Fallout 3 Updated Impressions - Character Creation, Combat, and Canine Companions
More than 10 years ago, serious computer role-playing game fans fell in love with a postapocalyptic role-playing game called Fallout, a game that offered deep role playing, dark humor, and a memorable adventure that was worth replaying. More than 10 years later, an entirely different studio is now working on the next game in the series, trying to stay true to the original vision of the first Fallout game from 1997 while also including all the improvements and open-ended exploration of its last game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Yes, Bethesda Softworks is working on Fallout 3. Yes, your adventure will take place in the postapocalyptic wasteland (in this case, the ruins of Washington DC); yes, you'll still start your adventure as a dweller in a vault (a colony living in a radiation shelter left over from the nuclear war); and yes, we had an opportunity to take an updated look at the game.
The game is currently still in an alpha state of development--content is still being added and taken away. According to a Bethesda representative, the primary game is shaping up to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 hours of gameplay, though it will offer dozens of hours of other stuff to do for players who enjoy exploring side quests and other types of content. For instance, you'll find multiple outcomes available to different quests as you side with different factions, and you may also receive random quests as you pick up communiques on your PipBoy, such as distress calls or new missions to perform.
In any case, the developer is focusing on having a clean interface that isn't cluttered with an overwhelming amount of information--various menus, such as your inventory and your character's current health levels (you can sustain crippling injuries to various parts of your body that may affect your weapon skills or your ability to run), will be kept separate, rather than kept on one crowded screen. While the game will still handle dialogue with other characters with a multiple-choice dialogue screen of the kind you've seen in such games as Oblivion, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic, you'll receive most of your alerts, such as new quests, as brief text messages that fade away, similar to friends notifications on Xbox Live. The idea is to avoid having too many jarring messages that have to be individually clicked on and closed down to get back to the action.