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Thoughts on Fallout 3's Operation Anchorage DLC

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There Will Be Games

I don't know about you guys but I love Fallout 3. It's a great game and in my opinion a worthy re-imagining of the Fallout universe and Fallout gameplay made to fit Bethesda's open world Elder Scrolls model.

So of course I downloaded the Operation Anchorage Downloadable Content (DLC) just about the instant it came out. Yes thats right, I waited until the wee hours of 1/27 to get this.

Was I disappointed with the 800 Space Bucks, err...MS Points (thats $10 for those not in the know) that I spent to get this DLC?

Yes and no. Overall, I've got mixed feelings.

The Operation Anchorage DLC allows your character to enter a military simulator (Matrix style) in order to relive the liberation of Anchorage in 2066. You get to command a group of commandos at times (including deciding what weapons they'll take) and you have access to a pretty cool new weapon: The Gauss Rifle, which is essentially an Uber energy weapon sniper rifle.

So it's definitely a change of pace from the typical quests. No fetching items, no escorting characters, etc. This time it's you and your crew up against the Chinese Communists doing either run 'n gun action or making all stealthy like (you can chose to go at the missions alone.) The only problem is that it is far more epic sounding than it actually is. The first part of the DLC is cool enough, but the latter three parts sort of fell short and left me feeling "really, thats it?."

I wanted more and I felt the the three objectives you had to take to beat the DLC were too short and too easy. Especially since you have that nasty Gauss Rifle which is more or less a 1 shot kill.

Another gripe I have is that once you beat the simulator you can't reenter it. Why is this a problem? Well, I think it would have added some replay value to the Sim as you could try different things out (do the missions alone or with your crew.) Plus it's a simulator? Why can't the Tech run the sim again? Did she forget how the instant she turned it on the first time? But mostly it's annoying because there are 10 pieces of "Intel" you can find in the sim that appear in the form of White Briefcases. I'm a dummy and missed two. If you get all 10 you get a special perk (admittedly it isn't that good.) It just sucks I can't go back and look for the two i'm missing. It's not a big deal, and I don't care enough to replay it. But still. I want to find them.

I guess ultimately there were a lot of cool ideas in this DLC for sure. The cloaked Chinese snipers were fun to battle. The lone vehicle you get to fight was great but far too easy to beat. Commanding multiple followers was also great except that your firepower was far greater than the enemies at all times. And mostly I guess i'm disappointed you didn't really get to participate in the Liberation of Anchorage. What you got to do was some Special-Ops to clear the way for the assault on anchorage.

For those who've beat the game - remember the last quest? The epic feeling as you, the Brotherhood, and a certain giant special weapon attack the Enclave? Yeah, I was hoping for something epic in its scope like that in the Anchorage DLC, a DLC about a military operation. I mean would it been to much to have asked for if the final quest of the DLC involved your character in power armor amongst a bunch of other power armored soldiers unleashing hell on the Chinese Communist horde? Or perhaps I wouldn't have cared if the quests had been a tad bit longer. I think it took me around or under four hours to beat it all and I was by no means rushing through.

Overall it's a fun experience that is too short and could have been so much better. You do get rewarded with some actual cool weapons , such as the aforementioned Gauss rifle and a pretty kickass sword. You also get some new armor and a cool stealth suit as well.

If you love Fallout 3 i'd say you should definitely grab this DLC. Just make a save before you enter the Simulator, so if you mess up you can reenter it (or if you ever feel like replaying it.) And also keep in mind you really aren't getting a whole lot for your $10, so savor that experience.

If you're on the fence about this I'd say skip it and wait for the February and March DLCs. The February DLC will see the player being able to travel to "The Pitt" AKA Pittsburgh. Sounds interesting at least and I like that it will most likely be an area you can revisit (unlike the sim which you can never reenter). The march DLC will raise the level cap from 20-30 so I expect there to be a fairly substantial amount of gameplay in that download.

For the first Fallout 3 DLC I gotta say that Operation: Anchorage is a helluva lot better than Oblivions first DLC - the abysmally lame and retarded Horse Armor pack.

Well, the next round of DLC comes out in February, so expect my thoughts on it then after i've completed it.

There Will Be Games
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