Universal acclaim - based on 48 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
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  1. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    A vast and open world of unimaginable possibilities opens in front of you in Fallout 3. Great story, flawless combat system, and the option to choose your own way makes it a hot candidate for game of the year. [Nov 2008]
  2. 100
    Faults be damned, though; 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I hesitate to say, at this early stage, that this is actually a better game than either Fallout 1 or 2, but it very well may be; at the least, it is game-of-the-year material.
  7. A massive, enthralling achievement.
  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. Total PC Gaming
    Vast, visceral and every inch of it is worthy of the highest acclaim. Pure genius. [Issue#14, p.48]
  10. The deranged fiends at Bethesda have built a landmark game, and I think you’d be crazy not to play the damned thing.
  11. Combining 1950s art style with a sci-fi mix, gives the game a unique heartbeat. Fallout 3 is a game that will last in your mind long after you’re done playing it, thanks to its memorable characters and adrenaline filled combat. We can finally derive at a conclusion that Fallout 3 is NOT Oblivion with guns!
  12. 96
    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.
  13. The PC version's controls are certainly sharp and I found myself pulling off many more headshots and quick kills with a mouse and keyboard than I could on the console counterparts, but if you really do want to play with a gamepad, Fallout 3 does fully support the 360 controller on the PC as well.
  14. 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.
  15. Fallout 3 isn't perfect, and some longtime fans may focus more on what it isn't rather than what it has become in Bethesda's hands, but its shortcomings pale before the fun that kept pushing me ahead to find out what was over the next hill of rubble.
  16. Fallout 3 is one of this year's best games. It's an unforgettable journey that lives up to the series. You are an ex-vault 101 inhabitant, and you discover a whole new world, full of zombies, mutants, raiders, aliens and all kinds of creatures. Welcome to this post-apocaliptic reality, where you are going to spend hundreds of hours.
  17. 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”.
  18. The sequel we've been waiting for. It more than lives up to years of expectation, as Bethesda has seamlessly transitioned the franchise from RPG to tactical FPS without skipping a beat. Game of the year? Quite possibly.
  19. 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.
  20. Fallout 3, a successful reanimation of a classic role-playing game, is one of the best modern RPGs and one of the greatest games of 2008. With up to date 3D graphics, good game design and adequate playing time, it's one of those rare pleasant surprises one doesn't dare to hope for anymore. For some it's almost video game art, but it's definitely very good entertainment.
  21. 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.
  22. Fallout 3 is an outstanding game. The main story claims a small part of the whole post-apocalyptic world, which can be explored totally free.
  23. Fallout 3 is the best PC game I have played all year, the developers did a bang up job of making the series come alive once more and I for one couldn't be happier.
  24. PC Zone UK
    For a pure-hearted escapist adventure, and what I consider the meatiest and most satisfying combat system around, you can't go wrong with Fallout 3. It's been a rocky road, but we got there in the end. [Dec 2008, p.50]
  25. PC Gamer
    But Fallout 3 has fidelity to its predecessors in more important ways, such as offering an incredible depth of role-playing opportunities. [Holiday 2008, p.54]
    The unique Fallout-Atmosphere has survived the changes in the gameplay without a scratch! Players can easily overlook the shortcomings of the German synchronization – and maybe it is even because the game provides such a high level of quality that it seems as if true highlights are missing. Unrivalled in freedom of choice and complexity it has become a worthy heir to the great line of previous Fallout games. [Issue # 16]
  27. PC PowerPlay
    Minor niggles aside, Fallout 3 is almost entirely spectacular. Everything from the graphics, to the sound, to the plot is first-rate. The VATS system worlds like a charm, and it’s so easy to get the hang of, you’ll be cracking skulls like there’s no tomorrow. [Dec 2008, p.55]
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. There's no denying Fallout 3 is little more than Oblivion in a post-apocalyptic setting. However that's more a compliment than complaint.
  31. PC Gamer UK
    Thrillingly dark, gruesomely adult and one of the most atmospheric games ever. [Dec 2008, p.66]
  32. Great game and definitely worthy of being called Fallout, easily beating my modest expectations. Not perfect, but the flaws are mostly inconsequential when you consider the big picture. Excellent storyline, interesting game world and plenty of gratuitous violence.
  33. Not only is Bethesda's masterpiece a worthy successor to the precious Fallout franchise, but it is also, simply put, one of the best action-roleplaying games in years.
  34. Fallout 3 is the biggest accomplishment in adventure gaming since Oblivion.
  35. PC Format
    It couldn't possibly satisfy all of our hopes, but Fallout 3 is still a glorious experience that will utterly nuke your social life. [Christmas 2008, p.86]
  36. AceGamez
    Undoubtedly a worthy title in its own right and has enough character and charm, coupled with solid gameplay, to make this one day after tomorrow that you shouldn't miss.
  37. 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.
  38. Regardless of the sometimes-weak combat, this is role-playing at its finest.
  39. 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.
  40. This is a good game. It’s a really good game. It’s only failing is that it has a mark of greatness upon it and, ever so cruelly, fails to completely achieve it.
  41. 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.
  42. Across the three platforms, the PC version of Fallout 3 is the best, provided you have hardware that can handle it. The PC version has better lighting, a bit more graphical detail, and just looks better, overall. It's a Games For Windows Live game, too, so if you're dead set on playing the game with an Xbox 360 controller, you can do that on the PC, as well. Additionally, it has achievements, just like the 360 version, though they're kept separately--this means you could technically double up, play the game to completion on both the 360 and the PC, and have double the points as a result.
  43. Bethesda has done the Fallout series justice and should be proud of the game they made, unfortunately, the scope of the project was too much for them and the PC game felt unfinished in places, but simply outstanding in other areas.
  44. Play (Poland)
    Dark humor, brutal combat system, riveting story, wide opportunities for exploration and development in the unforgettable postapocalyptic setting. No, it's not a holy Grail some rpg fans were looking for, but a very decent game nonetheless. [Dec 2008]
  45. Grim post-nuclear romanticism of Fallout 3 is going to be a huge revelation for console owners. Those who spent the last 11 years exploring the nuclear wastelands of America on the PC, will probably see this game as nothing more than Bethesda’s attempt to fix the mistakes of Oblivion.
  46. The main quest is pretty short and unimpressive, but this was never the “backbone” of a Fallout game. I’d estimate that an uninterrupted run through the main story could take around 3-4 hours, while not being particularly juicy.
  47. Fallout 3 is just mediocre. It’s bogged down by too many problems, engine issues, and poor writing to really wrestle its way into classic status.
  48. Edge Magazine
    It’s a game that rewards the long-haul with deep, inventive missions which eschew the usual fetch and kill structure, ensuring that the many hours spent in Fallout 3’s wasteland aren’t wasted. [Christmas 2008, p.88]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4871 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 6, 2012
    A horrible, flawed title with bugs, a poor storyline and little roleplaying options - an undeserving attempt at one of the greatest RPGs ofA horrible, flawed title with bugs, a poor storyline and little roleplaying options - an undeserving attempt at one of the greatest RPGs of all time - Fallout. You manage to defeat Vault security despite being a Level 1 wimp, then proceed to destroy supermutants and the Enclave with no particular hardship. On your journey, you meet boring, shallow and two-dimensional characters with poor voice acting who give you just as boring and shallow quests. The UI can be a chore to use. The game has countless bugs and the animations do *not* resemble human beings. That's not to say, it contradicts the already established Fallout lore. It can be a fun game, but only for a little while. Full Review »
  2. Nov 17, 2011
    Fallout 3 is bland, lengthy, tedious, and repetitive. I often hear people say they like it because the world is so big. Honestly though, whoFallout 3 is bland, lengthy, tedious, and repetitive. I often hear people say they like it because the world is so big. Honestly though, who cares if the world is "big"? It really is all just the same burning rubble copy-pasted all over a big map, so there isn't really a whole lot to explore because very little of it is new and you also can't interact with much of it anyway. The only things that break the repetition and boredom are the cities, but there aren't that many, and they are very few and far between in a HUGE wasteland. The world is definitely "big," but there also isn't much to do in it or interact with.

    The developer didn't provide any vehicles, so while "exploring," you get to have fun walking...everywhere... at a painfully slow pace. Imagine GTA, but without cars, with a lot of burning buildings that you can't really interact with the vast majority of the time, very few people, and it's populated by the same 5 kinds of bad guys all across 90% of the map. Despite the terrific art-style and interesting setting, the game does a terrible job of storytelling, and what little story-content there is is spread out throughout approximately 60 hours of mind-numbingly repetitive combat and "exploration." Soon, you realize that you are fighting the same bad-guys over and over, that the houses and assorted bits of rubble and trash you see lying all over the world all look more or less the same, and the whole experience is downhill from there.

    Repetitive combat + copy-pasted rubble + no significant story = boring waste of time.

    Don't buy into the hype about the game being "open-world." Open world games aren't that great when everything you come across in the game looks bland, lifeless, and identical to 80% or more of everything else you've already come across in the game.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 15, 2010
    I don't know how so many people reviewed this so highly. Fallout 3, as a game, is directionless and vague in all it does, poorly structuredI don't know how so many people reviewed this so highly. Fallout 3, as a game, is directionless and vague in all it does, poorly structured (you can skip out half the story if you're not careful), caters for gaming idiots and worst of all is anything but true to the Fallout name.

    Ok so I shall start with the positives, it's a good looking game as long as you remain in first person, apparently no one in Bethesda has ever seen a real person walking as evidenced by switching to third person. There are some truly great scripted moments that are only really effective because of the level of the graphics, anyone who's played it should know what moments I'm talking about. Moving onto the world itself, it is big and there are a lot of places to go and visit, a lot of people to meet and a lot of items to collect (if you're a hoarder like me). The ambient sound is ok in most places and good in a few, it never gets annoying so I can't really fault it. Weapons sound as they should or probably should, the music sort of sets the scene but is relatively forgettable. That just about wraps up the good things.

    Ok so first of all this game suffers from all the faults Oblivion had and some. "Dungeons" or "Vaults" as Bethesda would have you believe all have that same rehashed feeling they had in Oblivion, as do buildings. As I already mentioned, third person character movement is appalling, though this is not too much of a problem as most people, as I did, for a bulk of the game will be playing in first person. You would have thought with the budget they had and the time they had they could at least get that right however. The other thing is that it can't be played as you would play a first person shooter, you can aim your cross hair over an enemy all you want but that doesn't make it any more likely you will hit; whilst this is true to the Fallout series it doesn't translate in their first person iteration of it, except for when enemies are firing at you; they don't seem to be bound by the same constraints. Neither does VATS for that matter, in the original if you specifically targeted and hit an enemy's body part it would have a noticeable affect on that enemy's ability to fight, in Fallout 3 it doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference, for example, blinding an enemy would make it near impossible for them to attack you. As for the storyline, what there isn't of it that is, now I know that there is much more to a game in terms of its immersive-ness than the main storyline but it does have to provided direction and motivation to finish the game. The main storyline can be completed in five hours or less if you're skipping parts of it and is not once engaging or driving enough to want to continue. Not good by any standard. It doesn't help that the story is told by an incredibly lacklustre group of NPCs. In fact nearly every character in this game has a personality roughly equal to a shade of beige. They are an incredibly boring group and there is little diversity to them, in fact you will come across many with an overwhelming sense of familiarity, even though you may not have met them yet. Also the game is incredibly buggy, even after numerous patches.

    That covers all of the issues I see with it except for, what is for me, the biggest one of them all. Now then, if you're going to take up already established IP and expand on that you have to pay attention to what that originally stood for. Now I know Fallout has diverged in the past from it's roots but never has it strayed this far. The first two of the Fallout series had some intelligent and very witty writing, a varied, interesting and soulful group of NPCs and hugely interesting world full of sleaze and humour. This variation on the Fallout theme has stripped out all of this, there is never a funny moment, the writing is appalling, NPCs are bland and the sleaze has completely gone. No more can you take a job as a porn star or engage with the post-apocalyptic mob or score drugs from a shady character to fuel your addiction. This strips most of the realism and life out of the world and the fact of the matter is that by comparison to most of the rest of the series Fallout 3 has no soul, it's been stripped out in an attempt to bring it to all out commercial success (yes I know this sounds whiny and unrealistic as these companies are there to make money, but do that with their own IP not just off the back of a recognised and fondly loved and remembered franchise).

    Anyway in conclusion Fallout 3 is, as a game, a mildly above average game. However, as an addition to the Fallout series it is an incredibly poor and disappointing addition so far removed from what Fallout was that it is barely recognisable any more. I just hope that with some of the original Fallout team working on New Vegas they can get that amazingly lively, funny world that Fallout used to be back.
    Full Review »