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.