Release Date: January 27, 2009
Version: Xbox 360
The Lone Wanderer of the Capital Wastelands picks up a mysterious radio signal to help a few Outcasts from the Brotherhood of Steel to get to a weapon’s cache. However, in order to get there, the Hero/Villain of Vault 101 must complete a training tutorial that covers the Annex of Alaska by the Chinese during the war.
I thought about not doing this and maybe mentioning it when I review the rest of Fallout 3, but DLC is made after the rest of the game, so it’s usually completely separate from the main story and gives one the sense that it’s a completely different game, often adding new elements that can only be found there, just off of another game’s engine.
Playability 2.4 of 4: Overall the controls work fine, as long as you’re okay with the Fallout 3 controls by the point you begin this (something you can do as soon as you leave Vault 101 without much issue). But they kind of subtract more than they add for this one. For one, no looting of corpses and instead you’re just looking for ammo drops and occasionally extra weapons that can be found throughout the world of Anchorage. I also don’t like that there’s not much weapon options if you didn’t go for Small Guns right away (only one Energy Weapon?…but why?).
Another thing that bugs me is that nothing you do in the world really matters at all, and though I went for a straightforward approach while completely the mission, I wonder if there was a way to skip it entirely and just open the cache since it seems like the same thing is accomplished in the end. So, yes, it is playable, or as playable as the main game, but most of it seems pretty pointless aside from getting extra experience points. I think they were maybe going for the more mainstream FPS crowd with making this add-on, but I think they forgot about their main fans a little bit.
Fun Factor 2.4 of 3: It’s plenty fun actually running through and killing Chinese soldiers as they invade Alaska, blowing up their bases and trying to get an upper hand, but it’s plagued with weird moments where your meant to take this whole video-game-within-a-video-game seriously. It’s distracting from what I think is more or less just a time waster in something that’s already meant to waste time. I dunno, it’s a strange addition to Fallout 3, to say the least.
Story 0.4 of 1: This feels like a missed opportunity where it could show us some real history of what was happening during the war that ended the world. Instead it feels more like a Call of Duty simulator where one was neither asked nor called for. Also, the Brotherhood Outcasts are a bunch of idiots and I feel nothing for them, probably because they don’t have a story. I don’t even know why they’re outcasts? I’ll admit I may have missed something when they were first explaining themselves but even if I did these people don’t stand out to me in any way, just
Graphics and Sound 0.9 of 1: Well, graphics is as good as in Fallout 3 (fine for it’s time) but there are a few moments in this where the graphics really stood out. One is when your entered into the program and it goes from staring at a blank wall to going in through a portal. Another is when you blow up the artillery guns before being sent to Anchorage Main. Truthfully the graphics are probably better than in the main game, actually.
The sound is fine, but as a person who likes to listen to the radio throughout the main game I feel I have to ding it for not offering some kind of alternative for these moments.
Replay Value: 0.1 of 1: Not much here really, you can’t go back into the program once your out anyway. So you’d have to start a new game to do it again. But there’s not even moral choices to make like in the rest of Fallout 3 so you can’t play through again with the alternative Good/Evil choices you made the first time. It’s just straightforward and can help you get Power Armor really early in the game if you want it, but there’s no reason I can see to actually want to replay this again… until you make a new character and want that Power Armor at level 3.