Extreme Gamer's best RPG of 2008 follows up its successful release with its first offering of downloadable content. The new content titled Operation: Anchorage gives players the chance to view the world of Fallout before the bomb dropped. If you are wondering if the new content worth the buck, and what it is all about, check out our review of Fallout 3’s DLC Operation: Anchorage.
Downloadable Content isn’t going anywhere and since it’s usually not offered for free, we are going to sink our reviewing teeth into the mix. It’s not surprising that Bethesda would want to cash in on Fallout 3’s massive success. After all Fallout 3 is a great game with a huge back story that can be pushed and shoved in any direction. In the first of many planned releases, Bethesda serves up Operation Anchorage, a gunned up adventure into Fallout 3’s long written past. Operation: Anchorage currently costs 800 MS Points, and will give you four quests and a bunch of new achievements to strive for.
Operation: Anchorage is an interesting twist on the normal action you partake in Fallout 3. Surprsingly you won't have to wonder the wasteland in this new addition, you'll be slapped into a simulation fighting a major battle prior to the bomb being dropped. The content is added into the game as a battle simulation which jumps you to Anchorage, Alaska as a member of the U.S. Army in a skirmish with Communist China. The Anchorage action is action heavy which will suit characters that have been tailored into straight-ahead fighting machines. In my game, I already had hit my level cap, so Anchorage wasn’t much of a challenge; however I assume less experienced characters might find a lot of fun in exploring Anchorage earlier than later. There is a great opportunity to rack up some serious XP along with a pile of new gear, oh and lets not forget about those achievements because Anchorage is a push-over.
Bethesda’s creative approach removes the darkly themed post apocalyptic world in Fallout 3 and places them in the snow capped mountians in Alaska. It is an interesting idea that comes straight out of left field. From the set-up in the Mork styled egg to the large battlegrounds being pelted by oversized guns, Anchorage offers up something new and fresh to enjoy rather than the old stand by. How you get into this whole Anchorage mess is when you agree to help out a few Brotherhood Outcasts who have found a room containing some advanced technology. It seems they have found the room, but they have no way of opening it until you, a lonely wasteland traveler, wanders by. What catches their eye is your trusty Pip-Boy that is attached to your arm. The pip-boy is the secret of loading the simulation which holds the power to unlock the door.... and the spider starts the web.
This works out like any another quest in the main story that will put you life at stake even though you are only taking part in a computer simulation. When you are transported into Anchorage you will see the world as it was, not the rubble filled landfill of desperation it has turned into. However it’s not a picture perfect vision as the simulation is an old program used to teach soldiers how to fight during an important part of the war between China and the U.S. From free-anarchy to organized killing sprees you will march ahead in the many missions of human dismemberment for the glory of the stars and stripes. The object in Anchorage is simple, defeat the Chinese threat by taking them out on by one.
The coolest aspect of this combat focused expansion is that you will get to use some new gear while facing a few new enemies. The core mechanics for the most part are the same. Combat utilizes the same VATS targeting system like the normal game; however the changes come in the way of health refill stations instead of self medicating yourself. The simulation also adds ammunition refill stations that will increase your ammo count to its maximum. In the simulation you will notice it humoursly plays on its own matrix like being which is fun to fool around with. Expect to find blocked out sections of the map, glowing items and disappearing enemies all mixed into this blue hued program. This makes the simulation interesting and also makes you concentrate on your limited selection of weapons to use during each mission. Since enemies disappear after they are killed you won’t be able to loot the dead, like in the original game.
For weapons in Operation: Anchorage you will get to use a number of guns you seen in the wasteland before they had the wear and tear of war on them. You will also come across a few new numbers in both the armour and offensive weaponry. The best part is that you will get to keep a few items from the time warped simulation when it’s all said and done. This includes the extremely efficient Winterised T51b Power Armour and Helmet along with the ultra-cool Chinese Stealth Armour that gives a nice bonus to your sneak skill.
The best weapon in Anchorage and maybe all of Fallout 3 is the ultra-cool Gauss Rifle. The Gauss Rifle is overly powerful and can down most foes in one shot! Now that's firepower. The damage on that baby is 91, so if you’re lacking firepower in your game the 800MS Points can give you a nice boost in that area. Two melee weapons are also unlocked which fit in nicely with the Stealth Armour for characters going for that Ninja approach. Lastly, a new perk called “Covert Ops” is also obtainable if you find the 10 hidden Intel cases that are scattered throughout each level. This isn’t too hard to do on your first run through, but keep in mind if you don’t get them all in the first try, you will have to load an old save if you want another go.
The only other major point that I haven’t touched on yet is the squads. In order to complete the last three missions you will be granted the power to create your own strike force. There is a limit on whom, or how many members you have in your team, but you get the freedom to pick out as many as you can out of humans and robots. You can also mix up your weapon packages to s uit your fighting style. These included Close Assault Packages with a Power Fist and Combat Shotgun to the Heavy Weapons Package sporting a 10mm Submachine gun and a Missile Launcher. I stuck with the first package on my run through; honestly all you need is that Gauss Rifle. If you like making noise or silently choping down your enemies, at least you have options.
The Operation: Anchorage downloadable content should please fans of the game; really who else is the content made for?! Being a fan myself, I found the value to be about right for the amount of enjoyment that comes out of blasting your way through the snowy Alaskan mountains. The main complaint about Operation: Anchorage would be the limited story telling elements in the missions, the story line is light and takes a backseat to the combat, which is a little too dominant. That aside, VATS always makes it enjoyable to blow through your enemies. Aside from the fun of running through the missions you the downloadable content will reward you with some cool loot that makes a difference in your game. Depending on how much you like Fallout 3, I think you should look into Operation Anchorage. For me it was worth the 800MS Points.
Final Score: 8.0
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 02.05.09
- New gear that enhances the Fallout 3 game
- Achievement hounds, this one is a breeze
- Experience Fallout 3 in a new way
- The blues never "looked" better
- Story elements are week
- The content can be completed within 2-5hr
- A little too combat heavy
- Up for argument-- 800MS Points, too expensive?!