The Few, The Proud, The Iridescent
The move of the game universe to the DC area, while the "remote" environs of the already desert regions of CA may have been the initial feel of the game, is generally a positive one. By the end of Fallout 2 we established just how heavy a hand Washington had in the events that unfolded in the first two games. Moving the game to DC itself seems only natural. While those familiar with the DC Metro area may feel the game was too realistic to the current world, rest assured that if you look hard enough, the developers actually did find a way to make DC look more devastated and impoverished than current reality. But, it is DC Metro after all, so it doesn't take much to give the game that eerie gloom of despair.
This is the first game in the Fallout franchise to be fully 3D. While many of us may somewhat miss the classic isometric viewpoint, there can be little argument that the 3D immersion into the world of Fallout makes the game far more personal, intense, frightening, and a bit more depressing than its predecessors.
For as much of the game that has stayed the same, quite a bit has changed. The environment, stories, characters, and the like all have thankfully remained true to form, and the additions to the game are more than welcome. The style of gameplay has changed quite a bit though. While it generally carries much of the same feeling out in the wastes and in missions, towns and interactive areas definitely inherited the feel and style of Oblivion. While many Fallout fans may find this to be a love it or hate it modification, I don't think it alters the game too much, and in many ways adds to it, especially for fans of Oblivion. Though it's been referred to as "Oblivion in Fallout Land", given the immense popularity of Oblivion, this seems to as strong a gameplay based decision as it is a business one.
Battles can occur in real time as well as in the new "V.A.T.S" system which is something of a hybrid between conventional turn-based fallout battles and the tactical implementation of Fallout Tactics, allowing you to target individual body parts to attempt to disarm opponents or incapacitate their abilities. This allows for classic fans as well as newcomers who are used to more modern games.
Like much of the feel of the game, quests are something of a Fallout/Oblivion hybrid. Some of the simpler quests of Oblivion that involve doing things between towns are replaced by more Fallout style quests involving expeditions into the wastes, ruined buildings, tunnels, and the like. The quests are generally a bit more free form, and dangerous than the high fantasy counterparts of Oblivion. Quests also tend to be a bit longer and cover more distance than the "nearby forest" type quests of Oblivion. This will be much to the delight of most Fallout 1 fans, though Fallout 2 fans may miss the slightly more structured feel of the quests. That's not to say there are no structured quests, but it's obvious the overall design of the game was meant to push you to roam the wastes in a more realistic manner. The world of the East coast in this part of the Fallout time line is far more like the West coast in Fallout 1, where bottle caps were traded and industry was not yet up and running. People are living on the raw leftovers reminiscent of Junktown more than the New California Republic's semi-civilized urbanized world of Fallout 2. Ahh, sweet nostalgia.
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