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Fallout 3

Impressions of Operation Anchorage

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The first downloadable content for Fallout 3 - Operation Anchorage - is here. Read my impressions, but be warned if you are allergic to spoilers of any kind.

I devoted last night to fighting off the reds. That is I went to the year 2277 to take part in a simulation of the Chinese invasion of Alaska in the year 2066. All the retro futuristic alternate history stuff has my mind warped, but Operation Anchorage was a pleasant extension of my journey with Fallout 3. I'm not spoiling any of the story past how it connects to the main game, but there are some gameplay spoilers.

The downloadable content acts a bit like the "Trouble on the Homefront" quest in that you receive a radio signal in the wastelands as the outcasts are in need of a little help. Turns out super mutants aren't their only trouble. The main bulk of the new content is then played out in a simulation (think "Tranquility Lane" but much, much, much bigger) where you are tasked to take out the Chinese stronghold in Alaska. The mission brings a welcome change to the scenery as wintery blue tones, snow and mountains make up the scenery.

I won't spoil any of the story, but although the scenario is inspired, there wasn't that much about the dialogue or characters that excited me. The extra content provides you with a linear quest line to follow, much like the main quest in Fallout 3, albeit way shorter naturally. It took me about three hours (keep in mind I played it with my fully levelled up paladin) to save Alaska. So that makes it just over 250 points/hour - not the same great value as the main game, but worth it in my opinion.

The quest has been described as stealth heavy, but I played it pretty much guns blazing as I played the main game. There are some parts where sneaking and sniping is advisable, but for the main part I used my combat shotgun and frag grenades. There is also a new weapon, the super powerful Gauss Rifle. It uses microfusion cells as ammo, which is fairly rare in the simulation. One shot was all it took for most of the enemies and the scope doesn't make it any worse. Using the Gauss Rifle tactically is perhaps the most important key to success up North, more so than stealth. Some of the enemies however are stealthy, and will use a kind of cloaking technology to hide themselves. Your V.A.T.S. will lock on them, but with zero per cent chance to hit them... but of course once you know where they are you can just aim for the same spot in real time to hit them. Once they are hurt they will be visible and you can take them out using V.A.T.S. These enemies are a welcome change of pace during a quest that mainly sees you fighting off Chinese soldiers.

Operation Anchorage is released today Tuesday, January 27 on PC and Xbox 360 exclusively. I don't really feel like reviewing (that is assigning a number between 1-10) this kind of expansion, but if you enjoyed Fallout 3 you will most likely enjoy this even though it is a bit on the short side.

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