Thursday, 28 January 2010

Fallout for Half-Life

For those who care about such things, I just wanted to register that Fallout 3 is truly magnificent. As the name hints, it's a post-apocalyptic romp around the ruins of Washington D.C. It plays as a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Half-Life 2, with a strong (but not overbearing) dose of RPG (and RPGs, of course). Its chief attractions are its enormous play area, the detail that's been put into every wrecked corner of this, and its strong storytelling. The latter just has a mind-boggling amount of characters, plot strands and background detail.

That said, it's got me thinking that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 has got a lot to do if it wants to trump this sort of title. Sure, HL2 is superior in some respects (most notably combat and AI), but the gulf in both scale and depth that Fallout 3 has opened up is going to take some beating. And the canalised gameplay mechanic of HL2, which practically holds your hand from one end of the game to the other, is going to feel pretty contrived compared to this. I'm already wildly off-piste with Fallout 3, at least in terms of my central goal, but I've had an incredible journey so far [*]. And there's not the slightest sign of it ending any time soon.

Could Valve have finally met their match for my heart?

[*] In that sad, gameplaying way, of course.

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