Should I Buy? – Fallout 3 DLC

Here’s the promised follow-up to yesterday’s review of Fallout 3 where I’ll look at the DLC available for the game. I don’t usually buy DLC, and only got these because they were available on disc bundled with the game. But in this case at least, paying the extra for that disc is worth it. There are 5 DLC campaigns, so I’ll do 5 mini reviews a la my Steam games reviews.

1) Broken Steel (F3BS)

2) Point Lookout (F3PL)

3) Operation Anchorage (F3OA)

4) The Pitt (F3TP)

5) Mothership Zeta (F3MZ)

Broken Steel (F3BS)

Broken Steel is the major DLC campaign for this game, and designed to add a more challenging endgame to experienced players. There are four main features to this DLC. The first, it allows you to play past the ending of the original, and changes the ending in response to fan complaints. Secondly, the level cap is raised from 20 to 30, with all new perks to allow your character to develop further. It also negates that sadistic choice of which of the two awesome level twenty perks to take.

The third part is that it allows you to play a new set of missions that carry on from the main plot, as you track down and destroy the Enclave’s remaining power base. These missions take place in their own special area of the map and don’t allow for any sidequests or exploration but they are action-filled fun.

Fourth is the introduction of three new enemies to the Capital Wasteland. This isn’t something usually worthy of note, but these are designed to be sadistically tough. Even on the easiest setting, these guys can send you running for cover.

For the money they’re asking, this is worth it. But I still maintain that buying the Game of the Year Edition is the best way to go, giving you all five for a fraction of the price.

Point Lookout (F3PL)

This DLC is the one I’d most recommend after Broken Steel. Point Lookout takes you to a Louisianna swamp that was largely untouched by the nuclear devastation, but after centuries cut off from the outside world things have degraded. There’s a ghoul (kind of a sane zombie) from before the war battling the brain of an evil genius in a jar and his army of brainwashed tribals, a bunch of inbred hillbillies that have devolved into grotesque, bloodthirsty sub-humans with a fascination for ritual blood magic and a sinister old man living in his family’s manor.

The swamps are dangerous and foreboding. The atmosphere here is even stronger than the main game. And the strange peoples and quests in this area add a semi-surrealist tone to the whole experience.

Point Lookout is based on exploration and will make even you powerhouse level 30 fear confrontation. It’s an excellent addition to the main game.

Operation Anchorage (F3OA)

I would not recommend this as a separate purchase. Buying this unlocks a special quest line available from the main game map. By approaching the Brotherhood Outcasts you can enter a pre-War combat simulator, designed to train soldiers for one of the pivotal battles against China, the aforementioned Operation Anchorage.

This turns the game into much more of a standard shooter, with little originality beyond setting this in a semi-futuristic snow field. It doesn’t offer up any of the atmosphere or aesthetic of the main game and is only playable once per character. There are some good rewards at the end, but that doesn’t really make this DLC worth it.

It feels like they missed a real chance here, they could have made a campaign that gave us a glimpse into that twisted pre-War military psychology that was going on, or offering up some pathos through showing a more human element some rogue programmer had put into the simulation. Instead, it’s pretty much straight shooter action with the slightest hint of strategy.

The Pitt (F3TP)

I’d probably list this one as third in terms of value. You’re transported to the Pitt, the new name of the remains of Pittsburgh. This place was awash with a terrible disease that turned the inhabitants into sub-human cannibals called ‘Trogs’. But a Brotherhood of Steel Member stayed behind after they purged it off the Trogs and has since forged the survivors into an industrial super power using the old steel mill.

Lord Ashur has created a vast army of slave labour, which he controls with an army of slavers and raiders. He seems like your average evil overlord, but playing through this DLC quickly reveals that in fact, the rebellion you’re brought in to help may well end up being the worse of two evils in the long run.

A fair portion of the quests have you disguising yourself as yet another slave, which makes a nice change from the combat-centric quests that make up most of the Fallout 3 experience. These quests don’t last too long though, and you’re quickly forced to make a moral choice that for once is not cookie-cutter good or evil but instead incredibly complex. The game doesn’t even award you any Positive or Negative Karma for deciding.

Mothership Zeta (F3MZ)

Why isn’t this DLC great? You’re abducted by stereotypical 50’s style aliens in flying saucers and have to win your freedom by fighting your way out with a bunch of warriors plucked from different eras of history while also slowly uncovering details of just what the aliens have been doing with all these people over the years.

For some reason, none of it works. The new characters feel flat, the new weapons don’t balance the game’s seriousness with their intended comedy, the level design is bland, repetitive and uninspired and the clues you get rarely evoke a reaction, visceral or otherwise.

In fact, I’ve never even finished this DLC. Half a dozen times I’ve got halfway through and reloaded a save before I started it out of boredom. Don’t buy this separately. If you want to buy one individually, get Point Lookout or Broken Steel.

Price: PS3 DLC – $9.99 – £9.99 – 800 Points Each

XBOX 360 DLC – $9.99 – £9.99 – 800 Points Each

PC DLC – $9.99 – £6.75 Each (Games for Windows Live)

Game of the Year Edition: £12 (PS3) – £18 (360) – £12 (PC) – CEX Price

Operation Anchorage & The Pitt disc – £4 (360) – £3 (PC) – CEX Price

Broken Steel & Point Lookout disc – £6 (360) – £4 (PC)

Steam Prices: GOTY Edition – £14.99 DLC Price – £3.99


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