Mothership Zeta is the fifth and final (supposedly – remember Broken Steel was originally planned to be the final DLC pack as well) expansion pack for Fallout 3. Like all of the preceding packs except for Broken Steel, Mothership Zeta whisks the player away to a new and interesting locale. The only difference this time is that that locale is not on Earth so much as it is above it. After downloading the DLC pack you will pick up an unintelligible signal. Upon following it you will be beamed up to the titular Mothership Zeta.
Once aboard you will meet Somah, and after doing so you won’t be alone for very long throughout the quest line. Your companion won’t always be Somah, but you will meet enough people from Earth’s past (none of them famous sadly – I really wanted to meet Abe Lincoln and give him back his repeater) to take her place. As compared to the other DLC packs Mothership Zeta is more like Operation: Anchorage than either The Pitt or Point Lookout. The quest line is linear, there is no moral choice to be made, and some of the collectibles are missable. Those collectibles are tied to an achievement (and presumably to a trophy when the content comes to PS3) so it stings a bit that the quest is unrepeatable on a single playthrough.
There are plenty of things to blow up and plenty of areas to wander around in. Along your travels you will see and blow up the abductee cells, hangar bay, cryogenics lab, robot production, and weapons lab. The final encounter is great and should not be missed. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but you will get to take part in combat on a much larger scale than ever before. There are alien weapons to be found and aliens to kill, but both only come in three varieties. The alien rifle is useful as the damage output is good, ammunition is plentiful, clip size is large (100), and when you do need to reload the rifle is bugged so that the jam animation happens on reload making the reload extremely fast.
Unfortunately, not all of Mothership Zeta’s bugs are useful to the player. I, personally, experienced the following things: random Brotherhood of Steel members popping in to the ship, NPC foreheads disappearing making them look extremely creepy, NPCs becoming disarmed but accompanied by floating weapons, doors locking on their own, and the quest “Who Dares Wins” was started for me. Oh, and if you haven’t started it yet, you may very well end the quest You Gotta Shoot ‘Em In The Head.
Even though the glitches were numerous and the path was linear, I enjoyed my time aboard Mothership Zeta. It helps that I enjoy the 50s sci-fi aesthetic and will take any excuse I can get for more VATS combat. Aside from the linear quest line and lack of moral choice, I wish that I had found an Alien Blaster. It does take place on an alien ship, after all. For 800 MS points Mothership Zeta is an easy purchase for Fallout 3 fans eager for more DLC, but if you are patient waiting for the kinks to be worked out may be the way to go. And if you end up playing through all of the DLC for the first time as part of the GotY edition then I recommend the following order – Operation: Anchorage, Mothership Zeta, The Pitt, Point Lookout, Broken Steel.
Plays Like: Fallout 3
Pros: Fun 50s sci-fi setting, great final act
Cons: Numerous glitches, linear quest line, no moral choice
ESRB: M for Mature – this isn’t different from the base game