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Fallout 3: Point Lookout

Fallout

After the release of Broken Steel it looked like the end of the line for Fallout 3’s downloadable adventures. Luckily for us, however, Bethesda’s commitment to this sprawling open-world RPG is still in full swing as we have two new pieces of DLC to look forward to over the next few summer months. The first of which is available to buy right now for 800 Microsoft Points in the shape of Point Lookout; a derelict little town located just outside of the Capital Wasteland, home to numerous wacky characters and formidable foes.

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The situation should be pretty familiar to any Fallout 3 DLC veterans by now: you receive a message on your Pip-Boy upon entering the Capital Wasteland presenting a specific opportunity. No distress signals for help this time, though, instead it’s an advertisement, of sorts, appealing to the adventure-type wanting to travel to the joyous town of Point Lookout. Obviously we know this is a lie – there‘s nothing joyous in post-apocalyptic America – but what the heck, there are inbred hillbillies to be shot.

After a short ferry ride to the town you’ll notice things have gotten even greyer. Each piece of DLC away from the Capital Wasteland has offered up a unique visual style and Point Lookout is no different; the added greyness may sound like a bad thing but it presents a deep feeling of dread as your begin to traverse the eerie swamplands on offer. The town has obviously taken inspiration from tales of horror and it presents an entirely new situation for Fallout 3 players that is sure to please. Everything about it gives off an unnerving vibe, none more so than the madcap band of inhabitants – both friend and foe.

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Point Lookout holds many deep secrets and part of the fun is uncovering all of them. The story quests will last you around three to four hours and they’re definitely the most thought-out and interesting to date. You’ll meet a whole host of interesting characters, odd situations and the classic Fallout 3 dark humour we’ve come to expect. Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt sometimes failed to capture that true Fallout 3 experience, but Point Lookout has nailed it in abundance. It may be short but there’s tons of enjoyment to be had here and many twists and turns in store to keep you engaged throughout.

Once you’re done with the main quests there’s still plenty more to do in Point Lookout. The map is big, and I mean it. It’s roughly one fifth the size of the Capital Wasteland and even after eight hours of play I haven’t seen everything there is to find. There are a good few side-quests to keep you busy – some just as good as those seen in the main quest – and tons of new locations to explore, from sinister-looking mansions, abandoned submarines and the extensive swampland inhabited by all manner of odd folk.

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You’ll need to pack a heavy bag before setting off because these buggers put up quite a fight – especially if you’re up around level 30. You’ll find the ever difficult Ghoul Reapers and a bunch of new inbred hillbilly enemy types to test your might. They’re ripped straight from The Hills Have Eyes and dominate the majority of the map; it’s just a shame they weren’t incorporated into the main quest because they’re excellent, from the signature look right down to the familiar accents. If you enjoy movies like Wrong Turn then you’ll have a blast shooting these guys in the face with your new double-barrel shotgun.

Sadly, Point Lookout is marred, somewhat, by the persistent glitches that come with a massive game like Fallout 3. During my time in the town my game crashed a few times both in loading screens and when using V.A.T.S. I also encountered some problems with water textures, my map marker telling me to go the wrong way, and myriad slowdown and framerate issues in certain areas. Fallout 3 DLC has become infamous for problems ever since the debacle with The Pitt, so it’s a shame to see it still happening. Of course you may encounter no problems at all with your version while others will experience loads; it’s just a risk you need to be willing to take.

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However, despite my frustrations with the crashes and glitches, I still enjoyed Point Lookout more than any of the DLC so far. The whole map is an awesome place to explore, the new enemies are a real treat and the quests are some of the best yet. If you have a spare 800 points, why not take the trip?

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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