fun things you can do in 4 you can actually do in 3, save settlement customization and all that, but the combat remains the same and the companion aesthetic as well.
The main story is a basic Bethesda plot-line, equipped with dungeon hunting quests and the like. Honestly, if you're looking for a better story with more creativity, go for Fallout 4, especially since it's ending is more emotionally impactful than 3's, though the family theme is present in both. The side quests are what make Fallout 3 a great experience, especially when you get to choose whether or not to blow up a major city with an armed nuke.
Adding on to that last part, Fallout 3 has an impressive Karma system that gauges how good or bad of a person you are. Blow up the city with that nuke and you better believe you gain some bad karma, but stop those responsible and you gain the good stuff. Good and bad karma has its benefits, unlocking its own perks and even granting access to certain companions. It's a fun system that adds hours of extra gameplay.
Companions include a wide variety of characters to choose from. Some of them, of course, are not available until you get to a certain point in the story or complete specific side quests. Some though, like Dogmeat (yes, there's a version of him in this one too), can be found in random places around the Capital Wasteland. Something that made the game more intense than 4 is that your companions CAN die. Yes, you read that right. They die! So make sure you hop them up on and decent firepower. In my opinion, this was a nice quality to have in a game about survival.
Fallout 3 has a great list of tracks played from your trusty , most of which are in Fallout 4 so it gives you the ability to run around shooting enemies with fun, upbeat music playing in the background. Always a plus.
Overall, Fallout 3 was a powerhouse of a game that people still remember as one of Bethesda's greatest. The characters, voice acting, gameplay, and story intertwined together to make a great final product. It was different. It was new. It demanded your attention with its specific stylization and level design. There's always a negative with any game though. Fallout 3 had issues with freezing and frame rate, so don't say we didn't warn you if you're in the middle of a swarm of ghouls when the game decides to crash on you. The graphics don't translate very well for today, but that's true with most older games. But for Fallout 3 was never a giant in the graphic world, even then. Fallout 3 is definitely worth checking out if you get your hands on it.
Retro Score: 8.5/10
By David White
By David White