Tuesday, January 20, 2009

O my soul

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.


Gary A. Lucero said...

Mitch, I always feel depressed post great game or book. Always. I spent about 65 hours playing Fallout 3 to completion and I can't say I did everything, although I did reach the level cap and racked up 570 achievement points. I'm playing it through again as evil and although I have encountered more side quests (both good and evil) I can say I feel like there's more to do when you are good or neutral.

I do think these open world games are problematic in that even though you can replay them over and over again and find new content, it's hard to divorce yourself from the main plot and just forget that you already know what's going on. I loved Oblivion and I love Fallout 3 but it's really going to take the DLC to reinvigorate the game.

Joril said...

I didn't really have any problems with the ending. It's an ending. And the focus of the game is in all the little stories you find all around the wasteland. And I enjoy these dungeon sized stories more then I do the main plotline.

I'm on my second, evil, playthrough and I'm still having a ball playing Fallout3, even with it's many flaws.
I feel more confident in building my character, in combat, in strategizing, etc.
It's become more of a game-game, in a good way.
In the way how you know just how to situate yourself.
And the fact I'm playing evil now, as opposed to good the first time around, I'm discovering parts of the game I hadn't seen before. Like being a slaver for Paradise Falls.
And also, building a radically different character changes the game enough as to remain a fairly "new" gameplay experience.
The only sad thing is. I only have 3 achievements thus far.
I've been playing on PC without signing into Games for Windows Live. Oh well, it's not that bad I guess.
I'm looking forward to the DLC.

Anonymous said...

I put over 100 hours into my first playthrough, as a goody two-shoes diplo-sniper.

After a break to play a few other things, I intend to go back and try it again as sociopathic brawler.

I expect it to be a very different experience.

Nels Anderson said...

Fallout 3 is the first game I've ever made a point of getting all the achievements. And I did, only to see a Games For Windows Live update had add four more for the unreleased DLC ...

Still, no game has been able to do that to me before. I'm not sure when another will again. In terms of being able to say, "Explore me" Fallout 3 beats any game I've played it ages.

Gary A. Lucero said...

I tried to get all of the achievements in Mass Effect and Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution -- I didn't succeed in either case. I enjoy trying to get them but when I find myself forcing the game play too much to get there, I just back off.

Anonymous said...

Sis youget the Eplorer (or was it Traveler?) perk at level 20? Before getting that I underestimated how many places there were in the game.

Anonymous said...

Is this a blog post on Fallout 3 with a Big Star reference as the title? Yeah, I'm bookmarking this site.

And though I think I'm going to approach the end of my game sooner than later -- albeit after a second attempt at a character build that didn't waste a perk on the hilariously useless 'Lawbringer' -- it's a bit hard for me to be all that low down about it when there's the possibility of both closure and a completely different new playthrough based on a completely different character persona.

Anonymous said...

I only wish there was a better indicator of, 'Hey, this is the last mission, you may want to go back and play the other dozen side quests first'. I finished the last stretch because I got wrapped up in it, then looked at the achievement list and realized I'd missed about a third of the game. That was a little disappointing.

I'd really like to play some other games but still have this nagging urge to go back to the Wasteland. Maybe I'll start fresh once the DLC hits, if the consensus is that it rules.