I think that Ollie would like the videogame Fallout 3. I like it. After owning it for four years but never playing it, I finally gave it a go a couple of months back. I have since racked up an amount of hours that I am frankly too embarrassed to publish here. Writing about the upcoming Fallout 4 has me even more enthusiastic about the post-apocalyptic RPG series, so here’s why it’s great:
It’s one of those games that is gigantic enough to nail the kind of epic storyline that Ollie loves, but to also include left-field, odd ball humour that Ollie should like more of. This isn’t simply a matter of comedy though, it’s the idiosyncrasies and character that this humour adds. Much like the brilliant dialogue of KotOR’s HK droids, humour breaks up the epic storyline so that it can be built up again, it gives another dimension to the world, and it makes everything more realistic. Yes, if there was a nuclear war there may be terrifying death claws chasing after you, but there’s also room for a hidden oasis whose people worship an apparently sentient tree who wants to be euthanised. In open world RPGs, so many disparate tones can exist without clashing, it’s a unique and under appreciated art form.
Ollie would like the fact that Liam Neeson plays your father.
Ollie introduced me to the multi-linear narratives of the Mass Effect and KotOR series. Fallout 3 is like them, but with the sandbox style of GTA. There’s a famous quest at the start of Fallout 3, where someone offers you a big reward to detonate a nuclear bomb and destroy the town built around it, killing all its inhabitants. I wasn’t yet fully aware of the sandbox nature of the game, so rather than telling him I wasn’t interested, partly on instinct and partly just to see what would happen, I shot that man right in the face. After a very short fight, I took his coat from his dead body and left the bar, feeling like Han Solo. I didn’t look back from that point onwards. What’s not to like?
There’s a great original soundtrack. Ollie’s all over that kind of thing. The same goes for the iconic Fallout series opening and closing line: “War, war never changes.” Its tone almost reminds me of the title sequence to the game ‘Empire Earth’ that Ollie has been obsessed with for about ten years now.
The aesthetic is also a big part of Fallout 3‘s charm. Although it’s hundreds of years in the future, America’s been nuked back to the 50s. The retro cartoon mascot Vault Boy and all the accompanying cheery blitz spirit he brings with him contrasts wonderfully with the desecrated remnants of Washington DC.
Fallout 3 has post-apocalyptic panache. Play it. Now.