So the next installment of Fallout 3 post-apocalyptic mayhem is here, albeit via some major bugs. So is it Brad Pitt or a tad sh*t?
For those of you who hadwith the original DLC on the 24th March, which bizarrely included giant floating exclamation marks, as well as ‘glitchy’ textures and freezes. You will be glad, and probably aware, that Bethesda has sorted the problems out. Well kind of… the DLC still managed to crash on me twice in-game. Apparently it all has to do with ‘meshes’, for a full explanation click . Frustrating, but anybody who has played Fallout 3 for any length of time knows to save, save, save, and I have to remind myself that I have never had the displeasure of playing the main game on the PS3. I know people who have self-inflicted hair loss. Right, enough with the Bethesda bashing; they did after all react pretty quickly to the issues…
Things kick off in the Wasteland with a distress call to investigate, from some guy called Wernher. However I had some trouble finding the locale, after a prolonged bout of swearing I finally found Wernher (he is tucked away on a ridge in the North-West part of the map), being set upon by ‘Pitt Slavers’. Having dispatched the Slavers in the usual visceral shower, Wernher begins to explain the premise of the campaign: There is a place called ‘The Pitt’ where a lot of nice people have been enslaved by a lot of nasty people (foresaid Pitt Slavers). All the nice people are dying a horrible disease-ridden radiated death, or worse (more on that later), whilst the Slavers are sitting on some kind of miracle cure that could save them all. Your job is to infiltrate The Pitt and liberate the slaves whilst finding out what the miracle cure is and hopefully getting hold of it. Having met with Wernher you now must travel to The Pitt, which of course is the nuked out city of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Having saved Wernher he instructs you to meet him at a train tunnel in order to travel to The Pitt, whilst acquiring a Slave outfit on route from a nearby Slaver camp (you will need to wear this to gain access to The Pitt although there are other options). Once at said train tunnel you are instantly transported to your destination, however not with your sidekick, if you are that way inclined, I had to leave my beloved Fawkes behind.
On arrival you are greeted with a firefight with some Wildmen, who are the bad guys that live outside of the Pitt’s compound. Once dispatched you must make your way across a bridge to the compound itself. First impressions of the scenery are pretty awesome, Bethesda again has done a sterling visual job. The very industrial skyline of Pittsburgh is striking, with immense pipe work and large chimneys looming high above whilst billowing fire and smoke. Whilst traversing the bridge I could not help thinking of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, the bridge is littered with burned out cars and mines and the cinematic themes of The Pitt don’t end there. The whole DLC plays out like a cross between Escape From New York, Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome and Fortress… well pretty much any sci-fi prison movie you can think of, you’ll see what I mean as you play through.
To gain access to the Pitt you have to don your soiled Slaver’s outfit, which renders you looking like the offspring of one of Max Mosley’s hookers and a Village People reject. And of course to infiltrate the compound you have to give up all of your hard earned weapons, painful I know, but don’t worry you get them back. Internally the Pitt is a maze of high up gantries and bombed out rooms, which can be a little disorientating at first. I thought it all a little bland until I got to the steel mill areas, which internally and externally were my favourite parts of the DLC. There are some very high up areas to explore and the mill itself was well executed, you could almost feel the heat off of the furnaces, and I felt a twinge of sympathy for the NPC’s working there. Once inside the main area the quest starts proper and I do not want to go any further into the story as this will result in spoilers, suffice to say there are a couple of good twists and more movie homage’s.
Apart from the Slavers and Wildmen, which are little more than glorified Raiders, there is only one new opponent, the Trogs. The Trogs are the result of the sickness that grips the Slaves in The Pitt, those that don’t die mutate into, well a cross between a Resident Evil licker (sans tongue) and Jade Goody (don’t worry I have already booked a place in hell). They come in a variety flavours, from the weaker fledgling, which the darker of you will be happy to know are mutated children to the tougher Trog brutes. They move pretty quickly and can prove to be a bit of a challenge, although I have to admit I was playing with a maxed out character, which made things a lot easier.
There are some new weapons: the Infiltrator which is a nifty silenced assault rifle and the immensely fun AutoAxe. The AutoAxe is a rotary cutting device used and built by the slaves out of old car parts, suffice to say there can be much joy dismembering adversaries, as limbs and body parts fly all over the place. There is also a lot of new amour on offer, but none as cool as the Dragoon armour found in Operation Anchorage, as well as a host of other weapons to be found and that can be ‘purchased’ but that would be giving too much away. For the Gamer Point retentive amongst us there are 100 points up for grabs, as well as three new ‘perks’, all of which are pretty handy, one particularly, if like me you fell in love with the Auto Axe.
The Pitt is a step back and in the right direction to the more traditional quest lines of Fallout 3 with several morally ambiguous choices, but it is a frustratingly short campaign, albeit short and sweet, I completed and explored it all in five hours. There maybe some longevity in replay: as mentioned there are a few different moral routes to explore, I just hope that the next installment does allow leveling up and is more of a challenge to those of us that have fully explored and stated up in the Capitol Wasteland.