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Thread: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

  1. #1
    Member Member Zenicetus's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    On a ship, in a storm

    Default Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    Well I bought it, played it. Here's a review (PC version).


    It's nice to see a different terrain color palette, and the Chinese stealth guys add something new to the game.

    You'll see a few new things like aircraft flying in the sky, and an enemy tank or two. There are some nice visual effects related to an attack on an artillery bunker. The environment looks good.

    You get a new weapon and a new type of stealthy armor, both of which can be carried out into the main campaign after you finish the scenario. They're both nice, but not uber-powerful and I wouldn't recommend the expansion just to get them.

    There is an opportunity to lead a small squad of soldiers (optionally with a robot), although the implementation is very limited. It's basically like having a few extra companions in the OC.


    It took me something like 3 hours to play through the expansion, but I'm playing a sneak/sniper that likes to do a lot of scouting. Others might finish it in two hours. I know downloadable content like this is supposed to be just a "mini expansion," but even at a cost of $10 USD, that's not a lot of play time for the money.

    There is no real variety in what you do. It's a set of four missions that all play out the same; you're leading an infantry strike force, you kill stuff and keep moving forward. There is no exploration at all. You're funneled down a very linear game map to the final targets.

    The expansion strips the game down to basic arcade-like elements. Enemies disappear when they're killed, and leave no bodies to loot. You don't carry health items or have to worry about ammo. There are health and ammo replenishing gadgets placed at intervals in the game. If your squad members are killed, and you're between major battles, you can instantly get a replacement. The pretext here is that you're inside a simulation (game-within-a-game), but all those elements were jarring. I bought Fallout to play an RPG with some FPS elements, not something that's even more of an arcade FPS than the original game was.

    You have several companions in a squad, and you can choose the type of unit, but there is no direct tactical control over them, other than being able to tell them to wait while you scout a location. After that, they'll just charge in.

    A small spoiler about the Chinese stealth units...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    You'll face Chinese dragoons that use stealth semi-invisibility, but the devs wasted the potential by having the stealth meter say "Detected" when you're near them, and allowing the VATS to acquire target lock (but not being able to shoot), which shows you exactly where they're hiding. That was stupid... the stealth guys would have been much more dangerous if you actually had to look harder to find them.

    I played the expansion starting from a saved level 20 character. The difficulty level seemed about the same as the OC (i.e. very easy on Normal setting). I would have thought an expansion would be a little toughter than the OC, since most people will probably play this after finishing the OC. I got dinged a few times by stealthed Chinese dragoons, but mostly it was a cakewalk.

    The ending of the final mission in the simulation was anticlimactic...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    ... it reminded me of the last mission in the original Call of Duty where you're just along for the ride.


    Note: this only applies to the PC version. You have to install Windows "LIVE" to buy and play the game. The process of setting up an account, buying and downloading the game, was very confusing. It's a flawed install too... I had to manually copy a file into LIVE's separate savegame folder, in order to have a saved game with a character high enough level to reach the simulator. Worse, you need to go into a separate set of in-game windows to launch LIVE and have it running in order to play the game. There is a way to play it without LIVE running in the background, but it involves moving game files around and isn't officially endorsed. More info on the game's forum. It's a real mess, with lots of people unable to even get the thing installed. Honestly, I think Microsoft is trying to drive people away from PC games and into buying X-Boxes with all this hassle.

    The Games for Windows LIVE web site also charged me more than the actual cost of the expansion, because you can't just buy it directly. You have to purchase blocks of "points," and naturally the block increment is a little more than the cost of the expansion. Cute trick, that.


    I dunno, I guess it was worth $10, but only just barely. It remains to be seen whether the upcoming expansions are worth it. What I really want is more experience in the big post-apocalypse world, and to keep developing my character. With a level cap at 20, the next one that takes place in Pittsburgh might be just another minor shoot-em-up, and if it is, I'll pass on it. The final one that removes the level cap and extends the OC might be worth it, but it better have more story-driven content and exploration.
    Last edited by Zenicetus; 02-05-2009 at 02:46.
    Feaw is a weapon.... wise genewuhs use weuuhw! -- Jebe the Tyrant

  2. #2
    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Sep 2001

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    DLC for a game that ends when u beat the main quest line kind of rips off people already beat the main quest line or who beefed their character up in order to beat the main quest line. I guess its still better than selling freakin horse armor like Oblivion did tho. I will probably get it, but honestly, theres no point unless I start a new toon.
    Baby Quit Your Cryin' Put Your Clown Britches On!!!

  3. #3
    Ultimate Member tibilicus's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    You summed up my view on it exactly.

    Although the rewards at the end were also a bit laughable, not because there bad, but because they're far to generous as a reward. T 51-b armour which hardly degrades over time? I stealth suit which makes you undetectable to all but a few enemies with high perception, due to the fact I have a high sneak skill anyway the game actually became quite laughable with this suit equipped, I could stealth attack super mutants only for them to gun and simply stand there taking a beating.

    I was also disappointed at the difficulty, I was level 19 when I started it but the game is pretty much a walk in the park past level 10 so I could run through the levels with no problem. I think that also shows an big problem with fallout 3, you can rank the difficulty up but in return you get more XP so you simply get through the game faster. I guess I just never really felt like I was forced to survive out in a wasteland due to the fact I stumbled over loot and caps every 10 steps.

    "A lamb goes to the slaughter but a man, he knows when to walk away."

  4. #4
    Nobody Important Member Somebody Else's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    At her Majesty's service

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    Got to the Outcast outpost at lvl 3 (couldn't help helping myself to some raiders on the way). Finished the quest at lvl 8, able to wear power armour and pretty much cane anything near or far by smacking them with the sword, or running up to them and smacking them with the sword. That, and (given that I max out my repair skills first) a full suit of power armour for my pet follower...
    Don't have any aspirations - they're doomed to fail.


  5. #5
    Member Member Zenicetus's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    On a ship, in a storm

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    Yeah, I didn't discover that little feature about the winter T 51-b armor, because I had already finished everything I wanted to do in the OC. I heard about it just now on the game forum. Apparently it's a bug that got through testing. It's still operating as if it's in the simulation, where armor doesn't degrade.
    Last edited by Zenicetus; 02-05-2009 at 23:21.
    Feaw is a weapon.... wise genewuhs use weuuhw! -- Jebe the Tyrant

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    Just gone through this with my new character. I started at level 7 and finished at level 10.

    I liked:
    -My bugged T-51 power armour. It was much too hard to keep my non-bugged suit in decent condition in my first game. Hope they don't fix this ...
    -My Chinese stealth armour.
    -Ending up with so much cool, high end loot that I had to make 3 trips to haul it all back to my house.
    -The perk gained for collecting all 10 intel items adds to skills I use.
    -Power armour training perk without touching the disappointing main story.
    -No equipment degredation? Woohoo! The game needs it but it's still nice to play for a bit without it.

    I was less keen on:
    -Pre-made weapon load outs which at best offer 1 decent weapon and several rubbish ones, or at worst nothing but rubbish ones.
    -Shoot enemies -> use replenishment stations -> repeat. Occasionally, shoot enemies -> retreat to replenishment stations -> go back and shoot more enemies.
    -Squad based combat. It's no different to the encounters with allied support in the main game. Why make a fuss about the player becoming an officer, and tell the player they can give orders to their squad when all they can do is select which target to go after first? Even the choice of which squad members to spawn was wasted, as the game throws out plenty of generic troopers to help.
    -Flamethrower dudes hidden around corners.
    -The loot I like so much is going to unbalance the game quite badly.

    I hated:
    -Being forced to use the assault rifle for 3 hours! I've got 82 points in small guns and the thing is still ludicrously inaccurate and wimpy. There's a reason I never use one when left with a choice. All the other weapon load outs leave you incapable of fighting effectively at a range of more than 7 feet, or incapable of fighting if the enemy knows you are there. I do not go to war with a pistol, thank you.
    -Shoot, shoot, shoot, activate doodab, shoot, shoot ...
    -"The story behind this sim is that the Chinese have invaded and - oh, look, go shoot those people and don't ask any more questions!" What a big, fat, tragic missed opportunity to reveal some backstory for the world!
    -The boss battle. Running around backwards firing my assault rifle and doing negligable damage while waiting for VATS to recharge so I can do some targeted negligable damage shooting is not fun.

    The quest rewards are great for new characters. Otherwise it's all very missable. It turns the game into a wannabe FPS and that is not a good move. It loses everything the game does right with the exception of VATS, and highlights how medicore the gunplay is.
    Frogbeastegg's Guide to Total War: Shogun II. Please note that the guide is not up-to-date for the latest patch.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage review

    I liked how you could tlak the general into comitting suicide :D
    Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
    By the livin' Gawd that made you,
    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
    Quote Originally Posted by North Korea
    It is our military's traditional response to quell provocative actions with a merciless thunderbolt.


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