In honor of the fact that yesterday was Memorial Day and next week is E3, I decided to hold off on… Aw, screw it. This article’s a bit late, and I apologize. However, if you think there might be a DLC-shaped hole in your Wasteland-wandering experience but need to be absolutely sure that your $10 is going to a better place, here’s a rundown of why Broken Steel is the best piece of Fallout 3 DLC yet.
1. It’s not broken – Fallout 3 has had a bit of a tumultuous history with DLC launches, and – unfortunately – Broken Steel fits that mold perfectly. In fact, on day one, it decided to pull a Groundhog Day and peek its head out just long enough to get everyone riled up, only to let them all down. Upon attempting to download the DLC, users were met with a head-scratcher of an error (cryptographic what now?), and Bethesda had to remove the malfunctioning content from Games For Windows Live altogether. Now, though, it’s back with nary a glitch in sight. Good thing you waited to buy, huh? See -- patience really is a virtue.
2. The End? – If you were able to resist the allure of, you know, the good portion of Fallout 3 long enough to complete its main quest, you were likely met with an upsetting surprise. Due to a certain plot twist, continuing from your victorious save file was impossible, and if you lacked save files before the game’s final showdown, you were plain out of luck. Broken Steel fixes that. Regardless of the choice you made at the end of Fallout 3, Broken Steel picks up two weeks after that. This time around, the story focuses on a young man (your character from last time around) and his giant robot. When the robot is killed in an unexpected missle accident, the young man seeks revenge on the Enclave, because everyone hates them anyway. On top of that, the Wasteland is once again open for business, with a few new quests to boot. As to why Bethesda didn’t free your character from the shackles of his/her endgame prison with its first DLC pack, we’re not exactly sure -- but it’s still better late than never.
3. Bigger, better, more badass
– Many considered Fallout 3’s original ending to be a bit of a letdown. Fair enough, I’d say. Well, consider Broken Steel the real final page that you missed because it was stuck to another page, and you needed to slip a $10 bill in there to sort of wedge it free. To give you an example of how wildly epic Broken Steel can get, consider the following anecdote:
Pinned down by the laser fire of about 12 Enclave goons, I darted for a nearby manhole. Once inside my odorous escape route, a Deathclaw’s presence quickly became apparent by way of him attempting to eat my face. So I ran. Down the hallway: another Deathclaw. Turn left: another Deathclaw. Sprint through that door: another Deathclaw. Eventually, cornered by about six Deathclaws and a just a wee bit panicked, I pulled out my Fat Man mini-nuke launcher, turned, entered VATS, and fired. The shot killed all of them in a glorious shower of radioactive body parts, and left me with only one health block to spare.
The only possible downside to all this? Broken Steel ranks a couple notches higher than the rest of Fallout 3 on the difficulty scale. Needless to say, you might want to invest in some medkits and a high medicine skill before cracking open Broken Steel.
4. I am heavy weapons guy – David vs. Goliath and the Noisy Cricket from Men in Black aside, I’ve always figured that bigger means better when it comes to weaponry. However, Fallout 3 and I appear to have a difference of opinion, which resulted in a severe lack of big guns in the main game. As an apology for that omission, Broken Steel packs all kinds of heavy metal, including a Tesla Cannon, multiple varieties of flamethrower, precision laser gatling guns, and more. And believe me – with hundreds of enemies piling on top of each other for the chance to bring you down, the Tesla Cannon’s ability to shock multiple baddies at once will quickly become more than just a novelty.
– Think Fallout 3’s level cap is too low? Hit level 20 before your character was even out of diapers? Well, it’s time for another run on the level treadmill and – with any luck – this one won’t be quite so brisk. Broken Steel adds ten more levels to the game, and a bunch of new perks to go with them. One of these perks lets you literally explode on your unsuspecting foes, while others allow you to tamper with your karma levels and gain an infinite supply of puppies. Why other games haven’t implemented all of these features is beyond me.
Recommendation: Buy it – You saw this coming. Broken Steel is basically Fallout 3’s real ending. To be honest, though, in that respect, it’d actually be somewhat disappointing (spoiler: Broken Steel’s ending doesn’t do much in the way of closure), if not for the fact that two more pieces of Fallout 3 DLC are on the way . At this point, though, if you can only grab one of Fallout 3’s mini-expansions, Broken Steel’s a no-brainer.