Universal acclaim - based on 57 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 57
  2. Negative: 0 out of 57
Buy On
  1. 100
    This is the kind of hugely ambitious game that doesn't come around very often, and when it does, you'd be a fool not to play it and enjoy the hell out of it and look forward to the day (next-next-gen?) when the fidelity of open-world RPGs takes another big step closer to the uncanny valley's far side.
  2. 100
    Yes, Fallout 3 is a lot like "Oblivion" (with guns!), but it's a superior game in nearly every way, as it features a more engaging storyline, impeccable presentation, and hundreds of hours of addictive gameplay. While the jury is still out on whether or not hardcore Fallout enthusiasts will accept the game as part of the storied franchise, Fallout 3 is a must-have title for most RPG fans, as well as one of the finest games of this generation.
  3. That's the beauty of survival, and this world of fallout: It feeds on adventure and breathes in freedom, yet it dreams of order and the safety of the Vault. I can describe it, explain it, tell it in finely chosen words, but I can never make you fully understand for as long as you sit and listen. But even if I die, I do not worry. There will come a time when you will seize that lever and open that metal door, and it is then I will return.
  4. 100
    The ironically devastated world of Fallout has never been better realized than in Fallout 3, offering a vast landscape that is almost relentlessly bleak in its hopelessness. It's absorbing, immersive, paradoxically beautiful, and kind of depressing to play over long periods of time.
  5. GamePro
    It's an instant classic and one that will occupy you for a long time to come. [Dec 2008, p.86]
  6. A massive, enthralling achievement.
  7. 100
    The main quest is an enthralling tale that will thrust you into the battlefield of D.C., side-by-side with the Brotherhood of Steel, face to face with the illustrious DJ of Galaxy News Radio (my favorite station of the wastes), and aboard a reclaimed aircraft carrier. It's an epic journey, but when it's done, it's done. The only option after that is to start all over again with a brand new face. No complaints here.
  8. 100
    After this game-experience negative points are hard to find. Sure, the radio program is not mind-blowing and the third-person-view is suboptimal. But this doesn't matter, as Fallout 3 is wonderful and even a class better than Bethesda's last title - Oblivion.
  9. Fallout 3 is a fantastic game that was well worth the hype and the wait.
  10. This is easily the best new role-playing game that will give you dozens of hours of additional gameplay along with the already lengthy required adventuring.
  11. 97
    A stunning and emotive game, Fallout 3 is compelling, dark, funny and deep. Play it and glimpse the future of videogaming. And, possibly, of mankind.
  12. The game boasts an adventure that is so epic in size that it can only be the product of Bethesda. The Oblivion engine is a perfect fit to create a Fallout game around, and Fallout 3 is that much better off for it. With a game world that's as large as a real world city, mechanics that are engaging and easy to use, on top of unparalleled depth...Fallout 3 is the no brainer choice for those looking to embark on an epic quest.
  13. So what you have here with Fallout 3 is a great addition to the series, even if you are a die-hard fan of Black Isle Studios' work with the previous Fallout titles. It has some slight faults, but the quality of the rest of the package more than makes up for it all.
  14. The game combines the strengths of two fine RPG series, which for Fallout 3 means compelling narrative in a post-apocalyptic setting and immersive gameplay in a huge, open-ended world. All of this just leaves one question to answer: is Fallout 3 a contender for Game of the Year? And the answer: undeniably, yes.
  15. In the end, Fallout 3 feels like a Fallout game, and that is absolutely the highest compliment. Despite the changes, much of the charm and fun of the franchise remains intact, and despite the similarities to "Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion", I never felt that I was playing anything but a Fallout game.
  16. This game is massive, and as your character's stature in the Wasteland grows, so does the excitement. It's not a true sequel to the Fallout series, but as a fan of the games of old, I found it to be every bit as good.
  17. 95
    Fallout 3 is among the best games I've played this year, and represents both Bethesda's legacy and the legacy of the Fallout series incredibly well. It's easy to sink hours into exploring this world, and its depth will consume you if you let it. Fallout 3 is a must buy for anyone who loves games, regardless of your preferred genre.
  18. Fallout 3 is a game that hits all the right notes and excels in being a role-playing game that wishes to challenge the genre to bring something bigger and better.
  19. There's no doubt that many people already know that they will love Fallout 3: it offers the epic world that many yearn for.
  20. 95
    Definitely, no videogame fan should let Fallout 3 escape. There are so many things you can do, places you can explore and situations to experiment, that regardless the many times we could say this is a superb title, an instant classic, there is no better way to understand the reason for such praise than to get lost in the ruinous Washington D.C. region.
  21. 94
    It's rare that a game can hit the mark in so many different and often conflicting areas. Fallout 3 offers freedom without sacrificing a focused story. It delivers fantastic combat without forgoing a deep role-playing system. The characters you meet are engaging and oftentimes hilarious without feeling out of place in this harsh world.
  22. Fallout 3 is an experience in itself, and while it may not offer as much replay value as Oblivion, it's so much more then an "Oblivion with guns".
  23. It is no surprise to anyone that has played a Bethesda game that they have come through on a beloved franchise, well worth several hundred hours of your life!
  24. Different from Oblivion but bound to be compared to it, Fallout 3 is deep, rewarding and as open-world as you get, with only a few issues that warrant a sight raise of the eyebrow.
  25. This is a massive game: in a month that's seen the release of five or six of the year's best titles, I reckon this is the absolute peach. It's packed with interesting places, with choices to make, with that nebulous sense of adventure you only find in the best RPGs.
  26. Fallout 3 represents one of the most ridiculously packed gaming experiences you're going to find this year.
  27. Fallout 3 is filled to the brim with quality, worth every cent and pays us with dozens of hours of rich exploration, combat and enjoyable – if not exactly deep – role-play elements.
  28. There's no denying Fallout 3 is little more than Oblivion in a post-apocalyptic setting. However that's more a compliment than complaint.
  29. The overall experience of Fallout 3 is unmatched, and the amount of game Bethesda has packed into this $60 title can't be ignored. Flaws aside, taken as a whole, Fallout 3 is an astounding effort and easily one this year's best gaming experiences.
  30. PSM3 Magazine UK
    Imaginative, epic and brilliant, but not for instant fix gamers. [Dec 2008, p.26]
  31. Fallout 3 is an outstanding title that sets a new standard for action role-playing games, and will appeal to fans of either genre.
  32. Fallout is back and dare I say, better than ever.
  33. Fallout 3 is a wonderful game for fans of the genre. It's humourous when it wants to be, yet also deep and worryingly tragic when required to be.
  34. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    And that's the draw of the game: interacting with a living, breathing world that centers on you as the star. [Holiday 2008, p.60]
  35. Old fans of the series may not be expecting a game like this, but Fallout 3 is ambitious and more than lives up to the high standard it sets, and will be enjoyed by both newcomers and veteran Fallout players. Bethesda have managed to create a sturdy strategic element to the first person perspecitve but have ultimately failed in creating believable characters, which may disappoint some.
  36. Fallout 3 is the biggest accomplishment in adventure gaming since Oblivion.
  37. 90
    Immersive, expansive and funny to boot, Fallout 3 makes the end of the world something to look forward to, indeed.
  38. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    A flawed masterpice for the ages. [Summer 2009, p.76]
  39. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    The map is smaller than Oblivion's but it's more tightly packed with action and rounded characters. [Christmas 2008, p.90]
  40. Kids, Fallout 3 is Oblivion with guns hands down. Again, that's not a bad thing, but it feels like Bethesda missed an opportunity here by playing things safe and that's fine.
  41. In Fallout 3 Bethesda has made a very good thing, though it is somewhat hampered by the lack of variable scenery and a VATS that plays less than perfectly.
  42. It's a game that provides action, adventure, exploration, interaction and excitement in a beautifully realised Armageddon that provides so many unexpected moments, but somehow manages to remain consistent and believable.
  43. More than reinventing a game, Bethesda could assure a desirable evolution. In a world devastated by the war, the beauty of the entire environment is the greatest step in Fallout 3.
  44. Gorgeous graphics, great RPG customisation and an interesting yet fun combat system, there's little to complain about Fallout 3, except for the odd slowdown or buggy camera angle. Be warned though, once you start playing, you will find it difficult to turn off.
  45. Fallout 3 brings back a legendary saga to the foreground of video games and it does it with remarkable successes. Graphically it is a very powerful title, the ambience is carefully planned, and its size, freedom and scope are its principal highlights. It is as captivating a game in the beginning as easy to forget in the mid term; despite this, we can say that it is a title that is worth trying.
  46. The only disadvantage of the PS3-version of the game compared to the PC-version concerns the handling. The aiming via stick is very difficult and if you want to crack a lock, you have to be very skilled too.
  47. 88
    It's the big Christmas action game with brains and choices, and with an interest in constructing a refreshingly different world from all those austere near-future manshoots that clog up the shelves. In many respects, it's a far better game than Bioshock, most of all because you get the endless choice that promised but didn't deliver. So it's tragic that the often awful production values make a fool of it so regularly.
  48. 88
    The options presented to you in Fallout 3 are so numerous and complex that you are likely to want to replay the game just to experience them.
  49. In fact, Fallout 3 is leaner and meaner than Bethesda's previous efforts, less expansive but more intense, while still offering immense replay value and quite a few thrills along the way.
  50. Despite being unable to match the PC in terms of graphical splendour, there's plenty here to keep you occupied, and fans won't be disappointed with what the developers have crafted.
  51. Anyone who played Bethesda's Oblivion, 2006's 'Game of the year,' will find the mission structure familiar, save for the game's auto-targeting system, called V.A.T.S., which is sometimes more of a hindrance than help. Even so, gamers with a taste for detailed storylines and Mad Max style visuals, will find that Fallout 3 delivers a solid, entertaining role-playing experience that will keep you glued to the couch for hours.
  52. For lovers of the genre, it's tough to go wrong with Fallout 3. However, if you're strictly a shooter fan or enjoy free-flowing combat, the plodding pace, vast amount of content, and RPG hallmarks (such as heavy inventory management, non-essential quests, and character leveling) may bore you. It's a good game, but certainly not without its faults. A new game engine and better controls would have served this title well.
  53. It's unfortunate that Fallout 3 is saddled with so many little- and medium-sized issues, because they get in the way of what's an otherwise fantastic experience. The world is well-realized and full of options. It'll be a struggle in spots, but I'm willing to guess that most people will be able to overlook a lot of the game's problems and still have a very good time exploring the irradiated wasteland formerly known as Washington DC.
  54. Oct 27, 2010
    Until you can play the game without unpredictable crashing and quirky issues surprising you it's going to be tough to find the maximum amount of fun I know this title can offer.
  55. My issues with the game lie within the fact that whilst playing it, I wished I were playing something else. I wanted to play Bioshock for its heavy atmosphere and compelling story, or Mass Effect because I finally appreciate the dialog trees and voice acting. In Fallout 3, most of my decisions could be argued for the inconsequential feeling I associated with them. That's never a good thing, so it either means Fallout 3 wasn't my particular cup of tea or that it is actually that boring at times.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 962 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 14, 2012
    Utterly amazing. Long hours of game-play, amazing story line, many side quests, large map, and amazing DLC. This is my favorite game, myUtterly amazing. Long hours of game-play, amazing story line, many side quests, large map, and amazing DLC. This is my favorite game, my previous being Fallout: New Vegas. Full Review »
  2. dlord
    Jan 26, 2009
    too long, too many repetitive side missions and worst of all game kept freezing!!!! did enjoy playing but too many problems and life is too too long, too many repetitive side missions and worst of all game kept freezing!!!! did enjoy playing but too many problems and life is too short for that! Full Review »
  3. Feb 16, 2017
    I was never really interested on Fallout 3 or the franchise until late-2015 when I tried to buy it on my local retail store, which did notI was never really interested on Fallout 3 or the franchise until late-2015 when I tried to buy it on my local retail store, which did not have the game until six months later. My expectations for Fallout 3 were high and I have to say that it was one of my best video game purchases of the past year. I had a great experience while playing it. The story is okay, but this is not what really matters here, unlike other titles. I really like the atmosphere, the towns, the loneliness, the missions... It was something different for me, as I do not play this type of games. The Capital Wasteland is a great place to explore for hours. You could not know what location you are going to found or what is going to happen during your journey. It is not a horror game but there are some scary locations and enemies that are great to explore alone, in the dark, expecting some creepy moments to happen. There are also a lot of weapons, skills, locations, missions, enemies, Easter eggs... I really like that.

    The voice acting is not that good. I loved hearing Liam Neeson as my character's father, but there are so much NPCs with the same voice actors (who do not bother on varying their voices at least), and that is how you have a whole bunch of characters with literally the same voice. The music is very good and the landscapes are great, as well as some locations, but I think that the worst thing about this video game is its technical aspect, and I am specifically talking about the PS3 version. It was a real shame that after surpassing 6MB of save data the game started freezing, chrashing and glitching. It is impossible to beat Fallout 3's story without seeing your screen freeze at least once. It is not as bad as Skyrim but it is bad, very bad, and that bothers me a lot.

    Do not get me wrong with the note. It is a great video game, I had such a great experience whit it, but I can not give it a 9 with its terrible technical issues. I am sure that I could rate it with a 9 on PC, but not on the PS3. Despite all that, I think that it is a very recommendable video game. You can buy the GOTY edition if you want. The DLCs are good. Not great, but good, and they expand the game's universe with more locations, missions and weapons.

    - Story completed once between June and November 2016. Platinum trophy earned. Played for 86 hours (counting all DLCs).
    Full Review »