No, this isn’t about the birthers; I just finished two of the DLC for Fallout 3: Broken Steel, which extends the main story, and Point Lookout, which adds a new swampy area to explore.  (I got both on disk; fie on GFWL.)

F3 tribal

Tribal gear, accessorized by Pip-Boy and sunglasses.

Point Lookout is great: it’s big, creepy, and refreshingly amoral.  Nothing you do here saves or destroys the world; you have to choose sides in the main quest, but neither combattant is attractive.  (I went with Desmond, the slightly less arrogant one.) 

Fights are surprisingly hard, thanks to a buff all the swampfolk and tribals get: every hit they do gets a 35 hp bonus.  (I learned this from the wiki; I was wondering why they could deal so much hurt with lousy weapons.)  I had to snarf stimpaks like candy; fortunately there’s a load of them around. 

Creepers are butt-ugly, except when they're dying.

Creepers are butt-ugly, except when they're dying.

You get two good weapons here, the microwave emitter and the double-barrelled shotgun, which packs quite a wallop.  It works nicely with the perk that resets your action points if you make a kill.  (VATS can feel like a cheat, but it becomes very attractive on the weapons with long reload times.)

Broken Steel is not as quirky– you have to expect the main quest, with its save-the-world overtones, to be more earnest.  But it’s done better than the ending of the pre-DLC game itself, largely because it focusses on what the player is best suited for– infiltrating missions– rather than large-scale battles alongside more powerful allies.  There are a couple of really difficult fights– one in a cellar filled with deathclaws, one in the Presidential Metro overflowing with very tough ghouls. 

My personal, adorable deathclaw

At one point you get your own personal, adorable deathclaw. Not that useful though.

The final fights against the Enclave are much easier, and that points out some game balance issues as the level cap is raised to 30.  At level 26, with nearly all skills maxed out, and armed with toys like the Gatling Laser, Heavy Incinerator, and my personal standby, A3-21’s plasma rifle, a lot of the challenge drops, especially in non-DLC areas of the game.  It’s nice to be powerful, but the game is always the most interesting, I think, in the single-digit levels.

Interesting family name

Interesting family name

Finally, something for my SpinnWebe pals– note the name on the townhouse above.  Don’t forget to loot the house for DVDs and HeroClix.

Bethesda is apparently now done with Fallout 3 DLC, and hard at work on the next big single-player game, which won’t be Elder Scrolls V either.  As with Valve and Bioware, I trust that everything they do will be well worth it.

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