Taking you out of the Wasteland once again, Bethesda brings something new to the table with Point Lookout. This expansion has you exploring a swampy area of Maryland called Point Lookout and it is noticeably creepier than the rest of Fallout 3. The main area is open ended, similar to D.C., with a handful of locations to discover as well as the signature new equipment and new enemies that come with all expansions. Out of all the expansions for Fallout 3 this one is the most elaborate one with the most to offer.
Similar to the first two expansions, Point Lookout starts out with a radio signal. The signal leads you to a riverboat landing with a boat willing to take you to Point Lookout which you are lead to believe is full of new opportunities and massive wealth. Those high expectations are quickly dashed when you see the run down boardwalk and the foggy swampland beyond. All you really have to enjoy are a couple of shops scattered around the swamps and the hospitality of the locals, which usually involves pain.
The main quest involves you assisting a ghoul named Desmond in defending his mansion against a local cult and then finding out why the cult attacked the mansion. Along with the interesting new characters you will meet this storyline is gift wrapped with hallucinations, mutated backwoods swamp folk and some new perks and items for your character. Similar to The Pitt, this expansion’s storyline and your karma are affected by the choices you make, good or bad.
In addition to the main quest there are some additional side quests you can complete. These are not tied to any achievements, but most of them are fun to complete and offer some entertaining new items and interesting side stories. Plus, you get to make Moonshine, which is the strongest alcohol in the game in terms of benefits and addiction rate.
Point Lookout is a very creepy place. As soon as you see it from the riverboat you know it’s going to be a completely different environment from the Capital Wasteland. Through the fog, you will see the boardwalk and the swampland beyond it. The boardwalk is completely deserted (save for one shopkeeper) and that just adds to the creepiness factor. The only thing worse than the boardwalk you are dropped off on is the swamp right after it.
You’re not going to find many friendly people in the swamps. There is one person that sells you stuff and the local cult, but that’s about it. The rest of it is littered with the mutated locals in their rundown houses and they would love nothing more than to have you shake hands with their axes.
Even though Point Lookout is a pretty scary place compared to the rest of the Fallout 3 locales it still looks great. The swamps are complete with bubbling cesspools of god knows what and the boardwalk has a big ferris wheel and a lighthouse at the very end of it. Even the interior locations look good. Usually they look very similar to each other, but the mansion near the lighthouse is very large with a number of different rooms and the hotel rooms just outside the boardwalk look like a serial killer’s prime murder location. Once again, Bethesda succeeded in making this expansion completely different in terms of the look and feel of it.
Save for a couple things, the sound is more of your standard Fallout 3 fare. There is some new voice work due to the new characters, but most of the other sounds are the same. The one cool addition is the variety of different sounds you will hear when trekking through the swamp. You will hear bugs chirping, bubbles of swamp goo popping and locals yelling choice lines such as “This is OUR swamp!”
As far as music goes it is mostly the same ambiance music you hear during the rest of Fallout 3. The only thing worth noting is the music you hear when you first see Point Lookout’s foggy outline and busted up boardwalk from the riverboat. The twangs of various string instruments played in a very southern style sounds very appropriate for the setting, but not very inviting for your character.
The first thing you’re going to notice in terms of game play while exploring Point Lookout is you can do just that, explore. In the other expansions for Fallout 3 you were put in either a very linear environment or a relatively closed off space with only a couple of locations to discover. Point Lookout gives you a map very similar to the Capital Wasteland’s, but smaller. Even though it is a smaller area to cover it still offers plenty of locations to find and loot. In addition to the mansion and the cathedral explored in the main quest, there are also a number of other points of interest to discover on side quests such as a detention center, wrecked planes and ships and a few caves. Also, since this is a swamp there is a lot of irradiated water so bring plenty of Rad Away and Rad-X.
As far as enemies go, most of the new ones for Point Lookout are the swamp folk. They are inbred, mutated people with inhuman strength that can give you problems if you’re still at a relatively low level. A couple of them will remind you of the character, Sloth from The Goonies. Other “new” enemies include swamplurks, which are essentially mirelurk kings with a different name, and swamp ghouls which look like regular ghouls only white. In addition to these enemies you will see Wasteland enemies such as mirelurks, feral ghouls and bloatflies.
The only thing I am a little disappointed with in Point Lookout is the new equipment you get throughout the expansion. There are a couple of unique pieces like the axe and the double barreled shotgun, but these are not going to be useful for most of the game, if at all. The other, more useful weapons look like weapons from the Capital Wasteland. For instance, the lever-action rifle, although quite useful, looks just like Lincoln’s Repeater. The only difference is it is rendered a different color. In addition to that one, there are a couple more new weapons that look like older weapons from Fallout 3.
There are a couple new interesting pieces of clothing and a few new items to find along with the weapons. The Confederate Hat is a nice touch considering the game tells you Point Lookout was used as a Union Army prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Also, an item you’re going to run across quite frequently is the punga fruit which grows everywhere in Point Lookout.
All in all, Point Lookout is arguably the best expansion Fallout 3 has to offer. The biggest perk is the unique environment you are free to explore. The main quest is fun and like The Pitt it can have multiple outcomes. Some of the re-skinned enemies and weapons are a little disappointing, but that one thing should not deter you from getting this expansion. Point Lookout adds a few entertaining hours onto your Fallout 3 experience and is a fantastic addition to the game.
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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: June 23, 2009
Genre: Action Role Playing Game