Minor spoilers in the form of oblique references to the final sequence of Fallout 3.
I finished Fallout 3 this weekend. This should be cause for celebration, but instead I feel sad. I wasn't playing the game for a review. I wasn't trying to zip through it or affix a score to it. Most of the time, I wasn't even trying to do anything at all. I just wanted to explore the Capital Wasteland.
And now I'm done.
This isn't one of those complaints that you can't keep playing once you've finished the storyline. I knew that was coming, and I pressed ahead with it anyway. There was little left to do, really, particularly once I'd reached the level cap. Sure, there were plenty of locations left to discover, plenty of books to read, and even 17 more bobbleheads to hunt for. But at some point, you have to have some goal motivating you to keep playing, and all I had left was the main quest line.
In 48 hours of gameplay, I tallied 750 achievement points (which should have been 770). This is a personal record, just beating the 730 I got in BioShock.*
Every sidequest. 100 locations discovered. 50 locks picked. 50 terminals hacked. 10 bobbleheads found. 5 Super Mutant Behemoths killed. 300 creatures killed. 300 people killed.
I didn't have to do most of these. In most games, these sorts of tertiary goals strike me as padding. Not here. Almost of all these achievements came as a result of trying to put the post-nuclear world back together again. With the exception of the Behemoths, they all came over the course of my travels. Eventually, though, I ran out of people to help.
So I pressed on and beat the game. The climax was pretty neat, particularly the march with Liberty Prime. And while I share others' confusion about the very last bit of the game (why couldn't Fawkes go in there, again?), overall it was a satisfactory way to end things. I wouldn't have felt that way if I'd rushed through the main quest line -- if there was much left to do. But there was nothing else for me out there in the wasteland. There was only one way to finish my adventure.
*I can feel a post about achievement points coming on.