Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apocalyptic Personality

Note: This is the third post in a series this week themed around Fallout 3. This time I move away from my experiences with the game and focus on some of the game's personality.

I haven't played the previous Fallout games unfortunately so because of this, I don't know whether what I am about to talk about is also in those games or not. After enjoying the third installment so much though I aim to find out by playing the games in the near future. I'm interested in what they are like to play, as well as seeing the differences between them and Bethesda Studios' installment. What am I about to talk about then? The personality that Fallout 3 has and how I think it makes the game more engaging as a result.

It wasn't too long into the game before I started to see this personality and the more I saw it, the more I realised that it makes Fallout 3's experience unique and unlike anything seen in a game before it. Before you say anything, I am aware that the size of the game meant that Bethesda had to re-use certain things and therefore the game doesn't take full advantage of its personality potential, but even with this in mind the game still stands out to me as being unique and because of that, the game is much stronger for it.

I have always enjoyed games that have their own personality, with titles like BioShock (you saw that one coming didn't you?), Okami and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker engaging me on a deeper level than most of the games I play. The reasons why these games are more compelling to me vary, of course, with their narratives or settings being just some of the reasons. Another reason I enjoy these games so much is because of their art direction. I mean, it's no coincidence that the games I just mentioned also have very unique art directions that add to their experience and immerse the player into their respective stories, worlds or characters is it?

Fallout 3's art direction is bleak and grim. The post-apocalyptic setting dictates that, yet despite the vast brown land and the grey concrete of collapsed buildings, the game's personality still emanates from the many corners of the game and I think the art direction helps that along. Whether that comes from the various posters pasted over the walls of the Metro Stations or from how Rivet City was formed out of an old ship, it all combines to provide a unique setting and personality that can only be found in Fallout 3. Another thing that adds to this personality is the various quests you receive along your travels, from Oasis to the Republic Of Dave - all of them again give the game personality and makes the game better because of it.

Enough with the small examples though, my simple point and the one anyone who has played the game will understand is that Fallout 3 is different to most games and the reason for that is because it has a personality that can't be found anywhere else. You won't find Evergreen Mills, Tenpenny Tower or Paradise Falls in any other game but you will find them in Fallout 3. The Wastelands suggest that there is nothing left out there in the wilderness anymore, but if you explore it anyway what you will find will make you smile. When you consider that games are meant to be fun, how can you go wrong with a smile?

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