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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Fallout 3 - Comments from Desslock

Default Fallout 3 - Comments from Desslock

July 10th, 2007, 00:50
Desslock (PC Gamer et al) has kicked up a lengthy post on the Quarter to Three forums about Fallout 3, covering some useful impressions. Here's the first big post but look for other stuff throughout the thread:
I actually think people will be very happily surprised with the writing, and the characters, in Fallout 3, compared to Oblivion's NPCs. The dialogue options are meaningful and different, not just a list of items that NPC can speak about, organized in a list where the only real choice is the order in which you hear the items. There's only a few hundred NPCs (down from 1500 or so in Oblivion, and 2500 in Morrowind), so they're much more fleshed out and unique — it also helps that there's 30-40 different voice actors instead of just a handful in Oblivion. At least from what we've been shown, that stuff feels much more like Fallout 1/2 than Oblivion.

You also won't be a jack of all trades, as in Oblivion - you have to make real choices that matter, and which dynamically change the fortunes of other characters. Aside from enhancing replayability, since you obviously won't be able to do competing objectives, those choices deepen the roleplaying. To elaborate more on the "Megaton bomb quest" — when you arrive at that town, you can greet and be friendly with the sheriff. When you get the quest to potentially blow up the bomb, you can instead inform the sheriff that these dudes are trying to blow up the town. Or you can decide to blow up the town, but actually be unable to because you lack the mechanical skills to activate the bomb. Or you could just decide to blow the sheriff away when you meet him, in which case you'll likely be attacked by his buddies when walking through the town. Or you could, after blowing him away, decide to put on his sheriff's uniform, in which case some NPCs may attack you for killing the sheriff, but others may actually defer to you as the new sheriff. In short - meaningful options and real choices, and interesting characters to interact with - in that respect, I think Bethesda is appropriately emulating some of Fallout's best and most distinctive features.

I also wouldn't read anything negative into not being able to kill kids - it's still definitely an M-rated game - there's graphic violence, swearing, and "adult" topics like slavery, etc. — some other stuff that Bethesda isn't revealing yet, involving mutation, and one tracked stat was "corpses eaten", which makes me suspect there'll be something similar to the Vampire-path in Oblivion/Morrowind, where you can get into doing some nasty stuff. It doesn't feel sanitized. I also like the changes to the level-scaling, the use of SPECIAL and level-based character development as opposed to the use-based skill system of the Elder Scrolls games.

Other general impressions — while calling it "Oblivion with guns" is an oversimplication given some of the differences I've described above (and without also getting into the combat differences, etc.), I also think it's a superficially apt description because it definitely looks like Oblivion, not like Fallout, because of the perspective. Sure, they've doled out the carrot of being able to view the game from an isometric perspective, but I'm skeptical that it'll be in any way practical to do so. But the graphics look great - far better than I think they come across in still screenshots.

Areas of uncertainty - the VATS system looks really cool, and is visually spectacular, but I think we need to see more of the combat to judge how it feels in practice. I really like the VATS system, but I'm not sold on combat in general - there's also a few pieces we haven't seen at all, like melee combat (which is definitely an important part of the game). Also, everything in the demo occurred in relatively congested areas as well, with lots of rubble around blocking views, etc. - I'd like to get a better sense for how large the world feels, and looks, by seeing more expansive vistas, etc. (obviously one of the real strengths of Oblivion).

Other stuff I really like - the implementation of the PIP boy, and the ability to pick off radio broadcasts as you're wandering the wasteland. The use of robots like Mr. Handy from the Fallout 1 cinematic - the nuke effects — and the overall atmosphere: the perspective gives you a better sense that you're exploring a place that's been blown apart and is messed up (suitably "postapocalyptic") as opposed to a flat, top-down view. It's actually kind of creepy — it's one thing to see a giant castle in the background while playing Oblivion, and think that's a cool, realistic view — it's another to be walking around and then to look up at Washington D.C. buildings that have been fucked up, since we have a vested attachment to that setting.
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July 10th, 2007, 00:50
One thing bothers me and tells me this guy doesn't know a lot about fallout. He refers to Mr. Handy as the robot "from Fallout 1 cinematic" when he actually appeared in BOTH games… -_- I mean, there's no need to say who Mr. Handy is, it appears in both games so everyone knows him.
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July 10th, 2007, 02:49
This is coming from a guy who thinks Oblivion is a great RPG.
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July 10th, 2007, 03:15
Originally Posted by pantheon View Post
This is coming from a guy who thinks Oblivion is a great RPG.
And he's right.
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July 10th, 2007, 03:21
While you may not always agree with him, Desslock was, in many ways, a pioneer in CRPG journalism and his old news website was once the only regular source of RPG news back before the Vault and the Dot.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 10th, 2007, 03:22
I've always liked Desslock.
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July 10th, 2007, 05:23
Good God, people saying Desslock doesn't know about RPGs. The anti-Fallout 3 people are getting really desperate now.
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July 10th, 2007, 06:20
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Good God, people saying Desslock doesn't know about RPGs. The anti-Fallout 3 people are getting really desperate now.
LOL Comedy GOLD!
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July 10th, 2007, 06:23
Was Desslock privy to seeing more on the Fallout 3 engine that the other Game Press were? His details of the Megaton Bomb quests options show alot more details than other people reported?
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July 10th, 2007, 06:59
apparently so.

Or maybe he's just more thorough in his reporting, he is one of the good guys in my opinion.

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July 10th, 2007, 07:43
If desslock says it shows promise i am happy. I think he knows what to look for, except just the graphic, and he sets it into context. More so than other more graphical inclined journalists.

But then again i think oblivion is a great game so i should probably shoot myself.
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July 10th, 2007, 08:10
Desslock was THE person to check with on RPG news back in the day. He had a blog before the term was even invented. The man could have put Dhruin to shame.

He covered things like the Ultima Online fine lawsuit and pushing NWN to use the d20 license when Interplay was balking over BG2 royalties. He wrote articles almost on a daily basis until finally someone thought he should get paid.

Where as Fallout 3 the game itself is looking better I'm really concerned about this M rating as I am extremely doubtful for any option for a filter that the first 2 had.

This game looks more and more like Vampire or Call of Cthulhu as a "want to but won't buy".

PS - One day Desslock just disappeared back in 2002. This guy never went a day without writing an article and he seemed to be gone for a month.

Out of the blue he reappears. He shocked Bethsoft and the entire community by writing a complete walkthrough, and I mean complete, for Morrowind around 6 months after its release.
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July 10th, 2007, 08:16
The bits about dialogue and quests are promising, especially because he CONTRASTS them with Oblivion instead of, like other journalists, comparing them favourably with it.
It won't ever be a true sequel with the changes they made I guess (it will just feel too different), but if they get this right, it may be a decent spin-off or relaunch of RPGaming in the Fallout universe, and certainly more than Oblivion with Guns.
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July 10th, 2007, 08:20
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
Where as Fallout 3 the game itself is looking better I'm really concerned about this M rating as I am extremely doubtful for any option for a filter that the first 2 had.
There was a quote somewhere by the devs joking they would have a violence slider like the old Fallouts, but taped fast at the max setting. So if violence turns you off, you are indeed probably out of luck. Unless Bethsoft gets nervous about the ESRB at some point.
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July 10th, 2007, 09:13
In RL, Desslock is a Lawyer and it was legal commitments which kept him too busy to write gaming articles for a period of time!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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July 10th, 2007, 10:16
Desslock was the one that got me interested in reporting about CRPGs. I checked his articles and news daily when I built the website on Zoom for a game a couple of friends and me were working on back in 1999. Because we made little to no progress with the game (we stopped building it after a first technical demo), I decided to add daily RPG newsbits on that site. That's how blinkingdot.com (later RPGDot and now, without my participation, RPGWatch) came into being, and Desslock had a lot to do with it :-)

BTW, patheon, thinking that Oblivion is a great RPG isn't a mental defect, but an opinion and a matter of personal likings and preferences. If you are into sandbox games, Oblivion is a very nice one. If you prefer a tight story and "playing a book", you might not like it. And beleive me, there are people who like both styles - I am one of them :-)
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July 10th, 2007, 11:31
Desslock is the CRPG equivalent of Harry Knowles. The fact that he attacks anyone who dares speak about a Bethesda game in less than glowing terms shows what a sycophant he is.
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July 10th, 2007, 12:38
Knowing about RPGS and having good taste in rpgs is two different matters. One is based on experience and fact, the other on opinion. And, since Bethesda spent so lavishly to have the journalists be flown in and wooed, no one can say this guy is above flattery.

Also, if he loved Oblivion, it would be impossible for him not to like this game I think.

BTW, patheon, thinking that Oblivion is a great RPG isn't a mental defect, but an opinion and a matter of personal likings and preferences. If you are into sandbox games, Oblivion is a very nice one. If you prefer a tight story and "playing a book", you might not like it. And beleive me, there are people who like both styles - I am one of them :-)
I don't think the devide is as simple as that. I love sandbox games, but I didn't buy Oblivion because, from what I hear, there is no challenge, very few meaningful or non-superficial options, etc. Basically, the only thing I'd like about it was the sandbox. I don't like action games, I don't like twitch, I don't like hordes of easy monsters, and don't like superficial choices or meaningless charcter generation or development. It has nothing to do with story, or playing a book, but the actual gameplay provided. I liked Daggerfall for one main reason, the custom character creation is amazing. That is a big enough driver to make me want to play the game and see how my different builds play out. To this day I've put about equal hours into making characters and playing the actual game.
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July 10th, 2007, 14:18
Desslock also loves Gothic 3, and acknowledges all of the stuff we all criticize about Oblivion while still thinking it was an amazing effort (how different is that opinion from most of ours, really?). He is a solid thinker and very reasonable to deal with - and argue with, based on some good-natured sparring he and I have done in the past.

As for Fallout 3, I know he had been inside BethSoft a while back, and has been granted what looks like 'true insider' status with respect to the game. I am greatly encouraged by what I have read!

— Mike
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July 10th, 2007, 15:28
I'll agree with all the good mentioned about Desslock in the above posts. Another great thing about the guy, is that he is very approachable. If you email him or ask him a direct question in a forum, he's going to answer you. It may take him a few days because of his "real life" concerns, but he's always responded to me the handful of times I've contacted him. The time that Desslock disappeared was during a job change. I'm not sure of all the details but I know he was traveling constantly for quite a while. He might have gotten married during this time too, I can't remember. My brain is old
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