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Opinion

Review: Fallout 3 Broken Steel & Operation Anchorage

Which is best? There's only one way to find out.

Praise the lord! I’ve finally completed the last two Fallout 3 DLCs, sorry it took a while annoying things like Uncharted 2, Eyepet and Modern Warfare 2 demanded my attention.  So, here’s the final two packs, along with a handy round-up of all the other ones we’ve covered since they popped up on the PSN Store.

Operation Anchorage

Deciding that the Red Pill is the best option, Operation Anchorage drops you in a virtual simulation of the battle to liberate Anchorage, Alaska. This DLC pack has no depth whatsoever; it’s simply shoot, shoot, shoot and as it’s a simulation you do not earn XP. Everything is virtual so you cannot collect any items to take back to the ‘real world’ so upon completion of the simulation you get to cherry pick from a huge weapons store as a thank you from the Brotherhood of Steel Outcasts. These include some new items such as Shock sword, Stealth Armour and Winterised Power Armour.

Vehicles finally make an appearance in the shape of tanks but you cannot drive them and to spice things up some enemies now have cloaking devices. The setting makes a nice change from Fallout’s grey/brown and is suitably snowy although visually not a patch on Uncharted 2’s lovely flakes. There is very little plot development and even less in the way of memorable characters. Including a break for breakfast I completed the DLC is just over two hours, it is very short and has no replay value whatsoever as, unlike in the other DLC packs, there are no side quests.

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Broken Steel

If you have completed Fallout 3 you will know how annoying it is that it just stops, you can’t continue to wander about after the final mission. Broken Steel solves this problem by altering the ending of the original story and allowing you to continue your quest. The XP level ceiling is now raised to thirty and with the increase comes a shed load of new perks including the superb “Nuclear Anomaly”, which causes you to erupt in a massive nuclear explosion if you health drops below 20 percent. The story starts with you supporting Liberty Prime as he rips a hole in the side of an enemy base but this ends abruptly when Prime is blown to bits. Don’t worry kids, I’m sure he will be back in the sequel after being magically repaired by the Matrix.

It is your job to investigate the new powerful weapon that blew up your robotic chum. And by ‘investigate’ I mean ‘shoot things’. The first mission involves you searching the aforementioned enemy base for clues and once you have these your next mission is to liberate a Telsa Coil. The Enclave now have pet Deathclaws but if you follow an optional side mission you will receive a DeathClaw jammer and you can use the Deathclaws against the bad guys instead. The final mission finds you attacking a Mobile Crawler armed with a new weapon, the Telsa Cannon, and ends with one of those moral decisions Fallout 3 likes to offer you – kill yourself or kill your friends. Unlike Operation Anchorage there are six extra side quests to keep you busy and you can also head off and complete any quests from the main game that you may have missed.

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Giving the Fallout DLC an overall score is difficult. They are simply additions to the world of Fallout and bring little new in the way of game play so giving them a different score to each other, and indeed Fallout 3, would not be accurate. If you liked the main game you will probably like these – it’s as simple as that. What I can do is rate the DLC against each and recommend which order you play them.

1: Broken Steel – Simply “more of the same” Fallout 3 but when the original game is so good, more of the same is what you want. By loading up this DLC first you will also be able to power up to level 30 to help you with the other packs.

2: The Pitt – Superbly atmospheric sections, good story, spectacularly gory new weapons and creepy new monsters make this runner up. Click here for my review.

3: Point Lookout – Suffers from ridiculously tough enemies and an awful lot of wandering about but the map is huge and, at the start at least, the story is engrossing. Click here for my review.

4: Mothership Zeta – Rather short but benefits from a completely different setting and some dry humour to be found amongst the alien archive recordings. Click here for my review.

5: Operation Anchorage – Very short, very little to do apart from shooting. No replay value.

If you have not played Fallout 3 yet and can grab the GOTY Edition at a decent price I do recommend it. The graphics are patchy, it crashes and freezes more times than any game I have ever played, the menu system is fiddly and it’s damned hard to get started but persevere and you will enjoy it and certainly get your money’s worth. I estimate my playtime is around 80 hours now that I have completed all the DLC, and thus at a smidgen over thirty quid it’s a bargain.

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