Chris Avellone has answered another fan question over at the Obsidian forums. This one deals with his thoughts on aspects of Fallout 3:
[Question from] Alex Nistor:
Concerning Fallout 3 , I really was curious to hear your more in-depth opinion about it.
So you said you had a similiar opinion on it to Sawyer, but what was missing from that, in my opinion, was a breakdown of your pro's and Con's for Fallout 3.
Considering Bethesda made it in a similiar style to Oblivion, I just wanted to know specifically, how was the transition?
And like I said in the above comment, what did you like and not like.
:: Floodgates open ::
It's a testament to the game that for every thing that initially bothered me, there was a solution or a tool to counterbalance it. For example, I was exploring Hubris Comics, dropped my Power Fist so I could haul some extra loot, then came back and couldn't find it on the floor. Pissed. And then I remembered Dogmeat has the dialogue option to go "fetch" existing weapons in the environment and bring them back - so I asked him to go hunt down the Power Fist for me, and he found it in 5 seconds. Awesome. The game had enough options and tools at my disposal to insure I was having fun no matter what the challenges, so I can't ask for much more.
So here's the list:
The negatives: Dogmeat's breathing if you don't adjust the sound sliders. The tiny model house in Minefield not containing anything special. Anyone armed with a flamer can kick my melee-specialized ass, and thus, can kiss my ass. It was confusing to find one's way around Megaton, although it had beautiful set pieces and I got used to it. I played with a 4 ST character and regretted it, but it made me appreciate the ST boost from alcohol more (1st time I've ever considered alcohol a viable drug in any game system, ever) and also made me appreciate Buffouts. I suck at the Science minigame, which is a horrible confession for an English major. Thought Hubris Comics should have had more Grognak issues, although I really liked the fan mail and the text adventure game in there. Didn't like not being able to kill Amata or Andy the Robot at the outset because I hated them both. I didn't like that the first potential companion was a bad karma companion and expensive, but then the twin goals of being an **** and scrounging up a thousand caps became bait and a challenge in trying to get him - when I got Jericho, I felt like I'd earned him as a companion. I think Repair became too valuable as a skill, but it's better than the special case it was in Fallout 1 and 2, so I'd rather that than it remain a broken skill (like Doctor in F2). Maybe because I'm approaching it from the development end, I didn't care, but I think the level cap turned a number of people off, as did not being able to play after and continue the game until Broken Steel came out. Some of the locations I think broke the 4th wall (Dunwich, which I actually enjoyed playing, just not the premise).
So that said...
Likes: Opening immersion and re-introducing you into the Fallout world. Fallout 1 and 2 had consistently broken or special case skills that were rectified in F3 (for example, Repair - and Doctor vs. First Aid in Fallout 2 became broken without a time limit, so Medicine was clearly an improvement). Fast Travel. Felt my skills mattered in general. The kitchen bell XP sound. I love radiation more in F3, it makes me pay close attention to the environment, I loved the Grognak text adventure game, I loved the Gutsy and Robobrain combat barkstrings, I liked the usage of the radio and the reactivity to the player's actions - that seemed an elegant way of reinforcing your actions in the world as well as introducing a bad guy you couldn't immediately shoot in the face, I liked a lot of the moments in the game, including suddenly being surrounded by the creepy Andale residents after entering the basement in town, I never thought a neighborhood filled with land mines would be a good adventure locale and I ate my words, loved the juxtaposition of real world mundane locations and their change into dungeons (Campgrounds, Springvale School, Super Duper Mart). Liked tracking down radio transmission signals for rewards. This is the first game I've ever played where I was excited to see barricades.* Nerd Rage surprised me as a Perk - chose it by default at one level only so I could drop grenades on myself to increase my carrying capacity and found it surprisingly useful at saving my ass when I walked into an ambush. The Pitt DLC, especially the opening vista crossing the bridge, is incredible. Liked the lockpick minigame. The Arlington Cemetery actually hit me pretty hard, and as a location it really drove home the futility of war to me - just seeing all those graves with Washington DC stretching out behind it made me feel really bad. Loved firing my combat shotgun into a bus with 5 ghouls trapped on the Dupont Circle freeway below and watching the whole screen erupt in fire. Consistently being rewarded for exploring the environment - there was always at least three things to see on the horizon that you wanted to go check out. I didn't think I would like Liberty Prime, but the Iron Giant aspect worked for me and made me do a 180. I liked the Brotherhood camping out at the Pentagon. The sign inside the portable bomb shelters made me smile. I liked the Time Bandits aspects of Mothership Zeta. Seeing Dogmeat on fire, and being so tough that he didn't even care that he was on fire. Liked playing as a Psycho-using alcoholic and murdering caravan folks for things I didn't even need. Thought beer was valuable as a ST enhancer to carry loot. Liked the Well-Rested Perk. Shiskebab rocks - tap and burn.
* Yes, barricades. I have never had anything but hate for barricades until this game. They block my progress. **** barricades. But in F3, they are filled with the equivalent of RPG candy - containers are usually embedded in the wreckage, which was a great way to turn something hated into a gaming loot opportunity.
Thanks to Nye for the heads up!