Fallout 3: Point Lookout

July 7, 2009

Fallout 3 is one of the few Xbox 360 games to receive a substantial amount of downloadable content. With a rocky start (Operation: Anchorage), a great second outing (The Pitt), and a third outing that I can’t comment on short of loving that my experience past level 20 is no longer wasted (Broken Steel), Fallout 3 is ready for its definitive expansion pack – Point Lookout.

Point Lookout, like Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt before it, leans heavily on its setting. However, Point Lookout is a part of the Capital Wasteland (accessible by a short ferry ride instead of a simulator pod or complex series of train tunnels) which makes it feel more like the Fallout 3 you’ve been playing since October of 2008. And that is a good thing. I like Fallout 3 enough that I have over 90 hours on my first save, and I still haven’t seen the conclusion of the main story line. Exploring the wasteland, finding side quests, and blasting raiders from 100 yards is just too engrossing for me to let go. Point Lookout is more of the same with a hillbilly coat of paint, and an interesting quest line.

I won’t spoil much of the story for you, but if other Fallout 3 side quests and The Pitt’s storyline were entertaining to you then you won’t be disappointed with Point Lookout’s narrative. You’ll first be prompted to check out a mansion that is under siege by the local whack-job cultists. After you fend them off you’ll need to convince them to accept you as one of their own by taking part in a very visceral initiation sequence. Then you’ll start to see the sides for what they truly are and be forced to make one of Fallout 3’s stock “both of you guys are jerks, but you seem less jerky / will give me more caps” choices. Oh, and the whole time you’ll be traipsing through the swamp and getting more and more irradiated while avoiding hillbilly hunting parties, mirelurks, swamplurks (reskinned mirelurk kings), and swamp ghouls.

Main quest aside, atmosphere is where Point Lookout really shines. Modeled after Point Lookout State Park, there is a run-down boardwalk area, a dilapidated mansion, washed-up and crashed boats, and plenty of swamp to explore. The element of exploration is new, too. Regardless of how you felt about Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt there is no denying that each DLC pack was a linear run through the story (except, of course, for the optional ingot collecting in The Pitt’s Steel Yard) – Point Lookout takes that philosophy and reverses it. As soon as you step off of the ferry you are free to explore the entire map (which seems to me to be about 20% as large as the main game’s), and you should. Exploration will yield you some decent loot (which even if you can’t use it can be traded away for caps at the local shop), a perk that isn’t part of the main quest, and some challenging firefights (I will never underestimate the power of mutated hillbillies with shotguns and lever-action rifles in large groups again) which, when combined with Broken Steel, will get you that much closer to level 30.

Where Point Lookout disappoints a little bit, though, is in new weapons and gear. If you enter the area with power armor and a unique Laser Rifle (The Pitt’s Metal Blaster) like I did then none of the equipment found will really interest you. It is novel that the locals use lever action rifles and double-barreled shotguns, but I won’t be dropping my Gatling Laser anytime soon to take one home with me.

This is what all of the DLC packs should have been – large explorable area, new enemies, new weapons, great atmosphere, and a narrative that is at least interesting enough to keep me going through the quest line. If you enjoyed the base game then picking up Point Lookout is a no brainer.

Pros: large area, new enemy types, interesting quest line

Cons: new weapons are useless to high level characters

ESRB: M for blood and gore, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language, use of drugs – if you let your child play the base game then this expansion is also appropriate.

Plays Like: Fallout 3 base game

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.