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Fallout 3 DLC May 12, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Fallout 3, Review, Xbox 360.
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I previously reviewed the first piece of DLC, Operation Anchorage, here. I did mean to review The Pitt when I finished it but I forgot, so here is a double whammy of that and the newest one – Broken Steel.

The Pitt

The Pitt

That screenshot says it all, really. Much like Operation Anchorage before it, The Pitt offers a nice change in scenery. This time it’s a smoggy, industrial Pittsburgh ruled by raiders and slavers. You are tasked with infiltrating the settlement and ultimately finding a cure for the disease which has ravaged the area. The settlement consists of a few areas with the most notable being the steelyard and train yard, both overrun by “trogs” who are basically savage mutated humans who run on all fours and are victims to the aforementioned virus. There is also a pit fighting competition which you must enter in order to join the ranks or the slavers and progress in the mission. You must survive multiple fights much like the colosseum thing in Fable 2 but on a much smaller scale, and you earn a few handy perks with it. There are also new weapons (and an achievement) available in exchange for collecting up to one hundred steel ingots – I couldn’t be arsed with this as I generally can’t stand. collect-a-thon quests in any shape or form.

By far my favourite part of this DLC was the new “auto axe” weapon, basically a circular saw made from car parts, which cuts through trogs in seconds. Despite the initial problems, I enjoyed The Pitt more than Operation Anchorage and it seemed to last me a lot longer too, clocking in at around five or six hours. Unlike the previous DLC, this felt more what made the main game so great, the side quests and interesting locations rather than trying to be more FPS-focused, which I’ll get onto next…

8/10

And now on to the disappointment.

Broken Steel

Broken Steel

This was meant to be the big one. Increasing the level cap from twenty to thirty and adding in a bunch of new perks, some of which are pretty decent e.g. faster action points regeneration while others, such as a well rested bonus in any bed, are a bit unimaginative. It also allows the game to continue on after the end, which curiously wasn’t possible to begin with. You join the ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel in an attempt o wipe out the Enclave. After a failed assault which results in an aerial missile strike destroying Liberty Prime (the big robot), the Brotherhood regroup and form another plan. Unfortunately this is when I started to get annoyed with the DLC, mostly due to the large numbers of enemies you have do deal with who have both a high amount of health points and deal a lot of damage, particularly the numerous sentry bots, death claws and feral ghoul reavers you come across. It just becomes tedious and it’s almost as if the game is trying to descend itself into some sort of mediocre FPS. When the action leaves the Capital Wasteland and moves onto an air base it just becomes more tedious which is a shame, really.

Given how much I enjoyed The Pitt, I had high hopes for this but was left disappointed. One of the few plus points is that unlike the previes two DLCs, this doesn’t have any collect-a-thon quests or achievements. That is one of the few plus points though. It doesn’t really introduce anything new that you haven’t seen in the main game eg. the scenery, everything in this feels the same as the wasteland whereas the prior DLC was the complete opposite. Also, he new weapon, the telsa cannon, feels slightly underwhelming given the amount of effort you have to go through to get it. While it had potential to be the most promising of the three pieces of DLC, Broken Steel ultimately becomes a tedious and disappointing experience.

6/10

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Random Gaming Irritations #759 March 31, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Fallout 3, Feature, Gaming Irritations, Rant.
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Releasing an unfinished, untested, broken and unplayable product for sale aka Fallout 3’s The Pitt DLC:

The initial release was full of floating exclaimation marks, unfinished textures, graphical glitches and became unplayable after a certain point due to the game crashing. How did it get released in such a state? Thankfully Blethesda sorted it after a day or so.

Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage Review January 28, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Fallout 3, Review, Xbox 360.
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Operation Anchorage

For me, and many other people, Fallout 3 was up there with the best releases of 2008. An immersive action RPG which I’ve put 40+ hours into, and that’s without finishing most of the side-quests. So I was pleased when Blethesda announced DLC to be released so soon after the game and for a reasonable 800 points.

After downloading  the content and loading up a save, you receive an emergency radio message requesting assistance from what turns out to be Brotherhood of Steel Outcasts. Upon locating the Outcasts you initially fight along side them against Super Mutants before making your way to an underground facility. It turns out the Outcasts want to get their hands on some advanced military equipment held within, but the only means of accessing it is via completing a military simulation. For some reason or other, they choose you for this task  due to your Pip-Boy 300 being able to interface with the training simulation device, or something like that. Then the game goes all Matrix on you and you enter into the training simulation – Operation Anchorage – an important event in the Fallout timeline which sees America liberate Anchorage, Alaska from the invading communist Chinese army.

Once in the simulation, the fundemental gameplay of Fallout 3 changes somewhat. There’s no looting of corpses (they vanish Matrix-style) and there are regular health and ammo stations thoughout the environment. The gameplay becomes much more action based and I’m glad I maxed out my character’s sneak skill since there are many opportunities to use stealth to your advantage. Some new equipment is introduced – my favourite being the Gauss Rifle which is basically the energy weapon equivalent of the sniper rifle.

The DLC consists of four quests offering a combined 100G in total when completed. There is nothing in these quests which you haven’t done before since they basically follow the “go here and destroy/sabotage/kill this objective” formula. While this may seem familiar, the change in setting from barren, radiation-blasted wasteland to a snow-covered battlefield is a welcome one. The missions in the main game where you fought alongside allies were among my favourites so I was pleased to see more of  those elements in these quests.

Throughout Operation Anchorage it feels like the game is building up to a big finale but unfortunately, while it was impressive, it left me feeling a little underwhelmed. However, at 800 points for around 4-5 hours play I’d say it is definitely worth it. Even though it ends with a whimper, the core gameplay is as solid as the main game so I definitely recommend dowloading it.

8/10

Fallout 3: Potential GOTY of the year 2008 April 11, 2008

Posted by Matthew in Fallout 3.
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Just look at it. Beautiful.

Here are some previews, mostly covering the beginning of the game, character creation, combat and something about a dog…

GamesRadar
IGN
1UP
Joystiq
Gamespy