Monday, 16 February 2009

Fallout 3: Operation: Anchorage - 360/PC

Bethesda's sprawling open world epic Fallout 3 arrived late last year to great critical acclaim. Players were given the freedom to explore a vast post-apocalyptic Washington DC, exploring the wasteland, battling mutants and undertaking a series of bizarre and imaginative quests.
    Operation Anchorage is Fallout 3's first expansion pack, and gives the player the opportunity to escape Fallout 3’s muddy, debris-strewn landscape - albeit briefly.
    After downloading Operation Anchorage, you receive a distress call while wandering about the wasteland. Following this quest leads you to an underground bunker, where a military training simulator is based. It's within this simulator that Operation Anchorage takes place, and your job is to explore the snowy Alaskan landscape and take out the Chinese military who have invaded the region.
    The focus of this expansion is heavily based on combat, which doesn't really sit comfortably within the context of Fallout 3. Yes, the game is played in first person and it involves guns, but even the most ardent Fallout fan will tell you it doesn't stand up well alongside more established shooters.
    Fallout's main draw is exploration, and this aspect is sadly lacking in Operation Anchorage. The whole experience – which you should be able to polish off in around 3-4 hours – is extremely linear and lacks any of the main game's sparkle. It is refreshing to escape the russet-coloured devastation of the main game, though, and travelling across Alaska's frozen tundra under steely-blue skies is a welcome diversion from the main game, but it all just feels a little shallow.
    Operation Anchorage isn't terrible, but its linear structure and reliance on average gun mechanics jar slightly. If you love Fallout 3, and have explored everything else the main game has to offer, then by all means go for it. Just don't expect a long-lasting challenge.

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