The second half of Media Consumes Me's history of the Fallout series is now available, this time covering Interplay's cancelled Fallout 3, Bethesda's Fallout 3 and its add-ons, and what's next for the franchise going forward.
Using the same engine as TES: Oblivion brought Fallout 3 most of the same good and bad points that Oblivion had. The interface was greatly updated from previous Fallout games, to give us everything in a seamless PipBoy transition, but suffers from console disease brought on from Oblivion's simplistic inventory and map. TES 3: Morrowind had a very intricate interface for PC, and felt like an advanced RPG, but when Bethesda updated it to Oblivion and the console, a lot went the way of the dodo. As far as the action goes, Bethesda tried to appeal to Fallout fans by incorporating the V.A.T.S. targeting system. Entering into this mode targets a nearby enemy, and using your action points let's you choose which body part will be the focus of your attack. Adding in this option helps the game play, as much of the action in Fallout is clumsy, but once you have used V.A.T.S. around a few hundred times throughout the game, and your character has become god-like, watching the gory slow motion deaths get's a little tedious. Thanks, NMA.
What Bethesda did right is give the player a giant map to explore like in their previous TES series, and create a story of his/her own. Being able to just explore a game without any purpose other then that of discovery is something that I longed to do in my childhood before many sandbox style games were introduced. Sometimes I wish they would even forgo a main quest line for a more open ended experience. During your adventures, the PipBoy interface also gives you limited radio stations to tune into, giving you a break from well produced wind sounds and event timed soundtrack. You could also stumble upon radio transmissions useful in finding locations or quests.