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Christopher J Oatis's blog

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Christopher J Oatis avatar 2:25 PM on 07.27.2009  (server time)
Mothership Zeta: Better Land and Deliver.

On August 3, Fallout 3 will take its final breath when new DLC, Mothership Zeta, is released. The alien invasion had better bring with it, a host of new terrain, and some terrific elements of both battle and RPG. Wasn’t that what has attracted everyone to Fallout in the first place.

Point Lookout understood this. This was the one DLC that really took what made Fallout 3 an enjoyable experience and flaunted it in a little world, a child of the original concept. Fallout 3’s greatness stems from wandering across a great expanse with a destination and being distracted from that quest several times during the course of that journey, because of little side quests that pop up along the way.

The original game had you coming across town full of cannibals, collecting soda for a dizzy blonde, and following distress signals that only lead to shelters full of skeletons. Fallout 3 like Point Lookout was a world with distractions, just like life. You’re off flirting with Bittercup in Bigtown when you should be helping your father save the world.

The Pitt and Operation Anchorage both had their moments but failed the golden rule by making Fallout something it has never been since Fallout 1—or even Wasteland—linear. While The Pitt had minor deviations, here and there, Operation Anchorage made the game into a simple war shooter, and did a half-assed job of it. Even Half-life 2’s system of commanding a squad for a tiny portion of the game offered more tactical combat options than just selecting what type of over aggressive NPC you’d like to see run into a launched missile. Not too much strategy in giving the gamer troops he can’t give orders to.

Broken Steel—aside from its host of bugs—was a nice continuation, and the level cap raised helped. However, at the end of the day, it was more “the part of the game we should have programmed to begin with,” and not really additional concepts.

Mothership Zeta concerns me because its already presenting itself with the same trappings as Operation Anchorage and The Pitt, trying to make the game something it’s not by putting 101 into a situation where he can’t escape until he’s done. Reinventing the wheel is not what I want from the final bit of Fallout that were are going to get for awhile.

Point Lookout allowed itself to become part of the original world, not a spider web for the player to escape from. It also had great atmosphere, moral choice, and the ability to follow whims and little quirky shoreline across the map. Going north to the Detention camp to find the body of a Chinese Spy out of curious only to yourself waylaid by a band of ghouls charging out of the mist and past the barbed wire fences is a moment that will stick with me. Being forced to fight in The Pitt’s arena, whether I liked it or not, which presents three adversaries—each round simpler than the next (Yes I had difficulty jacked up to the hardest setting)—not so much.

Point being, I have low expectations and many concerns for what is being called the last DLC for Fallout 3. Open up New Jersey or New York. Let gamers fight Supermutants inside the statue of Liberty. Do just about anything to expand the freedom of the Fallout experience, but why trap the player on a tin can hurling through space. We have Dead Space and Mass Effect for that, games that have done it well. Don’t reinvent the wheel, give us more freedom, not another DLC doing a bad job of trying to make Fallout multi-genre.

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