Fallout 3 (Sniper)
Genre: RPG
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Some of the game's areas, like Megaton and Little Lamplight are picture-esque in their clever design and symmetry. The rest of the world is as one would imagine a post-apocalyptic setting to be: a cluttered mess. For perhaps intangible reasons, traversing a destroyed Washington DC isn't as intriguing as one would imagine it to be before-hand, although objectively Bethesda did a fine job of utilizing the Gamebryo engine to actualize a compelling fictitious setting.

In the post-Daggerfall days, Bethesda has struggled to find good music composers and reasonable voice actors. With Fallout 3 they fell short again on the first count, recruiting Inon Zur to compose a dreadfully unremarkable soundtrack complete with excessive amounts of orchestra hits and random choruses of ridiculous-sounding chanting women. On the second count, and like Oblivion, this game would have been better off without any voice acting at all. As for sound effects, nearly all of them were either were recycled from the first two games or from Oblivion.

Fallout 3 feels more like an Oblivion "total conversion" than a new game. The control scheme, pacing, style, and mechanics are almost entirely taken from Oblivion. Like the first two Fallout titles, you are free to do as you please when you please, but this title is less constrained than those games, as the real-time combat helps you even the score even against enemies more powerful than yourself. The targeting system from the first two titles is replaced with an ingenious "VATS" mechanic, which adds a new dimension to the Elder Scrolls-esque combat.

With Fallout 3, Bethesda has successfully married the best features from both the traditional Fallout mechanics and the virtues of the recent Elder Scrolls titles. Unfortunately, like Oblivion, the game is a little narrative-heavy; this narrative, like most video-game exposition, is tolerable once but seldom a second time. Thus, I think Fallout 3 is more like Oblivion than Morrowind or the first two Fallout games, in that it is like delicious chocolate for one playthrough, but lacks robustness on some levels, robustness that marks out the best representations of the genre.

Sniper's verdict: