The Wastelands of Fallout 3 scare me.
Yes, it scares me. Not in the Resident Evil sense of the word nor even the Silent Hill definition, no, the reality of Fallout scares me and I honestly would not have it any other way.
The sense of peril, intensity and desperation for survival in the game is quite simply something I have not experienced in any other and I literally hesitate at times while traversing The Wastelands, wondering just what will I happen upon next throughout my travels. BioShock and a few other recent games have immersed me to the point where the games have felt real while playing, but Fallout 3 does it in a different way and arguably has more of a lasting effect as a result. Due to the way some of the game's side-quests can pan out, even walking into an abandoned shack can provide an unexpected experience. Allow me to explain.
After walking and exploring The Wastelands for around an hour, with the sun setting and my health relatively low after fighting some of the not so lovely inhabitants of the place, I found the aforementioned shack and figured that it would be wise to use it to sleep, recover health and have a break from all that walking and fighting for my survival. The next day I go to leave to continue my adventures only to find waiting outside for me three hitmen, waiting to kill me. From feeling safe to once again fighting for my life as soon as I stepped outside the door, the Fallout experience certainly keeps you on your toes and quickly teaches you to expect the unexpected.
I have had similar experiences where due to a lack of health items and ammo, I have had to be very cautious because if I wasn't, then I would most certainly find myself becoming just another hapless victim of The Wastelands. The place is tough, for sure and it is not just because you can find yourself in a situation with a lack of ammo or worse, health. Just seeing The Wastelands for yourself shows you how tough of a place it is, with a story to be found almost anywhere. A burnt down house could have a bath tub with a skeleton in it, suggesting what someone was doing before the events that changed the land; a playground in the middle of a remote town or suburb could have a whole bunch of active mines surrounding it making it dangerous to go near. It doesn't matter what examples I provide here, there are hundreds of stories to be potentially alluded to and found if you look for them and that alone really adds to the immersion and overall experience of the game.
If you can't tell already, I absolutely love Fallout 3 and I have barely scratched the surface. I'm around 25 hours in and have only done something like six quests. Most people seem to have it finished in 15 hours but most people don't play their games like I do. While they are happy to take advantage of options like fast traveling, I am happy to explore every inch of a subway system to make sure I don't miss a thing. Were I not doing this I would probably be a lot further than I am, but were I not doing this I wouldn't be having such a wonderful experience and fully taking in what Bethesda Studios have created here with the game.
As I said before, The Wastelands scare me and no doubt the fight for my survival will continue to keep me on edge in the future but you know what? I'm willing to face any fears I may have if it means finding Rivet City, helping Galaxy News Radio or anything else that can and will happen later on in the game. Life in Fallout 3 is hard, just like real life and damn it, I love it.