Review: Fallout 3: Operation: Anchorage

Bethesda aims to please players of Fallout 3 with their newest downloadable content package titled Operation: Anchorage available exclusively for the XBox 360.

The additional content allows players to enter a virtual reality simulator, essentially a video game inside a video game, that recreates the epic liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from its Chinese Communist invaders before the apocalypse-causing nuclear bombs were dropped.

The first thing the player will notice is how big a change the gameplay in the expansion is versus the normal game.  A majority of Fallout 3 has the player scavenging in desks, cabinets, and various other places for any ammo or health items he or she can find, but none of this is necessary with the ammo and health stations located around the simulator.  All the player has to do is activate one and completely refill his or her health bar or ammo supply.  These stations make the simulator feel more like a first person shooter, with the player taking no heed to the ammo supply, than the rest of the game.  The simulation really does play like a video game, complete with 10 semi-hidden briefcases of intel items the player can collect to unlock a special perk that adds an additional point to each skill.

However, there are cons to having the sim feel like a video game.  Part of the fun of Fallout 3 is to walk around the wasteland and constantly be on the lookout for a group of enemies to appear over the horizon.  The enemies in the expansion have attack patterns that seem to follow a set track, which may cause unwanted monotony for repeat players.  Another part of the fun of the original game are the karma-based choices the player can make throughout the game, which are lacking in the simulation.  The player still has dialogue choices he or she can make, but these choices have almost no effect on the world and characters around you.

Overall the DLC is a great addition to the Fallout 3 world, adding two to three hours of gameplay.  It shows the player a different time before the bombs were dropped, when civilization was in working order.  The expansion also adds a few new items the player can use in his or her story, including a suit of original power armor that never degrades and an electricity-charged sword which can reduce enemies to ash.  For 800 Microsoft points, roughly 10 USD, the DLC is definitely worth a buy for any fan of the game.

0 comments on “Review: Fallout 3: Operation: Anchorage”

  1. After reading the review of the new DLC, I’m left with the same feeling that I had after listening to last weeks podcast- the DLC is not something I need to spend the extra points on. Now, admittedly, I have yet to play Fallout 3 (gasp!), but you guys may be able to remedy that problem. The main reason I have waited is because I am not sure what system to get it on. I have heard that the graphics are superior on the PS3, but the 360 has the DLC. After listening to what you have said about this DLC, Nate, I feel like it’s may not be worth it? Of course, you know me Nate, and I very rarely/almost never beat a game anyway, so the DLC may be a moot point. So, if the DLC doesn’t intrigue me, would you recommend the PS3 version over the 360 version? Or are the rumors that the PS3 version is graphically superior a vicious lie? Any words of wisdom would be great because I am really looking forward to finally playing the game! Great job, Nate!

    ~Branden

  2. Branden – The PS3 version is being treated as the red headed stepchild by Bethesda, so I’d go with the 360 version, or the PC version if your comp meets the specs. If your local Circuit City hasn’t closed yet, you might be able to find a special edition for $40 or less.

    As to the DLC, I don’t think I’ll bother (I have the PC version of the game). I have way too many FPS games to bother with a straightforward shooter meta-game in an RPG. Bethesda could have done better.

  3. Great review, Nate! As you know, I finally picked up Fallout 3 under your recommendation and I’m liking it quite a bit so far. As soon as I get bored of the main story or just flat out beat it, I will most likely pick up Anchorage with The Pit following afterwards. These expansions sounds like they add not only more content to the game, but also a different kind of feel for the game as well. Variety is the spice of life, eh? Keep up the good work, buddy!

  4. I have the PS3 version and there’s nothing wrong with it, yet as MasterCheif said the broad consensus is that both the 360 and especially the PC are visually superior, especially when it comes to draw distance. In light of the exclusive content it’s obvious the 360 was the lead console development platform so if you get that version you give yourself every chance for the better experience. On the other hand, knowing this I still bought the PS3 version because I prefer the stability of the system, and I certainly havn’t had any cause to regret my decision.