Most of you already know the latest piece of Fallout 3 downloadable content, Broken Steel, is having technical issues, just like The Pitt did. Let's ignore that, however, and talk about what it's been like to delve back into the Bethesda Softworks' post-apocalyptic United States and experience the epilogue of Fallout 3.
Friends, it feels good to level up again.
It's been months since I've heard ka-ching echo from my living room speakers as a Talon Merc's head implodes, but watching the ticker move slowly from level 20 to level 21 was very satisfying.
Not satisfying, however, is Bethseda's re-engineering of Fallout 3's ending. Spoiler alert -- players who haven't finished Fallout 3 should look away! At the end of Fallout 3, gamers sacrifice themselves. Broken Steel starts two weeks after the events of Fallout 3. In the first hour of Broken Steel, however, there's no attempt to explain why you didn't die in the same chamber that claimed your father. The characters acknowledge you "passed out" and pretend nothing happened, nullifying any impact Fallout 3's ending might have had. Maybe there's an explanation later, but so far, the issue is annoyingly dismissed.
If you've been playing the previous downloadable expansions for Fallout 3, however, there's bad news. None of the experience points accumulated while playing Operation Anchorage or The Pitt carries to Broken Steel. You're starting from scratch at level 20. Since I've already completed the vast majority of the quests available in Fallout 3, it's looking unlikely Broken Steel will provide enough material to take me from level 20 to 30 without grinding in the wastelands.
That'd be too bad, too, because Fallout 3 loses steam when you hit the level cap and the additional perks in Broken Steel sound fantastically entertaining. I can't imagine anyone won't choose the "Nuclear Anomaly" perk, which turns your character into a ticking human atom bomb when low on health. Too awesome.
Everything else feels like...Fallout 3. Having only completed the first major mission in Broken Steel, I don't know anything about the epilogue's story arc just yet. There could be much more to Broken Steel than I'm seeing right now, and while I'm frustrated about the experience points issues, being able to see what happens after Fallout 3 without having to wait for Fallout 4 is enough for me.
Is it enough for you?