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Fallout 3: Broken Steel

Fallout

After many many months of waiting, it’s time to dust off your most fashionable piece of Power Armor and return to the Capital Wasteland as Fallout 3 DLC is finally here on the PlayStation 3. The Enclave has found itself in a bit of disarray following the events of Fallout 3 and Broken Steel makes sure they don’t have the opportunity to regroup. Having run a number of errands for the Brotherhood of Steel, it’s fine time they made you a member of the Lyon’s Pride, albeit an honorary one.

Broken Steel was originally the third DLC pack released for Xbox360 and the PC, but thanks to fan requests Bethesda has decided to release it before the rest on the PlayStation 3; it introduces a number of notable features and extends the core story beyond the final events of Fallout 3. If you’ve already completed the story then you’re aware that once it’s over, it’s over; but that isn’t the case anymore with Broken Steel. Upon finishing the main story you’re free to continue roaming the Wasteland, as well as partake in three more story quests that build on the game’s climax.

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For the most part the new missions are contained within the same Capital Wasteland you know and love, with the exception of the last. If you’re the type of Fallout player who’s looking for new locales to explore and NPCs to interact with, Broken Steel might not impress. For the most part you’ll trek through regions you’ve most likely seen on your way to new locations within the Wasteland. There are a few new NPCs to deal with related to the three new side-quests but they don’t serve much purpose outside of their new context. Despite those minor shortcomings, the story quests are all quite satisfying thanks to the high difficulty, new equipment, and large scale battles. Although there isn’t a great amount of new exploration to be done, there are still many ways to navigate and tackle the new environments.

The other major addition is the increased level capacity from level 20 to level 30. More than likely during your original adventures within Fallout 3 you hit the level 20 ceiling, perhaps even long before finishing the main story itself. With the 10 extra levels of experience to accumulate come a number of new Perks to trick your character out with. The new Perks range from the quite useful ‘Near Perfect’ (which jacks your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. abilities to 9), to the truly absurd ‘Nuclear Anomaly’ (you’ll have to see that one for yourself). It’s a good mix and should give all players the motivation necessary to max out their Vault dweller.

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Other than perks you’ll find some new weapons and equipment to play with, along with some brand new enemy types to populate the Wasteland. The most interesting of the new weapons being the awesome Tesla Cannon, which has the destructive force to bring many enemies down with a single blast. Although you’ll pack some new, seriously devastating gear, everything won’t be a simple cake walk in Broken Steel as the wasteland has been repopulated with some especially nasty enemy variants including the Super Mutant Overlord and the Feral Ghoul Reavers.

It’s also worthy of note that Broken Steel comes with its own set of technical problems. Certainly if you’ve made it to the end of Fallout 3 your aware of these and should be prepared for the continued bugs and glitches. While playing through Broken Steel there were the occasional glitches that would throw Enclave corpses into the atmosphere, cause enemy AI to not work properly and pause the game for a few seconds or indefinitely. Overall it’s on the order of what’s found in the core game and doesn’t ruin Broken Steel but you’ll likely want to save often.

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If you’re a fan of Fallout 3 and also a PlayStation 3 owner there really isn’t much reason to pass on Broken Steel. The new story quests alone will take several hours to complete, plus the new side-quests and you still have the increased level cap which should keep you occupied long beyond this first batch of DLC. It’s somewhat disappointing that there isn’t a whole lot of new terrain to explore over the course of the new missions but it’s unlikely you ever saw everything the Capital Wasteland had to offer in the first place. Now get back out there, the wasteland misses you.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

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