The world of Fallout 3 is vast and getting vaster. The latest downloadable-content expansion, Point Lookout, will ferry players to a swampy, sprawling area in which they can roam through new environments, make new friends, and kill new nasties. We visited Bethesda's E3 2009 booth to explore this region for ourselves, and got the scoop on some of the different locations, enemies, weapons, and perks that Point Lookout will deliver when it comes to the Xbox 360 and PC on June 23rd.
The Point Lookout adventure begins, like most other Fallout 3 DLC, with a radio message. You get word of a man who's been importing a strange kind of mutated fruit, and head south to the tidal basin to investigate. You meet the importer, Tobar the Ferryman, and he will eventually offer you a ticket on his next trip to Point Lookout. Once there, you pull up to the decrepit docks and see Point Lookout's first new area, an old boardwalk amusement park. A Ferris wheel looms off to the left, and rows of carnival games beckon for you to explore them. We let their mysteries lie and headed off to the right, up toward a mansion perched on a hill. To the right, beyond the mansion, we spotted a lonely lighthouse, whereas off to the left the hill gradually sloped downward into a large swamp. Though we could see an ancient cathedral looming in the distance, there was a lot of open space between us and the ruins. Point Lookout is more focused on exploratory action and is aimed at pleasing players who liked nothing better than to wander the wastes, discovering new locations and running afoul of the locals.
Speaking of the locals, we met some of Point Lookout's savage inhabitants as we made our way up the hill to the mansion. These half-clothed mutants looked like gnarly, inbred hillbillies, the kind that might drag you away in The Hills Have Eyes. After making short work of those goons, we approached the mansion (Calvert Mansion, by name) and saw some high-tech security cameras guarding the entrance. A voice came over the loudspeaker, identifying us "not a tribal" and demanding that we get inside and help him fight off some bad guys. Inside the mansion, we found ourselves in a large entrance hall, with two curving staircases framing a makeshift outpost. Wired turrets were blazing as a man and his two dogs fought off some characters that looked a lot like raiders.
In Point Lookout, the raider niche has been filled by tribals, fervent cultists who paint their faces and utter religiously themed battle cries. Playing as a Level 20+ character, we actually had a tougher time killing a few tribals with a Chinese Assault Rifle than we expected. Point Lookout is more difficult than much of the previous DLC, and is tailored for players who have beaten Broken Steel and are on their way to level 30. In fact, we're told that the initial message clueing players in to Point Lookout's location will include a warning that it is quite dangerous. The lead producer of Fallout DLC translated: Players should be at least Level 17 or so, and even those in the early 20s will face a healthy challenge.
After dispatching the tribals, we found out that our impromptu ally was actually a ghoul. No time to chat, however, because the ghoul's array of security televisions showed tribal incursions all throughout the mansion. We headed into the dining room for some more combat and encountered some particularly aggressive tribals wielding axes. Though unwieldy, axes pack quite a punch, as does the other new melee weapon, the shovel. Point Lookout takes the opposite tack from Broken Steel by introducing weapons that are less technologically advanced than the player's arsenal. Double-barreled shotguns, lever-action rifles, and a nice variation on Lincoln's Repeater are among the new firearms players can expect to pry from their enemies' cold, dead hands.
We didn't last much longer in the mansion; tribals crashed down from floors above and quickly swarmed us. Bethesda seems true to its word about the difficulty level, which bodes well for seasoned wastelanders. There are also new perks to be earned at the end of some of Point Lookout's quests, though the level cap will be staying right where it is. Point Lookout is scheduled for release on June 23, and the fifth DLC pack, Mothership Zeta, is slotted in for later this year. For more on upcoming Fallout 3 DLC, check out our news blog entry detailing the DLC release schedule for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3.