I am in awe of Fallout 3. Bethesda – you guys are just amazing.

image If they weren’t already owned by Zenimax Media or whatever the hell their parent company is, I’d start lobbying within Microsoft to have us look into acquiring these guys at Bethesda and making them all rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Fallout 3 has to be the most RIDICULOUSLY-DETAILED and GINORMOUSLY-DESIGNED game I’ve played in years – maybe even a decade.  This for me has to be the RPG to end all RPGs.  (Or at least until Bethesda tops themselves with Fallout 4)  I don’t remember being this absorbed into a game in the same way since my days playing 80386-based PC games.  It has the immersive-ness of Halo (Combat Evolved), the graphics of Halo 3, the storyline of Mass Effect, the sandbox scope of Grand Theft Auto 4, the side missions of Star Wars:  Knights of the Old Republic, the majestic landscape of Crackdown, and the mystery and atmosphere of Bioshock.

Yeah.  I just listed some pretty f-ing heady names there didn’t I?  That’s how highly I think of this game.  Word to your mother.

DIDN’T HAVE HIGH HOPES AT FIRST
At first when I opened the box and played it for a while, I thought that maybe this game was going to be too tedious.  Too depressing.  Too idiotic in its storytelling.  MAN – was I wrong.  Every quest/mission is like another chapter in a book that you’re struggling desperately to finish so that you can find out what happens in the end.  And the stories are genuinely interesting.

In fact, there’s one part of the game that I just COULDN’T get past and got so frustrated I finally did a search on the Internet for a solution.  Sure enough – it was something small and stupid but still, the result was amazing.  (For those of you playing – it was how to get into frickin’ Rivet City.  You know what I’m talking about.)

I think that’s when the size and scope of Fallout 3 really came into focus for me.  Unlike Halo which you never really could get a good view of the scope of the realm that you were playing in, both Fallout 3 and Crackdown have points in the game where you can really see how vast the terrain is and how far, far, far out it goes.  The area in which the game takes place seems to just never end… it’s that huge.

I think it’s that vastness, combined with the great storytelling, plus the VATS combat system and the incredible variety of enemies, weapons, and visual delights in the game make it so very unique.  I find myself falling asleep in my gameplaying chair:  I haven’t done that in yeeeeaaaaars.  The last time I did that I think was Halo – the original.

OTHER GAMES WITH THIS LEVEL OF RAPTURE
The games that I can recall myself being this infatuated over in my past gaming history include:

  • Wizardry (Apple II/IBM PC)
  • Bard’s Tale
  • Starflight
  • Starflight 2
  • Star Control 2
  • Another World (a.k.a. Out of this World)
  • Seven Cities of Gold
  • Halo
  • Pirates!
  • Bioshock
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
  • Portal: Still Alive

GAMES THAT I THOUGHT WOULD BE AT THIS LEVEL OF QUALITY BUT WEREN’T
I have to point out the games whose gameplay, storytelling, or combat mechanics disappointed me.

  • Mass Effect
  • Halo 3
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Prey
  • Too Human
  • Doom 3
  • Quake 4
  • Far Cry 1/2
  • Saints Row
  • Just Cause
  • True Crime

Yeah.  That’s right.  I said it.  Halo 3 was a disappointment to me.  I haven’t put that disc in my Xbox 360 in ages… and why?  While they did an amazing job on the multiplayer, I got less than I’d hoped for in the campaign – and GODDAMMIT, the campaign is really important to me as a gamer.  I suspect that Gears of War 2, to a lesser extent will fall into this category (I haven’t played it yet since my order has yet to come in) however it’s harder to judge GOW2 because I already know that it’s so beautiful and elegant and it’s strengths like Halo 3, lie in other areas… however I doubt that GOW2’s story is going to go all over the place like Halo 3 did.TICK TOCK – STILL PLAYING

So consider this post my love letter to Bethesda for making a product that for the first time in years, I’m totally wrapped up in and know that I’m going to get months – maybe even years – of playing time on.  And it won’t be “replayability”.  All of it will be straight up first time experiences.

I’ve logged 48+ hours of game time so far, according to the in-game clock, and I have to say that I fully recognize that I’ve only barely scratched the surface of the game.  I’m constantly trying to stockpile ammunition… trying to figure out how I level up faster.  It’s insane.  I hope the folks at Bethesda are making large piles of money on this game because it deserves every damned accolade that it’s gotten.  (Which includes several “Best RPG of the Year” awards)

Dear God… what if Bethesda releases an expansion pack like they did for Elder Scrolls Oblivion?  I’m doomed.  DOOMED!

(p.s.  You may have noticed that I never mentioned Bethesda’s other infamous title – “Oblivion” – up until the last sentence.  That’s because while I bought Oblivion for Xbox 360 – I never really played it.  I was told repeatedly about how frickin’ big that game was and that it would kill all my free time so I never really put much time into it on purpose.  Well, look at me now with Fallout 3.  DAMN YOU BETHESDA!  No, wait.  I’m sorry.  Really.  Come back. BFF?)

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