Review by: Bill Jones
While “Operation: Anchorage” and “The Pitt” offered off-map locations for gamers to explore whether they finished the original story of Fallout 3 or not, “Broken Steel” makes more drastic changes to the ever-expanding game and adds roughly four hours of gameplay.
Players first must complete the main story arc of Fallout 3 to access “Broken Steel,” and the original multiple-option ending is changed to require a certain path for players to access the DLC. The original ending is then altered to allow the character’s story to continue, something not previously possible.
The level cap also gets an increase from 20 to 30, along with new perks, and players receive access to more weapons, including the powerful Tesla Canon. Those weapons will be needed, as Bethesda has also bumped up the difficulty of all enemies, making for much tougher battles all around. Players who have stocked up on ammo can expect to go through much of it if they don’t use exactly the right weapons in this battle-heavy addition, which also tosses in a slew of new enemies.
The story sees the player wake from a coma in the base of one faction, joining their forces in an all-out assault on an enemy faction. Things don’t go exactly as planned, and the player has to take things upon himself and eventually go Rambo on the entire operation. Three main quests comprise the story, while three side quests add to the mix.
The main story arc doesn’t do the change to the ending justice, nor do missions offer much more than frustratingly heavy combat. The DLC would still be worthwhile, though, because of the weapons and level cap increase, which goes a long way to make players feel once again like they are working toward something every time they off an enemy or hack a terminal.
The fun is hampered, however, by bugs, which have persisted through Fallout 3’s DLC releases. While issues have proven spotty between gamers throughout the different releases, this gamer suffered the most problems with “Broken Steel.” Aside from learning about issues with accessing the DLC, “Broken Steel” froze more than any other DLC for this reviewer, and the already difficult Feral Ghoul Reavers went into some sort of spasm, making them nearly indestructible. Whether using the VATS system for head shots from a foot away, or unloading full clip after full clip, the enemy was unhittable, making for incredibly aggravating fights and unfair deaths.
While the problems may not affect every gamer, and patches can and have fixed certain problems, it is becoming an aggravation not knowing whether the $10 put down for DLC will buy a broken and/or unfinished product. “Broken Steel” makes some major changes to keep Fallout fans interested, as long as they’re lucky enough to be spared the bugs.
For more info, http://fallout.bethsoft.com