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    360 Gamer Hands-On Preview

    Gaming magazine 360 Gamer had some hands-on time with Fallout 3. Stubs provides us with some tidbits from the preview.
    Much of the scenery is pretty grim. Destroyed petrol stations are one thing, but the half-remains of children's swings and play parks are a nasty reminder of the post-nuclear setting. It's all so... depressing;depressing and brown. At one point we saw the remains of fellow human beings, strung up by chains in an abandoned house. After shamefully discovering there were seemingly no physics applied to our surroundings and the hanging human remains would not swing when pushed.
    (...)
    First things first; the FPS combat in Fallout 3 isn't its strong point. Our character felt rigid in his movement, and aiming accurately on the fly proved incredibly difficult in first- and third-person. This isn't Halo 3 after all, and it's not trying to be. VATS is the future here, and if you're going to get anywhere in combat you're going to have to get used to it's time-freezing, menu-producing ways. Luckily it's quick and simple enough to get the hang of. A quick press of the right shoulder button and we'd frozen time. [they sum the bit about VATS up with - Stubs] Satisfying? Yes. Repetivive ? Absolutely.
    (...)
    Gazing round room, spying the twenty-odd 360's all running the same game, for the same amount of time, from the same point, it was clear none of us were having the same experience. One guy was underground, battling through a hospital or school of some sort, armed only with a knife and taking down rabid survivors one-by-one like some sort of urban Rambo. Another had wandered straight through the city gates of Megaton, greeted the sheriff with a swift shotgun shell to the face, and made off with his hat and badge - just because he liked the look of them. We even saw one dude drinking from a toilet, to replenish his vitals. All of a sudden we were never even going to get close. We'd walked fore literally miles and miles - we'd even swum a lake!. We'd battled countless fire ants [shooting off their antenna to disorientate the buggers] and helped a small child find his way home - all the time spying our main pointy attraction [the Washington Monument - Stubs] comfortably off in the distance. A smaller world it may be, but a smaller game it is not. We even cheated. We ducked around the patrolling PR reps and spent more time with the game than anyone else on the day, desperately trying to reach our goal. And yet we 'still' failed.
    Saying Fallout 3 is massive is a cop-out, it's all encompassing.Character customization, weapon choice, special skills, routes and destinations all feel endless and that's before you even think about any missions, side-quests or the overall narrative. We didn't have enough time this issue, and we won't have enough time next issue.
    (...)
    Fallout 3 continues to blow us away with its sheer scale and opportunity. Sure it's a little brown and depressing to look at, and perhaps less 'console-y' than we've become accustomed to , but there's more to see and do here than we ever imagined... and we always imagined there would be loads.
    The good, the bad and the ugly.
    We liked: Incredible draw distance, Variety in play, Extreme dismemberment.
    We disliked: Fiddly aiming in first-person, Depressing to look at, no world physics.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Considering how they were all 'going their own way, and doing their own thing', how is it that they *all* ended up just doing things we've heard about so far?

    One hit the school, another went to Megaton, another found that boy who needs help, etc etc.


    What are the chances none of them would stumble upon something new that people would actually like to hear about.


    You can only hear about Simms getting a face full of buckshot so many times.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Re: 360 Gamer Hands-On Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    First things first; the FPS combat in Fallout 3 isn't its strong point. Our character felt rigid in his movement, and aiming accurately on the fly proved incredibly difficult in first- and third-person. This isn't Halo 3 after all, and it's not trying to be. VATS is the future here, and if you're going to get anywhere in combat you're going to have to get used to it's time-freezing, menu-producing ways. Luckily it's quick and simple enough to get the hang of. A quick press of the right shoulder button and we'd frozen time. [they sum the bit about VATS up with - Stubs] Satisfying? Yes. Repetivive ? Absolutely.
    So not only is there going to be a lot of combat, but the non-VATS mode is pretty bad. So it sounds like the best tactic is to fire, wait for VATS to recharge and then go again. In other words, combat sounds like a complete failure. Not only is it broken, but repetitive, frustrating (non-VATS) and boring. Sounds like a winner to me.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Re: 360 Gamer Hands-On Preview

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt K
    Quote Originally Posted by Brother None
    First things first; the FPS combat in Fallout 3 isn't its strong point. Our character felt rigid in his movement, and aiming accurately on the fly proved incredibly difficult in first- and third-person. This isn't Halo 3 after all, and it's not trying to be. VATS is the future here, and if you're going to get anywhere in combat you're going to have to get used to it's time-freezing, menu-producing ways. Luckily it's quick and simple enough to get the hang of. A quick press of the right shoulder button and we'd frozen time. [they sum the bit about VATS up with - Stubs] Satisfying? Yes. Repetivive ? Absolutely.
    So not only is there going to be a lot of combat, but the non-VATS mode is pretty bad. So it sounds like the best tactic is to fire, wait for VATS to recharge and then go again. In other words, combat sounds like a complete failure. Not only is it broken, but repetitive, frustrating (non-VATS) and boring. Sounds like a winner to me.
    Didn't they supposedly study FPS games so that it would feel right?

    Wow, another part of the product that comes out sub-standard, even when they have references.

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    On a thought, it could be that they felt the combat was that way because they are so used to the FPS shooter hit what you aim at style, that the inaccuracy added in due to low skill levels threw them. Or at least that's how I read his comments on the difficulty of firing on the fly.
    Beware my Fumbles.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    I knew it! Bethasoft can't make first person SHOOTERS,so now they are going with that bastard VATS system,and to think these people are talking about innovation and immersion,they cant move from a fucking TES Arena
    Is man one of God's blunders? Or is God one of man's blunders?
    Nietzsche

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    I should set a custom title Venerable Relic of the Wastes

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    Considering how they were all 'going their own way, and doing their own thing', how is it that they *all* ended up just doing things we've heard about so far?
    They probably had limited time with the game, and we've probably heard of all the things places close enough to Vault 101 to reach in that time already.

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    From most of the videos I've seen, the real-time combat didn't seem that bad for an RPG hybrid. (I still won't believe it's an FPS) People seemed to be hitting their targets, and I think the inaccuracy comment was also correct. It doesn't seem like the demo sets you off with a mega character. Of course it isn't going to be Halo or Killzone even if they got some inspiration from it, and VATS still looks like fun to me.

    On location: (Ausir just posted some of this but I already wrote it!) I am sure the point about everyone doing something different was the fact they were all...doing something different, although it's the same things people have heard about. It's also most likely because Beth keeps starting everyone in that same spot and limiting the time, so people are 'cleaning out' that entire area of info. Just like these guys said; they tried really hard to get to the monument, but couldn't. Plus...with so many reports of people going on random slaughter everyone rampages when they get their hands-on, I'm sure we're missing something. Part of this over interest in the combat/gore, etc. is coming from gamers.

    I thought it was kind of funny, about the monument, like the Beth people are the secret service, placing the monument so far away and making sure no one can get to it. "This is off limits, sir. Please drop the controller."

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    A right proper chap. Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!
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    Weird, I don't get why they skimped on the physics this time around. That was one of the big marketable aspects of Oblivion (that, the purty lighting and the a.i that walks into walls).
    Creating swings from corpses is fun.

    The combat appears finicky but that may be a good thing, firing a gun and hitting something is harder than people think and we have no clear knowledge on how the skills help towards gunplay.
    The tech videos of the dev team playing show they can hit targets fairly easily without VATs so maybe the reviewer just had a really low gun skill.
    ''You have the right to remain inconspicuous."

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    I should set a custom title Mildly Dipped

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    I have no doubt that the PC realtime combat will be much much better than the console one, and if it is similar to Deus Ex, it will be great..

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    I should set a custom title First time out of the vault

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alphadrop
    Weird, I don't get why they skimped on the physics this time around. That was one of the big marketable aspects of Oblivion (that, the purty lighting and the a.i that walks into walls).
    Creating swings from corpses is fun.

    The combat appears finicky but that may be a good thing, firing a gun and hitting something is harder than people think and we have no clear knowledge on how the skills help towards gunplay.
    The tech videos of the dev team playing show they can hit targets fairly easily without VATs so maybe the reviewer just had a really low gun skill.
    I also hope that difficulty in fighting represents a low gun skill. That's actually pretty cool. The better you become at the gun skill, the better you can actually gun fight. Makes sense to me. Again it could just as well be a sign of a broken system...but only time will truly tell.

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outbreak
    Of course it isn't going to be Halo or Killzone even if they got some inspiration from it, and VATS still looks like fun to me.
    The point is that Killzone and Halo are it's competitors for combat and if it's not as good as them in that area then that area is lacking. Also it sounded like they didn't enjoy that part of the game and if the choice for combat is a choice between bad FPS combat or long, slow, repetitive VATS then that's not good, it means that a whole piece of your game is/becomes unsatisfying.

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
    ~Thomas Hardy

    "Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
    ~David T. Wolf

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    @UncannyGarlic: This is kind of a general response, but just because I have also been involved fairly heavily on GTAForums, I see similarities between Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV that pertain to what you're talking about: As disappointing as it may be, I don't think we are at a stage (yet) where the combat in either of those games will be as good as Killzone 2 or, like in GTA, a side element like Racing be as good as Need for Speed. You may just as well be right, that they SHOULD be that good when dealing with a game that is supposed to cover all bases and cover them well. But...as far as nonlinear games currently go, I have yet to see one do something as good or better as a major game DEDICATED to that specific element, such as FPS. Size, scope and time restraints being a big part of it. Hopefully that will come down the road, but right now, this whole 'freedom to do anything' gaming is still pretty new and limited to only a few companies. (talking about modern 3D game only like Fable) Despite any faults, I DO have to praise Bethesda for at least trying.

    GTA got close when it came to some pretty neat combat elements and physics, but again, Killzone 2 (sorry, that's a favorite of mine) will come out and raise the bar really high once more when the nonlinear guys have not even caught up. Graphics will also take a hit due to the shear size of the worlds in nonlinear games as opposed to 'levels'. The goal, IMO, is to just try and make it fun for what it is. Now if Fallout 3 fails in that regard, well, I have no excuse, since although GTA IV had it's disappointments, it was still a very well done game. You just have to be able to take what you have and make it work well. My favorite example is the old Flashback game. While graphics were getting better and better, Flashback just had simple graphics but bred it's own style, and animated the hell out of everything making it awesome. Just like Out of This World. That's the way to do it. Aim to be the best, but be original in your execution if you can't quite get there. The first two Fallouts, Planescape and even Tactics are also good examples of that.

    So...I think what you're saying is the ideal, but we're not quite there yet. Close though. Just my opinion.

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    Lowly new user First time out of the vault

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    I bet they would find it incredibly frustrating to pick up and AK47 in counter strike, holding down the shooting button and discovering they couldn't hit anything.

    Just because Halo atm is what they consider to be an fps doesn't mean you can't do something else in other games. It's hopefully how it was in stalker, incredibly frustrating until that role you played figured out which part of a rifle he was supposed to aim at those bad guys.

    though i hope they do it more like in bloodlines, where low firearms skill mainly affected recoil, it also affected accuracy but when you didn't move and crouched you would usually be able to hit what you where aiming at. unlike in stalker where it only affected accuracy and thus promoted spray n' pray

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    I remember reading/hearing one of these guys (Todd or someone) say that it would affect some of the accuracy, but more so the damage you effect due complaints of not being able to hit anything. In other words: Low gun skill = minor accuracy hit & low damage count.

    High gun skill = "BB gun does 10,000 damage! Mole Rat head crippled!"

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    GTA3 (the last GTA I've played) had fun driving (personally I'm not a fan of emulating real-life for a lot of things, this is one of them) and satisfying combat. Now the driving is comparable to racing games but the combat is in a much smaller pool of games (not many games do shooting combat like it does), is fairly hands off, and fits the game well. Fallout 3 has combat that is very common, is extremely hands on, and doesn't meet the bar for that type of combat. Does it have to be the next big thing for FPSs? No but it does need to be at least as good as games from a few years ago and, from all indications, it's not. Keep in mind that combat is what many people hated most in Bloodlines and that combat wasn't good in either of Bethesda's recent FPP games.

    You suggest that because it does so many things it's unreasonable to expect it to be good at them. I think that's absurd, I think it's quite fair to expect a game to be good at everything it does but I think that many games that try to do too much or combine gameplay which is extremely dissimilar tend to suffer for it. It's more than fair to compare the combat to other FPSs, the RPG mechanics to other RPGs, the dialogue to other dialogue heavy games, the choices and consequences to other games with that, the voice acting to other voice acting, the graphics to other games, the music, the sound, the controls, the userfriendliness, the menus, ect.. That's part of how you determine how good a game is and it's certainly how you breakdown it's elements and rate them. Saying that you can't judge it's combat comparatively is like saying that you can't judge it's dialogue comparatively.

    Editing and planning are both extremely important, if you don't think that you can pull something off to a level appropriate to your game (in this case, aa) then you shouldn't do it and if you have something which ends up sucking then you should cut it out (minigames for example). Beth has said that they don't like to spend much time on the concept phase of projects (planning) and we know from past games that they are very poor at editing out subpar to bad content.

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    @UncannyGarlic: Well, no...I'm not saying that a nonlinear game should not aim to be as good as dedicated competitors, they should; I'm just saying, basically, that trying to do, in theory, several different things in the span of one dedicated thing and expecting it to be as good isn't right. But...your expectation of Fallout 3's combat being within a range of a couple of years isn't unreasonable at all. That's where I said if they fail to even do that, there is no excuse. Just like GTA IV...they just introduced this Rage/Euphoria physics engine that's becoming popular now, along with a nice combat/cover system. So...they are trying very hard to gain ground. I agree then, if Fallout 3's system is not even close, then that is a failure. I think you're right that Bethesda's combat has not looked very good at all in the past, so it may just as well be bad here, though it didn't look THAT bad IMO.

    My only beef is for those that expect a nonlinear game to look and play JUST as smooth in every element as an intensely dedicated game like Killzone 2 will be, and in the same span of time. But, again, as you said, expecting the FPS to be as good as that seen in the last couple years or so isn't unreasonable. You're right too; 'sucking' isn't acceptable. Even if GTA IV had the ability to play pool in it, not as good as a true pool game, it was still fun.

    BTW, I don't put music, voices and stuff like that into these categories except for maybe that you need so much more for a nonlinear game. I was speaking more so on the heavy gaming elements only such as the combat. Polish elements should always be up to par.

    EDIT: I did want to say I really don't like Bethesda's way of working either. That whole "just do it and see what happens" mentality is kind of silly. That's OK for small projects or certain elements that you have a lot of time to go over later, but not something like this, IMHO.

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outbreak
    My only beef is for those that expect a nonlinear game to look and play JUST as smooth in every element as an intensely dedicated game like Killzone 2 will be, and in the same span of time. But, again, as you said, expecting the FPS to be as good as that seen in the last couple years or so isn't unreasonable. You're right too; 'sucking' isn't acceptable. Even if GTA IV had the ability to play pool in it, not as good as a true pool game, it was still fun.
    I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation (a game, not every game), I just don't think that it's going to happen. Average gameplay is not Killzone 2 and that's what I'm saying Fallout 3 needs to achieve at a minimum but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't try to be as good as Killzone 2.

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
    ~Thomas Hardy

    "Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
    ~David T. Wolf

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    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Cool. I think we agree then.

    Just for fun, if you haven't already, you might take a look at some of the physics of GTA IV on YouTube. It was so enjoyable, I am finding it hard to see any other previous engine the same. It would have been pretty awesome in F3. I believe Star Wars: Force Unleashed is also using the same physics, along with Killzone 2. Fallout 3 still looks like old Ragdoll stuff. That's OK, but now I'm spoiled.

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    I should set a custom title Look, Ma! Two Heads!

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    Comparing games I've played, Bioshock had nothing the physics of Half-Life 2, but it didn't make it any less of a game. And it was more combat oriented than I expect FO3 will be.

    Going way back, the FO combat system is weak compared to the JA2 system, but it still served the purpose. It just wasn't the perfect model of TB combat.

    All that said, if the fighting sucks, well, that would suck.

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