The first Fallout 3 DLC, released just a couple of days ago, is a curious departure from what the original game did so well. The sprawling wasteland just ripe for exploration? Gone. The diverse ways to solve problems, often in drastically different moral fashion? Gone. In their place? A linear, combat-focused grind with a couple of neat scenarios.
For me, Fallout 3 is a game all about exploration and discovery. It thrives on those moments when you stumble upon something unexpected and out of the way, urging you to follow it and see what happens. Which presents a problem for a discrete DLC quest such as Operation Anchorage because most players will be diving back into an old save game with the sole intent of checking it out.
Taken in such isolation, this virtual reality simulation of the Chinese invasion of Alaska doesn’t hold up; it isn’t Fallout 3 in miniature. And it shouldn’t be seen that way. This DLC episode should be considered as just another moment to discover, another vignette painted onto the Fallout 3 tableaux. My advice: if you can, download it and start a new game, treating Operation Anchorage as just another (lengthy) quest to investigate at your leisure. It’s part of the broad Fallout 3 experience, but it isn’t a whole new chapter in the story.
Have you checked out Operation Anchorage? What did you think?