Over the weekend I downloaded and played the new content for Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage and also tried Domino99 Online for fun online games. And I was not disappointed at all by both of them. Here in this article, I will tell you about my experience of Fallout 3 in detail.
The bulk of the new stuff is a simulation of a famous battle from the Fallout universe lore, namely the reclamation of Anchorage, Alaska from the Chinese. This is cloaked in a mission you do for the Outcasts and takes place in a VR pod.
In order to access the content, you start up your game and play for a bit; soon you’ll find a new radio signal which is broadcasting an Outcast distress call. Upon responding, you fight your way through a very familiar-feeling swarm of super mutants (the only real difference its the Outcasts and not the Brotherhood this time) and are granted access to an Outcast stronghold in the ruins of DC.
You enter and talk to the man in charge, and he tells you that your PIP-BOY has some kind of magic technology that will allow them to open a door in their base (which has stuff behind it and somehow can’t be opened despite looking like every other door in the game). But for some reason, you have to play a VR game first.
And it can kill you.
But you bought the damn content so to hell with in-game logic, we’re talking about fighting the Red Chinese Menace here! So you go sit in this pod and after a pretty cool light show you appear on a frozen cliff, next to some dude I’ll call “Mr. Generically Badass Sidekick” (or Mr. Gibbs for short).
Mr. Gibbs tells you that you have to go take out some artillery. You have a knife and a 10 mm pistol. So far, so good.
He then scales the cliff next to you and is out of the picture for a bit.
Moving forward, you shoot some Chinese soldiers and see a magic red propane tank that refills your health to full when you activate it. These are everywhere.
Eventually, you get some better guns (soldiers disappear in static after they fall, so you don’t collect stuff form corpses in the simulation), and find a magic ammo dispenser that also glows red. These are everywhere.
Now comes the cool part. You have new guns; a Chinese assault rifle and a brand new piece of badass called the Gauss Rifle, which is pretty much a rail gun combined with a sniper rifle that takes microfusion cell ammo. Not only is this totally awesome, but it also does huge damage and knocks enemies flat on their asses (if you get a good hit in). You also have charges.
So you run out along some cliff faces, up and down some platforms, and you see these huge ass guns that you blow up (which is sweet) and you fight some crazy Chinese dudes in stealth armor with sniper rifles (which gets old quick) and then Mr. Gibbs (did I mention he joins back up with you?) tells you “Good job, let’s go talk to the general.”
The general informs you that some random colonel has died and you’ve been field promoted into his role as the leader of a suicide squad (hooray!). You talk to a requisitions guy and get outfitted with gear and tags, which you use to select your team.
This is actually pretty slick; Fallout is definitely not a good squad-based tactical shooter, but for its purposes what they accomplish here is quite good. Your team can be as basic as a group of infantrymen or can include missile launching soldiers and robots with flame throwers. After picking a team and a weapon loadout, you talk to the quartermaster, get your gear, and head to your targets.
A note, here: save before you talk to the quartermaster because you can speech him into giving you a gauss rifle and its definitely probably a good idea.
There are three missions you must achieve at this point; taking out some vehicle depot (which is cool); clearing out a listening post of soldiers (which got a bit annoying), and storming the main base after taking out a pulse-field (pretty fucking sweet). The simulation ends with you and a team of power-armor clad soldiers running into the central courtyard of the base, and you confronting the Chinese general (who has a sword which is covered in lightning). He dies, the simulation ends.
You come back into the real world and open up the room, and low and behold, you have a bunch of gear waiting, including all the new equipment you saw (and couldn’t pick up) in the simulation. While you’re looting and salivating over your new power armor and gauss rifle, some Outcast guy yells at Outcast boss about some crap I didn’t care about (or have any knowledge of beforehand anyway), and they start shooting, and you kill a bunch of ’em. W00t, congrats, you saved the day, and the surviving Outcasts still treat you like crap.
But you have sexy new stuff!
I guess this means it’s analysis time. Overall I’d say I enjoyed Operation: Anchorage. It was definitely too easy for something clearly meant for higher-level players, and it wouldn’t have hurt to make it another way to gain the Power Armor Training perk, but still, it was fun! The levels were laid out pretty well, the new equipment is solid, the team aspect was cool (although they seemed pretty useless for the most part), and the missions were solid. There are some easter eggs to find, and the new environment was a nice break from the gunmetal grey of DC or the brown of the wasteland.
It definitely left me wishing more of the main game had been like that. But that doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws.
The auto-fill system for health and the auto-fill system for ammo are both good and bad. It keeps the flow going, but it kind of makes the battles too easy. The gauss rifle is definitely cool, but it also is a one-shot weapon, which means that against anything mildly quick you’re at a bit of a disadvantage (unless you kill it outright or knock it flat). I found that after a while I stopped using it in favor of faster, short-range guns (like the combat shotgun) because it was simply too dangerous to use. But its a hell of a step up from the sniper rifle.
The power armor situation was very disappointing, too, because you can’t seem to wear it. My guess is that if you’ve already gained the perk for power armor you can requisition it, but it seemed kind of silly to have a tent full of it and none of it was available for you. I mean they ask you to storm a fortified area filled with the elite of the elite Chinese soldiers, and you have basic combat armor.
It also suffers from the issues of the main game: average to poor writing. Given the nature of their world, it’s hard to make things engaging without a lot of player input, but still, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to help out the Outcasts other than out of the goodness of your heart, and Mr. Gibbs (while amusing and seemingly invincible) is nothing that memorable; in fact, I don’t remember anyone’s name. I just didn’t care enough to commit it to memory.
It also only took me a few hours to play all of it; which I guess is to be expected for DLC, but at 10 bucks, I kinda would a bit more. Still, that’s me nit-picking.
So if I had to sum up, I’d say that I was mostly satisfied by Operation: Anchorage. The missions are fun, the new gear is cool, and it is more Fallout! For you numeric rating lovers out there I’d give it 7 out of 10, or a Solid rating.