Continuing to play through the Fallout 3 DLCs, I have recently finished Point Lookout. As with my previous blog post on The Pitt, I'll do a Good/Bad/Ugly breakdown:
- Discounting Broken Steel, Point Lookout is the only true "overworld exploration" DLC - where you can roam freely over a (smaller-than-captial-wasteland) world map to discover waypoints and other places of interest. Since exploration is generally my favorite part of CRPGs, this appealed to me greatly.
- There are a couple of nontrivial, unrelated quest lines to tackle in addition to the exploration.
- The lever-action / Backwater rifle is really, really good and makes 10mm ammo useful again in the late-game.
- A lot of new art assets were used (like in Mothership Zeta), which made it feel almost like a total conversion mod.
- The use of Pipboy holotape playback to trigger a voice recognition system in a bank was a neat idea, although implemented in a way that seems to confuse a fair number of players (although it seemed to work mostly okay for me, fortunately).
- Mother Punga induced hallucinations were also pretty neat.
- There weren't enough merchants to sell off even a tiny fraction of the junk items I was able to loot, especially when one of them was lost due to a plot event. As a result, I eventually had to increase my cheat-code-enhanced maximum carry weight from regular+5000 WG to regular+7500 WG.
- The new enemy variety was almost as lacking as that in the other DLCs; I guess creating new enemies must be one of the most labor-intensive parts of content creation in the Fallout 3 engine. I also didn't find most of them very interesting:
- Swampfolk were just inbred hicks (no, seriously, check the article) whose natural "evolution" was accelerated by radiation exposure. They're basically buck-toothed Super Mutants without the "Super".
- The new swamp mirelurks were basically just regular ones re-colored to be greenish. It's admittedly a good look for them, but the changes remind me of cheap palette tricks used in the 8-bit console game era.
- Feral Ghoul Reavers are ridiculously overpowered, requiring either a ton of firepower and/or a lot of luck to take down level 30 - even with 100 in all skills, 9+ in all attributes and most any choice of unique weapon. I'm not necessarily saying that something that powerful shouldn't be that common, so much as that there isn't much bridging the gap between them and much weaker enemies.
- The main quest line (involving Desmond versus Calvert) felt a bit like a re-hash of The Superhuman Gambit (AntAgonizer versus Mechanist) in the base game, and the tribal part of the quest line was reminiscent of visiting Harold.
- Point Lookout didn't feel very alive compared to the Capital Wasteland. It seemed like there were just a couple handfuls of Swampfolk and Ghouls, along with a slight sprinkling of swamp mirelurks, robots, smugglers, tribals, etc.
- Pickpocketing my 1000 caps back from Plik was impossible, even at level 30 with 100 Sneak and a stealth boy; I must have tried several dozen times. What the heck? I should have just killed him, but with over 80,000 caps it just wasn't worth bothering with.
- The "tribals" were really just randomly lobotomized drug addicts, while previous Fallout games painted tribals as people trying to build a new community/civilization after losing touch with detailed knowledge of the past. I find the latter a much more interesting concept for a fictional post-apocalyptic universe, so it was disappointing to see them twist the concept into something arguably worse than not introducing the concept of tribals at all.
- The double-barreled shotgun was a disappointment for a few reasons:
- I'm not sure what it was supposed to provide over the sawed-off or combat shotguns that I would have expected it to be a mix of in terms of damage/accuracy/range.
- It seemed pretty buggy (especially in VATS), often doing very little damage.
- The unique version was cut from the game, which breaks Bethesda's pattern of introducing one or more unique versions of each new "common" weapon in the DLCs. Reports are that the unique double-barreled shotgun is actually in the game files, but that it is not well-balanced; I guess they couldn't get it fine-tuned in time for release, and decided not to place it anywhere in the game world as a result.
- Feral ghouls clustering around graves seemed a bit over-the-top. I have to admit that in the past I've described Ghouls as "zombies" to people not familiar with Fallout lore, but I would have never taken the superficial association far enough to think it appropriate to place them the way they did in Point Lookout.
- It was interesting that you could repair the lighthouse, but what was the point? Also, smugglers never spawned there for me.
- Being able to make moonshine was kind of neat, but not worth doing more than the one time required to complete the quest. It was especially annoying that the game made me wait much longer between quest stages than the quest NPC was telling me it would take.
- Punga fruit was an interesting concept, but having weight and not really removing many rads made it fairly useless. Honestly I haven't had to use anything but the occasional Stimpak and RadAway since I got the medical addon for my Megaton shack, so Punga was never going to be groundbreaking for me anyways.
- The two Perks in Point Lookout are easy to obtain and sound good (extra damage done to ghouls and extra damage done while standing still), but there are reports that one or both are buggy. They also potentially change weapon balance (or at least the appearance of it) in the game quite drastically, making fully automatic weapons have a much higher listed damage value.
Summary / Closing Thoughts
- Liked the exploration, although I would have been disappointed had there been any less content than there was.
- Didn't care much for the style of nor lack of variety in enemies.
- Quests weren't bad, but also weren't inspiring.
- Only a little bit of good loot to be found (most notably the Backwater Rifle), and a TON of junk.
- Perks look good but may be bugged.
--(talk) 01:20, June 6, 2011 (UTC)