Fallout 3 – Operation Anchorage
Gameplay 6
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Operation: Anchorage takes place inside a military simulator and offers a unique look at one of the “historical” battles in the Fallout universe. The feel of the DLC is quite different from the main campaign and almost feels like an old Call of Duty title at times. With the RPG elements removed and the linear shooting sections taking the place of meaningful quests this DLC falls a bit short but still offers a pleasant enough diversion.

Gameplay: Makes for an interesting departure from the main game.

Graphics: Some snowy new environments and Chinese enemies.

Sound: Fitting

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Fallout 3 – Operation Anchorage

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: RPG / DLC | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

The battle for Anchorage is a pretty famous event in the Fallout universe with references in Fallout and Fallout 2 as well as a memorial statue in Fallout 3. This first bit of DLC for Fallout 3 gives players the opportunity to actually experience this historical incident from the confines of a virtual reality simulator. Don’t think that it is just fun and games however as just like in the Matrix, dying in the simulator means dying in real life.

Players wary of Bethesda DLC after the horse armor debacle from Oblivion can rest assured that Operation Anchorage actually provides some meaty content for the asking price. On offer are four new quests in a different environment than the main game along with four new trophies. Since everything is set inside a combat simulator you don’t get to keep any of your spoils but there is some loot for the taking at the conclusion of the simulation.

The DLC is accessible anytime after you exit the vault and you are lured to the new missions via a mysterious outcast broadcast that you pick up. The Brotherhood outcasts are not too pleased to see you showing up for their party but their tone changes when they realize you have a Pipboy and is able to access the simulator that can open a vault door to all kinds of technological goodies. With a promise of sharing the loot in exchange for you risking your life, you are shoved inside the simulator and tasked with aiding America driving out the Communist Chinese forces from Alaska.

The first thing you notice is that your new playing area is a frozen wasteland instead of a radiated one which makes for quite a difference in scenery. You’ll also face brand new enemies such as the Chinese Dragoons with their stealth armor and a fearsome Chimera tank. The DLC has a very “Call of Duty” feel to it with the focus shifting almost entirely to combat which is going to divide a few opinions. The combat wasn’t exactly the strong point of the base game and as satisfying as it is to splatter enemy brains the game makes for a mediocre shooter at best. Your path through this DLC is exceptionally linear and can be completed in less than 3 hours.

The mission kicks off with the objective of destroying some artillery guns against a stunning cliffside backdrop and you are given a silenced pistol which suggests a stealthy approach. It wasn’t long however before I had a gauss rifle and plenty of grenades.  Although your levels and perks carry over none of your belongings do so you are stuck with what you are given for the mission and whatever is available en route to the objectives. Enemies disappear after being killed (this being a simulator and all) so you can’t loot their corpses. There are no stimpacks or ammo clips either as these is replaced with dispensers at set intervals. This changes the dynamics of the game a bit and almost makes it feel like a very linear old school shooter.

I’m not going to talk about the missions too much as half the fun is experiencing what happens but bear in mind that there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the simulation is not entirely accurate. The anti communist rampages of your sidekick for most of the missions are quite entertaining and the whole thing has a very over the top James Bond feel to it.  I was expecting events to be a bit more epic considering what a big battle the liberation of Alaska was but I guess this is a limitation of the game engine more than anything else. Oh and promises of being able to lead your own strike team is also a bit exaggerated as you can simply choose who to go with you and order them to start the mission or go back to base. Uncovering ten intel packages during the simulation rewards you with a handy new perk but you are out of luck if you don’t’ get everything the first time round as there is no going back inside the simulator once it is over.

Playing “Operation: Anchorage” was entertaining but don’t expect to be blown away by what is on offer. It makes for a nice diversion from the main game but for such a historic battle the events are not exactly very memorable. If you can’t get enough of Fallout 3 then you will enjoy this trip back to the late 2070s but I hope future DLC is a bit more ambitious.

*Review originally published 2010.

System Requirements

  • Operating system: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: 2.4 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
  • Memory: 1 GB (XP)/ 2 GB (Vista)
  • Hard disk space: 7 GB
  • Video: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 256MB RAM (NVIDIA 6800 or better/ATI X850 or better)
  • Sound: DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Controller support: Xbox 360 controller
  • Other Requirements: Online play requires log-in to Games For Windows – Live

Supported Video Card Chipsets:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 200 series, Geforce 9800 series, Geforce 9600 series, Geforce 8800 series, Geforce 8600 series, Geforce 8500 series, Geforce 8400 series, Geforce 7900 series, Geforce 7800 series, Geforce 7600 series, Geforce 7300 series, GeForce 6800 series
  • ATI HD 4800 series, HD 4600 series, HD 3800 series, HD 3600 series, HD 3400 series, HD 2900 series, HD 2600 series, HD 2400 series, X1900 series, X1800 series, X1600 series, X1300 series, X850 series
  • Operating system: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • Memory: 2 GB System RAM
  • Hard disk space: 7 GB
  • Video: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA 8800 series, ATI 3800 series)
  • Sound: DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Controller support: Xbox 360 controller

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