About FallOut 3
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and is the third major game in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America on October 28, 2008, in Europe and Australia on October 30, 2008, in the United Kingdom and Ireland on October 31, 2008, and in Japan on December 4, 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277, 36 years after the setting of Fallout 2 and 200 years after the nuclear apocalypse that devastated the game’s world in a future where international conflicts culminated in a Sino-American war in the second half of the 21st century. The game places the player in the role of an inhabitant of Vault 101, a survival shelter designed to protect a small number of humans from the nuclear fallout. When the player’s character’s father disappears under mysterious circumstances, he or she is forced to escape from the Vault and journey into the ruins of Washington D.C. to track him down. Along the way the player is assisted by a number of human survivors and must battle myriad enemies that now inhabit the area now known as the “Capital Wasteland”. The game has an attribute and combat system typical of an action strategy game but also incorporates elements of first-person shooter and survival horror games.
Following its release, Fallout 3 has received very positive responses from critics and a number of Game of the Year awards, praising in particular the game’s open-ended gameplay and flexible character-leveling system. The NPD Group estimated that Fallout 3 sold over 610,000 units during its initial month of release in October 2008, performing better than Bethesda Softworks’ previous game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which sold nearly 500,000 units in its first month. The game has also received post-launch support with Bethesda releasing five downloadable add-ons for the game.
Attributes and karma
Character creation occurs through a number of short sequences starting with the character’s birth and progressing to a point where he or she is 16 years old. At birth, the player determines what their character will look like. As a baby, they read a child’s book titled You’re SPECIAL, where upon reading the player can set the character’s primary attributes. Finally, at age 16, the player takes the G.O.A.T. exam to determine the first three Skills they wish to focus on. Skills and Perks are similar to those in previous games: Skills can be gradually assigned and give players increasing degrees of ability; for instance, increasing the lock pick skill grants the player access to harder doors to unlock. With each level, the player can allocate more points to their skills and a new Perk, some requiring specific stat levels or karma levels, each offering advantages of varying quality and form.
Another important statistic tracked in the game is karma. Each character has an aggregate amount of karma which can be affected by the decisions and actions made in the game. Positive karma actions include freeing captives and helping others. Negative karma actions include killing good characters and stealing. Beyond acting as flavor for the game’s events, karma can have tangible effects to the player, primarily affecting the game’s ending. Other effects include altered dialogue with non-player characters (NPCs), or unique reactions from other characters. Actions vary in levels of karma; pickpocketing produces less negative karma than the killing of a good character. The player’s relationships with the game’s factions are distinct, so any two groups or settlements may view the player in contrasting ways, depending on the player’s conduct.
Health and weapons
The player’s health is separated into two types: general and limb. General health is the primary damage bar, and the player will die if it is depleted. Limb health is specific to each portion of the body, namely the arms, legs, head, and torso. Non-human enemies will sometimes have additional appendages. When a limb’s health bar is depleted, that limb is rendered “crippled” and induces a negative status effect, such as blurred vision from a crippled head or reduced movement speed from a crippled leg. Health is diminished when damage is taken from being attacked, falling from great distances, and/or accidental self injury. General health can be replenished by sleeping, using medical equipment (stimpaks), eating food, or drinking water. Limbs can be healed directly by injecting them with stimpaks, by sleeping, or by being healed by a doctor.
There are also secondary health factors which can affect performance. Chief among these is radiation poisoning: most food is irradiated to a small degree, and parts of the world have varying levels of background radiation. As the player is exposed to radiation, it builds up, causing negative effects and eventually death if left untreated. Radiation sickness must be healed by special medicine or doctors. The player can also become addicted to drugs and alcohol, and then go through withdrawal symptoms if denied those substances. Both afflictions can blur the player’s vision for a few seconds and have a negative effect on SPECIAL attributes until the problem is corrected.
Another game mechanic is item degradation. The more weapons and armor are used or damaged in combat, the less effective they become. Firearms do less damage and may jam during reloading, and apparel becomes gradually less protective. This will eventually result in the item breaking altogether. Items can be repaired for a price from special vendors, or if the player has two of the same item (or a comparable item), one can be salvaged to repair the other.
Players also have the option to create their own weaponry using various scavenged items found in the wasteland. These items can only be created at workbenches, and only if the player possesses the necessary schematics or the necessary Perk. These weapons usually possess significant advantages over other weapons of their type. Each schematic has three to four copies to be found. Each copy, up to a maximum of three, improves the condition (or number) of items produced at the workbench. A higher repair skill will also result in a better starting condition for the related weapon. Weapon schematics can be found lying in certain locations, bought from vendors, or received as quest rewards.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or V.A.T.S., plays an important part in combat. While using V.A.T.S., real-time combat is paused, and action is played out from varying camera angles in a computer graphics version of “bullet time”, creating a combat system that the Bethesda developers have described as a hybrid between turn-based and real-time combat. Various actions cost action points, limiting the actions of each combatant during a turn, and both the player and enemies can target specific body areas for attacks to inflict specific injuries; head shots can be used for quick kills or blinding, legs can be targeted to slow enemies’ movements, opponents can be disarmed by shooting at their weapons, and players can drive certain enemies into a berserker rage by shooting out things like antennae on various overgrown insects and combat inhibitors on armored robots. However, the use of V.A.T.S. also eliminates most of the first-person shooter elements of the game; aiming is taken over by the computer, and the player is unable to move as a means of avoiding attacks.
The player can have a maximum party of three, consisting of the player’s character, a dog named Dogmeat, and a single non-player character. Dogmeat can be killed during the game if the player misuses him or places him in a severely dangerous situation and he cannot be replaced (this was changed with the introduction of Broken Steel: the level 22 “Puppies!” perk allows the player to gain a “Dogmeat’s puppy” follower if Dogmeat dies); it is possible to not encounter Dogmeat at all depending on how the game is played. One other NPC can travel with the player at any time, and in order to get another NPC to travel, the first one must be dismissed (either voluntarily by the player or as a consequence of other events) or die in combat.
There are a multitude of enemies that the player may encounter, ranging from wild animals, to robots, to other humans. There is a variety of mutated and dangerous creatures scattered across the Wasteland, including Deathclaws (gigantic bipedal lizards with deadly claws), Radscorpions, Mirelurks (man-sized bipedal crabs), unmutated dogs, Brahmin (two-headed cows), Mole Rats, Yao Guai (mutated bears), mutated insects, and large, yellow-green Super Mutants (humans mutated by a pre-war viral agent designed to create powerful supersoldiers) in a great variety of sizes. The player may also encounter hostile humans, including raiders, slavers, other Vault survivors, and hit squads from two different factions of mercenaries (which faction will oppose you is dependant on your karma). Some areas contain various types of ghoul. A ghoul is a human who has been transformed by “an ungodly amount of radiation”; although many have lost the ability to reason and are thus feral and hostile, there are also those that have retained their faculties and remain civilised, who are often the victims of hate and mockery by the unmutated denizens of the post-war wasteland. Although they are sterile, ghouls have vastly increased longevity, some having survived from before the war 200 years ago. There are also a number of robots to be found across the wasteland with varying combat armaments and capacities. Military robots varying in size and shape from the primitive, bipedal Protectron to the multi-armed hovering “Mister Gutsy” to the tremendous and heavily armored Sentry Bot, as well as corporate-built cyborgs called Robobrains, are a few of the robotic adversaries (or allies) the player may encounter; there are also two seemingly human characters who are revealed to be androids. There are additional enemies introduced to Fallout 3 with the add-ons that not only expand the story line, but offer new weapons and armor as well.
Fallout 3 takes place in a post-apocalyptic, retro-futurist Washington D.C., northeast Virginia and parts of Maryland in the year 2277 after a world war over resources which ended in nuclear holocaust in 2077. The player character (PC) lives with their widower father, James (voiced by Liam Neeson), in Vault 101 (one of several fallout shelters in the D.C. area). One day, the PC wakes up to find that James has left the Vault and ventured into the Capital Wasteland, as the area around in and around D.C. is now known. The Vault Overseer becomes suspicious and orders his men to kill the PC, forcing the player to go out into the Capital Wasteland where he/she must follow James’ trail and learn why he left. Along the way, the player will encounter various factions, including the Brotherhood of Steel, a techno-religious organisation with roots in the U.S. military from the American West Coast, the Outcasts, a group of Brotherhood of Steel exiles, and the Enclave, the elitist and genocidal remnants of the U.S. government.
The main quest begins after the Lone Wanderer (the title given to the player character by the populace of the Capital Wasteland) escapes Vault 101 at age 19. The search for James, the player’s father, takes the character on a journey through the wasteland, first to the nearby town of Megaton, named for the undetonated atomic bomb at its center, then the Galaxy News Radio station. The player then travels to Rivet City, a derelict aircraft carrier now serving as a human settlement. Here the player meets Doctor Li, a scientist who worked alongside the player’s father. Doctor Li tells the player of Project Purity, a plan to remove the radiation from the water of the Tidal Basin as a means of restoring the environment and improving the lives of those inhabiting the DC Wasteland.
After investigating the former lab of Project Purity, built inside the Jefferson Memorial rotunda, the player tracks James to Vault 112, and frees him from a virtual reality program being run by the Vault’s corrupt Overseer. The player and James return to Rivet City and meet up with Doctor Li. They discuss the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.) and its possible whereabouts, which are rumored to be in Project Purity’s computer database. However, while the player helps James restart the lab equipment, the Enclave (the post-Great War United States government) arrives and attempts to take over the project for their own purposes. During a confrontation, James sacrifices himself and kills several Enclave soldiers by overloading Project Purity’s main chamber with lethal amounts of radiation. After fleeing the lab through underground tunnels, Li and the player arrive at the Citadel of the Brotherhood of Steel, which is in the ruins of the Pentagon. After recovering, Li pleads with the player to find a G.E.C.K. to finish James’ work. The player eventually finds one in Vault 87, which had been dedicated to creating and perfecting the FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus), and is the source of the Super Mutants in the Capital Wasteland. With the aid of Fawkes, a Super Mutant who retained his intelligence after his mutation and is thus ostracised and imprisoned by his mentally subnormal brethren, the player acquires the G.E.C.K., but is ambushed by the Enclave during his exit and captured.
Awakening in a holding cell in the Enclave base at Raven Rock, the player is briefly interrogated by Colonel Autumn and then summoned to the office of President John Henry Eden, who promises safe passage to his control room. While the player is en route, however, Colonel Autumn, acting against Eden, orders the Enclave soldiers to attack, and the player must fight their way to the control room. There, Eden, who turns out be a supercomputer given control of the East Coast of the United States, gives the player a modified form of the FEV virus, which will kill all individuals with any level of mutation, and requests that the player insert it into Project Purity.
The player escapes Raven Rock (which will be destroyed shortly thereafter if the player convinces Eden to trigger a self-destruct) and runs into Fawkes, who kills the last of the Enclave Soldiers outside Raven Rock. The PC then returns to the Citadel, where Elder Lyons (leader of the East Coast branch of the Brotherhood of Steel) will ask the player for any information they have. The Brotherhood of Steel also enlists the player’s aid in assaulting the Jefferson Memorial with Sarah Lyons, the leader of an elite squad of Brotherhood Knights, and a gigantic pre-war robot built to liberate Alaska named Liberty Prime. After breaking through to Project Purity, the player must deal with Colonel Autumn through violence or persuasion. Through the building’s intercom, Doctor Li informs the player that due to the damage caused by the recent fight, someone must activate the system before it overloads, destroying the facility. Unfortunately, the one who activates the system will have to be sacrificed due to the chamber being close to overwhelmed by lethal amounts of radiation. In the end, the player has the option to enter the chamber, convincing Sarah Lyons to do it, or simply waiting. If the Broken Steel DLC is installed, the player also has the option of having one of three radiation resistant followers (a Super Mutant, a Ghoul, or a robot) activate it, should one of those three have been recruited and brought along. The ending sequence that follows depends on the player’s actions in the game, karma, who activated the purifier, whether or not the player tainted the water with the modified FEV virus, and whether the Broken Steel DLC has been installed.