I was pretty miffed about the incomplete download debacle that surrounded the release of this latest DLC episode for Fallout 3, especially since I was continually refreshing my 360 for the moment it finally dropped. There's nothing worse than being whisked away to a stunningly crafted and well thought out post-apocalyptic world, only to be reminded you're simply playing a piece of software thanks to floating red diamond-shaped development place-holders, incomplete textures and floating buildings.
What I found equally annoying about all of this is, while the issue was rectified within a day or so, there were no specific instructions posted anywhere on how to fix it. I ended up trawling the Bethesda forums where I eventually discovered I had to manually go in and delete the DLC from my Fallout 3 saves on my 360 HDD (which was equally annoying because I learned downloading a file twice on 360 does not mean one overrides the other, as it should). So, at any rate, it seemed like this little incident was being swept under the rug and not talked about, but it really did throw the initial portion of the
But, annoyance aside, The Pitt
really is a continued expansion of one of last year's great games, and once again breathes new life into Fallout 3, and potentially stands as a fitting introduction to the all-important third DLC pack coming, Broken Steel
where the level cap is finally raised to level 30 and Bethesda broach people's issues with how the game ends in the first place.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's set up the latest content pack for you. As before with Operation Anchorage
, The Pitt sees you being notified of a distress call on a radio signal. Tune in and you'll hear a plea for help from Wernhem, and you need to travel to the absolute north of the map (up around the north-east of Fort Constantine) where you'll find him in a skirmish with a new type of Raider, Pitt Raiders
After you help him out, he tells you his people are enslaved in a place to the north called The Pitt, but that there are slavers nearby and if you're willing to help, all you need to do is find a disguise. Realising I still had my precious Chinese Stealth Suit from Operation Anchorage, I decided to screw his idea and do things my way, and it was at this point I realised just how awesome this new journey was going to be. Having completed every single quest there is in the whole capital wasteland, I'd been chomping at the bit for the ability to decisively take my own Fallout 3 path again, something that was sorely missing from Operation Anchorage (though the change of pace in that episode was still welcome).
So the DLC presents you with a permanent train tunnel, and when you enter it, you're whisked off to blue-collarville in the form of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The immediate stand-out once you're in the area is the difference in hue, skyline and life. Whereas the wastes are dead and still with barely any life barring raiders, rad scorpions, Brahmin and the like, The Pitt is an industrial machine come to life. The entire city lights up with exhaust stacks billowing out pollution like an exhaust pipe on an ever-idling engine.
Life here is split into two categories, Downtown and Uptown. Anyone allowed in Uptown has earned that privilege and likely began life as a slave in Downtown. Slaves in The Pitt also work for a living; scarred with both impending mutation and heat/whip/sever reprimand welts that only add to the sense of heat, steel and hard labour faced in The Pitt. It's industry anew, and something completely foreign to the likes of what you've been experiencing in the wasteland up until now.
The aforementioned mutations here are a little different to the Ghoul and Feral Ghoul mutations found in the main game. Trogs, as they're called in The Pitt, are a more aggressive, animalistic abomination; often found (or eerily heard) feasting on the flesh of their victims. They populate the Steelyard, an area you'll visit early on in your overall quest to complete fetch missions (collecting Ingots, of which there are 100, and an Achievement for nabbing them all). But ultimately, they're not that problematic.
The other enemy you'll face early on are the Wildmen. These are just separatist Pitt Dwellers who refuse to choose a side. They're also immediately hostile, like the Talon Company Mercs, so keep an eye out.
That being said, however, The Pitt does throw one curve ball your way - you lose all of your items from the outset. This is a good thing though as there are several unique items up for grabs in The Pitt, and stripping you bear of the essentials you've been hoarding up until now takes things back to when you first set foot out of Vault 101. To this end, collecting phat lewts and playing with new toys makes for some great throwback gameplay with a new twist.
I dabbled in the game for around four to five hours, and that's because I really took my time to get to know the place and its inhabitants. As with most of what Fallout 3 has on offer, you'll create new allegiances, and the crux decision you'll end up having to make is as morally grey as we've come to expect., Ultimately it's a reminder in the world of post-apocalyptia there really is no one right or wrong faction; it's about survival and looking out for yourself, but whichever path you wind up taking, you'll be able to come back and visit The Pitt with a renewed purpose (of which I won't spoil), and the entire package hints at the scope of things to come with Broken Steel.
Hopefully your decisions within your time in Pittsburgh will resonate with effect once we have the next DLC package (which is apparently going to offer a glimpse of true change based on specific choices you made throughout your initial journey), but we'll have to wait and see. For now, The Pitt offers not only a familiar experience through its set-up, pacing, morally grey choices and looting, but a change of a scenery and a hint (and glimpse) the world of Fallout 3 doesn't have
to be limited to Washington DC. The US is a big place, and there are hints throughout Fallout 3's narrative and lore there's a lot more to experience out there.
For an 800 MS point download, the Pitt is well and truly worth your time.