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Survival of the
Fittest

Survival of the
Fittest

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Fallout 3 for Xbox 360 takes players on a pulse-pounding ride through postapocalyptic Washington, D.C.

After living for almost a decade in a culture of fear, where the threat of nuclear attacks on our nation is discussed with such regularity that you might think it were the '80s, it does not seem all that shocking that Fallout 3, a role-playing game set in postapocalyptic D.C., would be released. It is perhaps a bit less close to reality now that the nation has been imbued with hope after the election of Barack Obama, but no it's less fun to linger in the what-if world of Fallout 3.

The game begins in a fallout shelter as you are born, and after an hour or two of playing you have mastered the basics of movement and interaction that become so important to the game. Then you are released from the shelter to D.C., which is a nuclear wasteland filled with mutants, religious cults worshipping the atom, strange creatures. and frightened and violent citizens. The game is perhaps overly complicated. Every item you pick up has a weight and you can get too heavy, combat involves an intricate targeting system featuring odds for strike and damage, and players must constantly monitor their radiation levels and choose wisely what skills to upgrade at any given stage. Also, the many missions scattered throughout the game can be hard to decipher, and moving too quickly through the terrain can put you in a nest of adversaries with far bigger guns that you have.

But the game excels at bringing you in to the action. Walking into an abandoned building leads to a barrage of attacks from unknown assailants that really gets the heart racing. Also, the game's good versus evil component allows players to choose their morality by deciding how to interact in the world, a very popular feature among recent role-playing games. But the most striking element of the game is the graphic rendition of D.C.; walking through the abandoned Metro or entering the Pentagon is visceral and beautiful. The game holds your attention for hours on end and there seems to be no limit to the additional missions and possible outcomes from playing.

There is nothing special here for gay players. The game gives you the ability to flirt with certain women, and in one of the bars, if you talk to a strange man, he says he thinks you have the wrong idea. However, Fallout 3 is not about society or sexuality but survival.

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