Recently we looked at how various ATI and Nvidia based graphics cards fared in Far Cry 2 and the results were somewhat unexpected as we found that mid-range graphics cards were capable of playing this game in all of its visual glory. Today we have yet another impressive new game called Fallout 3, which has had the same level of hype and anticipation surrounding it as Far Cry 2 did during the entire year.

However these are two very different games. While Far Cry 2 is a first-person shooter where you literally shoot first and ask questions later, Fallout 3 is the complete opposite as an action role-playing game. Fallout 3 is the third major installment in the Fallout series, which has also spawned the spin-offs Fallout Tactics, and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The game was released worldwide last week and was developed and published by Bethesda Softworks.

Fallout 3 offers both first-person and third-person perspectives which can be transitioned on seamlessly. The main character creation occurs as the player experiences the character's childhood, and as a first-person shooter gamer I found this section of the game slow and frustrating. Still, I could see how this is an important aspect of the game and believe that Fallout fans will love it.

The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States in the year 2277. The player character is a member of Vault 101, a fallout shelter serving Washington, D.C. The player character lives with his/her widower father (voiced by Liam Neeson) until, one day, the player wakes up finding that the father has left the vault and ventured into the wasteland for unknown reasons.

The vault overseer becomes suspicious that the player had something to do with the father's disappearance, and the character decides to go out into the Capital Wasteland in search of him. Along the way, the player will encounter organizations seen in the previous games, including the Brotherhood of Steel, a group of technology-coveting survivors, and the Enclave, the elitist and genocidal remnant of the U.S. government.

The story is interesting enough and should keep fans of previous Fallout games happy. Still, we are more interested in showing you how your graphics card should perform in this game. Fallout 3 was built using the Gamebryo engine of which admittedly we knew very little about and had yet to test a game based on it.

Gamebryo is a cross-platform engine that has also powered other popular titles like The Elder Scrolls IV, The Guild 2, Empire Earth 3, and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. As you will appreciate in our visual quality comparison section of this article, Fallout 3 is a striking looking game and the recommended hardware requirements are quite high. Actually they seem much more realistic than what we usually see from developers in their official recommendations.