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 Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:23 am

The title of this topic is a direct reference to the Korean movie the good, the bad, the weird but I think these adjectives are appropriate when discussing Fallout 3 DLCs and now Fallout New Vegas DLC.



The virtual reality in Operation Anchorage had some great potential but its implementation wasn't satisfactory as it showcased the limitations of Fallout 3 as a straight FPS game. The VR part itself introduced some beautiful snowy landscape but it was extremely linear, somehow repetitive and ultimately boring so finding the way back to the DC Wasteland was actually a relief.



The Pitt was really great for introducing some new assets and moving the action to an urban setting which was a welcomed change. It stood out because of the moral ambiguity of the plot but it was rather short and some parts could have been fleshed out more (I'm thinking of the arena for instance). It's probably my favourite DLC with Point Lookout.

[img][/img]

Now, Point Lookout was big and brought much to the game. The new areas were very compelling and the new creatures were both challenging and helped creating a very special atmosphere. I enjoyed the tribal element and the plot which evolved around the feud between two very interesting characters. As such it wasn't as linear and allowed for exploration and felt like playing the original game in a different setting.



Mothership Zeta was a disappointment. The alien element was bound to cause some concern for the more lore oriented fans. Even if you take it as a tongue in cheek exploration of a scifi meme (made popular by TV shows like the X Files or the Invaders before) and even if the DLC reprised some clever analogies between vintage scifi and the Red Scare it failed to entertain. It was too linear and made extensive use of an NPC that made the whole story even less believable (despite a pretty interesting start). From the moment the little girl came into the picture it went downhill.



Broken Steel was interesting for many reasons. Increasing the level cap was a much needed change and it introduced many new assets for the game's villains. The major problem was that the DLC itself was very restrictive and clearly looked as an attempt to top the previous ending of the game (a common problem with sequels that try to create an interest in the audience by making the new threat much more impressive than the previous one -it happens all the time in Star Wars movies for instance).

The problem is that it wasn't satisfying or even interesting and the new content felt as if we were dragging the original plot along with artificial deus ex machina conveniently placed. It further diminished the impact of the choice that had to be made when playing the original ending of the game (I for one never understood how Colonel Autumn could have survived when James didn't. Some people say that Autumn had the time to inject himself with some advanced Rad meds but then why couldn't the Vault Dweller get some of that stuff and avoid the forced moral choice at the end? That's a rather big plothole). Besides that's not even taking into account the cringe factor associated with the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 3. If anything the "real" Brotherhood should be more like the Outcasts and it was a relief to me to see the Brotherhood portrayed more faithfully in FNV.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:25 am

That brings me to the subject of FNV DLCs. I've played Honest Hearts first because I wasn't too eager to play Dead Money. I didn't like the starting point that to create some kind of challenge it was necessary for the character to be stripped of his or her gear (Honest Hearts doesn't take it too far and it's fine).

The two currently available DLCs are very different. Dead Money is a different take on the game (while maintaining deep links with the game itself) while Honest Hearts is more closely integrated (it's more about a change of scenery rather than a radical change of gameplay).



Dead Money uses a different environment to challenge the player through a series of puzzles. As such it plays differently from the old routine (go there, fetch that, kill the target). You can't rush through the quests and you have to explore and pay attention to your surroundings. The new stuff is great and feels somewhat different but blends in perfectly well into the setting. The interaction with the followers is definitely the strong point of this DLC.

I'm not sure it has much replay value but it is different and entertaining until you get to the end and the frustration that brought back to my mind the memories of countless hours spent playing platform games as a kid. The last bit is not Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade but it's almost as frustrating to jump around, rush to safety and react rapidly to deal with the (hostile) environment. After that comes a RP bit and then you have to go back through some hoops to get to the slide show.

In all fairness the last part felt like playing a different game and I understand why many Fallout players have been so critical about the DLC. It's still fairly good provided you can get through the last part without too much frustration. As far as replaying it... There doesn't seem to be so many choices to be made and the few choices that you can make don't really change how the story unfolds and that's probably the biggest problem with this DLC (but I rank it above Operation Anchorage, that's for sure).



Honest Hearts plays more like the main game. It brings some really beautiful surroundings and some very cool new items that will become available in the main game after completing the DLC (thus reinforcing the link between the two). The backstory could have been more integrated into the main game -as it is Legion fanatics won't be thrilled by the new quests but other characters will be fine.

It's been reported that the DLC was short and it is not necessary so. It very much depend on the playing style. If you enjoy looking under every rock then you will love the attention to details and the backstory of Zion. The quests are not that long and rather linear (you get a few important choices at the end however). They're certainly not incredible and they don't feel like anything new (go there, fetch that, we've done it for ages). That's the disappointing part. The best part is in the exploration since there are some locations to explore -if you're curious- and some interesting things that I won't spoil for you that are more story driven (if you like picking out bits and pieces and put them together you may enjoy that).

Honest Hearst will feel short if you rush through it but IMO it's better than most Fallout 3 DLC. With a few more things to do and a less linear structure it would have been perfect. I must say I really like the new assets, weapons and armours that are introduced. I've enjoyed the new landscape as well. The DLC also adds new perks and recipes to the game so if you plan on playing FNV a few more times that may be a factor. It focuses a lot on tribals so if you liked this in Fallout 2 you may enjoy the tribal aspect. I wish my character could spend more time mingling with them but it seems DLCs have to be limited in a timeframe in these games. It's on par with the rest of the game but it feels more limited by its scale (the same thing could be said about Point Lookout for Fallout 3 and that DLC had a rather large map and more things to do).

After playing both FNV DLCs I can say that Honest Hearts is the better DLC by far. Dead Money uses the same locations and feels more cramped despite a great atmosphere, the platform element at the end can be frustrating and some plot elements may irritate players (the whole thing about getting stripped of your gear is turning into a cliche). In comparison Honest Hearts feels may not be perfect but it feels like exploring a brand new worldspace without being confined to a single path that you have to follow in order to survive.

One thing is for sure we'll find out more about the elusive courrier known as Ulysses in the two other DLCs Old World Blues and Lonesome Road that should be available in June (!) and July.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sun May 06, 2012 3:05 am

Being bored with fantasy I am thinking about installing Fallout 3 on this computer. Hopefully I can run it without any problem.

Just checking out the DLCs to see what I should get.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sun May 06, 2012 2:12 pm

Just get the GOTY edition. Same cost as Fallout 3 I think, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to play them all again.
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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sun May 06, 2012 2:36 pm

That's some very sound advice from Paul.

When considering Fallout 3 Operation Anchorage and Mothership Zeta are the least interesting DLCs. That being said they provide assets that are used in many mods so if for instance you want to play the Mothership Zeta mod (for which Jez did some great VA) you may want to get them all with the GOTY edition.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sun May 06, 2012 3:14 pm

Thank you both. I will do that. Fallout 3 was not connected with Steam as I recall so I will go to Amazon I guess.

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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Sun May 06, 2012 11:09 pm

When it comes to DLC for all the Fallout games, Honest Hearts wins for me, above even Old World Blues. The religious themes, the gorgeous scenery, the awesome rewards, the great story, and my favorite video game character of all time, Joshua Graham. And the intro... Damn, that intro was awesome.
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PostSubject: Re: Fallout DLCs: the good, the bad, the weird   Mon May 07, 2012 8:15 am

And Zion is still great to explore after.
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