For me, the original Fallout game and its sequel represented some of the better things that happened during my “gamer” days. For me, these two titles represented the best two RPG games I have ever played (yes, better than Diablo or any other game you can think about). For me, Fallout deserved to be placed on the shrine of immortality and never be bothered again. You can imagine that I was pretty upset when I heard that Bethesda Softworks is planning to offer us a third in the franchise and oh, such a different one!
Because I completely disliked Oblivion and the Elder Scrolls series, as well as the blasphemical idea of moving Fallout to the first person genre, I was mad and promised myself I will not even try to play Fallout 3, just to keep the memories alive: original, unaltered, incredible. But then details hit the Internet, videos were released and I understood that evolution is what brought us here in the first place.
Now I must admit that I am thrilled I did not ignore Bethesda’s idea of a new Fallout game just because its gameplay had nothing to do with that of the original titles, just because I did not like The Elder Scrolls, just because I was kind of living in the past in my own Vault 101. I am thrilled I had the guts to open the door to a new world I knew very few things about and completely enjoy it as it is.
Fallout 3 is impressive from the moment it kicks off with an intro video that remains true to the original concept of the series – a video that perfectly describes the world you’ll let yourself carried into: post-apocalyptic and ruined, with bits of punk sci-fi elements but yet humorous and completely impressive. That’s the world you, as a character, are being born into: then you’ll choose your name, the way you’ll look when you’ll grow older and slowly you will lay the foundation of what you’re going to become by the end of the game.
I was really impressed with these first minutes in Fallout 3: a uniquely blended, charming character creation and tutorial that takes place while you’re a youngster. That’s when you first get the feeling that absolutely every decision you make has an impact on what’s going to happen next – now or after a few hours of gameplay, a big impact or a slight change in your story… you will never know for sure, but you’ll always feel that anything you do influences the world at least a little bit. And I must admit that I can’t think about any other game that offered me a similar feeling.
I have even tested this and I proved it to be right (don’t worry about spoilers in this paragraph, as I’m talking about the beginning of the game): basically at the beginning of the first mission in the game, Amata offered me a gun I did not accept and went searching for a specific door by my own. A few minutes later, I saw Amata being questioned in her room. I rushed in as an old school Rambo and killed the two poor souls and saved the girl. The result? My behavior made her mad and she refused to talk to me. So I restarted the whole thing and, instead of rushing in I sneaked by and continued my quest. Amata pulled the gun I left her and all by herself shot the poor fellows because she had “no other choice”. And I was like “WOW!” – I started to wonder what could’ve happened if I took Amata’s gun when she offered it: and here we are, with already three different possible scenarios, just two minutes after the game kicks off. Imagine endless hours of similar treats and you already have a strong reason why Fallout 3 is huge.
Because I strongly believe that these choice changers are exactly what stand behind Fallout’s greatness: the main quest is not at all a lengthy one and I do believe that if you would decide to stick to the main story and ignore all possible side quests, you’d finish the game in less than 10-12 hours. However, secondary missions double the game’s life while the replay level and possibility to explore a vast universe make it a quite lengthy game.