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Discussion The Patient Gamer: Fallout 3 - Best Game Bethesda Ever Made

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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I've never really liked Bethesda Software's games. "Wide as an ocean, shallow as a puddle" as they say. Then one day I played Fallout: New Vegas, precisely because it was not made by Bethesda, but by the remnants of the legandary Black Isle Studios, creators of the original Fallout games, among others.

What a great game, exactly the kind of Fallout I wanted from the creators of Fallout. Then I decided to give Skyrim a shot, and found that I actually enjoyed it. So I finally came back to give Fallout 3 a shot, and I will say that it is the best game Bethesda ever made.

When Bethesda took the rights for Fallout out from under Troika studios (With Van Buren in the works) I went all in with the No Mutants Allowed crowd. I knew that a FPS "Oblivion" Fallout would never really be Fallout and replacing character skills with player skill made it less of an RPG and blah blah blah. I wasn't entirely wrong, but in the end that doesn't really matter.

Fallout 3 is obviously the product of people that love Fallout. It's obvious when playing the game that the devs really relished making a retro-futuristic-apocalptic world, that were willing to go way out of their comfort zone to come up with V.A.T.S. to pay homage to Fallout's turn based roots, and to bring back the series trademarks without trying to continue the Majove wasteland story.

The devs also tried to actually make an RPG with actual skill checks, multiple solutions to quests (including non-violent), actual dialogue trees, karma checks that actually gate off some companions and content, the whole thing. Anyone who had ever played another Bethsoft game knows that this is just not how they do things.

The game as a whole is much less coherent than its successor New Vegas, which was simply a much better crafted game in how it guided players through the world and how it handles factions,but it lacks the kind of "whimsy" that is Fallout 3's world.

A town with only children? A city built inside an aircraft carrier? Freed slaves trying to make the Lincoln Memorial their new home? Fallout 3's side quests capture that sort of comical bizzaro world feel of the Fallout games.

The split between the Capital Wasteland and the DC ruins is also a nice contrast, with a large open area to explore as well as a large city ruin that has to be navigated using the metro. There are some definitely some design issues where, with the wasteland being a bit too sparse and the DC ruins being filled with some non-sensical levels of invisible walls. But I enjoyed it none the less.

The game is not without it's flaws. A couple of the SPECIAL traits are largely useless in their primary characteristic (Perception just marks enemies on your compas from farther away? Agility only affects the number of AP you have for VATS?). While some perks are quite fun or unique, many also just booked down to "more skill points" when you end the game maxed in basically any skill that matters (should have let you keep going over 100 for an increased cost). Getting a Perk every level was also a bit much, and the difficulty curve of the game fell off a cliff much sooner than I would have liked (I don't mind being OP at the end of an RPG, but I should be half way to the level cap either).

The main quest line had some fun sections, but as a whole was pretty mediocre as well.

I haven't played any of the DLC yet (although I have the GOTY edition) but I'm kinda over the game at this point. I'll come back to it in time, some of them sound kind of interesting (The Pitt, Mothership Zeta, Far Harbor) while others sound plain old boring (Broken Steel and Operation Anchorage).

All that said and done, I really enjoyed Fallout 3 and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it given how much I expected it to disappoint me.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
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I just played through this game again and its DLCs. I think it still has the best atmosphere and best world to explore among all the modern Fallout games. The gameplay and combat are not as refined as the later titles and the main quest is fairly linear with not many choices you can make, but it still has many memorable sections like the Tranquility Lane and meeting John Henry Eden. Some of the side quests are really good as well, like the Oasis one. You do become overpowered pretty early on (applies to all of these games), but some of the Broken Steel enemies like the ghoul reaver remain tough even at high levels. Among the DLCs, my favorite is Mothership Zeta with its unique visual style and campy B-movie feel, but overall the DLCs are not nearly as good as the New Vegas ones.

I use several mods that improve the game a lot, especially one that makes you run faster. The engine is very buggy and you have to choose between horrible microstuttering and a game speed that changes with the framerate, which is what I went with since modern PCs can easily get a constant 60 or 120 at almost all times. There is a stutter remover mod that is supposed to fix this but I was getting constant crashes with it enabled.
 

Borealis7

Platinum Member
Oct 19, 2006
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hey, Perception isnt useless...i try to play any FPS with sniper rifles and i did so in FO3 and NV, and perception affected my hit chance with rifles and in VATS, plus it was a big advantage for me to be able to see the red lines on my compass.
loved FO3 in 2009 i think it was i played it?...i had just upgraded from a 8800GTS 512MB to a HD4850 and it was smooth as butter.
 
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EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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I recently played through New Vegas again, a game I didn't exactly fall in love with back in 2010, but I really liked it the second time around.

I would also prefer Fallout 3 over NV for the simple fact that it had a sprawling metro system and I find DC a much better setting than a (mostly) desolate Mojave desert. Also, it had Megaton.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
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hey, Perception isnt useless...i try to play any FPS with sniper rifles and i did so in FO3 and NV, and perception affected my hit chance with rifles and in VATS, plus it was a big advantage for me to be able to see the red lines on my compass.
loved FO3 in 2009 i think it was i played it?...i had just upgraded from a 8800GTS 512MB to a HD4850 and it was smooth as butter.
yes, brings back memories - walking with scoped sniper rifle watching for those red dots to appear. if encountered, changing direction to come at the angle, looking for any high ground. once on high ground shoot/no shoot decision, and bamm from sniper rifle through scope at the very edge of range where energy does not even detect you.
 

Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
14,670
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Didn’t care for Fallout 3. Having spent a fair amount of time using the actual DC metro, I initially enjoyed how the developers captured the architecture of the platforms and flow of the stations, but I quickly grew frustrated by the artificial walls that made it difficult to navigate. The amount of walking around became tedious, the color palette was too monochrome, I found the 1st person implementation of VATS very clunky and I lost interest in the main quest...I ended up just wandering aimlessly. Some of the side quests and locales were memorable, but not batsh!t insane like in the original games.
 

rstrohkirch

Platinum Member
May 31, 2005
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I thought Skyrim was much better than Fallout 3 in regards to the thread title. Strictly speaking on Fallout 3 vs NV vs Fallout 4, I liked Fallout 3 when it first came out. Fallout in open world 3d...great. But NV comes along and just one ups it in a big way to the point I'd never touch 3 again. When 4 came out I was very excited to play it but found it to be a polished over version of Fallout 3. I know they are different came studios but 4 was a big disappointment to me as I felt it should have been more like NV.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
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Didn’t care for Fallout 3. Having spent a fair amount of time using the actual DC metro, I initially enjoyed how the developers captured the architecture of the platforms and flow of the stations, but I quickly grew frustrated by the artificial walls that made it difficult to navigate.
I grew up in that area and appreciated the world too, but agree that the artificial walls in the downtown area are frustrating.

At the time Fallout 3 came out, I also felt like the game was the next iteration of "immersive sim" FPSs like Deus Ex and VTMB. It was like Deus Ex but with a much bigger world and scope (at least gameplay-wise, maybe not story-wise). I played it coming from that angle, having never played the original Fallout games.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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I thought Skyrim was much better than Fallout 3 in regards to the thread title. Strictly speaking on Fallout 3 vs NV vs Fallout 4, I liked Fallout 3 when it first came out. Fallout in open world 3d...great. But NV comes along and just one ups it in a big way to the point I'd never touch 3 again. When 4 came out I was very excited to play it but found it to be a polished over version of Fallout 3. I know they are different came studios but 4 was a big disappointment to me as I felt it should have been more like NV.
- I can see how people feel that way.

Skyrim was the first Elder Scrolls game I enjoyed, but I felt FO3 was not only innovative in how it brought the FO 1/2 RPG system into the first person but there was an actual RPG in there with proper stat checks that gate off different solutions depending on how your character is built. Skyrim really cleaned up the Elder Scrolls mechanics but also really leaned into the "emergent gameplay" thing, which made an addictive gameplay loop for an hour or two but also felt really lazy for much longer than that.

I just really appreciated Bethesda going way out of their way to *not* make Fallout: Oblivion. I will always give brownie points for that kind of thing.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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Played a little bit of Fallout 4 over the weekend; I just don't care for it as much as I want to. Like, I really dig the updated graphics and setting but something about the overall vibe and color palette just feels off. The previous games just felt a lot more gritty and didn't look so soft and refined. It's not a bad game mind you, just isn't what we got from FO3/NV.

And then there's 76... a game that needs no introduction, nor does it need to stay alive. Great map though, lol
 

Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
14,670
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Played a little bit of Fallout 4 over the weekend; I just don't care for it as much as I want to. Like, I really dig the updated graphics and setting but something about the overall vibe and color palette just feels off. The previous games just felt a lot more gritty and didn't look so soft and refined. It's not a bad game mind you, just isn't what we got from FO3/NV.

And then there's 76... a game that needs no introduction, nor does it need to stay alive. Great map though, lol
I lost interest in 4 after finishing my iron man power armor citadel. I put so many hours into crafting my settlement hoping for a deeper gameplay event that simply never happened. I did like the comic book themed quest.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,804
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I didn't like that Fallout 3 depended so heavily on re-using The Enclave as a big bad. Bethsoft essentially created the idea of The Enclave being a force outside of the West coast and The Rig, which is something that was completely unnecessary as far as the game world was concerned. Unless Van Buren established that The Enclave had a presence across the entire country? The other games (Fallout: Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel) were sufficiently non-canon enough to me that anything they had to say on the subject may as well not have mattered.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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I didn't like that Fallout 3 depended so heavily on re-using The Enclave as a big bad. Bethsoft essentially created the idea of The Enclave being a force outside of the West coast and The Rig, which is something that was completely unnecessary as far as the game world was concerned. Unless Van Buren established that The Enclave had a presence across the entire country? The other games (Fallout: Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel) were sufficiently non-canon enough to me that anything they had to say on the subject may as well not have mattered.
- I am more than willing to give Bethsoft a pass on that though, as they were trying to revive a dormant franchise with stuff from the last mainline entry to the series.

Fallout 4 is where I get really curious though, because my understanding is that it is the first Fallout game made after Bethesda has firmly left it's mark on the series (i.e they are not reviving anything, they're making a sequel to their own game). Haven't read much about it,but it sounds like they improved the gameplay but watered down the RPG elements.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
12,079
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i would say that the new Fallout series is .. mediocre. Middle-of-the-road.
On one hand, i liked that the map was big, like in Oblivion. The art style was decent, but not great. The game design was deeply, deeply flawed. I mean seriously, if this had been a non-Fallout game, everybody would be ripping it a new asshole on the game design. Take a minute and think about this:
1. instant fast travel everywhere
2. click on bed, regain all health / heal crippling wounds
3. instant medikits
and just ridiculously broken characters; 1-punch-kill-anything melee builds, carry capacity of 300Lb, bullet-sponge character with instaheal (of which there's tons), gear overload ..
not only are you overpowered, but if you survive any fight, you can backtrack to fully heal thus negating all consequences of said fight.

yeah ok, it's a game, but it's not a game designed to give you a challenge. In essence, it's a very complex walking simulator (with insta travel?) and a mediocre story.

Some of the characters were nice, but most tend to be overly friendly (in a nuclear wasteland), or overly quirky (again, how did you survive?), and to top off this shit casserole, they plugged that biblical nonsense wrapped in the american flag. Julius Caesar taking over the hoover dam from the communists or something.
(speaking of which, if you want to see Futuristic Dystopia done right, grab a copy of the Paranoia P&P RPG)
I also didn't like the whiny ghouls and the nerdy supermutants. Seriously, not good characters.

There was very little to like in F3. FNV was better if only because the combat was much more difficult, and Hardcore Mode added a - although not terribly difficult - layer of complexity, which is what i wanted to have more of.

F1 and F2 were not this type of game. They were hardcore, REAL hardcore minmaxing CRPGs where every stimpak counted. Combat was deadly, and getting around problems by using your intelligence was just because if you tried to attack head on, the enemy would crush you.

F3/NV were only good because Bethesda tried, TRIED to make a 3D version of a game set in a survival, postapocaliptic milieu, but then leaving out the survival and the postapocaliptic.

i would have preferred something harder, think Dont Starve if not Dark Souls.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,804
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F1 and F2 were not this type of game. They were hardcore, REAL hardcore minmaxing CRPGs where every stimpak counted. Combat was deadly, and getting around problems by using your intelligence was just because if you tried to attack head on, the enemy would crush you.
Both of those games were actually kind of easy. It did force you to mixmax a bit to steamroll the game, but done properly you were nearly unstoppable. Wasteland 2 felt a lot harder (and worse, to be perfectly honest).
 
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DigDog

Lifer
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you can't cheat F1/F2. You can't pump yourself full of psycho and take out a brotherhood of steel in power armor, or get him stuck in the geometry like you do in F3 or Skyrim. The game is stats based - as a RPG should be - and there is no getting around the difficulty level of a set encounter. The game itself may be designed to give you the ability to do this, AT SOME COST, let's say, a stealth build. But classic RPGs are combat based. As a long time P&P DM i'm not trying to belittle the intelligence that goes into trying to get around the difficulty of fights, but even when you avoid it, the difficulty still remains in the combat, which is how you earn most of your XP, which is how you progress. F3 just isn't this. And the problem is, F3 doesn't replace this with anything else.


.. i remember that the same thing was discussed a while back when talking about Prey (2006). Prey was a little known FPS that was both innovative for its time, with portals, changing gravity, gorgeous graphics and cool design, and a really shocking storyline, think Quake 4 but better in everything. And yet, once you die, you play a minigame and poof! you are back at full health. Zero repercussions from dying. I'm sorry but if you take difficulty from games, it ruins the experience for me. Stuff doesn't have to be HARD hard, just challenging. No challenge = no game.
 
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DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
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you can't cheat F1/F2.
Yes you can. There's a trait you can start with from the beginning of the game - Gifted - that is basically 7 free SPECIAL points. You dump some of the extras into Intelligence to offset the skill penalty. Then you run high AGI/PER/LCK and annihilate everything with called shots. 95% accuracy with a wide variety of weapons on eyes/head/equivalent is broken. Add tanky companions (use sunglasses and/or Mentats to temporarily raise CHA) and win the game. It's really that easy. Fallout 1 is notorious for this.

You can end encounters before the enemy has the ability to really enter initiative with you, meaning you don't need them to get "stuck on geometry". Use a Stealth Boy (which in Fallout 1 is permanent) and you can just waltz past nearly any encounter you want in full power armor.

Power armor has no penalties in Fallout 1 or 2, at all. No stat loss, no slower movement, nothing. Nearly anyone can wear it, and it's the perfect armor for every occasion. It requires no fusion batteries to use (as in Fallout 4), and just . . . works. Forever. It's amazing.

Stimpacks are actually quite plentiful, especially in Fallout 2. And if you go into your inventory (cost: 4AP, unless you have a perk that makes it cost only 2 AP), you can activate any number of them to heal back to full mid-combat. There's less opportunity cost to using them in Fallout 1 or 2 than there is in 3 or 4. Fallout 4 has more-broken items, like that stupid craftable drink, but as far as baseline stimpacks are concerned, they're quite potent in Fallout 1 and 2, and you can hoard them excessively.

On top of all this, Fallout 2 has a fully automatic sniper rifle. It has 0 bullet "spread", which means its cone is exactly one square wide. It's called the Bozar, and it makes its return in Fallout: New Vegas as a significantly-nerfed weapon (it sucks). Running a crit-based build with Fast Hands and all the supporting perks gives you something like a 90-95% crit rate, with a non-zero chance of scoring instant-death crits (from the torso table, using Better Criticals for the roll upgrade). Being an automatic weapon, the Bozar can hit multiple enemies in a row (which is common on The Rig), allowing crits that bypass armor (including enemy powered armor!) and cause enough damage to fatally wound most of the game's toughest enemies - assuming you don't score an instant kill.

The only tough enemy in either game is Frank Horrigan, just because he's a massive meat shield that has limited crit immunity - you can't knock him out or instakill him. But you can hack a bunch of miniguns to blast him to death if you want the fight to be easy, and you can tank off his damage by just hitting stimpacks every round and then shooting him a lot. I built a martial artist that killed him with repeated groin shots, Johnny Cage style. And I haven't even gotten into how broken Jet is in Fallout 2. That's a whole 'nother level of stupid there.

Fallout 1 and 2 do let you make some terrible mistakes in setting up your character, mistakes which you can't un-make. And for those people, the games may seem hard. But even Fallout 2 is relatively easy once you get past the first few areas and your character build power starts to snowball. Plus you can pick a lot of pockets for XP to level up early.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
12,079
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i'm sorry but you're not comparing apples to apples. For example, in Skyrim you can farm giants at level 1 just because of how horrible their pathing is - find any natural ledge you can drop off of AND circle, and they will never reach you. I took out the two Deadra lords on a particular shrine with a brand new character by just picking up herbs randomly, spamming potions randomly (no guide or anything), and when they made something useful just chugging a ton of them. This is BASIC broken bethesda. What you are talking about there is ADVANCED broken bethesda, as in when you enchant items that enhance your smithing skill with which you smith items which enhance your enchanting.
Actually, when you use potions to enhance your enchanting to enhance your potions to enhance your enchanting ... etc etc .. to the smith godkiller gear.
Try to be reasonable. We're not discussing "well but every game is broken if i glitch out of the map" speedruns and such. F1 may have unbalance exploits, F3 has DESIGN exploits.
Besides, it's worth noting that when, through minmaxing, you develop a strong, maybe too strong, character, well your characher *IS* strong. I'm talking F3 being crushed underfoot by people playing with casual armor and a fork.

.. there's a guy who found a Oblivion spell that simply instakills everything. Yeah. Just any mob, 1 cast, dead.

If you recall the RPG games of yore, minmaxing was sometimes fundamental to even beat the game, none of the "play experience" stuff. Games would even put on purpose dead-end skills in the game to trick players into perma-ruining their characters so they had to restart, a'la System Shock. But you as a player would need to earn the knowledge of those specific minmax combos, it wouldn't be broken from day 1.

Try playing UFO Enemy Unknown and see if you can beat it on your first playthrough.
 
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DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,804
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i'm sorry but you're not comparing apples to apples.
Skyrim is Skyrim. It isn't Fallout 3. Nor is Oblivion Fallout 3. I don't think there are any people who have "crushed Fallout 3 underfoot by people playing with casual armor and a fork". You can stack Psycho and Yao Guai meat a bit for some really good damage, but that isn't on the same level as the enchanting BS from Skyrim.

As far as "RPG games of yore" are concerned, Fallout 1 and 2 were pretty easy by the standards of the day. I know the NMA community considered them to be a cakewalk.
 

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