While Operation Anchorage and The Pitt provided several hours of fun for fans of Fallout, it is Broken Steel that looks to be the most interesting of the game's first wave of downloadable content. It will raise the level cap from 20 to 30 and follow on from the main storyline. Bethesda has confirmed that it will be coming out on May 5, will cost 800 points, and will contain a new set of achievements. It should take four to five hours to complete if you just plug away at the main storyline, but there are also numerous new side quests that should extend the playtime significantly beyond that.
While the entirety of the previous two packs happened away from the Capital Wasteland, much of the action in Broken Steel will take place around known locations, with only the apparent climax of the main plotline happening elsewhere. We saw a few snippets of what you can expect from the new content at a recent Bethesda event in London and are pleased to report that it looks to be shaping up quite nicely. We can only hope that the release comes with fewer hiccoughs than accompanied the launch of The Pitt.
The first and most important thing to note with Broken Steel is that it will tweak the game's much-maligned ending. This means that much of the rest of this preview will contain spoilers to said ending, so if you haven't finished Fallout 3 yet and wish to maintain the suspense, look away now.
Broken Steel will pick up two weeks after the incidents in Project Purity--which you find yourself to have survived. The way this plays out will depend on your choices earlier in Fallout 3--whether you chose to spike the water supply, for instance, will have a significant effect on the way that people react to you over and above the karmic changes, as will your reaction to the issues surrounding the activation of the purifier.
However that turns out, when you come to, you'll find that Project Purity is now operational, and the tidal basin is slowly filling with pure, clean water. Getting this water to people is proving trickier than first thought, with problems coming from the ubiquitous raiders, from what remains of the Enclave forces, as well as from ghouls and super mutants--all of whom are now tougher than ever before to provide a challenge as you progress.
As well as wandering around the Capital Wasteland doing new side quests and mopping up what may have been left of the original game's multiple quests, many of which will still be available, the main quest will take you across the wasteland too. This will take the form of attacking Enclave bases and attempting to give the Brotherhood of Steel an even greater tactical advantage to wipe out the Enclave problem once and for all. One such mission that was briefly showcased was a quest to find a tesla coil in an effort to construct a new weapon--the tesla cannon.
This weapon came in handy in the next section we saw a bit of: Adams Air Force Base. This is a fairly large new area set a short distance away from the wasteland and accessible only by metro tunnel. This appears to be the final stronghold of the Enclave and is protected by a new kind of Enclave warrior: the hellfire trooper. These guys carry mean-looking weapons that launch massive gobbets of flaming napalm and need to be taken down rather swiftly. The tesla cannon, thankfully, does this job rather effectively. It's a massive shoulder-mounted rocket-launcher-type affair, only with the rocket-firing chamber seemingly replaced by a glass jar filled with arcing electricity. When you fire it, ball lightning hurtles towards your foes, dealing serious damage both in and out of VATS.
There are other new weapons, enemies, and armour promised throughout Broken Steel, though we didn't get to see them or their capabilities during our brief demo--but they are promised to crop up from level 18 onwards. We also didn't get to see any of the new perks that have been promised to ease the path to level 30, but we were told that one, called "puppies," will ensure you're never without a trusty canine companion for too long.
Finally, Bethesda promised that it had "got the message" as far as how the ending of Fallout 3 went and that Broken Steel would not have an ending as terminal as the one in the main storyline that it replaced. Keep it tuned to GameSpot for more news on the next set of DLC for Fallout 3, as well as Fallout: New Vegas, as the year progresses.