Thursday, January 08, 2009

Falling out

Fallout 3
(To give a bit of background, this is a post I made to a message board when I was asked how I was finding Fallout 3. For something that's been pretty much roundly given the game of the year award, I thought it was interesting to look back on my early game experience - I think at this point I was around level 8, had just found Rivet City in the main quest, and had done a couple of side quests with my character, who was generally leaning towards good karma and small guns for combat. I've edited it to add more detail where I thought I was being too brief.)

I seem to spend a lot of time not managing to shoot things even in VATS (in fact, that seems to make my accuracy even worse a lot of the time, and I can't move while I'm shooting, so I often get mauled if there's more than one enemy), and running low on ammo and health (though I just got a perk that gives me more ammo, and I've started getting better weapons more reliably).

Having to carry around 5 of the same weapon so you can repair yours when it turns to dust in your hands is great fun. (At this stage I wasn't finding assault rifles regularly, so my hoarding instinct was kicking in.)

It's incredibly brown and grey. The entire main city bit is build like a fucking maze linked together by dull subways, so you can't just look at the map at a place you want to go, fast travel to the nearest place, and head straight there, because chances are the place you're heading to is in some stupid isolated pocket surrounded by unclimbable wrecked road.

Super mutants are shit. I wish it would fuck off with them. If you wanted to put orcs in your sci-fi game, just call them space orcs and be done with it. Same point can be made with the zombies, I'm feeling very let down by their reliance on staple fantasy enemies.

That perky bitch in Megaton who's writing a book is the only funny thing I've encountered so far. Megaton itself is a horrible maze of a place that I can get lost in, which might be atmospheric, but I find deeply annoying when I just want to find a specific person or building.

When VATS does let me make a good shot and I take a raider's head off with one bullet, that feels ace. Some of the dynamic camera stuff the targetting thing does is nice too.

The core of the whole thing is a very outdated RPG with pages of numbers that it never really explains to you (and I know I should expect to have to read the manual for a role playing game, but urgh I just, like, can't be bothered, you know?), and daft experience / levelling up that has no relation to what you've done in the game. I need "lockpicking" 50 before I can even attempt to pick some locks, and "science" 50 before I can attempt to crack the code of some computers (even though they both use the same mechanics as lower versions). Oblivion wasn't nearly as backwards thinking as this - I can only guess they did it to stop Fallout fans from killing them for making it more FPSish.

The main inventory / HUD thing uses a horrible font and colour and cramps everything into the middle of the screen for no good reason other than to fit with their explanation of the gadet in the game world. Although it doesn't fit because it makes no sense that a thing on my arm knows how many assault rifles I'm carrying, what "perks" I have, or how many luck points I have. So it would have just been nicer to use well designed and laid out menus that I could read more easily.

It will let you give things away to shop keepers for free without properly warning you that they can't afford to pay. When you do that, the shopkeeper doesn't even call you a sucker or make any comment afterwards.

So yeah, basically I'm not entirely sure how much fun I'm having with it, despite having logged around 13 hours (at least, since that doesn't count the reloaded save from when I started doing a side question then halfway through realised I was nowhere near leveled up enough for it, but was too low on health and ammo to fight my way back out past the giant scorpions again). I keep expecting for it to break into its stride and really wow me with something cool.

No comments: