Best of 2015: Failing To Fallout

First Published: Oct 15, 2015
Voted For By: Tim, Lorna
Reason(s) For Vote:
“As far as New Vegas is concerned, this is something I can completely relate to, for I was in exactly the same irradiated boat as Chris and actually planned to write is similar article about my experience.  Having rushed (if you can call 80+ hours rushed) through Fallout 3 in time for Fallout: New Vegas, it took half a decade and the official announcement of Fallout 4 before I finally inserted the disc into my 360.  Let’s hope I get round to playing Fallout 4 by the time Bethesda announce Fallout 5, eh.  And here’s to the article I never wrote.” – Tim

“I clicked with this piece because it echoes many of my own gaming experiences. There are games that I love but have never yet finished still sitting on my shelves and I also feel that pressure. It asks an interesting question about when you can officially consider that you have played enough of a game for it to be thought of as completed – and that’s a great question, without a definite answer.” ~ Lorna

failingtofallout1I spent the first two weeks of June in Bodrum, Turkey. While sunning myself and eating as much Halva as I could handle, Bethesda decided to drop the Fallout 4 bomb, releasing a trailer and some basic details. With data charges starting at six pound per megabyte (fuck off) I braved the unsecured, free hotel WiFi to get a glimpse of the reveal. I was certainly impressed. Fallout 4 has been a long time coming and, despite never playing the first two games in the Fallout series, I joined the legions of Fallout fans when Fallout 3 landed in 2008. I spent plenty of time with Fallout 3 but, despite over a hundred hours, I’ve never finished it, and now I’m in a tight spot. I’m in a tight spot because not only do I now need to finish Fallout 3 before four comes out, but I’ve got to do New Vegas too. Okay, so I don’t have to do it but the chances of me going back and doing New Vegas after Fallout 4 are pretty slim. Furthermore, I’ve had so many bites of the cherry that I almost feel compelled to put the final nail in this coffin so I can stick it in the ground nearly eight years later.

It started off innocently enough, back in 2008, purchasing my copy for the Xbox 360 a couple of days after release with my good friend Fitz. We were both taken in by all the previews and preamble, knowing nothing about the universe and lore but loving everything that the new game of the ‘next generation’ promised. I started the game that day and I’m still playing it today and, despite my best efforts, things haven’t gone to plan. You’d think over the last seven years I would have evolved into a grizzly hardened wasteland veteran, understanding every inch of the map, knowing the best combination for every enemy and completing every quest.

No … Not quite.


Everything started off well enough. Fitz and I had both rushed out to purchase our Xbox 360 copies – we are both PC Gamers at heart but our local Morrisons had Fallout 3 stocked only in the Xbox 360 flavour and so, one evening, eager for a new fix, we began to play. I think what struck us both from the off was the sheer choice at hand. Fitz had gone home so we could both play at the same time and communicate via our amazingly slow internet connections. As we both emerged from Vault 101, the sunlight piercing our eyes and cascading over our sensitive Vault Dweller skin, our options were endless.

Not only were our options endless but the scene laid before us was as exciting as it was terrifying. The world had turned to shit (so much brown), everything was a shell; a hollow, perverted, interpretation of what the world once was. Nuclear war had frozen time, the mistakes of the past had made the present unlivable, the future unlikely and now we had that landscape as our playground. I was like a kid in a very dangerous candy store – I’m a sucker for role playing games, especially anything apocalyptic in an alternate reality. We chatted excitedly about our findings, our feelings and what we were seeing. With the world at our fingertips, we did what everyone does and marched straight to Megaton.

failingtofallout3Some months later and many, many gameplay hours later, and I was hooked. Completely engrossed in the Capital Wasteland, I took to devoting all my free time to exploring its secrets and myths. Internet forums and Wikis were searched, devoured and then used as a basis for more exploration. I never cheated or spoiled anything for myself – it was all reactionary to things going on around me as I delved deeper into the game. Everything was going smoothly until disaster struck – the ominous level cap. Through all my research and reading, certain elements had escaped me and these mainly revolved around what perks to choose and how quickly to gain experience points. Before I knew it I had hit level twenty and didn’t have a whole lot to show for it. I’d maxed out a couple of statistics but that was it – unless I hunted for all of the skill books, this was the end of the road and I hadn’t even bothered with the Comprehension perk. Worse still, I’d explored just over a quarter of the wasteland but some of the drive to continue to explore was lost to me.

It’s something that divides opinion among people – is there any point in continuing to play a game when you’ve reached a level cap? Millions of people do it with games like World of Warcraft so why wouldn’t I do it here? Perhaps because you lose some elements that keep you hooked – the experience gains, the perks, the overall grind. I decided to carry on regardless because there was still so much to see and do, which is when I made another mistake.


I decided to reveal all locations on the map. In hindsight, I still understand the reason why I did this. As much as I enjoyed the exploration, I was concerned about missing out on some fantastic element or unique mission. The idea of seeing everything I had to yet discover was promising, and yet as soon as the perk was activated all the excitement and adventure drained out of the game. The final nail in the coffin was the bug that screwed up the main story quest, cutting out a large chunk in the middle as I explored a previously unknown Vault. With this I ended my time with Fallout 3 and vowed to return to it someday.

failingtofallout5That someday would be a couple of years later. A brand new PC in my possession and the Xbox 360 copy of the game traded in, it wasn’t any surprise that I picked up a copy on sale in HMV. Yes, I started again and yes it was just as awesome as I remembered it. I went through a couple of similar steps but played the game differently, choosing the path of death and destruction, blowing up Megaton and then ruining lives in any way possible. I spent many hours with my new copy of Fallout 3, exploring the wasteland differently and, having learned from some of my mistakes, I enjoyed it even more than I had first time round. Alas, this would be short lived though, because nearly forty hours into my adventure I suffered what can only be described as a complete hard drive failure, losing saved games for pretty much everything I was playing at the time. It was fairly devastating to say the least (I never have finished Oblivion). To say that restarting Fallout 3 was the least of my concerns would be an understatement.

It wasn’t until late last year that I finally took the plunge again and if there is any show of love for a game, it’s buying it three times. Of course it was in the Steam Sale and of course it came with all the DLC that I didn’t have. I snapped it up for under a tenner and vowed to finally do it and then take a similar plunge with Fallout: New Vegas. The plan was to get this done before Fallout 4 – I just didn’t plan on Fallout 4 being here this year.

This time, though, it was a game played with military precision. Point A to B, B to C. I blasted through the early quests, The Wasteland Survival Guide, Those! to name a couple, while collecting every bit of scrap metal and pre-war book I could find. Everything was going well, fine-tuning myself until the release of Fallout 4, because now the questions start to come thick and fast. At what stage can you say you’ve completed a game like Fallout 3? I’ve played a lot of missions (not just in this playthrough) and I’m just about to enter Rivet City in terms of the single player story, but where do I draw the line? I don’t doubt that despite spending probably over a hundred hours with the game since 2008, that there are still elements I’ve not found.


Perhaps there is no greater question to answer, perhaps it’s just a case of sticking with it, grinding out the story to its finish and completing whatever else comes my way before moving onto New Vegas. People have responded to my need to finish these games prior to the release of number four as silly and that I should just do it at my own pace. Historically, however, I think if I don’t put my nose to the grindstone and bust this out now I never will, and Fallout 3 will join a small list of games that I just never finished. I think in the grand scheme of things, that would be a greater crime than trying to finish a game before some personally set date.

Last five articles by Chris


There are no comments, yet.

Why don’t you be the first? Come on, you know you want to!

Leave a Comment