Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage

Platform: PC
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Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage
Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage
Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage
Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage

Fallout 3 is a game that is made great by its inability to keep the player in one place. The whole thrust of the wasteland is that you are a wanderer - one who crosses a vast expanse with only one goal that you can ignore. This is enhanced by the scrambling to find ammo, stimpaks, fresh weaponry, inbetween Mad Maxstyle battles with crazed raiders.

Furthermore, one of its beauties is its distinct lack of linearity - for the most part, you can do anything you want, in any order, and however you like. Hidden within these layers of action RPG is a workable FPS - and, stupidly, Bethesda have felt that the first downloadable content for this game should be built around Fallout 3s weakest assets.

After leaping over the Games for Windows - LIVE installation and dealing with the mod-hating new patch, the start of Operation Anchorage is positive. You receive a transmission that directs you towards an elevator, where you meet with a group called the Outcasts. These individuals - ex-Brotherhood Of Steel power-armoured types - make vague, grunted threats at you, before asking you to enter a simulation of the battle to free Alaska's capital, Anchorage, from Chinese forces. This simulation is apparently the requirement to open a door to a supposed bevvy of ammunition, joy, and possibly plot.

Picky or not, this is a rather shit plot device, especially considering the radio broadcast that draws you towards them says that it's an emergency. In reality, it's a bunch of bored-looking soldiers with by-the-numbers dialogue who direct you towards a simulation to open a door. Bethesda's writers could and should have done better.

Snow Joke

On entering the simulation, you're faced with a series of cliffs and a general who insists you follow him up a ridge and kill some Chinese soldiers. This begins an hour-long excursion into Medal of Honor: Boring Snowy Cliffs as you bundle through doorways, killing the same bad guy repeatedly, using VATS or the slightly wonky combat engine. To make matters worse, there are no istimpaks - only ammo dispensers and health containers that restore everything ton your person. Disappointingly, enemies ioear with a weird fizzly effect - an't even loot them.

ter slogging past this awkward in, you're teleported to the main Things only go further downhill, vo remotely clever ideas in this loadable content - squads and on load-outs - are quickly doused thick gasoline of mediocrity. The ;r has you select a limited load-out mrnates - robots or soldiers - with ent guns in their hands. They're uncontrollable and merely stand behind , you, providing covering fire, which was n't revolutionary in Baldur's Gate, let alone here. "Weapon load-outs" are just I a way of stopping you from having to loot weapons - you're locked into a few set guns depending on how you want to play. The battle for Anchorage itself is set up in a surprisingly linear and deeply contrived manner.

There are three objectives - the third of which is the removal of the pulse wall, which can only be done by completing the first two. These boil down weakly to "kill all the bad men in this area," a distinctly arti-Fallout prospect.

Killing Clones

These enemies range from generic to half-interesting, with the Crimson Dragoons using stealth to avoid your VATS-targeting. Otherwise, you spend 90% of your time shooting the same terrible Al soldiers. Worse still, your objectives are so linearly placed and pointless that Bethesda may as well have skipped them altogether. You walk out from the camp. To the left is one objective, to the right is another, and the third - the pulse wall - lies in the middle. If you walk too far forward you'll die - almost instantly - from a shower of bombs. It's almost as if Bethesda forgot what made Fallout 3 a joy - or the recession started to tug at them to make money.

The icing on the cake is the final battle which is totally automated and won by robots (actually badly reskinned Brotherhood of Steel soldiers). There's little or no ending, no closure, and no point to anything that goes on in this expansion. Even the gear and extra perk you receive are useless if you've played more than a few hours of Fallout 3 (and totally, if you haven't unlocked Power Armour yet), and the three or so hours you sink into the mission are lifeless.

Finally, I can't deplore enough how little story there is. I had high hopes that Bethesda would pull out some wacky lore, gadgets and kitsch '50s nonsense. But instead of Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, I got Medal of Honor: Linear Arctic Shooter, Wrapping it in the virulent Games for Windows packaging only makes this mess more insulting.

While many say that next DLC packs The Pitt and Broken Steel will redeem Bethesda's DLC plans, I'm now utterly cynical. All this pack does is prove that they have either missed the point of the franchise, the point of Fallout 3, or they've just become as money-grabbing and soulless as everyone else.

Spend the Microsoft Points on some Rock Band tracks instead of this tripe -they're far more enjoyable.

Download Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Bethesda Have Certainly come a long way since releasing the oft-mocked Horse Armour extension to Oblivion. With Operation Anchorage, they've really pushed the boat out in terms of downloadable content. Taking around five hours to finish, it will actually take longer to complete than Call of Duty 4's single-player mode. It also allows Fallout fans to visit a legendary period in the lore of their beloved series, finding out what really happened (according to Bethesda) when the Chinese decided to attack the land of ice and Sarah Palin. And there's not a single piece of horse armour in sight.

Red Sky At Night

The Chinese are the enemies that need to be dealt with in Operation Anchorage, invading Sarah Palin's backyard. Push them back and take out their bases to achieve victory.

Ancient History

Operation Anchorage is a famous event in the lore of the Fallout series, made playable here via a simulation-within-a-simulation situation. Any level of character will be able to access it as soon as they leave the Vault.

Inspector Gadget

There'll be plenty of exotic gadgetry, armour and weapons to pick up and use in OA, plus you'll also be able to control Strike Teams as the conflict unfolds.

Morally Grey

Bethesda are focusing on combat/stealth with OA, but that doesn't meant there won't be some of the normal multiple path quests around for you to find.

Cold Blue

The art style will be radically different from the desolate wastes of the main game, all icy hues and frozen tundra, with new weapon effects that will suitably complement this change in stylistic direction.

Artificial Life

The Al characters in OA will be able to interact with each other far better in the four or five hours it lasts. Will they still start conversations with you while standing behind other people? Probably.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots