Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Operation: Anchorage Second Look

After my first experience with the Operation: Anchorage Fallout 3 DLC, I was not impressed. Soon after playing it however, I quickly realized I played through it with an autosave that was created after I had gone on a crazy rampage. Fawkes, Dogmeat and everyone in Megaton were dead by my hand. I needed to remedy this situation, so I decided to load a hard save and give it another go.

This time I knew what I was getting into, and I really wasn't looking forward to it all that much. I did however make sure to have a FAQ handy for the locations of all ten "enemy intel" briefcases scattered throughout the campaign. As I made my way to Bailey's Crossroads, which is where the mission begins once you receive the distress call, I couldn't help but remember something said on one of the many gaming podcasts I listen to. I couldn't begin to remember who said it, but mention was made of how difficult it was to locate. This statement baffled me, perhaps it's because I had already explored most of the map and have a level twenty character, but I found it very simple to locate. Perhaps the podcaster just doesn't posses the required intelligence quotient required to play a game of Fallout 3's scope, I would surmise a score of five or so would be sufficient.

Once you find where the Brotherhood Outcasts are located, they quickly take notice of your Pip-Boy and realize you are exactly what they need to interface with the simulator. Which just so happens to be the only way to unlock a vault containing a large cache of weaponry. Once you agree, put on the Neural Interface Suit, and enter the simulator, the quest begins.

You find yourself tasked with infiltrating a chinese base, quickly and quietly or guns blazing, it's your call and really doesn't make any difference whatsoever. There are health and ammo refills everywhere, seemingly after every minor tussle. That was one of the things that bothered me the first time through as much as the second. There really seemed to be very little challenge at any point throughout the short campaign.

Once you have infiltrated the base and regroup with your CO, you are ordered to destroy some enemy artillery. Again it's a cakewalk. Although by this point you have at least encountered both the Gauss Rifle and Crimson Dragons. The Gauss Rifle is sufficiently badass, and can kill most any enemy in one hit. Crimson Dragons really aren't all that badass, just really annoying. Assuming enemy levels scale to your character level, they are weak. I could let them pound on me all day and bitchslap them to death if I wished. What makes them so annoying however is the fact they are pretty much invisible when crouched, and like to pounce on you from behind.

After finishing the destruction of enemy artillery, you are promoted and are able to assemble a small squad with followers of your liking that all posses the worst A.I. seen in a game, so I wouldn't really bother with them at all. You then have three separate objectives you can take in any order you wish. All three take about ten minutes to finish and are so linear in contrast to the standard Fallout 3 gameplay. Finish these, watch the short cutscene, and get out of the simulator, the end. Well, sort of.

Once you leave the simulator, you finally get to reap the rewards. Open the vault, have a little scuffle, then take what you want. You find several items inside including:

  • Gauss Rifle - Powerful, but it has to be repaired by a NPC, so I won't use it.
  • Trench Knife - Badass knife, but I'm a level 20 and haven't used a melee weapon since leaving Vault 101.
  • Chinese Stealth Suit - This is cool, when you crouch you go quasi invisible, useful to some extent perhaps, but again can only be repaired by NPC's.
  • Winterized T-51b Power Armor - Good armor, but I much prefer the combat armor received from the Reilly's Rangers quest.
  • Jingwei's Shock Sword - Awesome sword that does shock damage, and can be repaired with Chinese Officers Swords. Again however, melee weapons are useless in my opinion.

Also if you have taken the time to find all ten "enemy intel" briefcases, you will have received the "Covert Ops" perk. This perk will raise your science, lockpick and small guns skills by three points each. My small guns were already at 100 and my science and lockpick skills were at 75, so again I found this useless as well, being that I will not see any difference in science and lockpick until they reach 100.

So after it was all said and done, I still wander around in my same old armor with my same old weapons. Is it worth $10? Everyone seems to be comparing it to Knights of the Nine DLC for Oblivion, but I felt there was alot more gameplay with that than there is with Operation: Anchorage. I honestly don't see where it is worth the price of admission, however I remain hopeful for Bethesda's upcoming expansions.

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