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Gaming: Fallout 3 – The Pitt

The Pitt

Wikipedia fact: "When initially released, the Xbox 360 version had a corrupt file which caused problems and rendered the DLC unplayable."

The first piece of downloadable content for Fallout 3, Operation Anchorage, made a lot of mistakes. My thoughts about it are on this blog, but essentially it took out everything I enjoy about Fallout 3 – exploration, multiple quests, random encounters, scavenging and trading – and basically tried to make the game into a linear shooter, which the game engine can’t really do. The game’s second piece of DLC seems to be an apology for Anchorage’s mistakes.

The Pitt starts when you answer the distress call of a man named Wernher, an escaped slave from The Pitt, what used to be Pittsburgh. The people in charge there are enslaving everyone they meet and working them to death in a functioning steel mill, the area itself being toxic enough that the people are slowly turning into inhuman troggs. Wernher claims the slavers have a cure and asks for your help stealing it.

To get into the Pitt you have to disguise yourself as a slave, relinquishing all weapons (even if you fight your way in you get captured in a cutscene and have your weapons taken), after which you have to work your way through the ranks of the slaves to get the attention of your captors and get a chance to seize the cure.

With it not being a simulation pretty much all the elements of the base game of Fallout 3 are present in the Pitt. Multiple areas (including a giant one full of hidden ingots to collect and trade for rewards), having to scavenge supplies, find places to rest, freedom to move between areas as you wish, and so on. There isn’t much of a selection of quests, just the one main questline and the sidequest to collect ingots, but the way the main quest concludes is up to you, ultimately choosing which side you want to have the cure, and each path concludes slightly differently (making it worth playing both). The two sides aren’t split into good and evil either, with each having their good and bad points, so it really is a choice based upon what you think is best rather than which karma alignment you’re working on.

The Auto Axe

Of the new weapons, the Auto Axe is the most distinctive, a spinning blade that's very useful against the melee-only Troggs.

The highlight of the DLC is the relatively massive area you’re sent into to find the ingots, which is a huge vertical space of walkways and multiple levels that isn’t usual for Bethesda (or at least not for Fallout 3), to the point that I initially assumed the masses of walkways above were just scenery rather than areas you can visit. There are quite a few new weapons, though most are variations of existing ones rather than being brand new. You can also return to the area even after you’re finished with the quest (unlike Operation Anchorage), even if it’s a little ridiculous that you casually flit between Washington DC and Pittsburgh (somewhere between 200-300 miles) on one of those little hand-operated pump train… things that I’ve only ever actually seen in cartoons.

The Pitt is much more what I wanted out of these mini expansions for Fallout 3, a microcosm of all that works in the main game and telling a different story in a new location, providing a decent change of scenery from the Capital Wasteland. I don’t know if the radical differences between this and Operation Anchorage are because Bethesda listened to feedback or if they had planned these two long before either released, but hopefully the other pieces of DLC are much more like The Pitt than Operation Anchorage because I enjoyed it a lot.

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  1. August 16, 2010 at 17:05

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