It's been a long time coming but this week Bethesda released the final DLC for Fallout3, Mothership Zeta. The final chapter in the DLC saga sends the lone wanderer into space. On to the final frontier, to seek out new forms of life and kill them with their own weapons.
The DLC begins when you pick up a strange radio signal from the crashed UFO. Yes, it is the same UFO you probably found a while back in your explorations. Things are a little bit different now so if you have not investigated the crashed ship you might want to do so before downloading this bit of DLC.
As you approach the downed ship the signal on your radio becomes more clear. You can hear the garbled alien voices. As you look down upon the crashed ship an intense desire to loot the scattered items overtakes you. Then a strange light surrounds you as you are pulled up into an alien ship to be experimented on!
In some ways this DLC reminded me of Operation Anchorage. The beginning is very linear but after an hour or two of play time you find yourself in a position where you can pick and choose the order and direction of your exploration. With a cadre of helpful NPCs on hand it's not that hard to complete each mission. After you complete these missions you go back into a linear mode where there is only one way to go.
The first NPC you meet is Somah. She is a wasteland survivor just like you and the two of you are sharing a cell. After a brief introduction Somah offers up a plan to get out of the cell, it involves bloodshed, likely yours. You meet up with a little girl a little while later who knows how to navigate her way through the ships ductwork and can open locked doors for you. Somah, though she talks tough, prefers to leave the heavy lifting to you. In fact only two of the NPCs help you in combat and they tend to suffer with the affliction known as "DM's Grace". In other words, while your bullets seem to bounce off of the aliens and cause no harm these particular NPCs seem to have no problem downing enemies with only a few quick shots.
During the free-form portion of the game you have to destroy three generators. Each mission allows you to ask one of the NPCs to join you. I had a slight problem in that once you ask someone to join you the dialogue option vanishes form the others. So, if you change your mind about which way to go you have to ask the guy you are with to stay behind. I did not know this at first and after having Paulson help me take the hanger bay I did not know I could ask for help on the other two missions. It was only after restoring from a saved game that I was able to redo the last two missions with help.
In fact I ran into quite a few bugs in the game that required me to go back to an earlier save game and play through some parts of the game again. One of these bugs involved the observation deck and Sally, the door opener.
Upon arriving at this point in the game Sally is supposed to crawl through a duct and unlock a door for you. For some reason Sally just stood in the room and would not respond. She would spout some canned dialogue about not knowing where to go next even though there is only one other door in the room! I spent ten minutes in that room waiting for her to go and unlock the door and she never did. After going back to an earlier save game the problem disappeared.
Another bug involved overloading a container. Because I was playing as a bit of a pack rat I was using one of the toolboxes in the engineering core area as a storage locker. I had dropped over 2,000 lbs worth of stuff in this toolbox and when I went to retrieve the spacesuit it was not there. I about died because that item is required to advance the game. I had to take everything out of the toolbox and only then did it show up in my inventory. I have ran into this inventory bug before so luckily I was prepared. I can only wonder what might happen to someone who was not expecting this bug!
There were also a few lock-ups but nothing out of the ordinary for an Xbox360 gamer. As long as you save often it should not be a major problem for you.
Graphically the team at Bethesda has really outdone themselves. The steam tunnels alone makes your eyes pop out!
If you liked the movie Mars Attacks! you will feel right at home with the humor presented in the alien captive audio recordings scattered around the ship. when I listen to these things I can't help chuckle and remember that movie.
There are also a few Star Wars references including a trip through the ship's refuse system. Expect to hear a certain remark from the first Star Wars movie being made about a certain smell. Also be sure to tackle this part of the game early because access to this area will vanish as you progress.
In the weapons area there are several new ones but the only one that really stuck out for me was the unique plasma pistol you find in the cargo hold. Yes, I'm talking about the MPLX Novasurge. With a base damage of 90 and able to fire off six shots for the same AP cost as 3 shots with the Alien Disintegrator.
The Captain's Sidearm is a unique version of the Alien Blaster (in nicer condition) that uses Alien Power Modules instead of Alien Power Cells but I was unable to acquire it. I think one of the NPCs grabbed it from the pile of goo I left the Captain in before I could get it.
The Alien Disintegrator and Atomizers are found in great quantity on the ship as well as the Shock Baton. Don't worry about grabbing all of them and instead focus on getting all the ammo you can find (ammo weighs nothing!). There are also unique versions of these and the Destabilizer (found in the Weapons Lab) is worth holding on to. With a base damage of 157 and a 100 shot magazine this baby never lets you down!
The Drone Cannon acts like a grenade launcher. It spits out a bouncing ball of energy that explodes to devastating effect. Not all Drones carry this weapon and when you see one that does watch out!
In the Cargo Hold of the ship you can find a vast amount of regular Fallout3 weapons and items. It's like a shopping mall in there where everything is free! Not only is there an area with several shelves of ammo cans but there is also a box on a conveyor belt that is jam-packed with Stimpaks. My suggestion? Kill all the aliens and then make several trips in and out gathering loot!
All in all I was satisfied with Mothership Zeta. Once I accepted that it was a combat mission and not an open-ended expansion (Broken Steel, Point Lookout) I simply enjoyed it for what it was. I entered the expansion as a level 14 character and left at level 18. I did not face anything too difficult though I had to back the initial fistfight down to normal difficulty because on very hard Somah was destroying me and the aliens were finishing me off! A friend of mine played through it at level 30 and where I face Super Mutants and Ghouls and he faced Super Mutant Overlords and Ghoul Reavers! Be warned, the higher your level the tougher the challenges you will face. I will advise that playing on normal makes the game into a bit of a cakewalk.
There is also a huge continuity issue. One of your missions is to destroy the ship's Death Ray yet, later on you have to use that same Death Ray in ship to ship combat!
- The Good
- 4 - 6 hours of game play
- Interesting NPCs
- Somah has a 100 Repair skill
- Unique weapons
- Alien Epoxy
- Home in space once DLC is complete
- Alien humor
- The Bad
- Linear nature
- Continuity issues
- Some areas shut off after game progresses
- The Ugly
- Sally not opening doors bug
- Missing inventory bug
- No more Fallout3 DLC!!!