So, the first hands-on preview of Fallout 3 is generally available, and it's big. Quite a bit of it is repeating info from previous demos and explaining what the Fallout franchise is, but there's more than just that. Some bits:<blockquote>- The previewer played Fallout 3 for 3 hours and could do whatever he wanted, rather than being set on a linear demo - Springvale appears deserted, but "the school holds an intriguing secret in its basement" - "If you cause a ruckus near an Enclave-controlled area, these Vertibirds in and drop off reinforcements" - "Bethesda have stated Fallout 3 has no vehicles. But evidence leads us to think there'll be a robot horse. Madness? Well, when the game loads, retro '50s-style adverts cycle past for things in the game. 'Giddyup buttercup', a robot pony for little girls. "He neighs, he trots, he loves you a lot!" says the ad. Such a huge game without any transport? Really?" - "This one is called Galaxy News, presented by a DJ called Three Dawg and broadcast from a secure bunker in the heart of DC. Dawg reports on current events between records." - "You’ll also come across the Enclave; the remains of the US government who have access to incredible technology and broadcast patriotic marching band music. Their President is voiced by Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowell. He’s a major villain." - They list a few skills: barter, big guns, energy weapons, explosives, lockpick, medicine (determines how many points stimpaks and other healing items actually heal) melee combat, repair (description only lists its usage for repairing guns), science, small guns, sneak, unarmed. - "We left Megaton, chose a random direction (west) and walked. And it didn't take long to find paying work. Bigtown used to be a sprawl of suburban housing, but now it's a makeshift fortress. Walls made of debris, car shells and a single, pathetic guard watches over the entrance with a rusting hunting rifle. Inside we learn that the Supermutants - giant, violent monsters spawned from the fallout of the nuclear war - have kidnapped some of their people, including a vital medic. We agree to rescue them, but only in exchange for bottle caps, Fallout's bizarre currency. The Supermutants, we learn, have set up a camp in a place called Germantown." - "Say you have five Action Points, you could fire at their head five times, or disable them by shooting at their legs. You can even aim for their gun and disarm them. When you've cued up your attacks, press X and the game unpauses and switches to third-person view for a better view of the action. (...) We take the mutants down with our shotgun - a few point-blank blasts to the chest did the job - and continue onwards, fighting our way through the enemy's defences until we reach the police station. Inside, it's Fallout's version of an RPG 'dungeon' - loot to hoard, keys to find and enemies to kill. We snuck through the station using stealth (crouch to hide yourself in shadows) and used VATS with melee weapons (police baton, sledgehammer) behind enemies to quickly and quietly dispose of them." - "In fact, at times it feels exactly like Oblivion in terms of mission structure and the way you navigate the world. We loved Oblivion so we aren't complaining, but if you found Cyrodiil's vast openness daunting or the RPG mechanics too complicated, Fallout 3 might not be the game for you. Especially since the game is ten times as customisable. You can create new weapons from scratch by scavenging for parts. For example, find an old leaf blower, combine it with a lawnmower blade and another few items and you create your own portable rocket launcher that's able to fire any object you see in the world at high speeds; almost like a retro-fit Half-Life gravity gun." [note: this is the same as Arcanum's system of schematics, so it's not "customising" in the traditional sense] - "We find an elementary school crawling with raiders who've been trying to tunnel into Vault 101, but have failed after disturbing a nest of giant radioactive ants. We find an old sentry bot lying in a junk pile and manage to activate it, after which it becomes our personal body guard...until a Deathclaw - a monster mutated from a grizzle bear - tears it to pieces, then kills us. Later, in a moment of madness, we wander into the heart of DC, despite warnings from the developers, and get vaporized by a remote sentry gun and a gang on Enclave soldiers." - [Todd Howard loads up a game 70 hours in] "He was in the heart of DC and fought a group of Enclave troopers with a portable nuclear missile launcher called the Fat Man - the game's most powerful weapon."</blockquote>Thanks AtomicGarden.