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PAX 2008: A Second Look At Fallout 3

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My very first appointment at PAX was to see Bethesda's Fallout 3. I had already seen it at E3 with Tiny, but at that time we were only allowed a half hour which was barely enough time to really get our bearings. As awesome as that brief look was, I was dying for a second look.

Entering the expo floor, it wasn't hard to find the Fallout 3 booth with its neon sign and arrow pointing the way. Once I arrived I was thrilled to see that the Bethesda folks went all out in decorating their booth. A giant 50's Airstream camper on a lawn of Astro-turf surrounded by a picket fence. One side was clean and shiny, featuring a nuclear family of 50's mannequins sporting nifty vault suits while the other side had nuclear blasted mannequins covered with dirt and ash. It was quite effective and upon further inquiry, I discovered that the booth was put together by the special effects team that worked on The Hills Have Eyes remake. In my personal opinion, Bethesda won the prize for the best decorated both in all of PAX. Accompanying the booth were also some extremely well crafted promotional materials. Fallout 3, as they say, has the whole package.

Once I got started on the game, the hour slipped by quickly. Accompanied in front of the screen by the dashing Qais, we made our way out of the vault and started traversing our way across the ruined landscape towards the town of Megaton in an attempt to find our father. I delved a little into the storyline, but the fine Bethesda folks requested that i not talk about it so I will comply with their wishes.

On our way to Megaton, we stopped in a few abandoned buildings to test out or enemy blasting abilities. We only had one weapon, but it was quite effective against the nuclear created monstrosities that seemed to be lurking around every corner. Where the game really shine is the V.A.T.S targeting system. A quick press of the right trigger freezes the action and allows you to target certain body parts. Once your targeting points have been spent, a press of the A button will start a slow motion scene as your bullets rip through the enemy's body causing limbs and other body parts (depending on where you targeted) to go flying. It was especially satisfying when the enemy was right on top of you, about to strike and you could send its head exploding in three different directions.

My second look at Fallout 3 was invigorating and definitely strengthened my resolve to clear out my gaming calendar before the game comes out. Much like my experience with Oblivion, I can tell I will be completely sucked into the world of Fallout 3 and hopefully you will too.

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