“For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.” – ROTK
It’s bittersweet, now that I’ve come to the end of the main quest line in Fallout 3. Since my character’s creation he’s grown from a puny Wastelander getting his ass handed to him by Mole Rats to a brawny soldier, slaying Deathclaws left and right.
It’s the journey that any RPG character takes, but few games make the process this fun and in depth. That being said, Fallout 3 suffers from a gaping flaw that wasn’t present in Bethesda’s last open worlder, Oblivion, but was shared in an equally brilliant game, Mass Effect.
That’s right, at the end of it all, when you finish your father’s work purifying the water so the land can flourish again, the game is just over, and there’s no going forward from there. Now, normally this would be fine, for any normal FPS, but this isn’t any normal FPS, it’s an RPG. In Oblivion you watched your partner turn in to a giant dragon to defeat the evil Lord What’s-his-name, and afterwards the city was kind of shot to hell, but you were still free to roam about the countryside.
Not so in Fallout. The last autosave will literally trap you inside the final room, forced to make two or three different choices which will determine your end cutscene, which is not even a cutscene, but a series of still photos chronicling the choices you made along the way. And once the credits roll, and you hit “continue” you’re back in that same room, and the doors are locked behind you.
Don’t you do it, don’t you go in there!
So the only way to be able to finish the game is to revert to an old save, ignore the main quest and start exploring the countryside. And that’s where the game gets fun again. I’m not sure how many hours of gameplay are still ahead of me, and how many side quests I still have yet to do, but I’ll be damned if I’m ever going back in that room.
There are a million more places to explore, pieces of equipment to find and people to kill. I may never have found that damn dog (yet somehow he was even in the #%^#ing end cutscene), but I do have a rather hilarious supermutant named Fawkes who has become my BFF, following me around the wilderness with a gatling laser in tow.
Fallout is a superb game and easily one of the best of the year. A few minor flaws prevent it from achieving perfection, which is frustrating considering how easily they could have been fixed. Though this will by my last journal entry, I’m sure there will be dozens of more hours of gameplay ahead. And in an industry when most games last around 10 hours or so, that makes the ugly wastelands of Fallout 3 a sight for sore eyes.
“DOGMEAT!!! WHERE ARE YOU!?!”