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Fallout 3: The Pitt

Fallout

The Pitt didn’t get off to a good start. Within hours of going up, message boards were filled to the brim with angry gamers complaining of myriad glitches and crashes with Bethesda’s latest piece of downloadable content for Fallout 3. It was eventually taken down due to a corrupt file and put back up again about a day later much to the pleasure of many. Those that patiently waited will find a much more enjoyable expansion than Operation: Anchorage, even if it’s still relatively short and un-polished in a few areas.

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Like Operation: Anchorage before it, The Pitt won’t begin until you activate the quest within the wastelands of Washington D.C. You’ll receive a distress signal on your Pip-Boy, and must investigate the cause of this particular disturbance. Within no time you’ll meet a character pivotal to this new story, as he sends you on a journey to Pittsburgh; a city that didn’t catch the full brunt of nuclear fallout, but one that has definitely seen much better days.

Travelling by train, the first thing you’ll notice upon arrival is the murky orange sky. It sets the tone right away as dark, gloomy skyscrapers rise overhead; their broken structures reminiscent of those tragic images seen on 9/11. As you head deeper into this industrial city, the steel mill becomes the main focus; workers everywhere, using their tools under watch of the terrible slavers.

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You see, Pittsburgh has become a slave town – think of Paradise Falls, but on a much larger scale. An evil warlord has imprisoned the majority of the population, forcing them to carry on working in this industrial behemoth with little room for anything else. And if that wasn’t enough there’s also a plague doing the rounds, turning people into vile creatures known as trogs. You’ll meet a few soon enough, with the brand new auto-axe coming in very handy.

You may have seen it in screenshots before. Essentially it works like a chainsaw and can cut through flesh with ease – particularly handy when you lose most of your weapons on arrival. If you haven’t guessed already, The Pitt takes place within your Fallout world, unlike Operation: Anchorage which was treated as a simulation. This means that you’ll go in with all the equipment you would normally use, adding to your repertoire with some new treats along the way. There’s nothing as good as the gauss rifle here, but the auto-axe is a lot of fun to use, especially against the trog – your most common enemy.

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But don’t fear, The Pitt is nowhere near as combat-heavy and linear as Operation: Anchorage. Instead, it’s more like your typical Fallout 3 quest, as you explore, talk to people and eventually make some gut wrenching decisions. It’s much more varied and enjoyable, especially when you go off to explore some of the bigger areas Pittsburgh has to offer.

There are four new achievements to pick up, one of which encourages exploration to find 100 pieces of steel in one particular area. Even if you’re not an achievement fiend you’ll want to complete this task as it really pays off in two ways. First, you’ll get some cool new items, but best of all you’ll navigate around some of the largest structures in Fallout 3 so far. These buildings are absolutely huge, holding you up high above the whole city. It’s a breathtaking view from the top, and making your way down is a joy as well. Operation: Anchorage was disappointing with its invisible walls and straight-forward paths, so it’s nice to get some room to breathe here and properly dedicate an hour or so to exploration.

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But even if you do that, The Pitt is still pretty short. Everything can be completed in about three to four hours; however this time you can move back and forth between Pittsburgh and the Capitol Wasteland – something that sadly wasn’t an option with Operation: Anchorage. It’s always fun to go back and try out different things, so it’s great to have the option this time.

The Pitt may not have gotten off to a good start, but along the way it managed to redeem itself. It’s still not particularly polished, however, as I experienced a couple of crashes and some audio glitches with character speech, but other than that this is a fairly solid expansion that captures what makes Fallout 3 so good. It still might be a bit pricey for some, considering its short length, but at least this time there are plenty of opportunities to extend the longevity and meet some new, interesting characters. Enter The Pitt if you dare.

7 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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