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Fallout 3: The Pitt

Fallout

Northwest of the Capital Wasteland rests a city long beyond its heyday, known simply as the Pitt. Populated primarily with slaves, slavers and disease, it has become a breeding ground for desperation and the types of moral ambiguity Fallout 3 is known for. The only question is whether you’ll be the Pitt’s liberator or oppressor.

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Once The Pitt is loaded you’ll receive a radio distress signal from a runaway slave named Wernher. After following up on the call you’ll meet up with Wernher, who tells you about the situation found in the Pitt. Basically the city is divided in two: Uptown and Downtown, Pitt Raiders and slaves. Oh, and there’s a nasty disease ravaging the slaves of Downtown, turning them into the abominations found in and around the city, referred to as Trogs. It’s not all bad news, there is a glimmer of hope for the Pitt and its inhabitants, namely a cure to the disease which has been developed by Ashur, the leader of the Raiders.

Upon entering the city proper you’re stripped of all your possessions and given a fashionable slave outfit to don. Otherwise you’ll be free to wander the Pitt’s Downtown area, talk with fellow slaves and take a first-hand account of the peoples’ plight. As you converse with the slaves and various Raiders who keep the Pitt’s Steel Mill running, you’ll begin to empathize with the slave’s situation. The entire slave/slaver dynamic is easily The Pitt’s greatest attribute because it not only mimics the desperate feeling found in the Capital Wasteland but puts you right in the middle of it. When visiting a place like Paradise Falls in the main game you can see that the slaves have it rough but you don’t actually see them being put to work; and the odds are all of those bastards ended up somewhere much nicer than the Pitt.

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Although you’ll have been stripped of both your possessions and dignity there is a bit of a silver lining, namely the brand new Auto-Axe you receive. It’s a tough, dangerous life as a slave and even the Raiders know that, so they’ll allow you something to protect yourself. And chances are you’re going to need it sooner than later, as your first bit of slave of duty is to collect twenty steel ingots from the Steel Yard; a place mainly inhabited by Wildmen, Trogs and the occasional Protectron. Crawling with all types of enemies, the Steel Yard serves as one of the major ‘dungeon’ areas of The Pitt and does so admirably well. While many Fallout 3 areas are wide and expansive, the Steel Yard climbs high into the sky with its rooftops and twisted metal structures; creating one of the more memorable levels to explore in all of Fallout 3. It certainly doesn’t hurt that while you’re navigating the towering wreckage found in the Steel Yard you’ll be severing limbs and heads with your trusty Auto-Axe.

Speaking of the Auto-Axe’s handy work, you won’t always get to see the tool in action thanks to one of the many bugs Fallout 3 is known for. In this case, the Auto-Axe will only show up on screen while equipped about half of the time you use it. It still works, it just happens to be completely invisible, which could be of use to some players since you’ll have your weapon readied and still a whole screen to scour for items with. Another less useful bug that’ll crop up regularly involves a large portion of the Pip-Boy rendering incorrectly, or not rendering at all; thankfully, the Pip-Boy screen itself will always render properly so the bug is only a cosmetic annoyance. Despite the bad rap The Pitt had on both the Xbox 360 and the PC, the DLC ran mostly fine (for Fallout 3 standards) on the PS3 with the exception of the previously mentioned cosmetic bugs and its share of frame-rate issues. Overall though, The Pitt didn’t once freeze completely in my time with it, which seems to be a common nuisance found in every other piece of DLC.

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Although The Pitt is a bit on the short side overall, it offers the perfect mix of the core Fallout 3 experience with a great new story, location, enemies, quests and weapons. While that experience is slightly marred by the myriad of glitches that Fallout 3 is now infamous for, the excellent level design and desperate atmosphere make The Pitt a memorable location you won’t want to leave undiscovered. Well that, and you might want Fallout 3’s version of a chainsaw.

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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