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Fallout 3: Broken Steel
Score: 93%
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/First Person Shooter/Free-Roaming

Introduction:

For fans of the long-running Fallout series, the announcement of the pending release of Fallout 3 a few years back was welcome news. The fact that it was being developed by Bethesda, the same group that brought the much praised fantasy RPG Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to the Xbox 360, only added to the anticipation. There is little doubt, nearly seven months after the release, that the game has lived up to its advanced billing. The massive scope, dark storyline, RPG and FPS elements combined to create an epic adventure that a player could easily invest 70-100 hours in should all of the side quests and land areas be explored. If there was one striking flaw in the design, it was that once the main quest was finished, Fallout 3 abruptly ended. This raised the ire of many players who, having played Bethesda's other massive RPG (the aforementioned Elder Scrolls: Oblivion), expected to be able to continue on and adventure beyond the main storyline. Enter Fallout 3: Broken Steel, the third downloadable content (DLC) offering for Fallout 3 and the first that actually extends the main story and allows for a continuation of gameplay.

Gameplay:

Fallout 3: Broken Steel is set two weeks after the ending of the original game. Our hero awakens back at the citadel, having been in a coma for two weeks. Elder Lyons quickly brings us up to speed and informs us that, while the Enclave has been badly damaged, small pockets of resistance still remain and it is his hope that we will help the Brotherhood of Steel rid the Capitol Wasteland of these last remnants. Should the player choose to do nothing more than follow the newly introduced quest thread, gameplay is extended by a mere 5-7 hours, depending on the equipment and development of the character being played. This timeframe is in line with the two previously released downloadable content expansions, Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage and Fallout 3: The Pitt. Much like these two DLCs, players will come across some nifty new armor and weapons while questing.

Unlike the two previous DLCs, Fallout 3: Broken Steel offers much, much more for the player. The most obvious benefit is the ability to continue adventuring beyond the first ending. However, for players like myself who had avoided finishing the main story (because I was not ready for the game to end), there are other immediate benefits. The biggest, in my opinion, is the raising of the level cap to 30. This, along with the addition of about 20 new perks to choose from (many of them more "fun" than "function"), comes in to play right away, as players can continue to develop their character and explore some of the possibilities down paths not taken when choosing perks during the first 20 levels. You will need these extra levels and perks, as there are new, more powerful adversaries introduced to the menagerie of creatures already in residence. As Fallout 3: Broken Steel is a true expansion and not just an extra set of quests added to the gameplay, new creatures and locations have been added to the existing map, so some areas that may have been previously explored might just have new tenants when revisited.


Difficulty:

The difficulty of Fallout 3: Broken Steel is a bit harder to judge in comparison with the two other DLC packages. The main quest likely will not offer too much challenge to well-equipped and developed characters. However, a few of the new NPCs can prove difficult even to the most seasoned veterans. Be warned, Feral Ghoul Reavers and Super Mutant Overlords can pack a mean punch and are notoriously hard to put down. The fact that these creatures are scattered (especially the Reavers) across the wasteland might prove fatal to unprepared adventurers.

For those players that had already attained level 20, the addition of the new levels and perks will actually decrease the difficulty in regards to many of the original side quests. I found that some of the quests that I had been working on prior to this expansion were no longer much of a challenge once I had added 5 more levels and some nifty new skills. This could potentially dampen a bit of the fun of these quests, so keep this in mind if you have pending quests. Where there is little challenge, the experience may begin to feel a bit watered down.


Value:

There is little question that Fallout 3: Broken Steel is the expansion that most players have been waiting on. The extension of the gameplay aside, it is the allowing of continued exploration and questing post-ending that is the biggest value of this DLC. Add on the level cap increase, the new perks, powerful new opponents, new areas to explore and new equipment to discover and most players will find this well worth the purchase price of 800 Microsoft points. Currently, there are at least two more DLCs scheduled for Fallout 3. Bethesda is going to have a hard time topping this one.

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge

Microsoft Xbox 360 Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned Windows Fallout 3: Broken Steel

 
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