June 22, 2014

Let's talk about: Fallout 3 DLC

Author's Note: Wow, it's been awhile. I understand no one was chomping at the bit for more of these, but at the same time, I really wanted to keep coming back to work on it some more. So here I am, ready for another Let's Talk About, I hope you like it.

Downloadable content is a rather contentious issue, ya know? People are very split on it for some reason. The argument for dictates that through DLC you have a way to go back and continue to enjoy an experience without paying full price for it. The argument against says that more often than not the content provided should have been free, and that DLC's are just a way greedy developers can nickle and dime their fans. While I can certainly see both sides, and there are times when the latter is true, never has the former been more apparent than with the Fallout DLC's.

There are 8 of them in total, 4 for 3 and 4 for NV. I'm going to break each one down separately so you may draw down separately, so this might be a bit lengthy. Here goes.

Operation: Anchorage

History is really important to Fallout's overall theme. It being a "what-if" sort of universe where we all decided plastics and fuel efficiency were dumb, it's interesting to look back and see how it all turned into nuclear armageddon. Operation: Anchorage does that...Sort of. Specifically, it covers the high point of the conflict between the United States and China, that acted as the prelude to said nuclear armageddon. It's explained away with a fancy VI machine the Brotherhood Outcasts contract you to use for them, in exchange for "phat lewt". You are placed in the shoes of an American soldier, tasked with carrying out the aforementioned Operation: Anchorage.

Gameplay takes a bizarre turn in this one; As it is a virtual reality, you cannot loot bodies since they phase out of existence. You heal all damage and refill ammo and pick up new weapons at pre-determined points as you run along gunning down commies. Apparently Bethesda wanted to see what would happen if Fallout was a Call of Duty clone. To be fair, there are attempts at new RPG-sort of things here. You get to form a squad using a limited number of tokens to select members, and you get to choose what path you take to the end. Unfortunately, this is sort of lost since your squad mates kinda suck and you'll be doing most of the work anyway. There's no inherent challenge to it whatsoever, and there's about TWO FUCKING QUESTS, after which you win and get the delicious swag promised to you.

I actually forgot about this fucker. Never mind, DLC is hard as balls.
The swag alone is worth it, and it is mercifully short, but ultimately Anchorage gets a 4/10.

Broken Steel

I mentioned in my FO3 review that the game had a shit ending, and it did. It's rather funny how angry everyone got with the ending to this game, yet Bioware just went ahead and did the same thing years later, for a TRILOGY of games no less. But unlike Bioware, Bethesda was quick to fix the issue with Broken Steel, a special add-on that changes the ending, and then some. See, it lets you actually continue playing after the main campaign, and even offers a brand new, HARD AS BALLS campaign that I actually really like. This one has a lot of great cinematic moments, and the explosive climax makes me completely forget the utterly bland story presented up until this point. New enemies are added, and most of them are wicked powerful, if not utterly broken. Ghoul Reavers, in particular, soak up a stupid amount of damage while still being able to chunk your health at even your highest levels with the best armor.

Fuck these things, too.

The whole game has been reworked to be more challenging to higher level players, and it works. Broken Steel is the only DLC that I'd say is quite necessary. 10/10.

The Pitt

This was the first DLC that added a genuinely new location, and the remains of the urban tumor that is Pittsburgh is certainly one that immediately catches your eye. It's a stark, glowing furnace of hellfire, quite literally.

Play "Engine City" from Bioshock to this. It's oddly fitting.

The Pitt, as Pittsburgh is now called, is a massive ammunition plant, run by an army of slavers and their respective slaves. You are presented with the choice of liberating the slaves or siding with the slavers but before any of THAT happens, you start out as a slave. You are tossed in with all your gear confiscated, forced to fight the new deadly creatures called Trogs as you collect metal for the furnaces and fight in a gladiator arena for your freedom. Aside from the ridiculous amount of new armor and weapons The Pitt brings to play, the story is the only one of all the DLC's that actually allows choice in how the conflict is resolved. The Pitt itself is a very interesting locale, and I wish there were more quests in The Pitt itself. The Pitt also comes with a morale choice, as the people of the Pitt all suffer from this bizarre disease that's never explained in great detail.

Deciding their fate ultimately has little impact, and it feels tacked on. The Pitt gets a 7/10 from me.

Point Lookout

Point Lookout is pretty much what I wanted out of a DLC; A vast new and unique land to explore, with new quests and characters to love. It's a shame it's so horribly unbalanced, but who cares?! Fallout in exotic locations is one of my immediate deal makers, and Point Lookout puts Fallout on the swampy islands of Maryland, so sign me up!

Fallout: Louisiana needs to happen!

The best part about this particular DLC is that if you get frustrated or don't have the levels to take it on, you can just leave! The story is not forced on you like every other DLC, and this is for the best considering the insane difficulty of this particular item. Point Lookout makes you its bitch with artificial difficulty that is out of this world; Tribals that should take and do as much damage as Raiders suddenly fight like they're Enclave troopers, and don't even get me started on the fucking Inbreds, that, despite being...inbred, are incredibly smart and can accurately shoot you square in the face with a double barrel shotgun at 500 kilometers. Were it not for the locale and variety, I'd tell Point Lookout to kiss my ass.

The story's a pretty good one too, despite its distinct feeling of unimportance, and like most DLC has some very nice rewards that are worth working for, so ultimately Point Lookout scores an 8/10.

Mothership Zeta

This is the worst time I've had with the series since Brotherhood of Shit. Granted, anything is better than THAT, but this is still absolute garbage, despite the loot. Do you remember in Fallout 1 that you could find a wrecked alien spaceship, complete with alien skeletons and working gun? Well, Mothership Zeta attempts to follow up on that by having you straight up abducted. Though the presentation is cool enough, and the alien spaceship has some cool scenery, it stops being fun about 5 minutes in, when you suddenly realize in horror that the entire run through the ship is going to be the same: A monotonous grind through nonthreatening enemies and the occasional bullshit hard moment. The game TRIES to add variety with a group of NPC's, all of which are people abducted from Earth over a long period of time and cryogenically frozen. You can even meet an honest-to-god SAMURAI WARRIOR, who even speaks Japanese!

You aren't important, are you? 'Cuz I really like your armor...

Awesomeness of that aside, the gameplay consists of running through increasingly uninspired and boring alien ship environments, gunning down the same weak and ineffectual "Grey"-styled alien for about 3 goddamn hours. There are some attempts at variety, with a spacewalk section, some sort of strange "Alien Pinball" sort of thing, and the conclusion in which you fight another ship (This is not even close to being as cool as it sounds.). There's also these insanely powerful "Abomination" creatures, which are implied to be alien-human hybrids. Implied meaning there is virtually no story in this thing and you just have to infer. The game goes all Bioshock on you by leaving a crap load of Audio Logs that frame a story but it ultimately falls flat because there IS NO FRAME. It is never explained what the aliens want, why they abduct people, or why they create these hybrids that just end up killing them too, anyway!

Fuck Mothership Zeta, not even the incredibly powerful and high value alien weaponry would make me play this shit again, 1/10.

Don't agree with me? That's awesome! Share your love for Fallout and comment DLC feels bellow, from the best to the worst (if there is the worst one in your world), and you try to rate them. It is the whole point of "Let's talk about" series, to talk about and share love for Fallout. Make sure to read the next Let's Talk About to learn what I think about the New Vegas DLC.

More Let's Talk About:

Fallout 1, 2 Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4