Alas, tragedy has struck.
Within the hearts of all couch gamers alike, there is but one singular fear.
The expiry of one’s beloved console.
The Xbox was given the now mythical red ring of death. Gameboys around the world would just die in their loved ones’ hands. I’ll admit, I have no idea what computers sound like in their final moments, but I assume it’s fairly catastrophic and scarring.
For myself, my beloved PS4 has finally moved onto pastures new; the ‘white light‘ shone true and clear, and now I’m left having to make conversation with my wife while I wait for its return from the PS4 Techno-Gods.
Don’t lament for me, for I should have seen it coming; with the hundreds – no – thousands of hours I’ve slaved into some truly spectacular titles in the few short years we’ve been together. The weekend long binges of Netflix and even the assortment of reality T.V shows I’ve had to endure.
I’d like to remember this console in the same fashion as its titular productions that I’ve found myself enamoured by. The focus today being Fallout 3. If you’ve been involved in social media in any way shape or form for the past month you’ll have probably seen a birthday post to/from Bethesda congratulating F3 for its ninth birthday!
I bought F3 on a recommendation from a friend at work when I was 18, I slapped the disc in and began the behemoth updating task, if I remember rightly I put a solid 10 minutes into the game and switched off. In hindsight, I wasn’t ready. During those 10 minutes I’d barely completed the tutorial phase and I’d managed to make up my mind that this was not the game for me. At this time however I must stress my gaming collection had regressed to the point where if I wasn’t tea-bagging someone on Halo, or rage quitting from a 360 no-scope-map-bending COD induced seizure, I wasn’t interested.
Bethesda, I’m sorry.
Once I’d restarted the game a week or so later and plugged an entire evening into the wastelands I was beyond hooked. Being chased by Giant Albino Rad-scorpions became a recurring nightmare. If I wasn’t working or trying to save my disintegrating social life I was jacked into the medley that literally millions of us have been part of thereafter.
What made this game so good? A simple list won’t do this title any justice, but I’m going to try anyway!
1 – The visual world. The first thing that had me clucking for more like a desperate mad chicken was F3’s aesthetics. Fallout’s environment was so perfectly broken and dystopian. Twisted cannibalistic raiders, the devastating effects on wildlife and the recognisable landmarks. They were used to a frighteningly realistic level. My first saunter into the DC ruins saw my avatar die repeatedly as I spent more time gawking than shooting at the Super Mutants.
2 – Side quests. If you play like me, you probably squeeze in every single auxiliary quest line available. Bethesda did not disappoint in this endeavour. At one stage I’d fallen so far from my main objective that I’d forgotten I was meant to be finding my long lost Father! The amount of quest lines is impressive and commendable, and the intricate details sewn into those individual lines is pure genius.
3 – Character development. The ability to sculpt and affect how your character was purveyed by NPC’s. On my first run through I chose the life of a lovable gambit. I’d help when I felt in good spirits, but just as easily burn the town to the ground should I ever decide to play God for the worse, which would often playfully descended into the realms of outright genocide. Megaton’s destruction couldn’t even be considered a blip compared to some of the in-game atrocities I committed during my visit to the Wastelands. My subsequent runs were all varied and each had its own merit.
4 – Weapons. Hands-down the greatest variety I’ve ever come across in a game. Don’t fancy the standard guns, knives and bats? Well here’s a fully-automatic stake rifle or an electrified samurai sword. Lest we forget the junk jet! Find that after hours of grinding you’ve collected a substantial amount of tin cans, teddy bears and baseball gloves but you’ve run out of conventional ammunition? Never fear! Just load up that junk and fire away! That’s recycling, kids. It’s good for everybody.
5 – The sheer theoretical attention to detail. I’m not talking about this on a technical level, but stressing more on the immense similarities between our worlds, and how just one simple invention took the World a different way and created another perfectly plausible universe. What makes it so entertaining (as well as frightening) is how close we have come to embarking on the tragic journey the befell the inhabitants of this world. I have and will continue to plough hours into the Fallout franchise, because whenever I sit down with it, my real world gets put entirely on hold.
So thank you Bethesda, and all the associated developers, writers and concept artists involved in this beautiful title. You’ve created a masterpiece that I’ll remember long after my second, third and probably forth console.
Look forward to more gushing praises of the Fallout world in/around their respective birthdays!