IGN has posted their preview of Fallout 3. Here are some highlights:
The one radical departure Bethesda is making to the Fallout format is
that they're putting the game in a first person format. There are also
options for a Resident Evil-style shoulder camera, or a more
traditional isometric view. Even though those other two cameras are
included, Bethesda intends that the players should benefit from the
immersion provided by the first-person perspective.
I REALLY like that point. More:
From there your life plays out in a series of key moments in your
childhood. On your tenth birthday, for instance, your parents present
you with your very own Pip Boy, a device you wear on your forearm that
acts, among other things, as a radio, a radiation counter and an
in-game character sheet. As you make your way through the game, you'll
learn to rely heavily on the information your Pip Boy provides, so it's
nice to see it introduced as part of the story. Your birthday guest
list also includes a number of bullies who signal that life in the
Vault might not be as good as people are saying.
In case it sounds like Vault 101 is built solely around tutorials and
character creation, there are plenty of quests and meaningful
interactions to be found during the hour or so that you spend here.
Those very bullies who showed up at your tenth birthday eventually
develop into a gang of obnoxious greasers who delight in terrorizing
young girls and you'll be confronted with a decision about whether or
not to intervene.
Players who feel a bit challenged by the more intense real-time battles
or players who simply want to take a bit more control over combat can
make use of the impressive Vault-Tech Assisted Targeting System (VATS).
The feature is essentially a more detailed version of the combat system
in Knights of the Old Republic.
Using a pool of action points determined by your Agility, you'll queue
up fire actions to the targets you want to hit on your enemy. You can
even switch enemies to queue up a series of shots against different
members of a large group. Critical hits can result in cripplings,
knocking the gun out of someone's hands or even causing a head to
explode and send eyeballs rolling down the street. Some enemies even
have particularly vulnerable areas. Take out a giant ant's antenna, for
instance, and they'll go berserk and attack whoever happens to be
closest to them. While your overall skill levels determine how well you can use each
weapon in the game, the weapon's quality also plays an important role.
While you might be tempted to shoot a rifle out of an enemy's hands,
you also have to consider that doing so might damage the rifle's
usefulness to you once the battle is over.
On the Metro system:
You can choose to fight your way through each and every encounter you
have in the Metro but it's often more convenient to sneak by enemies or
use your other skills to take them down. The Metro Protectron pods, for
instance, are a great example of how you can use other skills to avoid
direct combat. The Protectrons were basically robots that served as
guides and ticket masters in the old Metro system. They also happen to
be well armed and mercilessly faithful to their programming. Though the
Metro has been shut down long ago, the Protectrons are still in their
pods waiting for the workday to start.
To get the Protectrons up and running, you'll need to hack into one of
their control terminals. Once you find one, you'll have to play a short
mini-game to gain access to it. The game displays a list of possible
passwords and you're given a certain number of tries to guess the
correct password before you're locked out of the system. Each time you
guess you'll be told how many letters of the password you selected
match the letters in the correct password. If you're smart and lucky,
you can narrow the field down with each guess until you arrive at the
right password. Once the Protectrons are functioning properly, they
head out to patrol the subway tunnels. Any mutants who don't happen to
have a transfer handy will...well, let's just say it's more than just a
There is still some auto-scaling of enemies:
On the subject of this incredibly dangerous Metro area, it's worth
mentioning that Fallout 3 does away with a lot of the auto-leveling
problems of Oblivion. Many areas have a distinct difficulty level that
doesn't change through the course of the game. Moreover, monsters of
the same type will be somewhat consistent in their abilities so we
won't see a return of the ridiculously powerful minor creatures that
eventually began to appear in Oblivion.
Now, there are some areas of the game that will be
scaled to present a challenge appropriate to your character's overall
level but, unlike Oblivion, once a difficultly level has been
established for an area, it will remain the same throughout the game.
So if you enter one of these scaled areas and find it too difficult,
you can come back after you've gained a few levels and have a better
chance of taking on the challenge.
On the Brotherhood of Steel faction:
The main Brotherhood group here is the Lyons' Pride Platoon, led by
Sentinel Lyons. They'll be patrolling the bombed out buildings, plazas
and alleys of downtown DC, taking out mutants wherever they find them.
The platoon members are equipped with powerful laser rifles and if you
stick with them long enough you're bound to be able to loot one of
these impressive weapons.
There's a live DJ on the radio!
You can also use the Pip Boy to listen to the radio. Bethesda has
licensed 20 songs from the 1940s that play throughout the course of the
game on one of the Pip Boy stations. Even better, there's a DJ on that
station who can fill you in on local events. Once you start having a
big impact on the world, you might even hear him referencing your own
...The Galaxy News Station helps to keep you up to date on the goings on
in the world. More significantly, you might even be able to use the Pip
Boy's radio to pick up isolated transmissions in the wasteland. Some
might lead you a new quest, others might alert you to the presence of a
nearby Slaver patrol.
Read the whole thing.