Feature: Fallout 3 DLC Extravaganza
It's not often that all the DLC for a game is reviewed at once. Then again, it's not often that a multi-million selling, already-successful game gets five seperate DLC packs, but far be it from me to judge. Fallout 3 might have been one of the best-selling games of the last couple of years, but Bethesda don't seem to have given up on it yet. And thanks to the kind people at Bethesda's PR company, I've got an extravaganza of a review for you.
Find out all the thoughts on the Fallout 3 DLC after the jump.
If you're an avid Fallout fan, then you'll be pleased to return to the brown wilderness. If not, it's not good. You don't get any new locations, like in other DLC's - you just get the good ol' wastes. However, why wouldn't you want to return? It's the harsh dog eat dog land that you already know, with a few tiny changes. One of the biggest is perhaps the addition of Aqua Pura. It's a tasty, watery beverage that's a welcome change to the irradiated water you usually find.
Another new addition, is a lot of equipment. One of the most recognizable parts of equipment new to the DLC is the new Hellfire armour and incinerator. Carried by some Enclave, they're basically tank armor with flame throwers. It's some decent armour too - as good as the T-51b Power Armour (Editor's note: which, we presume, is very good). In terms of weapons, there is a generous amount. I've already mentioned the Heavy Incinerator, but there are others too. Two notable ones are the Tesla Cannon - portable epicness - and the new Tri-Beam Laser Rifle, carried by Super Mutant Overlords.
One of the nicer perks to this DLC is the raised level cap. Before, you only had 20 levels, but with the increased cap you get a whole 30. And with these new levels, come new perks. Some are really well thought out, for example the ‘puppies’ perk which, if Dogmeat ever dies, gives you another pup waiting outside Vault 101. For those of you that can't be bothered to do the whole game three times, to get the evil, good and neutral trophies, Bethesda have included a perk that automatically sets your karma to your chosen one. This is obviously a great advantage, but perhaps it's a bit too easy to get the trophies with these perks.
In terms of content, you get three new missions, and three side ones too. In the main storyline of these missions, you enlist to help out the Brotherhood with their Aqua Pura plan. The main missions will have you fighting against the Enclave alongside Liberty Prime, whilst the side missions are mostly helping the Brotherhood distribute water to the people. They include helping protect transports, dealing with fake Aqua Pura and finding out why Megaton needs so much water. Also, perhaps one of the best set pieces in the DLC pack is near the end of the main missions - you'll be taken to watch the destruction of the Adams Airforce base. It's a nice explosion but it's over pretty quick.
So Broken Steel is good. It's nothing special, only raising the level cap and unlocking the game. Some think that the gamer shouldn't be charged for these bits but someone's gotta make money, eh? Like the other DLC, it's short - 2-3 hours to do mostly everything, and then perhaps a little longer if you want to get to level 30. In my opinion, the other DLC packs are better than this one, but the open-endedness it brings makes it worthwhile.
A radio broadcast can be picked up in the wastes by a so called slave. Head to his position, and you'll find him battling a new enemy - the Pitt Raider. After helping the poor guy, named Wernher, you'll find that he's escaped from a slave camp in the old Pittsburgh. He begs you to help his people. Accepting, you'll be dressed as a slave and sent into the tunnels to reach The Pitt.
Compared to the massive expanse that you usually find yourself in, The Pitt is quite small. It consitsts of a main lower town, that has an old steel mill to the left. After completing a few missions, you're introduced to the upper town, roughly the same size as the lower town. Another area added with this DLC is the Hole. It's an arena you'll be forced to fight in one of the later missions, and best of all its irradiated.
With these new enemies come more armor and weapons. The best has to be the slaves' home made Auto axe, a hand to hand circular saw. The raiders also carry a new weapon, the Infiltrator. It uses 5.56mm bullets so you probably won't run out. It's got a nice scope on it too, and is silenced - perfect for the sneaky kills. In terms of armour, however, it's pretty poor. There is plenty - but it's a load of rubbish; you've probably got better stuff already. However, you can get hold of some power armour, which is great.
The Pitt holds 3 main missions, which ultimately end with you freeing the slaves. Along the way, you'll have to collect Steel Ingots for the foreman. These are found in a deadly environment, infested with Trog's, men and women that have turned mad over time working in The Pitt's fumes. These creatures are tough, specially when you don't have your usual equipment. It's a bit like starting Fallout 3 again, scavenging everywhere looking for ammo.
After successfully collecting enough steel ingots, you are thrust into the hole. These battles are much easier than the Trog's. With only 3-4 fights it's simple and a bit boring. It doesn't feel finished, and the whole DLC is over in 1 hour.
A very poor effort for £7.99. Not much to do, a bit small and little in the way of good equipment. However, if you want to have a look at a different part of Fallout's world, it's quite good fun, and if you're up for collecting all the ingots, you might be here for a little while longer.
And then, the second pack was announced, named Operation Anchorage. It gave me a perfect chance to stick Fallout back in. Once loaded, you start the quest from an Outcast distress radio signal which you'll hear while running the wastelands. It requests 'backup' at a certain location. For those of you that haven't played Fallout, the Outcasts are a sect of the Brotherhood of Steel (the good ones) that broke away following a dispute with the leader.
If you decide to head over to the Outcasts, you'll find them engaged in a fierce battle with some Super Mutants. With your help, they quickly overpower the mutants, and you will then be instructed to follow the outcasts back to an underground base. Here, you discover your exact reason for being recruited by the Outcasts - they've found a locked door that can only be accessed by someone with the pip boy. If you choose to help them, you are promised to the contents of the locked room. After accepting, you're told you must run a 'program'.
This is where the fight starts. Heading into the simulation, you will be informed about where you're going to go. You're told you'll be joining an elite squad fighting to reclaim Anchorage from the communist Chinese. Fallout 3 players may have noticed that the game seems to have an obsession with the Chinese communists: links to them are everywhere, as books in the libraries, names of quests/people and even some of the weapons (such as the Chinese assault rifle). However, one of the more obvious examples of this obsession are present as some of the things that Liberty Prime says. As you're playing Broken Steel, keep your ear out for what he says.
Once in the simulation, you'll be greeted by a fellow American soldier. He tells you the basis of your mission, and then gives you the choice of a sneaky knife approach or the more violent guns blazing way. Once chosen, your commander will climb a sharp cliff, leaving you to proceed on your own. What follows is a small journey through Anchorage, where you assassinate many a Chinese commando and collect a total of 10 pieces of intel. This intel is a nice touch, but with little gain, there's not much point.
As it's a simulation, you can't scavenge any of the bodies lying around, which is a really annoyance as there are a few nice pieces you could collect. The campaign continues with you destroying Chinese artillery and then heading back to base. Back at base, you're briefed on your next assignment and then get to take on a bit of a commanding role: you get to choose who to have in your squad and where you want them to go. It's a nice touch but very simple. Also, they all seemed to die rather early, and I was left fighting on my own. You'll proceed with a counter attack on the Chinese with a few other objectives before you're able to go for the full on assault.
Once the simulation is finished you'll be let loose in the locked room, which contains some nice armor. However, after the quite respectable amount of time you've put in, it's very basic. A few pieces of unique armor and a lot of grenades that you'll probably already have will be your only reward, and it happens to be a little disappointing.
The DLC is good. It won't keep you going that long - I managed to do it in 1-2 hours - and it's definitely overpriced for the amount of time you'll spend on it but, if like me, you're a die hard Fallout fan then it's gonna be good no matter what you get for it. It doesn't necessarily bring you much new equipment but the new area is a welcome change from the brownness of the CW. The show is awesome - it's a really welcome change from the normally dull environment and gives a great atmosphere to the DLC. There are a few annoying problems with the quest however - a bit short, very linear as you can't really go anywhere other than the path, and also not very rewarding.
It's a wonder that no one had set up boat rides of the wasteland rivers before. With Point Lookout comes a trip to the coasts of Maryland. You're promised adventure and treasures beyond your wildest dreams, so why stay in the wastes?
Taking the boat, you'll be greeted by a small film where you see some of the main parts of Point Lookout: the mansion, ferris wheel and seaside front. Once off the boat, you’re free to explore the whole wilderness that's available. If you take a look at your map, you may notice it’s massive - defiantly the biggest of the DLCs so far, and there’s a nice surprise still to come - what you see to begin with isn’t all Point Lookout has to offer.
If you do decide to take a wander, then be prepared for a fight. Much like the Trog's in the Pitt, these enemies are solid. And, what’s more, they like to fight in packs. Say your picking the head off one of the smaller Creepers, don't be surprised if you find yourself being crushed by one of the other enemy types: Bruiser, Scrapper and Brawler.
So you can see that the enemies have been toughened up, but how much do you get for your money? Well, compared to the others, you get five whole main missions. If that isn't enough for you, there’s another 5 side quests to keep you busy. One thing is for certain - this DLC is huge: there’s a massive area to traverse, 10 missions to play and another tonne of equipment.
There’s not much in terms of armour, but collectors will be happy to find plenty of named pieces of clothing. And, if you’re looking for a new weapon, then the Double-Barrelled Shotgun might satisfy your needs. It's very powerful, but with only 2 shots it's slow to reload.
With inbreds, strong enemies, a humongous area to explore and some nice guns, Point Lookout is by far the best DLC you can get for Fallout. It's got plenty to satisfy your needs for a good 2 hours. And if you want to go for all the trophies, then it's going to be a 4 hour job to find everything required.
After marvelling at the aesthetics of the ship, you might want to take a look at what the inhabitants like to keep. Following in the same shoes of the other DLCs, there's plenty of new rubbish to collect. There’s not much in the way of armour this time round - most of it is worn by your accomplices - but there are some exiting new weapons. The alien disintegrator is a nice one to play with, as there’s plenty of ammo for it, it packs a nice punch and, for goodness sakes, it’s a disintegrator, how can it not be fun?. For those of you that found the crashed spaceship in the wastelands, there are another 100 power cells lying about the ship, yours for the taking.
As you may have guessed, with this new equipment comes a new threat. This time it's everyone's favourite green skinned extraterrestrials. Most are easy bullet food, but some - for example, the drones - are a bit tougher and, if you’re not careful, could take you down. Having said that, they’re not likely to, as nearly every alien carries Alien Biogel, a blue gel that restores health. You can even get it modified to provide you with even more health points.
The ship itself is pretty big. There are plenty of corridors to explore, and even a space walk at one point. This pack is full of great set pieces - getting abducted, floating through space and a great view of the earth – but the best bit has to be toward the end, where you actually get to control the ship and fight another one! It's even got a slight tactical lean, allowing you to distribute power for a powerful hit, or to tighten defences.
It's probably one of the smallest DLC packs in terms of quests. You only get 3 missions, and not a single side quest. However, if you’re after trophies then you've got to spend a bit of time searching for the records of the ships captives. Some of them are pretty funny, and I advise taking your time out to look for them. If you’re not that bothered about trophies then you’re not going to be in space for very long - a typical play through will only take an hour tops. But, then again, you’re probably gonna enjoy being surrounded by something other than brown mud.
So, these DLC packs are great for the average Fallout fan. Point Lookout is, without doubt, the biggest and best - there's plenty to see and a tonne to collect. Coming in close second is Mothership Zeta, which is just as fun thanks to the change in scenery. However, it’s the shortest and perhaps not worth £7.99. Next would have to be Broken Steel, based on the fact that it lets you keep on playing. It's not got much more to offer apart from that, though, so it's all gonna be over pretty quick. Coming in next is Operation Anchorage, which is fun but too linear - you can't go off the beaten track, and don't even get much for the time you invest. Without a shadow of a doubt, The Pitt is the worst: it's over in a flash, doesn't provide the lone wanderer with much exiting equipment, and most of all – as much as I hate to say it – it’s boring.
- Jacques Hulme
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Originally founded by Matthew Meadows in 2007