Fallout 3 DLC Review

on October 22, 2009 5:13 PM

I once purchased Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360 for no apparent reason, rebelling against my brain’s constant nag informing me that I was not going to like “this dull excuse for a game.” “Well,” I told my brain, “Shut up. Let’s wait and see.”

So I cautiously arrived home and nervously placed the game amongst the plastic claws of 360’s disc tray and…. Crr Wkrrr Bzzt – HELL YEAH BRAIN! It was wrong! All wrong! The introductory moments had me mesmerizingly gripped. The narrative, despite how flimsy it becomes later on during the title, was so solid and intriguing and above all UNIQUE that I instantly fell in love – romantically defending the game to any Harry, Dick or Sally that dared cross it and ultimately becoming one of those pathetic “clingy” males you see crying in public places after being dumped by a reasonably average looking girl.

Okay, perhaps this is all beside the point. Whilst my courtship with the game was fruitful and prosperous, the conclusion left me uneasily empty. Days of my life I’d spent dedicated to pursuing the narrative to its stunning conclusion, and what did we get? A thirty second summary of events – not even a little “thank you” cut scene, just some still images and that plonk-face Three-Dawg repeating the same clichéd balls over and over. Why did this happen? Why do all the great games out there (and I’m looking at you right now BioShock!) have to ruin the player’s experience by concluding with a terrible, effortless, abrupt halt?

On this dismal note, my heart literally skipped a jump or two when I heard the announcement of DLC for Fallout! Finally, I could carry on the adventures of the obese, Chinese man I had created at the beginning – who I called ‘DickFace’ (utilizing the fact that Fallout doesn’t prevent you from using any words censored by many development companies). I received all five copies of the downloadable content, sat down on the corner of my bed and played to my heart’s content. Oh yes – the journey continued at last! DickFace and I, all alone in the Fallout Universe – how pleasant life is once again…

…That was, of course, until I began Operation: Anchorage.

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Operation Anchorage (DLC: Xbox 360/PS3) – 4/10

First of all, I can inform you that Operation Anchorage is easily the worst of all the five packages of Downloadable Content – and it’s really a shame that it was the first to be produced and sold. It takes the worst parts of Fallout (primarily the repetitive combat), condenses it – then spits it back out at you. For anybody hoping for a continuation of the narrative, that’s not here I’m afraid. Instead you get placed in a fictional “virtual environment” without any solid justification, and are expected to complete roughly three tasks before the package abruptly comes to a halt.

The narrative of this content is very un-Fallout-y (if DualShockers is allowing me to invent words). You play you’re original Fallout character, who must mysteriously track the original source of one of the many unsystematic radio broadcasts across the wasteland. Once “tracked”, you must enter a simulation for no apparent reason, other than to please you’re co-brotherhood pals. This simulation takes you to the fictional liberation of Alaska. I come from the United Kingdom, so the majority of this had no effect on me; however the narrative seemed to revolve around the fact that America had supposedly fought the Chinese in these arctic conditions to prove something to someone. Or maybe it’s cos like three-dawg said: ‘War never changes’ – ACTUALLY THATS PRETTY CLEVER. Damn. Anyway, you are the “best of the best”, armed with any virtual device the game feels cheery enough to give you and with one cool cursing son-of-a-bitch friend for aid. The new environments, I must say, look stunning – and the game play isn’t all that bad. I actually did for one moment feel totally immersed up on the arctic cliffs, listening to the howling winds and seeing the snow crunch under my feet. However the sheer length of it (2 hours it took me!) and the repetitive nature I felt it adopted really spoilt this, otherwise decent, effort from Bethesda.

Pros:

  • Nice new setting.
  • Rather cool innovative ways of giving you health and ammo.
  • Likeable solider characters.
  • Goodies afterward are always a good thing.

Cons:

  • Repetitive as hell.
  • Soldiers vanish once dead (I know it’s a simulation, just looks tacky).
  • Too short – Nothing really to do with Fallout. Other shooter games have done this, and much better.

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The Pitts (DLC: Xbox 360/PS3) – 7/10

Three words. Hurray at last! Five hundred and twenty-two Words:

Now we’re talking! Unlike the previous instalment ‘Operation Anchorage’, I finally feel back at home in the Fallout universe. Whilst both are similar to the extent that they both take place in new environments, as opposed to Anchorage’s “simulation” excuse The Pitts really makes you feel as if you’ve discovered a brand spankers genuine location in the Capital Wasteland. The build up to the entry is (like most things about the content) fantastic; as the mysterious Wehrner approaches you in the midst of his own personal battle. Before delving straight into the troubles of the Pitt, you must complete a few missions in the Capital Wasteland. These range from murdering (yay), to changing outfits – but generally it feels nice to prepare yourself for the events as opposed to jumping straight into it all. It is evident that the developers spent a large amount of time on this title. It contains the atmosphere, humour and entertainment we’ve all come to expect from the franchise – and in my opinion could easily have been included as one of the major set pieces in the original Fallout 3 title.

The ambience is so oppressive, claustrophobic and well crafted that you have to give Bethesda thumbs up for creativity. You’re eyes literally feel tortured once you’re subject to hours and hours of endless mechanical waste, caged pathways and fiery radiation. I felt it a shame that the majority of the slaves would not communicate with you, as their pain is so evident during their monotonous routine of working in the Mill. I also greatly appreciated the inclusion of an almost “horror movie” –esque back-story/subplot, as Wehrner explains that some of the residents have mutated into ghoulish Trogs. These creatures are straight out of a sci-fi horror, hunting around on all fours, silent yet extremely fast paced. To me, they sort of resembled the aliens from Dead Space, and if you found that scary, you know where you are with this.

That’s not to say it is without its problems. The game is extremely buggy; I think I counted six times that it froze on me during crucial moments – forcing me to restart the console (and consequentially the section). At the beginning you are stripped of all your items, and no one really ever tells you where they are. I HAD to use the internet to help me otherwise I’d have walked straight out of Pittsburgh without any of my beloved items. Finally – in the midst of a battle I accidentally hit a crucial character. That character got pissy and started attacking me aswell. There was absolutely nothing I could do to get the character back on my side, so in order to advance the plot I had to kill them and lose karma! Then, later on in the game – another character was telling me about how the character I’d already killed was feeling, and what they intend to do once I complete my next mission. If that’s confusing I do apologize, I’m just trying to keep anything spoiler-ish to a minimum. Suffice to say, it was crazy and really detracted from my overall enjoyment of the game.

Pros:

  • Nice new setting, complete with atmosphere and a great narrative.
  • A more likable and diverse array of characters compared to Anchorage.
  • Some fantastic new weapons! And fantastic horror creatures!
  • Far longer than Anchorage.

Cons:

  • Certain areas begin to look the same, making it easier to get lost and easier to get a migraine.
  • Full of bugs that need to get patched.
  • Still not long enough for the price tag.

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Broken Steel (DLC: Xbox 360/PS3) – 7/10

First off, I have to say I’m not a big fan of extra weapons and raises in level caps etc. Sure they may be nice bonuses for some fan boys, but what I look for primarily in a game is the story and entertainment value. When I discovered that Broken Steel continues the story after the original story concludes, I jumped for joy. Finally, DickFace and I don’t have to suffer the terrible fate met at the end of the original narrative, now we can carry on a cool adventure to…

… what?

I wake up after two weeks – and essentially have to kill all the remaining Enclave soldiers across the Capital Wasteland? What sort of a cop-out narrative is that? How totally crap! Where’s the new adventure? What happened to leftover characters? Did the purifier succeed? Am I a homosexual? So many questions… However I am the reviewer, so I gathered myself together and gave it all I’d got.

Suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised! Whilst it begins with “more of the same” in terms of the original Fallout concluding missions, the assignment structure (along with the enemies) greatly vary as you play on. One thing that stood out to me primarily was the abrupt change in difficulty – and that’s not a bad thing! I now understand the need for a rise in the level cap! The enemy classes got tougher and tougher, and I found myself fighting huge, monstrous Enclave soldiers and strange creatures. Set pieces involving Liberty Prime also stand out in my mind as another moment that should have featured in the original game. It was exciting, well thought out and mesmerizing to watch. However, the ending for me was a real let down as it felt more Oblivion: Elder Scrolls than Fallout 3, and I think I share that opinion with a great deal of people. It’s quite peculiar that Bethesda have been given two opportunities now to create a great ending – and I don’t like either of them! Again, it has it’s bugs too – however not on the same level as the Pitt. To conclude, the side missions, whilst not rewarded, are also a pleasure to play. This title feels the most value for money so far; however parts suffer from being extremely repetitive and unnecessarily difficult.

Pros:

  • Continuation of the original game, it’s good to be back!
  • Nice to see old faces returning, and being accompanied by your old companions.
  • Some more new weapons raised level cap and new creatures/soldiers.
  • Most value for money.

Cons:

  • A lot more of the same, so may get repetitive in parts.
  • Still go it’s bugs!
  • Ending sucks. Again.
  • Title: Fallout 3 (including DLC)
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks & ZeniMax Media
  • MSRP: $59.99 (GOTY Edition)
  • Release Date: October 28, 2008 (original), October 13, 2009 (GOTY)
  • Review Copy Info: This review copy was purchased by DualShockers, Inc. for reviewing purposes
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Hey there, the name’s Gary Marston! I currently reside in the small (and by small, I mean absolutely tiny) hamlet of Bretford, close to Birmingham in the United Kingdom. My main interests in life are entirely media-related. I’m a keen film-maker, journalist, performer and writer, however when I can – nothing entertains me more than settling down in front of the old trustworthy Playstation3 and immersing myself in a brilliant game! I'm very open minded when it comes to gaming - however I am a man's man... don't try pushing Barbie: Shopping Adventure on me DualShockers, cos I'm not that open minded!!