Monday, November 01, 2010

Broken Steel - Fallout DLC Review

Broken Steel signified the mid point in Bethesda's Fallout 3 DLC campaign, and it slots in rather awkwardly amidst the other four self contained mini campaigns, being a direct continuation of the main games plot. Though I would personally recommend buying and installing before you play any of the the other DLC packs in order to take advantage of the increased level cap and the new perks that go along with it, I personally decided to play it last (note: while I have played Operation Anchorage it was such as long time ago that I don't have a clear recollection of it, so I intend to replay it as my evil character this week and come back with my thoughts by the end of the week).

Broken Steel directly addresses a problem that many people had with Fallout 3, namely that once you completed the final mission of the main storyline the credits rolled and in order to continue playing you would have to reload an earlier save before you set certain events in to motion. This is a bit of a pain in a game that is ostensibly a free roaming experience, so Bethesda listened to their fans and now you have another option that allows you to play on and take part in several missions that show what befell the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel after Project Purity.

The missions in Broken Steel are good fun and take place in a combination of existing locations and a major new one. The main plot lasts a little bit longer than that of the other DLC packs as well, around 5-6 hours. Then of course you have the 10 extra levels of experience. When I played through all the of DLC, I was still only level 26 at the end of it all, so from that point on I explored all of the places that I had yet to visit in the wasteland (which was quite a few as it turns out). Fallout 3 is an absolutely vast game, but a good deal of the content is entirely optional so have further impetus to get out explore is a good thing.

Also, the new perks featured in Broken Steel meant that I was finally able to complete the annoying Nuka Cola Challenge side quest and earn the achievement points. In the original game I hadn't realised that you were supposed to save the bottles of Nuka Cola Quantum that you find and hand them in to one of two particular NPCs, so I actually drank a lot of them as healing items. Thankfully Bethesda must have realised that people might do this, and they added a perk that converts every 10 normal bottles of Nuka Cola into a Quantum. There are also other perks that reset your karma to neutral status, allow you to walk over traps without triggering them, and give you increased resistance to radiation, so by the end of the game you can pretty much make your character an unstoppable killing machine. I have also noticed many of these perks make a return in New Vegas.

All in all, Broken Steel is the DLC that many Fallout 3 fans were waiting for all along - it fixes certain problems, enhances an already brilliant game and allows you to wander the capital wasteland for as long as you wish. It's well worth the Microsoft points!

Overall: 8 out of 10

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