So, I finished the main campaign last night and I must admit that I found things a little bit of a let down. Perhaps it was the fact that I waited until level 20 to do it but it felt almost too easy. Easy isn’t really the right word though. After being given free license to roam the wastes as I saw fit, dispensing justice or enforcing my will, to be shoehorned into a linear quest just felt wrong. Despite some leeway it seemed to me that the quest went forward with little to no input on my part. The harried escape from the Jefferson Memorial in the early section of the quest and the exploration of the broken and rusted ruins of Vault 87 were both fun but once you’re finished with the latter the game becomes a glorified rail shooter. Seriously, for about the last 2 hours I got by firing only a handful of rounds, NPCs doing most of the work. I liked the addition of Fawkes, my first, last and only follower but he came a little too late for me to really enjoy his presence. I also thought Liberty Prime was pretty awesome and the President Eden thing was also quite entertaining but marred by the fact that I essentially walked out of Raven Rock without a scratch.
The ending, while it didn’t leave me fuming, was quite anticlimatic. I had hoped for something more akin to the earlier Fallout games and, like Fallout 2, that once the main quest was over I could continue to wander the wastes. The final cinematic was a bit of a let down as well, the “snapshots” of my adventures felt pretty random and didn’t really show any of my favorite moments (come on! No corpse littered Paradise Falls!) and certainly didn’t really reflect any of the decisions I made over the course of my journeys. Regardless of the lackluster finale the total package is still totally worth the price of admission, I think that Fallout 3 lacks the epic feel of earlier Fallout games but is still a stellar action-RPG. I look forward to the upcoming DLC and the eventual plethora of user mods!