Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Pitt - Fallout 3 DLC Review

The Pitt was the second of five pieces of DLC released for Fallout 3, and personally is the one I enjoyed the least. First, a bit of background. This time, after receiving an emergency radio signal, you will encounter an escaped slave looking for help to free his fellow captives from the ruins of what used to be Pittsburgh. The unfortunate masses are forced by those in power to labour away in the steel mills, and venture out into the hazardous, Trog invested city to salvage steel ingots that can be fashioned into ammunition. Trogs were once normal human beings, but a disease has swept the city, causing many of its occupants to de-evolve and turn into these feral creatures. You have been tasked with both helping to free the slaves and also to help deliver the cure to the people, which is currently in possession of the leader of the slavers.

It appears that The Pitt is aimed at the Fallout 3 hardcore player, something which I certainly am not, despite having now invested over 80 hours into the game. I prefer to play on Easy, enjoying the exploration, the thrill of combat and towards the end of the game the over powered weaponry. Not long after starting this side story, all of your equipment is taken away from you (you can get it back later, so don't worry too much) and for a while all you have to defend yourself with is a brand new weapon to Fallout 3, the auto axe. You will be able to pick up guns from defeated slavers, but ammo is pretty sparse and there are many Trogs that you will need to kill, so you may run out pretty quickly.

As you'd expect, The Pitt isn't too difficult when played on one of the lower difficulty settings - but what it is, is annoying. It's fairly linear, the graphics aren't very varied (and nowhere near as nice as in Zeta), and the lack of ammo/decent weapons is a pain. Don't get me wrong, it's not a boring waste of time like some of the DLC I've been unfortunate to waste my money on (Dragon Age, I'm looking at you), but for me at least, The Pitt is definitely the weakest of the bunch. Those who struggled through the main game on one of the harder settings and are looking for a challenge may well enjoy it though.

Overall: 5 out of 10
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Mothership Zeta - Fallout 3 DLC Review

Mothership Zeta was the fifth and final piece of DLC released for Fallout 3, and in my opinion it could well be the best of the bunch, or at least of equal standing to Point Lookout and Broken Steel. It all depends what you want to get out of it really. If for you the best part of Fallout 3 was exploring the wasteland at your leisure, discovering quests and places of interest at your own pace, then Point Lookout would probably be the best choice. On the other hand if you would like a more linear experience, packed with high powered weaponry and unique enemies, then Mothership Zeta really delivers.

Some of your may have already stumbled upon the downed UFO out in the wasteland and picked up the Alien Blaster, an extremely powerful energy weapon. Well, this vessel is the starting point of Mothership Zeta, and it sees you being beamed aboard a ship populated by ETs that strongly resemble the classic Roswell alien from the legends. You are taken captive and thrown into a cell with another prisoner, and decide to work together to get out of there before your alien abuctees have an opportunity to test out their anal probes, or whatever else it is they may have in store for you.

After knocking out one of the guards, you can arm yourself with a Stun Baton until you get an opportunity to pick up a gun with a cool sounding name like a Disintigrator or Atomizer, before running amok on the ship, blowing up reactors and sabotaging the aliens attempt at destroying the world. It will probably take you between 3 and 4 hours to complete the quests contained within Mothership Zeta, and you will have great fun doing it as the graphics featured here are some of the best to feature throughout Fallout 3 and the DLC packs, with a steampunk vibe going on, lots of lovely shiny metal and some nice smoke effects. Reducing aliens to their component molecules is always good for a laugh as well. So all in all I heartily recommend downloading Mothership Zeta, but would suggest that you also buy Broken Steel as well so that you can take advantage of the increased level cap, or if you don't own Fallout 3 at all you could get the Game of the Year Edition which includes the main game and all of the DLC - which is amazing value for money and will probably take you a long while to complete.

Overall: 8 out 10

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Point Lookout - Fallout 3 DLC review

Point Lookout was the fourth of five DLC releases for Fallout 3. Way back when I put together my Fallout 3 review I promised that I would come back with my thoughts on the various DLC packages once I'd had the opportunity to check them out. Now, with Fallout: New Vegas less than a week away I have finally played through one of them, namely Point Lookout. Better late than never, eh?

I enjoyed this for the most part because it gives you a new, fairly large area to roam around in at your leisure, with quite a few locations to explore (and an achievement if you visit them all). There's a decent amount of gameplay to be had, too, with a main quest line that will take several hours to complete, a couple more optional quests, and of course many incidental and optional areas to discover. Throughout your time on Point Lookout you will come up against creepy rednecks, a tribe that has set themselves up in the local church and are obsessed with the native Punga fruit, and plenty of ghouls and mirelurks. Because I had already played through most of the main campaign by the time I came here I was armed to the teeth with a mini gun, combat shotgun, an alien blaster and full Brotherhood of Steel armour, but should you decide to visit earlier with the limited weaponry available towards the start of the game you may struggle a bit.

One of the optional quests you can complete in Point Lookout involves finding an evil book, which you can then take back to the mainland and destroy in the extremely creepy and ghoul infested Dunwich building should you decide to do so. Many people had already noted the references to H P Lovecraft throughout this building but had failed to locate the book mentioned in the audio logs that you can find - well now this DLC will finally help to solve that mystery.

Visually Point Lookout is a bit of a dreary place, which I suppose is in keeping with the atmosphere of Fallout 3 but a little more variety in the colour palette would have been nice. I also don't think the new areas were quite creepy enough - there were no scares that matched being assaulted by ghouls in the pitch black underground areas of the main game, or coming face to face with a Super Mutant Behemoth, for example. All in all though Point Lookout is an enjoyable experience and it was great to revisit the Fallout 3 world after all this time. I'm going to try and crack on with at least some of the other DLC packs this week, before picking up Fallout: New Vegas on Friday.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

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