I’ve recently finished Fallout 3. Lots of people have already dissected the setting, the characters and the the ending, so I won’t go into those things. There is one thing, though, that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned. The soundtrack. How cool is the radio feature?
Yes, Three-Dog’s overblown commentary is as annoying as hell, but the music is wonderful. How sublime it is to walk through a post-apocalyptic wasteland with 40s and 50s jazz going through your head. How poignant to hear a lonely radio playing amid the ruins of a great building.
The big fight scenes became sureally cinematic. If I was more of a film buff, I could name instances where a major gun battle was offset with an inappropriately upbeat backing track. I’m not, but I hope you know what I mean. The action seems at once more detached and more awful.
I’m not sure that I have the words yet to explain this in more detail. What made this work so well? Is it just me? Is there a design lesson? Could this effect be used in other games? How?