[E3 2008] Fallout 3

We get our hands on Fallout 3 at E3 and see how the title is shaping up.
Author: Justin Wong
Published: July 24, 2008
Fallout 3, from what I've heard, looks pretty promising - unfortunately, at this year's E3, I only 30 minutes to spend with the game. Bethesda Softworks, the masterminds behind the latest installment to the Fallout series, is responsible for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion if you'll recall. As such, 30 minutes is hardly enough to scratch the surface of Fallout 3.

Thankfully, what I did see of Fallout 3 I enjoyed. In our previous Fallout 3 previews written by our very own Sam Bishop, we learned of some of the potential paths to be taken in the wasteland - for this playthrough, I opted for a more simple approach: kill everything in sight. Or try to, at least. The lands are scattered with radiation due to the flurry of nuclear detonations that you were fortunate enough to survive, leaving all kinds of savage beasts to roam the countryside waiting to taste your delicious, delicious flesh. More on that in a minute.

The demo began with me taking my first step out of Vault 101, which was never meant to be opened. Oops. Sunlight floods my eyes and I'm temporarily blinded, leaving me to wonder if this is such a good idea after all - if the sun is a worthy foe, what lies ahead? I press on. As I roam the wasteland, I can't help but marvel at the sight in front of me. Washington, D.C. is only barely recognizable through half-standing structures and scattered debris. Off in the distance I see the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building, tattered and torn, and covered in chocolate... okay, scratch that last part. Really, though, the place is a mess: and its up to you to find your father who is wandering around somewhere out here.

In our last preview we detailed the V.A.T.S. combat system. Since then, Bethesda has added a few significant improvements which up the "cool and useful" factor by about 100. We almost missed it, but when spending AP points, a bar at the bottom shows you how much a successful shot will damage the enemy you're targeting. This can usually safely be ignored, unless however, if you land a headshot. As you line up your shot and pull the trigger, the bullet casing ejects and a cinematic camera takes control, dragging you along the flight path in slow motion - bingo. Your shot lands your target square in the face, causing it to rip off with a gruesome stream of blood. With well placed shots like this, who needs health bars? The V.A.T.S. system decreases in accuracy the further away you get, however, so don't expect to be making those kind of shots all of the time.

Two notable creatures that we had the pleasure of vanquishing from the land were a wild dog (which came out of nowhere) and a crazed bee. Trust us, after a(n) (un)healthy dose of radiation, those things are terrifying. Sure, you've got your random humans scattered about (some of which attacked us first), but you'd do better to befriend as many of them as you can. Unless you're a total jerk, that is.

The pistol was really the only weapon we had access to so early on in the game, although we were able to beef up our killing abilities ever so slightly after a few minutes of play. A menu opens up which allows you to choose between several character upgrades, spending points that you earn as you play. It's not Oblivion, but for a split second, you might think otherwise. Since I didn't have too long to wander about the world, and the fact that we were made to keep hush-hush about some things on screen, that's about all we can talk about in this preview - but stay tuned, we'll definitely keep you updated.