It can't be done. Sooner or later you are going to have to take someone or something out. This is, after all, a Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian Future Washington DC filled with radiation, mutated weirdos, and conniving conmen and women. Frankly, you can't even trust your dad... or can you?
Despite the fact that you're not operating in a nice old ladies' school for young ladies of a delicate disposition, however, you are still seriously offered decisions that you must think about. Sure, being bad to the bone will give you access to alliances with other mercenary types. You will have no qualms about invading other people's domiciles and stealing their kit. Kicking the occasional passer-by in the neck with a knife will also fall into your sphere of operations. But you don't have
to play that way.
It is quite feasible to finish Fallout 3
with a minimum of insult, outrage to person and actual shooting. Many of you will wonder, “Why bother? The slow-mo scenes of heads coming off amid blood spatter the like of which would make Patrick Bateman a little queasy are what video games are all about you wet sod! Some of the insults or attempts to bully in dialogue appear to draw on The Secret of Monkey Island
or Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross's College of Calls!!”
All I am saying is that Bethesda has delivered on its promise of a game that does enable you to think a little as you play a lot. At no point, even during Neeson and some of the other annoying character interactions (why all the NPCs who say “Hi” in one sentence and then “Fuck off” in the next?) do you feel that you're being treated like an easily-hyped, blinded child.
The sound works, the environmental graphics work, (for the most part, there are stumbles and rather cardboard looking shrubs to deal with), the control system works; the blend of RPG, RTS and F/TPS all work, and they work together. The entire experience is immersive. What's more, once completed, you can go back to the start and play in a completely different way. This doesn't just mean play nice not nasty, it also means exploring whole other areas and carrying out new quests. The replayability here is awesome. I could go on. But I want to go back and play.
A mix of RPG inventory and strategy balanced with first/third-person shooter in a huge world filled with invigorating action, well thought-out side-quests, a story that maintains itself throughout. Map and graphic glitches will annoy, as will some character interaction, and the combat system could be more responsive. Overall though, a superb addition to the libraries of gamers who like to explore and think.
SPOnG Score: 94%