Fallout 3

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Fallout 3 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
An outstanding role-playing game -- for adults.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 61 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 161 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players will meet men and women in the game, but there is no sexism or ageism. While you institute a lot of violence, the game is full of decision points where you must choose to be good or evil.


Extremely graphic in nature. Players can shoot radioactive creatures and target body parts; blood sprays in various directions and bloody chunks can be seen. A slow-motion effect during killings makes them more dramatic and disconcerting. There is a wide range of weaponry offered from guns to rocket launchers to things like sledgehammers.


While there's no nudity, some half-dressed female characters in the game might drop sexual innuendoes and you see mannequins in a sexual pose. Prostitutes are a part of this game.


The game has many swear words, including "s--t" and "f--k," as well as "damn," "ass," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Not excessive, but players can use a variety of fictional items in the game, called Chems. You don't see them being used, though. But you do experience the ups and downs of the drug and if abused, you can get addicted.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is extremely graphic in nature, particularly when it comes to violence, blood, and gore -- and there are ample examples of each. Players can decapitate or dismember enemies with precision, resulting in a gruesome blood spray and chunks -- even witnessed in slow motion. Language might also offend with many instances of cussing. Less controversial but still in the game is the ability to take drugs called Chems (though you don't see the act) and some sexual scenes including some risqué dialogue and mannequins in a sexual position.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSM Screen name... August 23, 2009

Fine for 13+.

This game is one of the best in this generation of games. This game will easily, easily last you more than 60 hours long. Me and my child switched off nonstop,... Continue reading
Adult Written byRabbitKit232 April 24, 2015

If your child is ok will violence this game is perfectly safe

THE SO CALLED "DRUGS" ARE HEALING MEDKITS!! And then the violence. It really isn't that bad. For 12 year old kids and over I'm pretty sure t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBookerDeWitt123 March 26, 2016

Not as bad as Common Sense Media says it is

First of all, I LOVE this game. The only reason I'm giving this game 4 stars and not 5, is because there's a couple flaws here and there. I'm goi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bychrome352 June 8, 2012

It's ok

Ok so let me start off by saying I'm 14 I've beaten this game and I loved it!
First things first the violence: yes you can blow people up and such but... Continue reading

What's it about?

A word of warning for parents concerned about what video games their kids are playing: while FALLOUT 3 is one of the finest role-playing games (RPGs) in recent memory, take heed to the \"Mature\" warning in the corner of the box (and be sure to read all the sections on this page for specific details). In case you haven't played any of the original games, Fallout 3 is a post-apocalyptic adventure, where the player emerges from Vault 101 after a devastating nuclear war only to find a dangerous wasteland populated with radioactive mutants to fight, memorable survivors to interact with, and plenty of challenging missions to tackle.

But how this single-player RPG plays out is entirely up to you, with a huge, open-ended world to explore (based on an irradiated Washington, D.C.), customizable skills, abilities and \"perks\" to enhance your character, and even options on how to engage in combat. With the latter, when approaching a threatening enemy, players can choose between a tactical, turn-based combat scheme by pausing time and pinpointing areas of the body to hit (and seeing the likelihood of a successful shot measured in percentages) or a more straight-forward real-time mechanic, if the player prefers to use weapons against baddies without a break in the action (note: the former combat style results in blood-soaked, slow-motion limb and head explosions). Befriend some non-player characters (NPCs) and they might help fight alongside you. Speaking of choices, players can also toggle between a first- or third-person view with the push of a button.

Is it any good?

Not only is this game an immersive, futuristic Wild Wild West thriller that offers many dozens of hours of play, but it's also quite the looker with its high-definition characters, environments, and special effects (the game looks and plays the same between the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions). Animation isn't always smooth, though, and there are occasional camera issues that obscure your view instead of aiding it. Another minor shortcoming: it would have been great if a second player -- online or in front of the same TV -- could join in and play with you at any time (as you can in the Fable II RPG) but at least the artificial intelligence is smart and will keep you on your toes. Whether or not you played the original Fallout games, this sequel is one of the finest -- yet quite mature -- video games of 2008.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this level of violence and gore is necessary to deliver the same dreary post-apocalyptic experience. If it were less graphic and had cleaner language, would the game be as appealing among players and would it sell as well? Is there a difference between fighting against radioactive enemies as in this game, and shooting at police officers in a game like Grand Theft Auto IV?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Bethesda Softworks
  • Release date: October 28, 2008
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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