Operation: Anchorage is the first add-on for Fallout 3. With the unmatched atmosphere, action, and more choices than a Nevada brothel, the game has sucked hundreds of hours from everyone who’s played it. And how does a developer expand on such a captivating universe? Downloadable content of course!
|Title||Operation: Anchorage (Add-On)|
|Platform||PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3|
|Developer||Bethesda Game Studios|
|Release||January 27, 2009|
|MATURE - Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.|
In the first of 3 planned expansions for Bethesda’s already-massive title, Operation: Anchorage is priced at 10 dollars on the Xbox Live Marketplace and runs anywhere from 3 to 6 hours depending on how deep you dive into it. It contains three missions, “Aiding the Outcasts”, “Paving the Way”, and “Operation: Anchorage”, culminating in a boss battle.
First of all, if you’re wondering precisely how you get from Washington, D.C.’s bombed out ruins to Alaska, you don’t. After downloading and spending a few minutes outside in-game, your character receives a radio signal calling all personnel to Bailey’s Crossroads. This place is an absolute pain to find, particularly in finding a certain metro system.
However, once you find the outcast outpost and aid the outcasts from the Brotherhood of Steel in repelling super mutants, you are invited into their underground lair, which looks surprisingly modern for Fallout.
It is soon revealed that the outcasts have been looking for someone to run a simulation of the liberation of Alaska from Communist Chinese forces in order to unlock an armory containing untold riches from that time period. Fret not, loot whores; despite the fact that you can’t pick up loot in the simulation, you do get generously compensated at the end.
As soon as you lie down in the very cliché simulation pod, you are thrown into a world that is more an FPS than anything else. Along with an AI companion, Sgt. Benjamin Montgomery, you are set on a relatively linear path. While the opening sequence allows for some stealth, your later objectives forego this option almost entirely. The player receives his or her missions from a Field HQ in Anchorage, and from there is sent on a series of objectives.
The first mission requires you to plant explosives on 3 artillery guns hindering the American forces. This cliffside mission displays Fallout’s gorgeous graphics. You won’t know whether or not to kill the enemy or gaze upon the vistas spread out before you. But there ARE plenty of enemies to kill. If you’ve played at least some quests from before the expansion, you’ll have no trouble racking up that “Doesn’t Play Well With Others” achievement.
In this first mission, you get to truly see how the gameplay mechanics have changed for the expansion. In lieu of salvaging ammo and stimpaks from enemies, the enemies disappear in a very sci-fi manner, leaving you to collect health and ammo from dispensers that are placed in convenient and balanced places around the world. These never run out, so lower-level players can have a crutch to lean on.
The quests are exciting and full of action, but you won’t feel as if you’re contributing to your own cause while you trek through the cold Alaskan frontier. Rescuing prisoners and forming a squad using arbitrary recruitment markers doesn’t carry much weight.
This could be a problem of motivation for some, but for those who persevere, lots of rewards await. The end boss of this chapter is blown a bit out of proportion health-wise, but once you unlock the vault you will definitely feel like you deserve a pat on the back. Take that Gauss Rifle and blow heads off with pride!