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Last time on Fallout 3 DLC theater, the Enclave went out with a suitably climactic bang, and next time, you’re showing aliens why they abducted the wrong armed-to-the-teeth Wastelander. And right now? A swamp. Put up against Broken Steel and Mothership Zeta, Point Lookout’s subject matter seems a bit snooze-worthy, doesn’t it? Like, if you had to choose one of them to take to prom, Broken Steel would be the really hot one, Mothership Zeta would be the easy one (Taking you back to the “Mothership” on the first date? Yowza.), and Point Lookout would be the nerdy one with the frazzled hair and the taped up glasses.
What Point Lookout lacks in appearances, however, it makes up for with personality. In fact, thanks to an excellent, well-paced plot and some fairly meaty side missions, I’d say Point Lookout is Fallout 3’s best piece of standalone DLC yet. Here’s precisely why Point Lookout is so great, arbitrarily broken down into four convenient points!
1. Location, location, location – Back in my day, DLC reused asset after asset – enemies, buildings, weapons – from its respective main game, and I liked it! But Point Lookout’s approach ain’t half bad either. Most notably, the swamp and the Wasteland are distant cousins at best, with the swamp containing more green in one plot of land than the Wasteland has in its whole 16-ish mile span. On top of that, the foggy bog is littered with brand new enemies (malformed, inbred locals that spout all sorts of campy dialog), weapons and clothing (double barrel shotgun + Confederate cap = the Mickey Mouse souvenir hat of the South), and characters. It’s also all very pretty in an “I’m really glad they haven’t invented feel, taste, and smell-o-vision yet” sort of way.
2. Chair’s Edge – Point Lookout’s main story puts you in cahoots with a very angry Ghoul named Desmond Lockheart, whose mansion has a pesky tribal cult infestation. After swatting an initial batch of natives, Lockheart asks you to infiltrate the cult in order to find out why the painted-up swamp-dwellers won’t stop trying to kill him, and that’s where things get interesting. What follows is an expertly paced romp that involves brain removal, 200-year old conspiracies, and some seriously weird hallucinations. Speaking of which…
3. I am the Walrus – Fallout 3’s experimented with hallucinogenic elements in the past (go try Vault 106 if you haven’t already) but Point Lookout gives you a puff of the purple stuff you probably won’t soon forget. And while Fallout 3’s other attempts at doing as the cool kids do were a bit strange, Point Lookout’s is, without a doubt, a bad trip. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say that the sequence zeroes in on many of the capstones of your character’s life and then bulldozes them in the most brutal of fashions. But there’s no violence whatsoever. It’s purely psychological. More of this, please.
4. It’s smaller Fallout (Smallout?) – Of all the Fallout 3 DLC so far, Point Lookout feels the most like, well, Fallout 3. You’ve got an open area full of explorable nooks and crannies, and sidequests that wrestle with topics ranging from politics to the occult, but – and I can’t stress this enough – it’s all green! Really, I suppose if you’ve had your fill of Fallout 3 (because seriously, after a 100 hour game and three DLC packs, Fallout burnout isn’t exactly a rare malady), all these things could be considered negatives. But then, why are you even considering Point Lookout if you’ve already had a falling out with Fallout?
Recommendation: Buy it – Four pieces of DLC in, Bethesda just keeps topping itself. In terms of both quality and overall bang for your buck, Fallout 3’s steady stream of new content keeps getting better and better. But enough gushing from me; go grab Point Lookout and don’t look back.