Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fallout 3 (more impressions)

The first batch of DLC for Fallout 3 was announced last week, and it all seems far above the level of "ordinary." Here's an excerpt that sounds particularly intriguing:
In Operation: Anchorage the player will find themselves able to re-live the famous liberation of Anchorage from Fallout lore -- inside a simulation similar to one found along the main quest of Fallout 3. Once the player finds their way into the simulation, they'll be stripped of their resources and have to survive within the rules set up by the simulation's creators.

That's a big, meaty idea for DLC, and I can't wait to play it. Now, though, let's talk about what I miss.

I'm 31 hours into the game, still having only vaguely ventured into the main plot (although I am past Rivet City now). Playing side missions and using the world as a post-apocalyptic sandbox is a wonderful way to play the game. There are a few things, though, that would've made it even better, and the more I play, the more I feel their absence.
1. A dynamic weather system
My favorite moment in Morrowind (and one of my favorite moments ever in gaming) was the first time I was enveloped in a dust storm. I could see approaching, then I could hear it, and it was an epic, unforgettable moment.

I expected savage dust storms in Fallout 3, because it would seem like the perfect environment, but I haven't seen even one. No rain or wind, either. A dynamic weather system, with enemies adjusting their behavior based on the conditions, would have been fantastic.

2. Rare drops
I'm one of the people who enjoys all the scavenging in this game. It's a wasteland, after all--I expect to have to search through everything I find. What I don't like, though, is that there don't seem to be any rare drops. I'd like to find rare weapon augmentations, like a new scope for my sniper rifle or a more efficient fuel for my flamethrower. There should be rare ammo, too. I just want to have the expectation that the next drop might be something incredibly rare. Instead, I just seem to find the same items over and over again.

3. Epic opponents
Here's something else I miss in the sandbox environment--epic opponents. It's 300 years after a nuclear apocalypse, after all--I would hope to occasionally see something so staggering and incomprehensible that it would just blow my mind. Maybe it would be everything but impossible to defeat these rare opponents, but it would be a blast to try.

4. Greater enemy variety
It's possible that I will see a greater variety of enemies as I progress further through the plot, but I wish that the further away I explored, the greater variety I would find, and that isn't happening.

None of these are game breakers, not even remotely, but in combination, they have reduced the amount of time I've spent with the game in the last week. To be fair, though, none of the games I tried in the meantime were anywhere near as interesting, and to spend 30 hours and barely progress in the main plot is a testament to just how engrossing the game has been.

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