Posts Tagged ‘fallout 3

21
Apr
09

The future of Grand Theft Auto

Lets face it, most modern games contain as many kills as kilobytes. It’s always nice to have someone new to shoot at, but with each shotgun to the face we step further away from reality and the rules of our world. This isn’t an issue for some, but games that attempt to exist in our world and rely on a prior knowledge of our world rules can be legitimately damaged as a result.

Lets look at Grand Theft Auto IV, it’s a game that more or less mimics (parodies?) an American city, including the gangster underworld and other undesirable elements. The world seems real enough, and the story is compelling and well written, but it’s what happens in between cut scenes and phone conversations that exposes the game – the medium’s storytelling limitation. As the game progresses and the difficulty ramps up, Niko Belic is tasked with more complex objectives and faces larger numbers of enemies. Niko undertakes missions resulting in the deaths of a dozen or more gangsters, and often as many police. But the game continues, and the cut scenes and other characters ignore Niko’s questionable actions.

This Niko Belic effect is amplified when the story asks you to make moral decisions about the fate of key characters; it’s almost laughable that the story can pivot on one life when such mass killing is involved in the rest of the game.

By now, you’re either nodding your head in agreement or about to stop reading as I’ve just spent a few hundred words telling you what you’ve known for years.

But that my friends, is my point.

We accept that this is how it is. The game and the story are two separate entities. Once that cut scene ends, shit will get heavy. When we’ve killed the 30 guards protecting the building and flipped the switch, the story will continue and thank us for flipping the switch – there’ll be no mention of the body count, and we’ll move on.

I can live with that, I can see GTA4s epic story for what it is – a modern day masterpiece with as much grip as anything you’d pay $16 to see on the silver screen. But what if I hadn’t been conditioned to separate the story from the game? What if I wasn’t a gamer – could I be expected to take it seriously? A well written story that is emotional and powerful, with a higher body count than Rambo 4.. Really? Maybe that’s a clue as to why this medium has such trouble being understood.

Rather obviously, there are two ways for Grand Theft Auto to approach this issue – change the game to fit the story, or change the story to fit the game. Unfortunately, neither option is guaranteed effective and changes made either way would likely be detrimental.

Luckily, words are cheap and we’re not a big budget developer with the gaming world on our shoulders, so we can afford to at least explore the options available.

Lets look at this in the way I’m sure many developers would – we’re here to make a game and that’s our priority. The game needs to be fun and challenging first, and realistic in concern to the narrative second. We could easily change the GTA story to make mention of the hordes of enemies we’ve put in body bags. Niko, go to see the Russians and kill 30 of them, that should keep them off our backs. I’ll admit I’m not a thug, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t part of their day to day. The critically acclaimed, down to earth(ish) GTA story has been reduced to Uwe Boll level crap, which obviously isn’t an option.

Lets look at another high profile title, one which has had more luck melding coherent storytelling with gameplay.

Enter Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 is set in post apocalypse America. It’s a dangerous, sparsely populated place, where people are likely to have had more confirmed kills than radiation free meals.

Sure, a run through the subway will end the existence of 20 or more ghouls, but this is a landscape seriously altered by nuclear war, it’d be ludicrous to expect anything else. Additionally, conversing with other characters allows me to even brag about these feats – the story makes no attempt at distancing itself from the game.

Bethesda has had the advantage of creating their own world, by doing so, they’ve created their own rules. Welcome to Fallout 3 player, the subways are filled with feral ghouls, they used to be people but have lost their humanity and prefer to live in the dark tunnels. One, that’s awesome. Two, what else am I to expect when I go tunnel running – I can hardly be pulled away from the narrative by a bunch of ghouls.

So in a way, it’s Grand Theft Auto’s relevance that is it’s Achilles heel. GTAIV pushed the series in a intelligent mature direction, but one that can not be continued without dramatic changes to the core gameplay. I’m not necessarily suggesting we’ve seen the end of GTA, or that the series will stagnate, fade into irrelatively and lose it’s podium as this century’s king of games – I’m sure the Houser brothers are far too brilliant to ever let that happen.

What I am suggesting is that we’ll see some major changes in future instalments, or, we’ll see the introduction of a sister series, developed to take the reins and push the design in darker directions, while Grand Theft Auto remains the accessible, fun lovin’ criminal that it is.

03
Nov
08

My weekend in gaming – Fallout 3 impressions

Fallout 3 is fun, but before I get anymore on topic I’ll make a quick detour – I’ll make the prediction that GTA5 will be a long way off, if I were a Houser brother I’d be looking at Fallout 3 as the perfect illustration of how much fun can be had designing an open world. Imagine if Rockstar’s next sandbox isn’t some boring old city – these guys have great imagination, and I’d love to see a game where the world and rules are created by them. I’d imagine they feel the same way.

But enough about Rockstar and their future wares, I’m here to talk about Bethesda’s latest effort.

Fallout 3 is fun and brims with possibility – I don’t think I have ever been exposed to a game that is just so open. Open, of course, in the sense that you can trek it to any part of the landscape, where you go is completely your decision – but the ‘openness’ that I refer to and that impressed me so much was that of how the game interacts with the player. Put simply, it doesn’t.

During a battle where I paired with a bunch of Brotherhood of Steel dudes (and dudettes) against a super super mutant, I found myself scavenging from the bodies of the fallen instead of focusing on the battle at hand. Why was I doing this? Well it wasn’t because I needed health, ammo or whatever other resource – in that regard, collecting from those bodies certainly could have waited until after the battle.

The reason I went out of my way during combat was because of some hard-coded assumption I was making subconsciously about the game – I was collecting the wares before the boss died and triggered an event, possibly propelling me into a new area. Well I should have known better, F3 doesn’t roll like that – the game never takes over, you’re always in control and never locked down. It’s cool, and when paired with geographical ‘openness’, it works to great effect. At anytime you can go anywhere in Fallout 3 – if I wasn’t compelled to progress through the door that ending the boss opened, I didn’t have to.

Continue reading ‘My weekend in gaming – Fallout 3 impressions’

30
Oct
08

Fallout 3 street date broken, finally!

So it might not be as big a score as getting your hands on LBP a few weeks early, but if you happen to have the afternoon off work and would like to start your post apocalyptic journey sooner (today) rather than later (tomorrow), it might be less hassle than expected. 

Although the official release date is hard coded at 31/10/08, lucky reader Mark has managed to get his hands on his copy today. Although they didn’t have stock on shelves, JB Kedron were happy enough to hand a copy over – I guess the massive embargo, as one JB staff member put it, hasn’t convinced everyone.

EB Games, staying true to their formula have declined to sell the game early or at a reasonable price, and are asking $119 as apose to JB’s $89.

Gametraders Chermside (and assumably other stores) have the game in stock and on shelves today, also priced at $89.

So there you have it, if anyone needs to get a copy a day early you do have options.

18
Sep
08

Fallout 3 can be completed in 75 minutes

Fallout 3 may still be over a month away from gracing store shelves, but that hasn’t stopped Bethesda from setting the first speedrun record for the game.

Apparently a bit of a tradition when a game nears completion, the internal speedrun contest was cleaned up by Bethesda QA tester Sam ‘I Am’ Bernstein, and his prize – a pie of his choosing. A prize well earned.

Continue reading ‘Fallout 3 can be completed in 75 minutes’

14
Sep
08

Playstation 3 Fallout 3 Survival Edition SOLD OUT

I’m sure the majority of Playstation 3 users will survive, they’ll just find themselves slightly less prepared for their upcoming stint in the post-apocalyptic environment of Fallout 3.

PS3fanboy have dropped the news that Amazon.com, the only distributor with the exclusive Survival Edition of the game, have completely sold out of the PS3 flavour of the package (at time of writing they are displaying the items status as Currently unavailable).

Containing all the ingredients of the Collector’s Edition, with the inclusion of a replica PIP-Boy 3000 (with the functionality of a clock!), the Survival Edition is the bookend of the available versions.

For the record, Amazon does not disclose the number of units ordered, but it’s clear Playstation 3 users are as ready as any to dive into the world of Fallout 3.

 

Amazon.com via PS3fanboy.com

11
Sep
08

Med-X: Safe for Australian consumption

First it was refused classification. Then it was modified and resubmitted, and finally accepted. Fallout 3 had a rocky ride toward legal sale in Australia, and that ride didn’t get any easier when the news dropped that the Australian edit of Fallout 3 would in fact be the only edition – The edits made to negotiate our tricky classification board would be forced on gamers globally.

But don’t fret, according to Pete Hines (VP of Public Relations & Marketing for Bethesda), it seems our worst fears of game experience alterations haven’t been realised, just yet…

Continue reading ‘Med-X: Safe for Australian consumption’




Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.
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