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Fallout 3: Broken Steel

Fallout

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt were decent expansions to the Fallout 3 universe, but Broken Steel has always been the big one everyone has looked ahead to. While it’s not quite the Shivering Isles of Fallout 3, it still offers plenty of hours of gameplay, and more importantly, increases the level cap and extends the game beyond the disappointing and abrupt original ending.

I’ll be talking about that ending here, so you have been warned; spoilers ahead.

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If you haven’t completed it yet then now is the time to do so. I held off before because I still wanted to continue exploring the Capital Wasteland and finish the myriad side quests on offer; but the Broken Steel DLC can only be accessed upon completion of the main game. Many people were a bit peeved by this ending, mainly because it was handled rather awkwardly. Broken Steel rectifies this to a certain extent, but it’s still not as smooth as it could have been, and the ending with Fawkes still doesn’t make much sense even though it’s the most logical decision you can choose.

Nonetheless, after whichever ending you’ve chosen has happened, the game picks up two weeks later as you awaken in the Brotherhood of Steel’s Citadel. They still need your help dealing with the small pockets of resistance the Enclave have left, so it’s time to get down and dirty all over again. Along the way there are plenty of twists and difficult decisions to make that will affect your karma level. There’s also plenty of action and exploration on offer as the three main quests stretch out for around seven hours of gameplay.

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This is the longest DLC so far and one of the most entertaining. However, it only takes place within the Capital Wasteland; so if you’re bored of the drab, brown and greys of Washington D.C. by now then the exploration aspect may not be as appealing as both Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt were with their new areas. New weapons shake things up a bit though, mainly in the shape of the awesome Tesla Cannon. This is one of the most powerful weapons in the game and can take out most enemies in one shot – including the big, helicopter-style Vertibird’s. Once you reach the massive Adam’s Air Force Base you’ll be unleashing this lethal piece of kit on whoever gets in your path, and it’s extremely satisfying.

The biggest new aspect of this DLC is definitely the increased level cap, though. Most players would have reached level 20 a while back, so Broken Steel ups the cap to 30. This introduces plenty of new perks and enemies to the fray, and provides the perfect opportunity to go back and maybe finish some side quests or tasks around the wasteland you never got to before; extending the playtime even further.

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It’s just a shame that everyone will have to pay for this level cap, especially since PlayStation 3 owners won’t even see this DLC unless Bethesda change their minds. However, those with the ability to shell out will find a long and difficult new batch of quests – including a few side quests – as well as a way to get a hold of some cool new perks, weapons, armour and of course, achievements. Put simply, Broken Steel is the most complete piece of DLC for Fallout 3 so far, and the one most worth purchasing. Even after you’ve finished the extended campaign there’s plenty to go back to with the new level cap, including a way for all you dog lovers to bring Dogmeat back from the dead – Awww.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @richardwakeling.

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