Fallout 3: Broken Steel
After a not-entirely-convincing explanation of your new lease of life you’re thrust straight into the action, which generally consists of hunting down the remaining Enclave contingent that decided to be the main antagonistic force in the main game, and reducing them to piles of ash using the biggest gun in your inventory. Unlike the previous two DLC expansions, Broken Steel takes place in the entire Capital Wasteland rather than a more self-contained environment. With ten extra levels to gain and a huge playground to do it in, it’s easy to rub your hands together with glee over the prospect of more perks, more levelling up, and more adventures in the wastes. As a single entity however, the missions in Broken Steel can become incredibly dull. Does shooting someone in the face in bullet time ever get old? When you’re given literally nothing else to do, then the answer is yes.
Of course, because Broken Steel takes place in the Capital Wasteland you could always take a break from the distinctly average slaughter and try your hand at other quests you have yet to do, but we can’t help but wonder how many gamers this will apply to – surely, after all this time, most Fallout players will have already done the vast majority. What disappoints most is that highly anticipated release amongst fans of the game would signal a real sense of ‘the next chapter’, a quintessential release in terms of story and gameplay, but it frequently feels like both take a backseat in favour of endless shooting.
The entire sequence of quests within the package jar and distort, rather than integrate and flow. For instance, the difficulty has been ramped up several notches for some unknown reason, with the Enclave as enemies being hopelessly generic (and have more than a whiff of the Helghast from Killzone 2 about them, much like the gameplay of Guerrilla’s shooter). At times even the game engine yelps its disapproval, with horrific slowdown in several of the more hectic battles – indeed, the game can freeze to a halt under the burden of the big booms and all of the angry men in black shooting at you.
Despite the raising of the level cap, we find it difficult to recommend Broken Steel – its shockingly unimaginative lean towards near constant shooting is remarkably unlike what we’ve come to know and love about the game. Moral ambiguity is lost under the pile of Enclave corpses you’ll undoubtedly leave in your wake, leaving us a rather two-dimensional, by the numbers shoot ‘em up instead.
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