[Edit: This refers to the state of Fallout 3 before the Broken Steel expansion]
For the most part, Fallout 3 is a great game (at least if you were already expecting a Fallout-flavored Oblivion). However, after 25 hours and 20 levels, I’ve reached the ending… and it sucks.
I won’t spoil it, but I will say it had these problems:
- The developers force the game to end – you can’t keep playing after you finish the main quest line, it just recaps and dumps you back to the title screen.
- The main story arc really isn’t all that long – a sufficiently powerful character using fast travel could probably buzz through the whole thing in about 2-4 hours.
- There’s no hurdle to surmount at the end, the final “boss” (if it could be called such) can be dispatched in one round of combat.
- Because it ends so quickly, the main quest excludes most of the game world.
- In going for a significant twist ending, they absolutely robbed the player of any control over the outcome. That’s a waste of the interactive medium games offer.
- The ending cinematic are pretty much based on karma level and whether or not you do a couple things at the end. That trademark Fallout recap at the end has been severely cut short.
- Three words: Level 20 Cap.
I’m not complaining about the story so much – it’s a good story ,even though it has some plot holes here and there. The trouble is that a game is not a suitable vehicle to deliver such a rushed, final ending. It’s a critical flaw in a game that endeavors to behave like an open-ended world: “Welcome to our world… but you’re done now: get the hell out.”
Basically, most of the game sets the players’ expectations on something significantly better, and it is dashed to pieces by the way they handled the ending alone. Aside from the ending, the game is great. In many peoples’ minds, the game goes from “game of the year” to “forgettable rental” in the last hour of the game.
Unless Bethesda releases some kind of really well done patch to revise (read: significantly extend) the end of Fallout 3, Fallout 4 or any expansions they have planned will undoubtedly be a rental for me.
What follows is comedy based on some of the plot holes in the main story, but consequently has spoilers in it, so read at your own risk.
Your dad in Fallout 3 is a cool enough guy in demeanor, you can’t help but sympathize with him as being the doting father that loves you (the main character). However, his actions speak louder than words.
<He leaves Vault 101 without telling you.>
Dad: “Dear Son, if you’re reading this note, you probably pried it off Jonas’ corpse. What a sucker! I only want what’s best for you, so I’m locking you in Vault 101 now that it’s falling apart and everybody’s being eating alive by Radroaches.”
Son/Daughter: “I guess it’s better than being out there in the wasteland, right?”
Dad: “That’s right. Well, actually, I love being out in the wasteland. I snuck out there several times. Oh, by the way, be sure to thank the Overseer for overlooking my absence in the past while rigidly sticking to the prime directive when you comes to confining you.”
Son/Daughter: “Gee, dad, thanks. I do so love living with sociopaths that will shoot me if I try to leave. *sigh*”
<After a long and arduous journey, you rescue your dad. You and him finally arrive at Rivet city and he immediately drafts Dr. Long into service to work on Project Purity.>
Dad: “We’ll restore clean drinking water to everyone!”
Dr. Long: “I’m actually making pretty good progress right now, you know? You even mention it in your notes.”
Dad: “Come on, lets get clean drinking water sooner rather than later.”
Dr. Long: “Well, just so long as it’s safe.”
Dad: <lie> “Oh, it’s safe, alright. I don’t think it’s even necessary for my son/daughter here to ask the nearby Brotherhood for an escort on this one.”
Dr. Long: “Damn it, after this you owe me a drink.”
Son/Daughter: “Hmm, are those Enclave choppers I hear in the distance? *sigh*”
<Your father kills himself in a pointlessly selfless act.>
Dad: “Run, son/daughter!”
Son/Daughter: “Jesus, dad, I can take a few Enclave members. Hell, I could probably even use the gear off their corpses.”
Dad: “I said run! With my dying breath, I claim this armor in the name of me! *dies*”
Son/Daughter: “Gee, dad, thanks. *sigh*”
<You complete project purity and die horribly.>
Dad’s Ghost: “Together at last! You really are Daddy’s little Girl/Boy.”
Son/Daughter: “Man, that radiation is so high that even my articulate radiation-resistant super mutant friend refused to do it. Why did you boobytrap Project Purity with so much damn radiation, anyway?”
Dad’s Ghost: “<lie> That was just a coincidence caused by the Enclave damaging it or something, really.”
Son/Daughter: “Oh, well, I guess that’s alright then. *sigh*”
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