Columns, Opinion

Mapping Around Mediocrity Classic Review – Immersion and emptiness in “Fallout 3”

Open world games are extremely popular in modern gaming. This genre allows players to become absorbed into the world through a higher degree of freedom. One of the best companies doing this today is Bethesda Game Studios. Bethesda is most known for pushing the envelope for open world games and has seen continuous critical acclaim. Their latest title, “Fallout 76,” has seen mixed reactions, but there’s no denying the greatness of “Fallout 3.” 

“Fallout 3” has been lauded for bringing an older two-dimensional franchise’s game design to a 3-D world, such as adding a twist to the classic V.A.T.S. aiming system. Along with that, “Fallout 3” has two elements that truly shine: lengthy playthroughs and continuous replayability. These come from its role-playing systems and its visual storytelling. These make Fallout 3 provide not only an entertaining experience, but also one of the most immersive open world games to exist.

The structure of the game encourages both lengthy playthroughs and replayability. As one explores the sprawling wasteland, they can develop their skills to talk to individuals and unlock new dialogue options. Although the RPG systems do lock players into general archetypes, dialogue choices provide diversity and distinction in character. 

These aspects truly shine in the quest “Wastelands Survival Guide,” where the protagonist is sent to various locations to gather information about the world. As they learn about each location and the enemies that hold each territory, their developed skills are also put to the test, such as sneaking past enemies or persuading politicians. When the player returns, various dialogue options open up, such as sarcastic responses, that can make your character even more distinct or even affect the quest’s outcome.

The aspect that shines even more than the diverse gameplay is the vibrant world. The sprawling wasteland continues to captivate as one plays through the game. The emptiness of the wasteland, accompanied by the somber and subtle music, immerses the player through feelings of isolation. 

Skeletons hold signs protesting a war long ended. Lone robots attempt to carry out jobs for masters who have abandoned them. Bethesda’s storytelling shines when not a single word is spoken, and players have the opportunity to unravel the story themselves and gain an understanding of the past. These moments tell the player that this is not just a game, but instead an entirely new world that has a well developed history, full of societal conflict and war. Exploring the world becomes its own side quest as new locations reveal information of what once was and what currently is—pulling the player in and allowing them to live a new life as another survivor.

Fallout 3 has become a staple in the series for its role playing opportunities and its somber world. To delve into Fallout 3 is to delve into a world long dead, but one that can be revived. Each playthrough allows players to experiment with their character development to see how the world reacts to them. Although it’s not a perfect game, Bethesda played to its strengths and built a world that encourages exploration. And even if it’s an older game, many of the role-playing aspects still hold up today. If you are looking for an immersive and freeing game, then “Fallout 3” is an experience you absolutely must have.

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