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Fallout 3: Broken Steel review

We could tell that Fallout 3 was a great game by how annoyed we were by the abrupt ending. We wanted to keep adventuring in its enormous world with the character that we’d come to love, and earn rewards for doing so rather than banging our heads against the level 20 cap. With Broken Steel, Bethesda has squashed that complaint, closed an enormous plot hole in the ending, and reopened the world of Fallout for many, many more hours of glorious super mutant-mulching.

You begin by loading up the last saved game before you completed the main quest in Fallout 3, and go through the motions of entering the key code into Project Purity. But this time, your character wakes up two weeks later to help the Brotherhood of Steel finish mopping up the remains of the Enclave. The ensuing action-heavy quest chain sends you into a nest of Deathclaws and up against a legion of Enclave soldiers, and equips you with some ludicrously overpowered new hardware including a Tesla cannon and the Enclave heavy incinerator.

All of the new quests are polished to the standards of the original game, which is to say very well-designed, with some good roleplaying choices (including a great opportunity for betrayal), although it’s still not without a few quirky but non-game-stopping bugs. The whole expansion will last you a solid six hours if you savor their charms, and on top of that there are a few additional side quests scattered around, like escorting water caravans.

But even more exciting than the new quests is the level cap boost from 20 to 30, giving you the incentive to go back and play all the original Fallout 3 quests you never got around to (like us, you probably hit the level 20 ceiling before you’d seen half of the game’s huge world). You’re further enticed by a fresh set of perks that make the time spent earning them worth your while. Standouts include Nuka Chemist, which converts every ten Nuka-Colas in your inventory into one Nuka-Cola Quantum, and Puppies! which spawns a new Dogmeat at Vault 101 in the event of the untimely death of your best friend.

Of course, by the time you’re halfway to the new cap, you’re practically a god – far too powerful for all but the strongest of enemies to pose any threat. New super-powered ghoul reavers and supermutant overlords will give you a run for your money, but otherwise the lack of danger in combat reduces the tension. But if you’re in it for the exploration, this mini-expansion basically doubles the amount of time you can spend walking the ruined Earth, doing what you do. And with Fallout 3, that has always been the very best part.

May 28, 2009

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17 comments

  • Phazon117 - May 29, 2009 6:47 p.m.

    So this is gonna be on PS3 too? God, they get everything.
  • Frexerik - May 29, 2009 12:49 p.m.

    " If I end up getting only one expansion, this'll be it." me 2 :D
  • GamesRadarTylerNagata - May 29, 2009 1:04 a.m.

    @AMayer: May I humbly recommend GOG.com? You can find the original Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for $5.99 each. Also, sorry to advertise, but the latest special issue of PC Gamer should be hitting stands soon and will have a coupon that gives you a dollar off any of the classic Fallouts there... it's called "The Big Book of Free"
  • AMayer - May 29, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    Why haven't I bought the plain ol' Fallout Three yet is what I want to know.
  • Major_Wuss - May 29, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    The trailer for this was EPIC. Thanks for the review GR, I'm gonna download this now.
  • Cyberninja - May 29, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    when i get a ps3 or xbox im geting fallout 3 and dlc yes its going to the ps3 after a while
  • Defguru7777 - May 31, 2009 3:45 a.m.

    Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt have come out on a disc. Will Broken Steel and the two more DLC packs do that too? GTA IV is doing that with The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.
  • potpan0 - May 29, 2009 7:53 p.m.

    thank god this is coming to ps3 in August or September
  • Jimmyjammy - May 29, 2009 5:52 p.m.

    Bit late for a review isn't it GR. IMO though this was actually the most worth while DLC I have ever bought.
  • CountZero - May 29, 2009 5:01 p.m.

    Looks totally sweet. Too bad about the power creep making the game too easy though.
  • DrRock - May 29, 2009 4:38 p.m.

    Sorry to make that so long and winded. I suck at making my point sometimes.
  • DrRock - May 29, 2009 4:36 p.m.

    I can't believe you guys are just now getting around to posting a review. I already hit level 30 last week before my 360 died from the RROD. When I get my 360 back in a month I'm gonna go back for the evil and good level 30 achievements then not play until the new DLC comes out. I hope Bethesda increases the cap to 40 but Todd Howard said they wouldn't. Why put the cap at only 30? Makes no f'n sense. I mean all these people complain about hitting level 20 so fast. Why only make an increase of 10 levels? You'd think that they'd put it at 50 or some shit. I think they had no idea what kinds of perks they could add after level 30. Most of the new perks are freakin lame and your character is so bad ass that most of them don't even matter. My character has like 6 or 7 stats already at 100%. I can't read anymore books and the ones that aren't maxed don't really need to be more than 50% besides Sneak. Don't get me wrong I'm all for more DLC and I want to go back to Fallout 3 but capping your character at such low levels makes no damn sense. I just hope that whatever game they decide to make next that the level cap is real high. I think that keeping the cap low that it allowed people to get the achievement for hitting it easy. You'd think that with all 3 DLC's and the fact that you can hit level 20 halfway thru the original game that they would've made the level cap a little higher than 30. I'm I just talkin out my ass or does anyone else feel that only getting 10 more levels to grind was way too small of an increase?
  • scbyfn4evr - May 29, 2009 2:46 p.m.

    If this is a 360 Exclusive, people will die.
  • MusesofMe - May 29, 2009 1:22 p.m.

    i love fallout, ef one of the best games ive ever played n the DLCs are just awesome
  • AlpineGuy - May 29, 2009 5:47 a.m.

    If I end up getting only one expansion, this'll be it.
  • Cyberninja - May 29, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    @GoldenMe it was confirmed on Xplay a few weeks ago it come out in june something with operation anrige
  • GoldenMe - May 29, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    @Cyberninja- Maybe....

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