Post-Mortem Monday is a segment dedicated to reviewing games post-release and viewing how they've evolved with extra additions like downloadable content (DLC), updates, fan support, and the like. The reviews are graded on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being perfection, 6 being average, and 3 and below being terrible. A score is given to each review subject, which includes Playability, Value, and Content. At the end, the Overall score is given, which is the Score to which the game's post-mortem achievements are measured. Suggestions for future segments can be made in your comments.
On this weekís Post Mortem Monday
, Iíd like to take a look at a little game called Fallout 3
, which is one of the most ambitious and largest scale games ever released. Back in 2008, the game was given various awards, including a ďGame of the YearĒ award from IGN, who infamously gave out two perfect scores in the same year for the first time in the siteís history and chose Fallout 3
over both them (The two games were Grand Theft Auto IV
and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
). It was a masterpiece of atmosphere and scale, with the one, if not the largest game world ever conceived, with room for multiple playthroughs with itís unique S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and Perk skill advancement that allowed infinite amounts of customization for players to take advantage of. With that said, letís talk about how the game has aged in the almost whole year it has been out for.
Playability: FUN OR FLOP?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with how Fallout 3
works, this is the gist of it: you are quested with finding your Father, who escaped from the Vault which you were born and raised in to protect you and the rest of the residents from the harshness of the Wasteland, and along the way you take odd jobs and explore the Wastes to gain experience and loot to help you with the main quest. There are various ways to approach advancement through the game, and each play style is rewarding in multi-faceted. For example, if you choose to specialize in combat, you can choose from various types, from barehanded to melee to small guns to large guns, and so on and so forth. You put points into the skills that would add to your effectiveness in that chosen area and you can tackle almost every quest in a way suitable to blowing heads off or bashing brains in. Take this scenario for instance:
You are tasked with rescuing Lucy Westís, a resident of Megaton, brother, who has been captured by a society of so-called vampires who terrorize a small community for blood and enjoyment. On the one hand, there is just enough cover to take on the bloodsuckers head-on, all guns blazing, and you are rewarded with the loot that each one carries, including a very effective melee weapon carried by the leader Vance. But say combat isnít your style, and you believe words are better suited for the occasion. With patience and the risk/reward system of a silver tongue, you can waltz right in and make a deal with the leader to allow you take the boy and get them to stop terrorizing the town. You also get the advantage of now being able to sell blood packs to the society for a modest profit. Or perhaps you just want to mix them both, make the deal, save the kid, and then kill everyone anyways just to get the loot that they carry. This is just one minor quest that allows you to tackle it in almost any way you like. That is called freedom, and it is just as fun as it was when the game was first released.
SCORE: 9, VERDICT: FUN! VALUE: APPRECIATION OR DEPRECIATION?
Bethesda has really gone the extra mile when it comes to post-release support, with five playable expansion packs with between 5 to 10 hours of additional gameplay on each. However, they are not patched into the game directly; they are separately available for purchase. This means as of now, each separate chapter is $10.00, or 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360. As of now, the PS3 Version does not have any of the DLC, but Bethesda has stated Broken Steel
will be available for the console in September. To simplify things, Iíll go into the various Proís and Conís of each episode in ďContentĒ. As far as the value of Fallout 3
is concerned, it has most certainly gone up, with each new piece of DLC adding new ways to play and new areas to have fun in. Some even have their own specific weapons that carry over to each new piece and even raise the level cap. This makes Fallout 3
a very stellar package when the DLC is added, even if it adds a significant cost to the original investment.
SCORE: 8, VALUE: APPRECIATED! CONTENT: GAME-ENHANCING OR GAME-BREAKING? OPERATION: ANCHORAGE, released January 29th, 2009
In Operation: Anchorage
, the player is tossed into a simulated Alaskan battleground, where U.S. forces are desperate to reclaim Anchorage, Alaska from Communist Chinese forces. It is a tale that opens your eyes to the actual struggle the pre-wasteland world faced. Of course, in true Fallout 3
fashion, the tale is told with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that makes the journey as funny as it is interesting. In terms of adding to the continuity of Fallout 3
ís universe, itís by far the most important of the DLC. Itís a look into the past to see the kind of struggle that would lead to the nuclear wasteland of the world. However, the bulk of the game is combat-oriented, with various set-piece battles placed throughout to keep the flow of the game running smoothly. Add in the great weapon that is the Gauss Gun, as well as other various armaments and armors, and you have a great experience. Unfortunately, itís over before you know it; at around 3 hours, Operation: Anchorage
is by far the shortest addition. However, the package is priced right at $10.00 USD, so donít let the short length stop you from enjoying it.
Score: 8 THE PITT, released March 24th, 2009
With The Pitt
, you get the most well rounded package of the expansions, with focus on combat, side quests, and story all being equal and correctly proportioned. In The Pitt
, youíre sent to Pittsburgh, which has become overrun with Raiders who have enslaved most of the population. Itís your job to see them freed, as well as discover a cure for a virus that is turning denizens into crawling abominations. Along the way, you come across interesting characters, great weapons like the Auto Axe, and some great-looking industrial areas. However, be aware that since release, The Pitt
has been plagued by glitches that sometimes make the game unplayable. Many of the game breaking ones have been fixed, but there are still an above average amount of graphical glitches that make the quest seem a lot less polished. However, if you can get past those, The Pitt
is easily worth the price tag, even if it is just over 4 hours long.
Score: 9 BROKEN STEEL, released May 5th, 2009
By far, Broken Steel
is the best expansion for Fallout 3
that has been released. Not only does it continue the main storyline, add in awesome new weapons like the Tesla Cannon and the Heavy Incinerator, and throw in the best set piece battles since the original, but it also lifts the level cap to 30. What this means is that you now have an incentive to finish some quests you never took care of and gain some new perks. By the time you finish the rather lengthy quest, which clocks in at around 8 hours, you should still have almost 6 levels or more to reach the cap. The game also succeeds in fixing what is usually considered the weakest part of Fallout 3
; the ending. Without spoiling too much, lets just say that Broken Steel
basically takes back the ending of the original and replaces it with the continuing journey for the distribution of fresh water and other things that were issues in Fallout 3
, and it does so in an interesting and satisfying way. Donít hesitate, because this is by far the best piece of DLC for Fallout 3
Score: 10 POINT LOOKOUT, released June 23rd, 2009
Only slightly topped by Broken Steel
, Point Lookout
is the second-best DLC for Fallout 3
. It places the player in a new area, which is dominated by swamp and marsh, and it really gives off the aura of the backwoods of the South, with accents and in-jokes about traditional Southern stereotypes such as incest, drinking, and gun violence. By far, itís the best DLC in terms of creating an atmosphere that is relevant to the surroundings. This journey is focused upon exploration more than the set-piece battles of Broken Steel
, meaning thereís more room for questing to help you grind for more skills and weapons. The only disappointing aspect of Point Lookout
is the lack of new toys to play with; the focus is on utilizing your stock of firearms and melee weapons that you gained from previous downloads. But that aside, Point Lookout
is spectacular; itís atmospheric, itís challenging, and at over 8 hours, itís the longest of the DLC. Like Broken Steel
, donít wait to grab this one; the swamp is calling.
Score: 10 MOTHERSHIP ZETA, Released August 3rd, 2009
As the last piece of DLC for Fallout 3
, itís disappointing that Mothership Zeta
is the worst of the DLC. This means that is by no means bad, but compared to Broken Steel
or Point Lookout
, itís hard to look past the odd design choices that the game contains. After being taken aboard an alien vessel, it is your job to free other human experiments and escape the ship, even if it means learning to fly it back to Earth. The strong point of Mothership Zeta
is the setting, which gives some interesting set pieces later in the game, like a space walk. However, with a focus on corridor combat, Mothership Zeta
leaves little room for side-quests and exploration. They donít give too many new weapons either, which really disappoints. Overall, Mothership Zeta
is easily the weakest addition to Fallout 3
. Buy it only if youíre desperate for more, but donít expect too much.
Score: 6 SCORE: 10, VERDICT: GAME-ENHANCING! OVERALL: BUY IT OR LEAVE IT
All in all, Fallout 3
is a great value, even if you may have to spend a bit more than usual to see all there is to see. Itís still as fun as it was back in 2008, and it has only gotten better thanks to some great DLC that really expands upon the ideas that the original set in place. If you havenít already, make sure you experience one of the best games of this generation.
SCORE: 9, VERDICT: BUY IT!