Bethesda Game Studios
Fallout 3 is the first of the Fallout games to be created by Bethesda. Bethesda created the Elder Scrolls series. The game Fallout 3 most closely resembles is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Even though this game acts like a shooter, it is really just a RPG with guns, and everything you do relies mostly on numbers in your menu. The VATS system pauses combat and lets you choose a body part to aim at... which makes the combat even easier, because you do not have to look at the enemy to fight. So this game offers very little challenge when it comes to combat.
However, Fallout 3 does not go lite on the blood. You can severe limbs, blow up heads, and even shoot BB's at eyeballs. Then, you can pick up said eyeballs and other parts and toss them around. You can also toss around entire bodies, but you can't use these objects to affect gameplay. Therefore, it's all purely visual effects, and for the record, you can't disable the blood and gore features. Personally, I think it's awesome to see the eyeballs and arms lying all over the floor, but do I really have to see it all the time? I do not think such effects matter much.
The music is brilliant. The sound effects are spot-on. Everything about the audio is superb and very enjoyable. I find some character voices extremely irritating, but maybe that's just me. The radio stations give the game a sense of realism and urgency, however, I found most of the radio broadcasts are very short and could easily become repetitive if you played around. Thankfully, the radio stations could be turned off.
The story is pretty basic, and there is not much deviation allowed from the main quest, despite the free roaming aspect. There are not a lot of side quests, and most of the side quests involve fetching items. That said, one of the main quests requires going into a virtual reality which is based on old, black and white television show style stuff from the 60's or so. I found that very fun to see in a video game like this. I also find that the story plays out very well, and the characters look a little better than those found in Oblivion.
Finally, the modding community is pretty big, right now, and the tools to add and edit content are based on the Elder Scrolls Construction Set, so you don't even need the official DLC to get more out of the game. I highly recommend installing some of the unofficial patches from Fallout 3 Nexus so you can avoid some of the nasty bugs the developers refused to fix. I'm not sure what else you should install, because I really don't find Fallout 3 as fun as Oblivion. Oblivion has a lot more potential in my opinion. That does not affect the score of this game, mind you.
Overall, Fallout 3 is a decent game, and it was very interesting the first time I played it. It does not age well, however, and I think more highly of Bethesda's previous products, Morrowind and Oblivion. If you played those already and want something else like them, Fallout 3 is worth a try, but I highly recommend the console version, because while you won't have the unofficial DLC, the console version is most likely much more stable and less likely to crash. I gave Fallout 3 a 3/5 for having some great moments but not having nearly as much replay value as older Bethesda games.
If you like Fallout 3, you might want to try these other games:
Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.
PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!
A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.
Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.