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Video Game Reviews for Normal People

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Why Fallout 3 should consult its Grandfather, Wasteland.

With Fallout 3 on the horizon, People seem to be tossing around everyone new favorite buzzword, “Sandbox game.” Trailers on the web make the prospect of this title having the freedom it promises it fans seem hopeful, but there’s been a lot of disappointment had as of late by gamers who believed everything that trailers and interviews told them. My hope is that Fallout 3’s developers remember the roots of the Fallout series and take some advice from its now twenty-year-old grandfather, the classic 1988 title, Wasteland.

While Wasteland.’s turned based combat and limited graphics are more than primitive by today’s standards, its game play had elements of the “Sandbox” type environment long before anyone knew what that would come to mean. Wasteland did its best to limit the amount of linear restrictions that the storyline would enforce on the player.

Wasteland., much like its children Fallout 1 and 2, was very much about the players’ decision making process. Every situation had several ways to navigate though, and the way the day would end depended on the type of people the player wanted his characters to be. Whose side they should take in the power struggle for Las Vegas? Should they trade the Bloodstaff to the strange cultist or just kill them all and take their key to sewers. Maybe, the gamer even wants to get revenge on those young kids who are laughing at his characters for falling on the slippery rocks in the river. Let’s slaughter their whole settlement, or maybe we’ll just walk away. One of the most infamous sequences involved the party locating an old howitzer and with some exploring you can find shells to fire haphazardly into the downtown shopping strip with cruelly hilarious results. There was a great deal of freedom for a game of that time.

img]http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/2/26908-104119-Fallzombiejpg-468x.jpg[/img]Fallout 3's trailer already has players thinking about whether or not they will be agreeing to detonate a town that lives around a dormant atom bomb. It seems Fallout 3 promises a similar type freedom is in all their media about the game, and the developers seem most intent on the idea that gamers will enjoy spending hours in the wasteland, playing around with the combat system, enjoying the environment in ways that has nothing to do with furthering the storyline. Perhaps, they will.

The bottom line is this. Wasteland. is a game I still play from time to time. It may not feature the visual stimulation of buckets of splatter being torn from a mutant’s body by well placed machine guy spray, but it’s hyperbolic combat prose, brilliant story line, and dozens of different ways to play the game has kept me coming back to that “childhood sandbox” of my youth for twenty years. Will I say the same about Fallout 3 in 2028? I know I am psyched for October to find out.
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About Christopher J Oatisone of us since 12:50 PM on 08.20.2008

I am a staff writer for USAPROGMUSIC.COM, WWW.NOROOOMINHELL.COM and a freelance writer of all kinds of fiction. My most recent published work won GAMECOCK Media's MUSHROOM MEN Contest. I am currently earning my Masters in Writing and putting together my first Novel as a Thesis.

I am an old school Gamer at heart, and most of my work measures the new against the old as I feel some of today's games have sold their hearts for the price of innovation.
Xbox LIVE:WaggishChris
Mii code:nickbrutal


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