Fallout 3: Broken Steel

Review

posted 5/9/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360
The Super Mutants also get one new class in the Super Mutant Overlord. They fall in between the regular super mutants and the super mutant behemoths and often carry some heavy duty weapon such as a Gatling laser or the new tri-beam laser. Besides the heavy weapons, they also can absorb more damage as well. These guys can now be found wandering the landscape and in areas of large mutant population. As with the reavers, these guys are thrown to make things tougher and you'll need to spend some more time bringing these brutes down than the normal super mutant.

All the new creatures brought in through Broken Steel are designed to make things tougher for the player. I have to admit I stopped being worried about battles with what my character has become and with Fawkes at my side. The new enemies and increased difficulty created by them sure ups the ante for the rest of the game. Those that found it a little too easy in the later levels might now be challenged when these new guys come after you. It was the first time in a long time where I started to decrease in my stimpack supply rather than see an increase while adventuring.

Like the other DLC, there are some new weapons and armor available to you. I touched on the Hellfire Armor early on but the star of the show in terms of weapons is probably the Tesla Cannon. This monster gun fires beams of electricity that can do splash damage as well as lasting effect where the enemy will experience damage even after a few seconds from a hit. If enemies are close together, both will start taking damage with the area effect of the Tesla Cannon. Remember those Enclave Vertibirds you saw pre-DLC? One shot from the Tesla Cannon will turn them into a fireball in the sky and I have to say it's a pretty damn satisfying feeling to bring these birds down in one shot. It's one of the most powerful guns in the game and a very nice pick up with the DLC.

Cannon

Another fun weapon is the heavy incinerator. This flame thrower looking like device fires mortars of fire at your enemies in an arc. So, you can lob them over obstacles if an enemy is behind a rock making enemies hiding behind cover a target. The projectiles also have an area affect so you can take out a few at once if they are close together. With the ability to also set people on fire, I think players will enjoy using the heavy incinerator as it's an effective weapon against groups of enemies as well as single ones.

One disappointing aspect of Broken Steel is the new perks. I'm extremely happy the level cap is pushed to 30 and hearing that drum beat when you increase in level was sorely missed since I've been at level 20 for a while now. But, the new perks that come with DLC for levels beyond 20 are pretty uninspiring. I'm really at a lost as to why they would include ones that instantly change your character to Good, Neutral, or Evil. One of the nice aspects about the RPG is building up your character through various actions you partake. Having a perk to instantly change your character's karma over to one of the three seems a little cheap. Yes, you don't have to pick the perk when you level up but I think Bethesda should have spent some more time in providing fun and interesting perks rather than karma changers or the ones that instantly change your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats. About the only one that seems remotely interesting to me is the ability to explode in a nuclear blast but you can only get that at level 30. Currently, I'm 5 levels away so I can't comment on that perk but as I was leveling up past 20 in Broken Steel, I never once selected any of the new ones and seeing the ones after level 25 I don't think I will select any of the ones in the higher levels either. It's a shame too as I think Bethesda had a great chance to really add some interesting perks with the release of Broken Steel but that doesn't seem to be the case here in my opinion.

I didn't seem to run into any bugs throughout my play of Broken Steel except for one. In fact, I started the DLC with a bug. Having finished the Pitt DLC, I saved right outside the train yard where you can take a rail car to the Pitt. When I loaded up the saved game after installing the DLC I found my character underneath the train track in a sort of noclip mode but I couldn't move too far. Luckily I could fast travel to a location to get out. Now, whether this was brought on by the DLC remains to be seen but I don't remember loading up the save game and experiencing this issue. Other than that, my journey through Broken Steel was pretty problem free. There were some issues with the Windows PC Games for Windows Live installation of the DLC but that was fixed in a day or so. The bug experience was certainly a lot less than that of the Pitt so I have no complaints in this area.

For the price of Broken Steel, I think it's a worthy DLC for fans of Fallout 3. Just being able to continue past the end game and increase in level cap is enough for me is worth half of the price of the DLC. Then to have an additional 5+ hours of content, new items, new enemies, and new areas makes Broken Steel a good buy. Out of the three announced DLC, I would say Broken Steel is my favorite with The Pitt coming in second and Operation Anchorage a very distant third. If you can only spend money on one, Broken Steel is definitely it by a land slide. I'm thoroughly enjoying using the Tesla Cannon as I continue my adventures in the Capital Wasteland finishing up many of the side quests I missed. It's too bad it had to take Broken Steel to let you continue the game beyond what the original ending was but that's one addition I really welcomed with the purchase. If this is the last DLC for Fallout 3, I think Bethesda did a good job with offering Fallout 3 players good value.


B+
Broken Steel does well in continuing the story left off with Fallout 3. The new enemies make the game a lot tougher for those that found it getting easy near the end of the game. The level increase is a nice welcome and it's great that you can now continue the game past the end. Overall, a solid DLC that is worth your time and money.


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