|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bethesda Softworks||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 5, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Countless hours spent exploring the vast nooks and crannies of the wasteland in Fallout 3 culminated in a major letdown for players who decided to proceed through the conclusion of the game's main storyline. Start-to-finish, the game's main series of quests are a sizeable effort to tackle, but the decimated landscape of post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. holds a cornucopia of hidden curiosities to explore in its side quests. Completing the game closed off the possibility of continuing your journey. With the new Fallout 3: Broken Steel DLC, Bethesda has righted several wrongs and provided an even greater incentive to pour more time into its radiation-scorched realm.
Operation Anchorage provided a linear, action-heavy romp through the snowy, holographic mountains of Alaska that temporarily ditched the RPG elements fans have grown to love. The Pitt restored the more traditional style of play found in the main game and sent us deep into a colony of slaves to raise hell and prove our resourcefulness with the limited equipment available. While Broken Steel doesn't change up the setting quite as drastically as the previous two DLC installments, it extends the game far past the original ending - opening up the world for you once again to explore and conquer. Be forewarned: if you haven't played to the end of the main quest, you'll want to do so before digging into Broken Steel (and our review).
Accessing the Broken Steel content is simple. Load a saved game from just before the main quest is completed, wait a moment for a message to pop-up indicating your level cap has been bumped from 20 to 30, and then you're good to go. What does this mean? You can proceed to finish the main story; instead of dying, you'll wake up two weeks later in The Citadel. While you've been out, the Brotherhood of Steel has been busily working to stamp out the remaining pockets of The Enclave's forces. You're recruited to accompany the giant, communist-crushing Liberty Prime on a mission to wipe the region clean of the last dregs of Enclave resistance.
Though your reunion with the massive robot is sadly short-lived, your new quest will take you to the far reaches of the wasteland and into new areas including the Deathclaw-infested power works, the ruined tunnels beneath the irradiated remains of the White House, and the huge airbase where The Enclave mount a final stand. These new areas are varied, both in design and in the types of new foes and goodies you'll encounter, but don't expect them to look drastically different from the overall drab and depressing vibe found elsewhere in the main game. The last two DLC releases provided some stark changes in location and visual variety. Broken Steel's tweaks are found in other areas of the game.
With the major hike in the level cap comes a commensurate level of opportunities to kill things. The Enclave Hellfire Trooper, dangerous troops who wield the must-have Heavy Incinerator and fire-resistant armor, are one of the most interesting new foes you'll face. Others are simply upgraded versions of older adversaries, including Super Mutant Overlords, Feral Ghoul Reavers, a variety of robots and turrets, and even the hearty Albino Radscorpions. In addition to a handful of flame throwing devices, most of the new weaponry to be found is ridiculously powerful. Heavy Incinerator rounds erupt on contact, causing anything within range to ignite and receive peripheral burn damage. The new Tesla Cannon also delivers a tremendous blast that continues to cause area-of-effect damage for a short time beyond the initial impact. There's also a chance to pick up a Fat Boy and some other excellent ordinance, for players who've yet to come across them in the main game.