|System: PC, X360||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: Jun. 23, 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
Given the absurd amount of time weve already spent winding through the numerous radiation-scorched nooks and crannies found throughout the dismal world of Fallout 3, its hard to believe the grim realities of post-apocalyptic living havent lost their luster by now. Many hours in, there are still more places worth exploring in the main game itself, but players whove craved a change of pace and a temporary break from the familiar drab grays and browns of D.C. are finding solace in some of the downloadable content Bethesda continues to churn out.
After exploring holographic snowcapped mountains in the arctic, venturing into an industrial Pittsburgh slave town, and waging a giant robot-led war against communism, the latest Fallout 3 DLC takes us to the murky swamps and jagged shorelined cliffs of Point Lookout. While the last few downloadable installments varied widely in their offerings and suffered from a few unfortunate but temporary technical issues at launch Bethesda seems to be gradually perfecting its formula. Though it offers more in terms of interesting encounters and strange plot twists than actual loot rewards, Point Lookout is easily one of the best and most challenging DLC excursions so far.
The wild excursion begins with a broadcast message announcing a ferryman stationed along the Potomac River is willing to take anyone with a thirst for adventure and exploration on a boat trip to Point Lookout. All you have to do is buy a ticket, hop on board, and be whisked away to the land of scientific rivalry, hippy cultists, and mutant hillbillies. Point Lookout is an intriguing place to say the least. Youre dropped off at the dilapidated remains of a seaside ghost town complete with run-down carnival attractions, some helpful amenities, and a boardwalk. A plume of smoke billowing out of a mansion settled atop a nearby hill serves as a literal smoke signal marking where to get the main plot underway. However, theres also a lot of peripheral terrain and oddities to explore in this vast peninsula; youre graciously given the complete freedom to do so.
Point Lookouts main attraction involves stepping into of a bloody feud between an intellectual but foul-mouthed ghoul and a nearby religious cult full of brain-addled psychopaths. The main series of quests takes you along a winding path from the rocky shores and creepy woodlands to subterranean caves to deep swamp. Plenty of strange and surprising twists in the story make this one of the more interesting and less predictable downloadable adventures to date. Beyond the main trek, several strong side quests make scouring the mucky landscape worth your time. Its also pretty fun when dementia sets in and the sky starts to melt, but well let you experience that on your own.
While the foggy, depressing atmosphere found in and around the point has a lot of the same dark flavor as many of the previous locales weve trudged through in Fallout 3, there are definitely some nice touches that change things up visually. Theres a solid variety in the different areas found in this expansion, from the craggy shoreline that offers a view of the huge lighthouse and the ocean beyond and the more civilized feel of the abandoned boardwalk to the creepy doll figures impaled along stakes in the woods surrounding the swamp and the dangerous, mucky terrain itself.