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Fallout 3: We've played the PC Version at GC

Fallout 3: We've played the PC Version at GC

gg_fallout at gc.jpg
Germany — 

In our E3 preview of Fallout 3, we had some major issues with the difficulty (or lack of) of the game, playing it on Xbox 360. We asked Pete Hines about the V.A.T.S. problem, and he clarified several points.

Now, at GC in Leipzig, we spent about an hour with the PC version of Fallout 3 (which is supposed to have the same gameplay) and could verify most of what Pete told us. V.A.T.S. no longer felt too mighty, and in fact, we were able to cripple the limbs of a super mutant without killing him, as it should be. Still, a successful V.A.T.S. shot can instantly kill an opponent if the damage to the limb brings his overall hitpoints to zero. For example, we shot 2 times at the left arm of a raider; the first shot hit and made him lose his weapon, the second shot crippled his arm, at the same time killing him. We are still not quite convinced of V.A.T.S., because our standard tactic was to try to get very near the opponents as fast as possible, who didn't seem to hit us much better than over a greater distance, and then quickly entering V.A.T.S.: With this tactic, the relative low range of our pistol or hunting rifle didn't count, and we could normally hit our target with a to-hit probability of 80 to 95 % percent. This even worked when, let's say a Mole Rat, was in the middle of its jump to attack us. The opponents, on the other hand, do not have V.A.T.S., which puts them on a severe disadvantage. Also, the Action Points still filled up pretty quickly, so running away from a Super Mutant for half a minute would replenish them to the maximum, allowing us to fight him effectively again. But to make this clear: the fighting no longer felt far too easy or flawed, as it did at E3. As in Oblivion, opponents will run or swim towards you in order to reach you, or fight from afar when they have appropiate weapons. Some will throw grenades at you, others will fight you with poles or clubs.

Overall, we liked the PC interface better than the Xbox interface, for obvious reasons: You don't need to scroll as often to get to a specific weapon in your PIPboy (which you acticvate by pressing TAB), you simply click on it when it's on the same page. Most actions like V.A.T.S. are confirmed with "E", which is also used for "use something", but while waiting (passing time like in Oblivion or sleeping in a bed), "w" is for confirmation and "e" cancels. (You can change the keyboard mapping). There are specific graphical settings (sliders) for the distance actors (npcs), items, objects (whatever the difference is), grass, shadows, light, specularities fade. You can also chose the level-of-detail distance for objcts and trees. Of course, most buttons Fallout 3 uses on the console gamepads are mapped to the keyboard. For example, you can apply Stimpacks by pressing "2" or switch to the world map by pressing "F3".

Among the things we newly noticed (we're not claiming that these are new features) was that you can heal a crippled limb by applying a stimpack to it (instead of just using it in general, getting back hitpoints). We also fought various "new" (to us) opponents like the Centaur (a spitting obscenity on four legs) or the "Glowing One" -- a tough, glowing, zombie-like creature which attacked us with a sort of radioactive blast. When fighting without V.A.T.S., we managed to do many headshots with attacking beasts like mole rats, because the head simply is in the middle of those targets when they attack you. We also noticed the day-night-cycle for the first time. We presume we started from Vault 101 in the morning, so one day-night-cycle seems to take about 45 minutes. In our travels, we encountered a mine field, a desolate power plant and other places, but overall, the world of Fallout 3 felt rather empty. We avoided to go into Megaton, and did not meet a single friendly or neutral NPC in the roughly 60 minutes of play. It's a Wasteland, after all, it seems...

For those of you interested in such details, here's a list of the skills in the game (they will sound very familiar to Fallout fans):

  1. Barter
  2. Big Guns
  3. Energy Weapons
  4. Explosives
  5. Lockpick
  6. Medicine
  7. Melee Combat
  8. Repair
  9. Science
  10. Small Guns
  11. Sneak
  12. Speech
  13. Unarmed Combat

In addition, there are the 7 main attributes like Strength, Agility and Luck. Also, we've counted 58 perks like "Gun Nut", "Child At Heart", "Adamantium Skeleton" or "Thief". Fallout fans know the drill.

The release date for Fallout 3 is October 31 in Europe, the lucky North Americans will get it three days earlier.

Starkiller
1470 EXP -
August 20, 2008 - 18:04 #

Oh yes, these skills sound very familiar.

The way you describe the V.A.T.S.-System sounds Ok to me, shooting an arm should render someone unable to use it, keep shooting it and the blood loss will be fatal eventually. The alternative would be that you could put several rounds in each limp and it still wouldn't die, which sounds much worse.

One other thing I can't remember you mentioning: The previous Fallout titles had a pretty specific humor, apart from the perks, did you see any of that in Fallout3? In Conversations, Item descriptions or something else?

Jörg
5433 EXP -
August 24, 2008 - 20:03 #

I'd say the humour is there. But I can't be sure yet. The lines NPCs speak seemed rather short to me, but I did not have many conversations, so far.

Player (not verified)
0 EXP -
August 20, 2008 - 19:13 #

there are no traits in this game. only perks. and they have no negatives.

according to bethesda, anything negative isnt FUN, and thats what its all about!

Jörg
5433 EXP -
August 20, 2008 - 22:45 #

You're right about the Perks. I'll check again tomorrow regarding the negatives. Thanks for pointing this out.

Starkiller
1470 EXP -
August 20, 2008 - 22:10 #

If anybody is interested, Bethesda announced today that the release date for Fallout3 will be October 31.
Remember, you read it here first.

bolle
2208 EXP -
August 22, 2008 - 23:22 #

Just to roll up this Australia story:
I just tried to find an australian online-shop where you could buy Fallout 3. Couldn't find one...

Leonard McCoy
2459 EXP -
August 24, 2008 - 14:59 #

Here, here, here, and here--only to take the best 4 Google results.

Starkiller
1470 EXP -
August 24, 2008 - 19:17 #

You skill "Googling" has increased by +1, now you can even find, what others don't want to be found. :-)

Leonard McCoy
2459 EXP -
August 24, 2008 - 19:24 #

The trick is to filter out Australian-only sites with <site:.au> (without <>).

Starkiller
1470 EXP -
August 24, 2008 - 19:34 #

Your Skill "Nerdism" has increased by +2, you can now assemble and disassemble a flux capacitor with closed eyes. Congratulations.

bolle
2208 EXP -
August 25, 2008 - 08:27 #

hmm hmm hmm

:)

Lion (not verified)
0 EXP -
September 1, 2008 - 22:47 #

Is there a filter for extreme language?

0 EXP -
October 27, 2008 - 16:55 #

How many of you guys have ever even played the first two? I didn't but I loved Oblivion and at this point will buy basically anything from that team.

Starkiller
1470 EXP -
October 27, 2008 - 17:04 #

Most of the Gamersglobal Staff have played these titles, can't speak for others users of course. But I'd say that a lot of gamers above the age of 25 should have played these games in the past.