Another Trip to the Wasteland - Fallout 3: Broken Steel Review
Fallout 3: Broken Steel continues the story of Fallout with more fighting to stabilize the wasteland after the activation of Project Purity. If you're interested in whether the new weapons, armor, and quests are worth your $9.99, then check out this review.
Fallout 3 Broken Steel is the third package of downloadable content that Bethesda has released. This was the most ambitious of the bunch so far. Adding this DLC will notably raise the level cap to 30 and allow for a lot more character development. The gameplay hasn't changed fundamentally. If you want to learn more about the actual gameplay, then you can read this awesome Fallout 3 review I wrote. I'll focus on all the information about the new additions here.
Broken Steel: New Weapons and Armor
The weapons were fairly lackluster in my opinion. There were only a few additions. Three of them were flamethrower variants. Two are just different flamethrowers. The third is basically a plasma rifle that shoots fireballs. If you like fire-based weapons in Fallout 3, then you're in luck. Otherwise, the weapons aren't that great.
The specialty magnum they added is only available if you choose the extra evil option to end the quest. It's powerful, but not great.
The Tri-Beam Laser Rifle is alright, but it's a huge ammo waster and only really necessary to kill the few bullet sponges in the game.
The Tesla Coil is the only shining gem of the additions. It's a cool and somewhat original weapon. It's basically a long-range cannon with a lasting shock effect. The problem is that it's just cool because it's over-powered. It's basically a game breaker if you choose to use it as your main weapon.
The armor is basically non-existent. There are a few bits and pieces for style reasons. The only real addition is in the form of the Enclave's Hellfire Armor. It's alright, but it's only useful because it's an easily repairable power armor. I'm guessing that most players past level 20 will already have a favorite custom set of power armor.
One last problem is that most of this cool gear comes at the end of the main quest. You effectively get it after the point when it would prove most useful. If you have already done most of the quests in Fallout 3, then you are going to barely get a chance to use any of your new toys. This just seems foolish.
Broken Steel: New Enemies
The new enemies are terrible. They are all just pathetic attempts to increase the difficulty of the game by adding bullet sponges. Let me describe the additions.
There is the ghoul reaver. It's a ghoul that can throw radioactive gore, just like the centaur, and it has a ton of health and speed. There is the super mutant overlord. It's a ridiculously tough super mutant that can carry tri-beam laser rifles or fat man launchers. There is the albino radscorpion. It's a white giant scorpion with health equivalent to a behemoth. That's not an exaggeration.
There are also a few new Enclave with flamethrowers and a special Sigma squad, but they aren't much different from the standard Enclave.
The problem is that all of the new creatures are boring and repetitive. The strategy for killing all of them is the same. You cripple their legs, shoot away their weapons, and run away shooting and praying that your gun doesn't wear out before you kill them. It honestly took 30 shotgun blasts at pointblank range to kill an overlord. It translated to 6 shots from a fully repaired alien blaster to knock off 2/3 of an overlord's health. The albino radscorpion is even worse.
At least deathclaws, behemoths, sentry bots, and super mutant masters required a bit of tactics. These new enemies are just bullet sponges that require lots of mindless shooting.
Broken Steel: New Quests
The quests are quite good overall. The main quest really shines for 2 of the 3 missions. The middle one is a little lackluster, but not bad. They really feel like cool additions to the game. These new missions feature large raids on new complexes and large battles between the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave. The final level is also just perfect for the end of the game. It puts you right into the middle of an Enclave base with the simple goal of fighting your way through to the command center. You can then use all of your talents to tackle the different challenges and push the Enclave out of the Capitol Wasteland. This sandbox level has lots of room for showing off and is a great way to end the game.
That said, it's not a 5, because the side quests are pitiful. It takes about 15 minutes to go through all three of the new side quests. They have very little substance and little room for anything cool. One of them isn't even available for evil players who destroyed Megaton. The other two take a couple of conversations and 3 minutes of shooting.
I will note that it's a particular shame considering the potential of the new material. One of the unmarked quests features a battle that the player can spawn, in which the Brotherhood of Steel tries to capture Fort Bannister from Talon Company to help protect the water routes. If they win, they turn it into a new outpost. That kind of stuff is cool. It's just a shame that they don't have more of it in the expansion as full quests.
Broken Steel: New Perks
The last addition is the new level cap and the perks to go with it. The perks are just pointless for the most part. The new ones just don't offer much of a benefit. The only remotely useful one would be Almost Perfect, which just acts to bump up the attributes to level 9, similar to what the Fallout 2 guide did after finishing Fallout 2's main quest. They really missed an opportunity here. A good portion of the perks are truly worthless and only do things like alter your karma level or allow you to sleep in any bed and get the well rested bonus. People will mainly just use the new 10 levels to pick up perks they missed the first time around.
It may seem strange that I'm still recommending this. The new enemies and the new weapons aren't very good and the perks are insignificant. That said, the new main quest missions are fun and in the end, it is still another 5 hours in Fallout 3. If you liked Fallout 3 the first time around, then you'll probably enjoy the new quests. If you didn't like it or were ambivalent the first time around, then this will not change your mind.