There are a lot of questions that've been left unanswered in the Fallout 3 previews that've passed the revue. Searching for answers, NMA was happy to find Critical Hits' Bartoneus (don't forget their high quality Fallout 3 preview) willing to answer a few questions as best he could:
VATS. Ok, so I can pause to aim. Does that mean where I aim in RT doesn't matter, i.e. if I click on the head I'd still hit the torso, in RT? Also, when in VATS, can any actions be taken, or is it just cuing actions to happen?Link: Critical Hits
Correct that VATS is a pause to aim idea, but from what I saw and heard at the event the Realtime play is like any other realtime game with shooting, if you aim and actually hit the head the same effects would apply as a called shot. Again, I'm not certain, and anything about that is conjecture based on the gameplay that was shown. From what I can tell, VATS is purely a system for queuing actions and that is all, we did not get to see if your inventory can be accessed/used while paused or if that would use action points also.
Shooting in RT slows down AP recharging. What about moving or other actions?
Not sure about this one, honestly in the demo Todd was pausing every time he really wanted to fight and only a few times did he have to run'n'gun in realtime and that seemed like just when a Mutant got the jump on him. He had modified the system a bit to help the demo along faster so I don't know how much of this was final mechanics and how much was for demonstration purposes.
Viewpoint. A bit unclear on drawing back the camera. Does it allow the camera to be drawn back far enough to be roughly the same bird's eye isometric as Fallout 1 had?
It looked (roughly) the same as the view from Fallout 1, and the graphics engine looked as if it stood up perfectly to the zooming in/out.
I attempted to stress it in my original commentary, but the entire graphical presentation of this game is stunning. Whether in first person view or over the shoulder you literally FEEL the destruction of the environment, the desolation, the abandoned ruins of small towns and junky shanty towns of the survivors. I seriously doubt many people, even die-hard purists who play the game, will end up using the isometric view very often because it simply looks too damn good in the other views (over the shoulder especially). The roleplaying aspects of the game will be improved incredibly by the immersive environments and feel of the interface. The first time a group of giant Rad Insects jump out at you and start chasing you, you'll begin to feel what I'm talking about (if not before that). If you don't think a franchise can stand a technical transition into first person and retain the qualities of the original, you clearly haven't played Metroid Prime.
Dialogue. Matt Miller caused a stir on this with his remark that "the tree is closer to Oblivion." So how does it look (visually, like Oblivion)? The PC has full lines or keywords? Any sign of long NPC replies? Any hint (probably too short a demo) of expansive branching dialogue?
This really tests my memory on the specifics of the demo shown, but I'll try my best to remember exactly. Looking back at Oblivion your choices in dialogue were things like "rumors, cathedral, Glarthir, etc." The visual look of dialogue is similar to Oblivion in how it zooms in on the NPC's face and where the text is displayed, but from the short bits we viewed it looks like PC respones will be phrases much like from Fallout 1, and typically it looked as if there were serious answers, angry answers, and funny answers all mixed in. The dialogue trees definitely looked like they had longer NPC replies also, and there was definitely a HINT of expansive / branching dialogue but really with the demo not enough was shown to say. From how Emil and Todd talked about it, I imagine the level of depth and detail shown throughout the demo expands to every part of the game.
I got a very good sense of "Fallout" from the dialogue shown, and strongly feel that this is one thing the people at Bethsoft are putting a lot of effort towards getting right.
Guns. Do they use schematics to construct?
One example we were given was the lunchbox explosive: you combine the lunchbox with some explosives (C4? something else?) and fill the rest of the lunchbox with bottle-caps and you'd have yourself a regular claymore shrapnel device. As far as schematics/instructions I don't know, but that makes the most sense.
Bobbleheads. How do they work?
This was not looked at in-depth for the demo, just mentioned in passing. It seems to be more of a side-game / additive element then a primary focus of the gameplay.
BoS. Was any explanation offered for their presence?
When Todd finally entered the city, he encountered a group of super mutants and was quickly saved by a unit of them (i believe that's who they were). I didn't catch if it mentioned exactly why they were there, but they help protect the player through what would otherwise be a tougher part of the city. Short answer: Not that I know of, no explanation yet.
Are bottle caps in as a currency?
As mentioned above, they were discussed as being used in the 'lunchbox explosive' so I figure they will be in the game as currency as well.
By a bit of coincidence, Critical Hits also has a "Ridiculous Critiques" editorial up about fan response to Fallout 3.