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I have put in a few solid sessions on Fallout 3 over the past week and I have to say that the game is a rare treat. It has a gripping storyline, great visuals and the morality twist makes for a very interesting change from the norm.
While a sandbox-style RPG, it could also be reasonably classed as an FPS – with the exception that you don’t really get the slick, fast-paced gunfights of a dedicated FPS. If you run around, all guns blazing you will find yourself down on your health and without ammunition before very long at all.
Taking the odd pot shot can be very rewarding, but when it comes to close-range encounters you want to head to cover and make use of RB when it comes to placing your shots. I don’t think that the game lost anything from this, and the slow motion bullet cam that you see when you enter the turn based mode is very satisfying.
If you have read the reviews from the guys who were lucky enough to get pre-release copies, then you will know that you can pretty much pick up anything in the game. That includes fairly useless items such as plates, pots and pans (which you can actually put to use but I am not going to spoil the surprise and tell you how). All the gear starts to weigh you down pretty quickly and as you become more proficient in your scavenging, you will focus on the stuff that gets you more in trade.
The trade system of the game is very interesting. The currency of choice is bottlecaps, as you enter the trading screen, you will see how many bottlecaps the trader is carrying – you can’t get more than they have. That means that you don’t get a chance to amass currency very quickly, especially since you will also need to keep yourself stocked up with supplies.
As with any role playing game, skills are important, in Fallout 3 the skills system serves to keep you from doing to much at once. The world is there for you to explore, but certain aspects of it are locked up until you have the skill points to unlock them. House doors will remain locked until you are proficient enough at lock picking, and if a task is beyond your skill level, then you won’t be able to attempt it. When you perform jobs for key characters you get some pretty cool rewards, and an idea of what skills you should work on first.
Getting started in Fallout 3 is not as easy as other games that I have played. You definitely have to read the information boxes at the start of the game. You also need to be aware that weapons and items that you use will degrade as they are used, which means that you want to stock up from the very first opportunity in the Vault. The beginning of the game is absolutely crucial if you don’t want to spend the next few hours playing catch up.
Spoiler alert: if you don’t want any tips or tricks, stop reading now!
Don’t rely on the auto-save function as it can save you at some rather unfortunate spots – save frequently, from the very beginning. Certain things that you do can impact inter-character relationships either positively or negatively. Frequent saving gives you a chance to figure out all of the what-ifs.
When you get to Megaton, talk to the Sheriff and offer to deactivate the bomb. You can’t do the job unless you have the skill. It gets you some bottlecaps, but more importantly, it gets you an apartment with storage space and a bed. Sleeping heals you and it is a great way to save on your health-related costs.
Once you have visited a place, you can use the auto-travel feature to take you there instantly. If you have taken a few hits, you just need to get clear of your enemies and you can send yourself straight back home to revive – good if your bottlecaps won’t net you enough stim packs to patch you up.
Picking locks can be tricky at the beginning and your supply of bobby pins is limited. If you save the game before you try to open your first lock, then you can get used to the technique without blowing half your supply.
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