Ok, yes I just made my account a few minutes ago but I've been visiting NMA for years now. I own the original releases of Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 with their original boxes and own the strategy guides for both. I may not have nearly as much experience with FO as most of you may have but I do consider myself a hardcore fan. Ok onto the post. I feel that FO3 is a good game, yes it has its flaws, and yes it does have moments where it totally forgets its roots which pisses me off a lot. I feel that Bethesda showed some love for the game but not only did they show the wrong kind of love but the game deserves to be part of the Fallout universe, as a spin-off. The game drops you into this 'tutorial' mode the minute you start and you have to play through and escape vault 101, this whole bit so far has felt out of place and could simply have been done in an opening FMV the amount of time you spend inside Vault 101 that are unskipable makes starting a new game with a new plan on how you will approach the game becomes less of a 'new experience' and more of a 'chore.' When FO was bought by Bethesda I was firmly in the seat of the 'shit they are going to rape my love' camp. Here is a list of changes to the game I liked, changes they could have made, and things I hated. Let’s start out with the negatives and get them out of the way quickly. * S.P.E.C.I.A.L. has basically been gutted and the stats really feel pointless except for Strength for carrying things and Intelligence for skill points. A lot of this is probably due to the fact that the game is now a real time FPRpg. * First Person RPG, this is a hard one for me, I hate that the game is not a turn based RPG and that Bethesda felt that going with a real time game was an 'evolution' and more 'contemporary' approach to the game. Which effectively is an insult to gamers everywhere by saying that we are too impatient for a turn based game and saying that they are dead is a flat out lie (Strategy Square Based RPGs are HUGE right now on Home Consoles and Hand held Consoles) However I was surprised that putting the game into a first person view actually fit the series surprisingly well due to the fact it allowed much more immersion and gave a great sense of SCALE of the wastelands. I feel a first person TURN BASED rpg would have been not only interesting it also would have been fun, reminds me a bit of the old 'Eye Of The Beholder' game. * The speech system. Now I felt they did a fairly good job with the trees depth and breadth and even the occasional conversations between NPCs. The problem is how the NPCs react to you, when they see you eying something they all use one of 3 different phrases recorded in a limited 3 voices to say not to do that, not only that but often the NPCs will talk to you outside of a conversation tree, but the phrases they speak tend to be very limited (While I was exploring Murray the Ghoul Druggie's little house, and robbing him blind he he..., he continually would say one of 2-3 phrases basically every 30seconds to a minute. It got to be very annoying. * The difficulty is MUCH too low, super mutants and centaurs were something that until I got some Power Armor in the originals I would do EVERYTHING I could to avoid them like the plague. However these super mutants feel basically like people but with a little bit more life and ALOT easier to hit. The ability to take out a camp of 5-6 super mutants really isn't much of a feat anymore (and yes I am playing the game on the hardest difficulty) * Traits/Tags/Perks, or rather the changes to the system. Traits were something that could easily change your entire experience in the wastelands, while some were obviously better than others the good mixed with the bad was simply a design feature that most games tend to avoid nowadays, rather than forcing a player to consider the FULL affects of their choices most games today tend to ONLY reward players. The amount of perks is nice (always could use more) however I feel that they should have spaced out perks to every other level, and raised the level cap to at LEAST 50 (reducing the HP you gain per level, and increasing the skill cap to 250 with 1 point costing 2 skill points after 175). Tags, where did they go? No longer is a tag really a defining character choice since you don't gain skill points in that ability at 2x speed, rather just a simple +15skill points to that ability, bad choice in my opinion. * Resources seem plentiful, every building seems to have running water and electricity, remember how hard it was to get water back in FO1? Where are the torches like the originals? How are people getting enough fuel to constantly run these generators in places that aren't even populated? Poor design in my opinion, while having radiated water regenerate HP was a cool idea, the amount of rads that most water has is very low, making it really not a big deal. Also you seem to regenerate health when sleeping almost a superhuman speed. * AI. While FO was never known for its strategic and intelligent AI, the game was also made in 1997 so it had a bit of an excuse. Today however there is little excuse for enemies not working in squads and enemies charging directly at you with a nailed board while you are wielding a minigun. On top of that, maybe its just my experience so far but enemies not only seem unable to accidently hit their teammates (as a poorly thought out shot in FO1-2 could do) and they also never seem to run out of ammo (easy way out in terms of design choices) * Interactive environment, while some parts of the world can be simply knocked over or picked up, what happened to being able to blow up a locked door because your lock pick skill was too low? Why don’t radios shut off / blow up when I shoot them? Why can’t I turn off a generator to be able to shut off the lights to increase my sneak? Why are there bodies hanging from meat hooks and chain but I can’t shoot them down, shoot the corpse, or even so much as check the corpse for loot? Why don’t Nuka-Cola bottles break when shot or dropped from a 2story high window? So far the only real interactivity I’ve found is that cars blow up (waaaaaay too easily though) and I’ve come across 2 rooms in the game with gas leaks that can spark an explosion (awesome looking when it happens). * Inability to kill key characters or children. By using Oblivions ‘knock out’ system the developers took the easy way out when it comes to scene and situation writing. Rather than coming up with what happens if I just kill my Dad or the Overseer before the whole incident occurs that gets you set out in the wasteland, they instead chose to have that NPC simply be knocked out. The knock out system ruins a lot of the immersion in the game, as well as the illusion of ‘freedom of choice’ * Battle music, take it out, it doesn’t belong inside fallout, least of all in the form of ‘booming movie soundtrack’ style. While this is by no means EVERYTHING I didn't like, its the only non-nitpicky issues (like the fact that picking up objects is basically useless, or that objects on shelves kind of.. 'float' above it, or that NPCs seem to glide rather than walk. ----------------------------------------------------- Things I did like • Soundtrack, while the volume of music is fairly sparse the songs chosen are very good and a perfect fit for the game and series as a whole. • The consolidation and usefulness of skills previously useless. Such as ‘repair’ and ‘science’. • The ‘minigames’ used for Lock Picking and Hacking • The level of detail put into the game. • The depth and breadth of the game is HUGE, I always felt that the first 2 fallouts most of the cities (abandoned or otherwise) were too small, such as New Reno which if I recall only was about 4-5 blocks at most. Not only is the main map just LITTERED with places to explore (many of them similar but not the same) but inside and underneath the buildings exist giant areas to explore. While the game certainly would feel smaller if you actually could run rather than tip toe or power walk, even if you could run it STILL would be considered almost TOO BIG. • Join me Luke, come to the gray side. I always felt that one of the defining factors of Fallout was when you found the situations where neither side could be considered sin-free by any standards. And it was up to you to decide which was the lesser of two evils, or the greater of two goods. While just like the originals, most of the situations are pretty obvious (slaver vs not slaver ect) Bethsoft did a fairly good job of pinning down a couple of those gray areas. The Arefu vs The Family situation is a good example. • Personalities, you come across a fairly broad spectrum of people, anyone from the Ditzy Moira to the Asshole Jericho to the completely lost from reality Belaila (want some of my chocolate chip cookies? *hands you a bent tin can*). • Giant Ants. While I’m not huge on some of the additions to the Fallout bestiary (Yau Guai or however its spelled), I’m actually surprised Giant Ants never made it into the originals they are a CLASSIC 1950s horror flick type monster (course the movie versions were like… 50ft tall) see the movie ‘Them!’ (1954) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/ • Traps, while I haven’t come across too many of them, they have been more abundant than in FO1 or 2, almost more than both combined. Also I have found an interesting variety of them (trip wire, automatic shotgun, bear trap, pitching machine, mines, and an exploding baby carriage) • Bottlecaps, plain and simple, they ditched em in FO2 but you all know that no matter how much you think Bethesda F’d up on FO3 you can’t deny that going back to the cap was the right choice. • The workshop system and the makeshift weapons you can throw together with it. Things they could have done or done better. • Increase the level cap and increase the amount of experience required to level. • Allow you to customize your characters body type (height/weight/shoulders/cup size/waist size/scars) • Increase the amount that crippled limbs affect the game (why can I cripple both of an enemies arms and yet he can still use a SMG? Or why is it that if I cripple one arm and he drops his gun that within a few seconds he can pick it up again and start using it even though his arms are crippled? And crippling peoples legs don’t slow them enough, and crippled heads don’t affect their aiming too much either.) • Why can’t I open any car trunks? That’s such a minor thing that still bugs me, that none of the cars in the game have trunks. • Increase the amount of situations you can use diplomacy to get through • Allow for more than 1 marker to be placed at a time so that you can in affect create a pathway to follow. (A to B to C to D) • Rather than simply having the fast travel system being instant except for a loading screen, when you select a place for quick travel you get the classic dashed line showing you traveling from the point you are at to the point you selected, they could even use that time to be loading the area you selected to quick travel to! This is a minor issue that I feel would have been a nice throwback to the originals. • More music • More companions (and hopefully more than 1 at a time) • More extensive gibbing system, while the current one in affect isn’t BAD per se, its just repetitive. I feel there is a simple solution to this issue, have 3-4 different gibbing animations for each body part and have the game choose one either randomly, or have it choose one based off the damage of the shot (more damaging shot = more gruesome gib). Here is an example, 3 different ‘head shot’ animations(not including the current decapitation one) 1. Shot takes of a chunk of his head (similar to the torso removal in FO1-2) 2. Shot causes his head to flat out explode, leaving behind gibs but no actual head 3. The back of the head explodes outward leaving a gaping hole in the back of the head but the front is relatively intouched. • More fanbase interaction, this is something that I cannot stress enough. Interplay was known to get a lot of feedback from its fans on the BBS and would regularly communicate with the fans. Bethesda however is a lot more secretive about their ideas and plans for game development and seems fairly disinterested in using the fanbase as a tool to expand upon the FO universe as well as to help with new ideas for changes. The ‘perk contest’ was a good start, but even then it wasn’t nearly enough, and it was STILL too secretive (by making it a contest they had to keep their ideas hidden, and they didn’t seem interested in instituting anyone elses ideas. • Bring in some of the original developers, even if just on a consultant basis. If Da Vinci was painting the Mona Lisa but stoped halfway, would you finish it without at least getting input from him about his ideas and plans for it? Sorry for the mile long post, I know 95% of you will never read it, but I’ve always been a rabid fan of Fallout, and I wanted to post my current feelings on the latest game in this fantastic universe.