For those of you who might not have noticed (I almost didn’t) Bethesda released last week their fourth downloadable content pack for the popular Fallout 3 RPG. I’ve now had a chance to play through the whole thing, and thought I’d give my impressions on it for those of you unsure if it is worth the price of ten dollars, especially after the major bugs some of the others had at release.
The premise of Point Lookout is simple, a chance to visit a struggling settled area (though the term is used very loosely) away from the capital wasteland, an area not hit directly by the bombs of the Great War. Unlike The Pitt and Operation: Anchorage Point Lookout is a place you can come and go from as you please, thanks to a friendly ferryman. It isn’t dependant on your character having beaten the main quest line like Broken Steel is which is also nice. (Though that was a wonderful campaign itself) The new items aren’t anything particularly special, a new type of grenade I never even tried out called “bio-gas canister,” a double barreled shotgun that does more damage per shot than the others, but uses 2 shells per blast and has to be reloaded each time, and the lever-action rifle, which feels pretty similar to the hunting rifle, if a bit better. (My favorite named gun comes from here, the Backwater Rifle, which is better than Lincoln’s Repeater but uses the much easier to find 10mm bullets) There is also a mysterious local fruit that not only heals but actually removes radiation at the same time, but again, not something I ever actually used.
The quests work well, both thematically and for action. The main quest line opens with a prolonged siege of a mansion, with enough baddies dropping loot that I ended with nearly 1000 pounds of swag, even after repairing it all to 100%. It also features being a pawn in a centuries old feud and the hands down best trippy drugged out sequence I have ever seen a game or movie for that matter, one I am definitely not spoiling for anyone. One quest answers some of the questions surrounding the mysterious Dunwich building in the wastes, though by no means all. A quest line to finish a Chinese spy’s mission 200 years after the fact is fun, but I never got the motivation behind it, I mean, why would I even care about such a thing so long afterwards? There is also a small quest to help a lady make moonshine, but it hardly deserves the name, even if the option to make your own is useful for those who like to booze up in game.
Visually it is very pretty, quite distinct from the wastes with bubbling bogs, semi-creepy totems made of bone and rag dolls, and mutated yokels declaring I am “good eatin.” The abandoned boardwalk is also very effective, still strewn with empty popcorn boxes and dilapidated rides/shooting galleries.
Now for what doesn’t work. I personally was quite annoyed that you can’t pickpocket the swamp folks, despite the fact that they are both wearing pants and carrying items, because it meant I couldn’t stick live grenades on them. The looting was also a tad weird, I mean, why did nearly every garbage can have a fishing rod and a confederate hat? I must have found nearly a hundred hats just lying around, along with dozens of fusion batteries and other less useful items. There was one sort of undeclared quest to repair the lighthouse beacon, but I never figured out why, and the holotape I found at the top of the lighthouse glitches and never shows in my inventory, so I don’t know what it was all about. It was, however, the only bug I found in my six or so hours in Point Lookout, which was a nice change of pace. Oh, one other meta-game thing bugged me, though I have to be a bit vague to avoid spoilers. At one point you get something that looks like it will be permanent and damaging. You then run into a person you were looking for and get the random dialogue option of “Can you remove ____ thing?” with no rationale or explanation behind it. I’m glad they put the option in, as I wanted to be rid of the potentially permanent thing, but it was a sloppy way of doing so. Perhaps they should have just had the character mention, oh, that will ____ after ____ or something less meta-game. My only other complaint is actually one I have in common with the main game, and not something easily resolved. It just doesn’t feel like 200 years have really passed since the nukes fell. I find myself doubting that there would be all this loot still sitting around, that a base defended by robots and turrets survived attack by ghouls until the very day I stop by, after two full centuries. For that matter the buildings are way too intact as a whole. Now before you send me any mail saying I am being unreasonable, I know I am being unreasonable and too literal. Its not something they can fix, and were they to try it would make for a much less fun game. That is just my science background rearing its ugly head, so ignore it. On the bright side, if that is my worst complaint the game is in great shape indeed.
So, check it out if you liked Fallout 3, as well as the other DLC’s which are supposedly now all bug free, this one at least is 98% of the way there, and be sure to keep an eye out for Mothership Zeta in the next month, (or two, I forget the release date at the moment) which should prove the most different of all the DLCs.
[tags]Fallout 3, Point Lookout, Bethesda[/tags]