Fallout 3 Game Poster Image

Fallout 3



An outstanding role-playing game -- for adults.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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."

Not applicable
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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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
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

This review of Fallout 3 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • A very good fantasy RPG with a few glitches.
  • RPG visits Chopin's death bed and fantasy world.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bycallofduty1000 April 1, 2012

Great game 10-11 year olds

This is a great game because your able to turn off SEXUAL STUFF. great for kids just turn that off. language isnt an issue because that can be disabled too. 10-11 year olds will love this game!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byESRBguy26 December 15, 2009

A real ESRB worker's opinion

I am A ESRB worker. Off the job i think this game is go for 13+ as long as the teen knows it is just a game and is mature enough to handle the violence. This game actually teaches teens what not to do with the KARMA system. This game has gotten a lot of smack for being a really bad game but it really isnt unless the conditions are right. Over all this game isnt that violent on average. As ESRB workers it is our job to honestly review games and this is my honest review. A lot of us post our true feelings about games outside of work.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
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, eager to see what would await each of our characters next. Whether we were exploring a dead military base full of robotic enemies and super mutants, or while we were exploring the broken down White House to find the president's office, we had fun 100% of the way. Fallout 3 is not for children. I'll give you that. But Fallout 3 is a very, very fun game, and you shouldn't be sheltering your child from this experience. The game is bloody, but you can turn off the blood and gore on specific systems. (PC, and 360, I believe) The game also has quite a bit of language, but if your child is above 13, they've heard all of it. I'm pretty tired of hearing people scream and yell that their child's mind will be poisoned from M rated video games. While I do agree this game is not suitable for ages 10 or under, easily a 13 or 14 year old could play it with no problems. There's no sexual content from what I could find, (and I explored everywhere) and there are some virtual drugs in the game you can take to enhance your abilities, but you risk getting addicted. The messages can either be positive or negative, because the game works with a morality system. If you're nice to people all around, they'll be nice to you. But being bad has many perks, as does being nice. Overall, this game is perfect, and one of the finest games this generation. It feels totally worth the 60 dollars I paid, (as you can play it for an upwards of 60 hours, and not get bored) and parents, you shouldn't let your child miss out on this title.
What other families should know
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?