This is gonna be a very long post so don’t say you weren’t warned.
TL;DR – I played the game a lot and it made me feel good, let me know how the game makes you feel good I guess.
So over the last month or so I’ve clocked a little over 60 hours on Fallout 3. I’m not really sure what made me start this play-through and I didn’t expect to get so invested in this character but after 11 years of having this game I can finally say I’ve done it all ( I think ).
Like many people in this subreddit, Fallout 3 has a special place in my heart. Booting it up and hearing the intro music feels like visiting an old friend. Songs and the radio and unique encounters bring back the memories of staying up till 3am playing the game or sitting in class searching through the wiki for what quest or item I’ll chase after next time I get the chance to play.
There’s something that can’t be put into words when it comes to Fallout 3. Despite its aged mechanics and glitchy tendencies, there’s still something that pulls you in and makes you want to just search through one more ruin or do one more quest before logging off and you’ll end up playing for 2 more hours after that. After collecting all Bobbleheads, books, unique, completing all marked and unmarked quests, I still feel like playing as I’m typing this.
So what did I learn/realize after this “ultimate” play-through? A lot more than I’ll be able to put into words but I’ll try my best. Here’s how it went.
Character: I’ve done a 100 in a all skills play-through before and if you’ve tried that before you’ll realize it’s ridiculously easy and with the skill book system it’s very easy to have 100 in every skill at level 26 and end up with extra books lying around collecting dust. My build was heavy in AGL and LCK with a decent buff to INT to get me those sweet skill points and I was throwing crits around left and right. Once I got Lincoln’s repeater I was unstoppable. With the Almost Perfect perk and high INT my character ended with S:9 P:9 E:9 C:9 I:10 A:10 L:10. Now if I waited till after I got this perk to get the bobbleheads for the first four attributes I very well could’ve had 10 in every one but of course I rushed around and got them all before level 20.
Weapons: Right now my character has The Metal Blaster, Paulsons Revolver, and Lincoln’s Repeater. I’ve collected all the non-ultimatum unique weapons I possibly could. Things like The Ant’s Sting and Lindens Power Armor we’re lost due to my characters choices in quests and I have no regrets.
Armor: Wanderers Leather Armor and Lug-Nuts Shades. That’s it. I felt like it was fitting for the Lone Wanderer to wear the WLA and with 100 in all stats I didn’t really need to wear any stat boosting armor and I like having relatively low weight equipment so I can carry ridiculous amounts and random shit because why not. With two sets of T-51b and other great pieces of armor chilling in my Megaton House collecting dust, the Leather Armor just feels like the right amount of DT and just looks so cool.
Misc Items: I saved every unique misc item I came across. Whether it’s all five extra sheet musics, keycards, a chunk of my brain in a jar… you get the idea. I have a lot of shit and if you really wanna know I’ll be more than happy to comment a list but I’ll spare you the details on that for now.
Companions: With good karma (how original, right?) I had the option between Cross, Fawkes, Charon, Dogmeat, and RL-3. Dogmeat has been by my side since level 3 and Charon since level 5. I never really felt the need to switch it up because Charon is such a heavy hitter and also doesn’t spam the chat 24/7. Dogmeat was a god since I have broken steel installed and with the tribal power armor I gave him, Charon was almost as tanky, with the exception of the Reavers in Franklin Metro Utility smacking him down five times in a row until I finally made it through with him alive. Even though he hates the look of every place he’s in, I feel like he’s the best choice if you don’t want to put up with the yellow giant blocking your doorways… and dogmeats a good boy.
Quests: I did all marked quests except for evil ones like Strictly Business (Me, Eugene, and my T-51b armor wiped all the slavers off the map) The writing of Fallout 3 still holds up to this day. The Keller transcripts always stand out to me. Hearing Candice scream about the mushroom clouds in the sky gives me chills every time. Quests are just genuinely fun and each one is different from the last. Of course there’s still the “go here, do this” but the locations the visit make it worthwhile. Agatha’s Song, Stealing Independence, Republic of Dave.. I could go on and on. I don’t think I did a quest that I didn’t enjoy.
Locations/Environment: Easily the strongest aspect of Fallout 3 in my opinion. Whether it’s disturbing baby skeletons or a scientist blowing himself up in the back of an 18-wheeler. I had so much fun discovering every location (yes even Vault 87 at the expense of 50 radaway). The metro system seems overwhelming at first but I genuinely think the game wouldn’t be the same if D.C. was an open and seamless experience like some people think it should be. I wouldn’t change a thing. The environmental storytelling makes the wasteland feel alive even when you’re surrounded by dead bodies. Each location gave me an idea of what it used to like be before the war and I found myself daydreaming and feeling nostalgic about how things used to be in the pre war days even though the closest thing you see to that in Tranquility Lane. I remember reading a theory online somewhere on how the game was originally supposed to take place only a few decades after the war and it really shows. The earth still feels freshly charred and people are struggling. Either way, this game never fails to impress me with its locations and environment.
Character/writing: While we all know the awkward feeling when it comes to Bethesda games and their tendency to reuse voice actors, it didn’t seem to bother me in Fallout 3 like it did in Skyrim. Of course every Enclave soldier sounds like Nick Valentine but my immersion was never broken because of it. Dialogue options never left me feeling like I had more I wanted to say, I enjoyed telling people to fuck off and equally enjoyed being overly polite to Ms. Agatha. Holotapes seems to be where the voice actors put most of their energy in. Whether it’s the previously mentioned Keller Tapes or Jaime’s Dunwich recordings. Holy shit Jaime’s final tape genuinely frightens me. There are so many I want to mention but this post is a novel already.
After the 60 hours and countless searches on the wiki I feel like I’ve put something inside of me to rest. Maybe it’s just the yearly craving of making a new character or maybe it’s the feeling of knowing I went everywhere and saw everything and now I know that I’m not missing out on anything. Let me know what your favorite things about this game are and if you recently discovered anything new on a new play through! Thanks for reading!
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