Raising the level cap and effectively changing the ending to Fallout 3, Broken Steel is Bethesda’s third and most game-changing expansion to their popular title. Like the other expansions, there are some new, fun weapons and equipment to add to your arsenal as well as new locations to discover and explore. However, unlike the other expansions, Broken Steel keeps you in the Capital Wasteland instead of sending you off to other locales.
One of the main complaints about Fallout 3 was the fact that there was an ending and the player could not keep playing after finishing the main quest. With Broken Steel, the game continues after the “final” quest in the main story line and adds additional quests onto it. The best part is when you finish the last quest Broken Steel has to offer, you can–you guessed it–keep playing!
Another complaint fans had about Fallout 3 was the level cap of 20. After downloading Broken Steel a message pops up when you start the game telling you the level cap is now 30. Along with the extra ten levels comes a handful of new perks. Some of them are useful, such as the perk that allows your action points to regenerate faster; and some of them are not so useful, such as the perks that directly affect your character’s karma.
After a shaky transition explaining why you survived the Project Purity ordeal, the Brotherhood of Steel automatically assumes you want to help them out again and they send you to hunt down what’s left of the Enclave. You soon discover that the Enclave is still very organized and you are first sent to retrieve a Tesla Coil to develop into a new weapon.
Then you are sent to Adams Air Force Base–a new location–to destroy the Enclave’s new and devastating weapon of mass destruction and cripple their operations in the Wasteland.
Since you never actually leave the Capital Wasteland in this installment, the look of the game is going to be mostly the same as the rest of Fallout 3. However there are a couple of new locations that are worth noting. The Presidential Metro looks great and is still mostly intact except for a couple statues. It’s very Top Secret. You’ll feel like you’re trespassing on federal property.
The other unique location is Adam’s Air Force Base. It is a large area with a lot of ground to cover. It looks like what an Air Force Base should look like. It is complete with hangars, a control tower and runways peppered with Enclave barricades and sandbags. The only difference between this and you’re average everyday Air Force Base–besides from being semi-ruined–are the hangars housing Deathclaws instead of planes.
The ambient music and voice acting are back and well done. The new weapons sound threatening. Just about everything you will hear is your standard Fallout 3 fare, which is decent, but there is nothing new in the way of sound.
Aside from the new quests and the higher level cap there are a few more notable differences in the Fallout 3 experience. The first and most noticeable are the new enemies you encounter throughout the Wasteland. These include the Super Mutant Overlord and Feral Ghoul Reaver. Both are extremely powerful and should be approached with caution. For example, in one of my playthroughs I saw two Super Mutant Overlords kill a Super Mutant Behemoth with little effort in front of the Galaxy News Radio Building.
Putting new and more powerful enemies in the game is good and it adds more of a challenge to the game, but these enemies seem to appear even when you character is at a relatively low level. I remember fighting for my life at around level seven or eight against a Super Mutant Overlord with a Gatling Laser and having to use just about all of my ammunition and healing items to down him. This just adds more frustration to the game than anything. The new enemies are fun to fight when you’re at a higher level, but you have to be careful when exploring the Wasteland until you’re at that point.
Broken Steel delivers gamers some new equipment. There are new weapons such as the Tesla Cannon, which fires a concentrated blast of energy at a target, and the Heavy Incinerator, which shoots fireballs at a target instead of a stream of fire. Both of these, plus others are very effective against just about everything and are useful beyond the Broken Steel quests.
Along with the weapons there are also a few more armor pieces and items. The armor includes some new Enclave Armor and some pieces of clothing you get when you do the side quests Broken Steel has. The most notable item you will probably notice are the Aqua Pura bottles laying around. These are the new purified water bottles produced from Project Purity.
Overall, Broken Steel is a necessary expansion to own. Along with raising the level cap and making the game playable after the ending, it has entertaining new quests and an interesting little add-on to the main story. The stronger enemies may appear a little too soon and it might take a little more work to kill them, but that should not deter gamers from experiencing this expansion. With all of the niceties Broken Steel adds to the game it makes the price worth it and the Fallout 3 experience that much better.
Other Fallout 3 Reviews
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Published by: Bethesda Softworks
Developed by: Bethesda Softworks
ESRB Rating: M for Mature, 17+
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Genre: Action Role Playing Game