Omar Boulon, editor at Canard PC, shared his first impressions on the game. The full review will come out at the beginning of November and will be much more detailed, but it's still a very interesting read, especially given the mag's not enthusiastic attitude towards Fallout 3.My King is back and he's guiding my life.Thanks to Linvite for spotting this and Flyn for the English translation!
Of course, it still suffers from Bethesda's crappy UI (with an upgrade to NPC managing, but shortcuts for the minimap or food, drugs would have been nice), and there are some serious and incomprehensible drops from 120 to 20 FPS, but, seriously, who gives a fuck?
Because if you're not too tight-assed and have accepted the first-person view (and realtime/FPS/VATS crappy slowmo), if you just embrace what Fallout's real soul is - a meticulous study of a humanity in crisis served by surprising situations, clever dialogue and well-thought role-playing games mechanics - then we're as close to a Fallout 3 as we could be.
The overall tone, even with Wild Wasteland, reminds more of Fallout 1 than Fallout 2. It's umbelievably dark. It's not desperate, but if you're really trying to screw everything and everyone, it could be..
It's quite a political game, it's mainly focused on one thing, organization of small human groups, and how their opinions and ideologies clash, are crushed or end up rotting and losing what used to be important, leaving only groups of devastated individuals.
Everyone has something to say.
Everyone has a story.
There's a geography, an economy, and by chatting with people, gathering information, you begin to see how everything is linked: Production means, military stakes, every politic will.
Places are not thrown randomly on the map : they're taken from history (pre-war period), geography (natural resources, barriers, natural strongholds), from both (no man's land lines between factions) or justified by necessity. (Slums placed in concentric circles around New Vegas' Strip).
In fact, it seems so natural than after seven or eight hours, I nearly had a panic attack because of the incredible size of the game world, its density and details.
It may not actually be bigger than Bethesda's Fallout, but it's so well-build, and natural, than it feels ten thousands times bigger.
The thing is, there's no fucking travels in shitty subway corridors, no more unclimbable pile of trash, and nearly no caves only there to kill the same monsters ten times (I saw a cavern by monster race always ended by a Legendary whatsisname, especially the Legendary Deathclaw from which a keep a fond memory, kisses to you if you read me. Moreover, they always have a nice gift awarding your adventurer skills).
On the other hand, you have some plateaux or canyons accessible by not so obvious paths, offering mind-blowing possibilities, and oftenly a town, an original place to explore, or high-level equipment.
All characters, NPCs or companions, are believable and well-rounded.
Very few characters or all white or all black. By talking with them, you understand their motives, their positions and their actions.
The most despicable ones are the most memorable : Vulves Inculta, the Desert Fox, Caesar's Lieutenant, is fascinating when he explains the precept which rules his life, and those of his slaves and troops.
A walking nightmare in the name of morality...
The quests, living up to Fallout's standards, are multi-layered, and can be resolved by different means. Well, except all the "Kill those beasts here, here and there" we get when we enter some hideout without being known or recognized. And thank god, it's frankly better than the "Oh, hello, we never met, you may occasionnaly rape children with legs torn from cute puppies, but you like the kind of guy I need to sky on this bad guy in a fancy suit who wants to blow up our town".
Besides, you can use enemy clothes as disguise to accomplish quests on their territory, even when in war against them. But some individuals (sentinels, scouts, spies) can spot you, blackmail you, sell you out or lie and protect you if you're talented enough. I always have a khan outfit on me, or a load of drugs to pass as a dealer.
But don't think you can work with everyone, the most interesting quests need you to be deep into a faction and, of course, to share their enemies.
You can work for some rivals though, if you're careful and organized... To prove an agreement between two factions to crush physically and economically their rivals, I had to work for them and stop just before acting effectively in order to gather enough proof.
The game is entirely buit upon the Holy Canon of Fallout : you won't find any reference to the bethesdian blasphemy and every one has a story, a parent or anything related to the Hub, Redding, Modoc or Reno. There even is some old friends or their descendants.
Everything is subtile, elegant and well written.
If a quest seems rubbish, you may have missed a part of it... It happened to me more than once.
You kill an endless stream of monsters, learn rubbish information, do your report and leave, disappointed.
But there is this door over there, you can't open it, because you'd need 75% in Lockpick and it's only the beginning... You'll come back later.
You come back, and blam! You had missed a third of the quest, and now it shows its real value and originality.
Last thing : combat seems actually good. It's not such a pain in the ass anymore. Big and bad monsters are rare and really hard to beat.
Playing in first person with the Iron Sight is nice.
The main problems with VATS are corrected, it's finally possible to shoot from afar if you're equipped and leveled enough, but melee still is very efficient.
And with companions, it's getting fun.
An example : I have with me a small robot which spot enemies from a distance and warn me. But I also have a friend with a sniper rifle shooting targets I choose with my goggles or the Iron Sight.
One I bought the "Anti Material Rifle" and gave it to my sniper buddy, the Bozar's cousin, we found a nice tactic : the robot spot an enemy, I mark the target, the camping coward kills it.
Another one, I leave them behind, the sniper shoots at will, and I slow the big ones with my assault rifle or some melee ass-kicking. (melee fighters is a viable choice and interesting to make)
So it seems relatively tactic. And it's one amongts many... Other NPCs, other tactics. There's a girl who can hit unbelievably hard bare-handed, and there are a bunch of non-lethal weapons (melee, flashballs) and combat is a little bit more dynamic, they may have added some animation too.
And to conclude:
It's so good I'm afraid to finish it, as I was for Fallout 1 and 2...
Well, when it happens, I'll start again.
PS: No crashes for me after 45 hours, and some very rare script bugs. (one which spoiled a minor quest about cows slaughtered with a gatling) PC Version. Of course.