I played all the old Fallout games except for BOS/POS. I learned my lesson about that type of game from X-com Enforcer. Anyways, the game plays alot like the old fallout games, and has even improved on a few things other than the obvious graphics etc. The ammo and money management seemed to play out just like the old games, until you get the scrounger perks which a short time later deals with your ammo and money issues in short order... perhaps too well. At least as much as before, specializing in anything other than melee/unarmed is difficult because of lack of ammo and even more so because of the need for duplicate weapons to repair the ones you have. For the earlier games that had the scrounger perks I think the result was pretty similar. The graphics are great, it's awesome to be in the Fallout world in first person, and the radio station is a nice touch. Whatever you do in game you are going to hear about it to some degree as the DJ sings your praises or warns people of you using descriptions of the same karma titles used on the stats screen. This can give you a real sense that you really ARE a scourage of the wastes or a crusader as those karma titles say. However karma has little effect other than that and a few dialogue options at different points in the game (I'm not sure that it even allows you to get someone's help that wouldn't otherwise have given it to you) The normal music on the other hand is dissapointing, given that the music of Fallout 1 did a lot to add to the atmosphere (I still have that hideous beat from the master's vault and chamber stuck in my head)... not so much in later fallout games. Given the condensed game length and area, the MMO/Oblivion style safe "Light general purpose music you won't get bored of" approach shouldn't have been used. I wan't to feel like I am giving up my old life when I leave the vault, was in hell when I enter the Supermutant test labs, was in way over my head in the Enclave base etc and music would have been the way to do these things. On the upside there was something a little funny and satisfying about listening to an upbeat 50s tune on the radio while torching lowlife raider gangmembers with a flamethrower. The real time conversion was done nicely, and I personally like the ability to have my twitch skills as a factor in how well I do in combat. (You can aim for the head and do more damage, but if you have a low skill your character will miss the reticle by more) I fear though that if I were playing it on the PC, the game would be super easy as I would just headshot anything that came close to me with the relative ease of mouse control. The vats system, when used, seems to make the game play out a little more like the old turn based system. You can often enter vats and kill or severely maim your opponent before leaving which is pretty similar to what people did with turn based before. Only now instead of a concentrated retaliatory burst of fire the enemy only gets to resume normal fire. This seems to make the game slightly easier, but not too much as real time enemies running circles around you beating you and shooting you up are harder to manage. It seems like specialization is not as much of a factor as it should have been. Strength has some effect on melee but that as always been one of the easiest stats to bypass with PA bonuses, drugs etc and there are no starting traits as before to boost your melee damage etc and turn you into the death ninja ycapable of using melee to handle any situation almost as well as your gun toting counterparts (although with different tactics) that you could be in earlier Fallout games. In Fallout 3, If your melee char can do it, so can my INT 10 STR 6 char (especially when he goes nerd rage on your ass, a real perk that boosts your STR to 10 at low, but survivable with the resistance boost, health). Perception might allow you to snipe a little better, but you rarely get chances to be that far away from your enemy and even if you are you can still hit them plenty without super high perception - There will be no enemy super snipers critical hitting you for half your health (or all of it) from across a canyon or anything. Of course thats pretty status quo, and you still can use VATS to be a super sniper yourself and wipe them out from across the map. However, just over 50 energy weapons, 6 perception, and a decent laser rifle was all it took to wipe out Enclave soldiers from a typical distance. With 6 endurance and never putting a point into Heavy Weapons, I had plenty of health and could kill any enemy in a few seconds wiht the heavy weapons I found. With 1 Charisma, I never had trouble interacting with others other than the lack of ability to lie and manipulate that my low speech skill denied me. I didn't see any of the profound philisophical arguments used to dissuade evil doers and skeptics alike that the earlier games afforded you with a high Intelligence and speech - other than one highly cliched end game argument that seemed to have been watered down by being rehashed by someone who barely understood it. Intelligence seemed to be the real money stat in this game, letting you do pretty much everything in the game by giving you enough skill points to get good at it all. Specialization seemed to be more in what skills you chose, and Int lets you choose more of them. It also had at least as much effect on what your character had to say than anything else (although still nothing too interesting, Bethesda is obviously staffed by more artsy types than rational minded intellectuals as also evidence by all the frequent logic error caused game wrecking exploits and poor economic models) This is more important than many people may realize as early Fallout games often had the same profound effect on players as the first Matrix movie did when it came out - don't expect to find anything like that in fallout 3. Agility adds a few more VATS points which are usually just overkill anyways. I can't really comment on Luck as I didn't test it much but it's stated in different areas to have its critical hit effects as well as its skill use bonuses. You are probably better off with INT for this in the long run however. I don't know about finding stuff you wouldn't have otherwise, though I never found the Alien Blaster with 5 luck - only ammo for it. I think more could have been done to emphaisize each stat... A closer translation would have a faster agility speed up all actions in real time. However that would have required analyzation and math skills that might not be Bethesda's cup of tea. There should be better ways to specialize in ninja ala "traits" and for that matter just more ways to specialize in general. Bethesda seems to have missed the pun and the point with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. In many other ways this game is far more comparable to Fallout 1 than 2. If they make a sequel or expand on the game somehow then maybe things will approach the Fallout 2 level. The game is short, and if you complete the main quest line your character is toast - no tying up loose ends or wandering the wastes with the knowledge that you are the ultimate bad ass. Thats pretty much how Fallout 1 played out as well. Like Fallout 1 the end game is somewhat anti-climatic. It took a few minutes to take out the major enemy base unlike in Fallout 2 where there was quite a maze involved. Also like most later Fallout games the ending flashed by in seconds and made the whole thing hardly seem worth it. No terrfying cutscenes of Supermutants wiping out your old buddies at the vault, or other types of emotional scenes like fallout 1 had. Like Fallout 1, the subquest plots are fairly shallow and sometimes poorly described - Unlike Fallout 2 where every town was almost a whole game unto itself. The follower system sucks like Fallout 1's did, although for different reasons. Like Oblivion, all but the toughest followers just run in between you and the enemy and die after you accidently shoot them once or twice. If you can spare stims to put in their inventory, you might keep them alive a bit longer but don't get your hopes up. They do make nice pack mules if you can keep them out of harms way though, and there is at least one follower that kicks ass but y ou won't get him until towards the end of the game. The volume of items is reminiscant of Fallout 1 as well. Fallout 2 definitely added a lot of variety in that regard making you feel as if there was a million different ways to kill someone, a feeling that is not present in Fallout 3. Many people when redoing a franchise like this make the mistake of thinking that updating it to current graphic standards is all it takes to do credit to the name, ignoring the game depth that made the original so popular when that was all designers had to focus on. Bethesda did NOT do this (except for leaving out some of the immersive tactics that Fallout 1 used, but Fallout 2 left these out as well), and you have to cut them some slack and not compare its depth to fallout 2 which was a game created from a well established setting and set of tools such that their main responsibility was to add that additional depth in story and equipment that fallout 2 is known for. Just like how GTA4 lost much of the depth that GTA3 had due to work on the new platform engine etc Fallout 3 lost some of the depth Fallout 2 had. But unlike in the case of the GTA games where the advantages the new platform/engine etc provided wasn't worth it, in this case it was worth it. All in all I would strongly recommend this game. It is Fallout, it is in your face in ways that the old games could never accomplish (minus their masterful use of primitive music which is lacking in Fallout 3) and in some ways is even improves the old gameplay model above and beyond the obvious 3d immersion.