Fallout 3 is an excellent game, deserving of some of the best awards given to games. It received those awards, with several publications naming it the Game of the Year, hence the release of Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition. This version of the game included, in addition to the base game of Fallout 3, all the down-loadable content that has been released for the game. The DLC includes Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steal, Point Lookout, and Mothership Zeta. Though this review will briefly discuss the vanilla game, it will mainly be focused on the DLC.
This game was the long anticipated sequel to 1998’s Fallout 2. Though not a chronological sequel, it is set in the same post-apocalyptic world that the previous two games took place in. The first two games took place in southern California, and this one takes the setting back east to the Washington D.C. area, in what is known as the Capital Wasteland. Fallout 3 is true to the original games, with a dark sense of humor, and extreme violence and gore. The combat system is a throwback to the first two games, but updated for a modern experience. The game is excellent, and most RPG fans will love it. Those that have never played an RPG will probably enjoy this as well.
This was the first piece of DLC released for the game, and in many ways the most disappointing. Rather than adding new content to the Capital Wasteland, it adds a simulation device, that allows the player to visit a simulation of the war between China and the US. That war has been part of the Fallout lore since the first game, and was part of the cause of the nuclear holocaust. The simulator allows the player to experience one of the battles from that war. This DLC was mostly focused on shooting, presenting the player with a lot of enemies, and fairly linear level design. It adds plenty more game hours, but it isn’t that fun, and it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the game. The main thing that it offers, is that it allows the player to receive Power Armor Training perk without having to complete significant portions of the main quest. It’s not horrible, just disappointing.
This DLC could possibly be the best of the Fallout 3 DLC, though some will argue that Broken Steel is the best. This expansion adds a new quest line involving slave labor in Pittsburgh, PA. It expands the Fallout lore by adding more details about why the slave trade is so prominent, and involves a plot-line about curing certain forms of radiation sickness. The game-play is consistent with the original game, and overall blends in nicely with the rest of the game.
This was perhaps the most anticipated DLC, mainly because it raises the level cap from 20 to 30, and allows the player to continue playing after completing the main quest. It adds on a new quest-line that takes place after the main quest, which is an aftermath quest that allows players to participate in some of the events that they would expect to occur after the story of the main quest. This DLC does have one problem though, and a pretty serious one at that. With the new level cap it also introduced three new “tough” enemies. The Super Mutant Overlord, the Albino Radscorpion, and the Feral Ghoul Reaver.
These new enemies, especially the Super Mutant Overlord, are ridiculously difficult to kill. They aren’t fun to fight, players are guaranteed to run out of Action Points while fighting them, they are annoying, and encountering them is likely to cause some lost tempers. These enemies don’t show up until the player character reaches levels near and above 20, but once they do they are the ultimate frustration. If a player delays the main quest, then by the time they get to Vault 87 it could be literally filled with Super Mutant Overlords. Super Mutant Overlords are about as tough as Behemoths, except that there are a lot more of them. Part of the fun of reaching level 20 in the base game was that a character was so tough that they could kill almost everything in a single shot, with a satisfying slow motion sequence of the enemy being blown to bits. With these tougher enemies, slow motion shots that would normally mean a lot of damage is about to be dealt, mean that maybe 10% of the enemies health will be reduced. It simply isn’t fun to fight these guys.
The actual quest introduced at the end of the game is quite fun. It takes the player to Adams Air Force base. Perhaps the best thing about the air force base is that it is wide open and flat, unlike the Capital Wasteland, and it provides a good opportunity for players to use the signature Fat Man mini-nuke launcher. For once, players will find themselves able to light up an open area with nuclear explosions, and without having to worry about damaging themselves. The whole mission is excellent, and adds a really great finale to an already excellent game.
This DLC adds a new area of wasteland to explore. While the other DLCs are very linear in game-play, this one is the most open. Player’s are taken to the south of Maryland. This area has not experienced the nuclear holocaust of the Capital Wasteland, but it has been mostly abandoned, and many of the inhabitants have gone insane, making even worse enemies than the Feral Ghouls. The area is creepy, it is a horror setting, by which it should be understood that it is a horror-comedy. For example it parodies The Blair Witch Project in that there are little dolls hanging on trees, all over the place, but rather than being creepy looking stick figures, they are silly looking stuffed toys. It plays on other horror themes associated with the swamplands as well. There are references to Lovecraft mythology. It is quite funny in a dark way, and is fairly satisfying, but as with Broken Steel it introduces enemies that are simply “too tough”, and that takes some of the fun out of the game.
This DLC is on par with Operation: Anchorage. It features a fairly strait-forward shooter style quest. The player is abducted by aliens, and from there goes on a killing spree, wiping out all the aliens in sight. It’s not very fun, it doesn’t add anything to the Fallout lore. It is merely a throwback to the random UFO encounter of the first two games. It introduces some new weapons, none of which are that impressive. It has the same problems as Broken Steel and Point Lookout in that the enemies are too tough to be fun. This is the worst DLC that has been released for the game.
The bottom line with the DLC for the game is that if you got it with the Game of the Year Edition you may as well install it, unless you don’t want tougher enemies, then avoid installing Broken Steel. If you just want more Fallout 3 game-play The Pitt and Broken Steel are highly recommended. Point Lookout is worth a look at. Operation: Anchorage can safely be skipped, and Mothership Zeta should be skipped.