Fallout 3 EP9: Operation Rancorage

By Shamus Posted Friday Feb 1, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 109 comments

Link (YouTube)

And here is where the Fallout 3 season took a turn for the ugly. We decided to do a really bad DLC that wan’t fun to watch while we were under-leveled. The result is perhaps slightly deranged angry tirades that drag on for a long time.

I really do wonder how Bethesda came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to build an entire DLC around their shooting mechanics. Previously, they’d been focused entirely on medieval-style melee combat of things like Morrowind and Oblivion. And even in those games, the combat was merely serviceable. Now they’re messing around with shooter mechanics and suddenly they think they’re Infinity Ward.

Buckle up. The next several episodes are going to be rough.


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109 thoughts on “Fallout 3 EP9: Operation Rancorage

  1. Dragomok says:

    I know this is unrelated, but new Experienced Points! YAAAY!

    …and I should perhaps catch up with the re-upload, since I’m still before episode 3.

  2. Weimer says:

    I think the developers/publishers wanted to create shooty content for the dudebros, and they dramatically miscalculated the main draw of the fallout experience.

    The other DLC:s are quite serviceable, though. Maybe they had multiple teams of people making these at the same time, and this was made by the B team?

    The DLC has some good points though. A blast from the past of the famous Old World, somewhat interesting enemies (Dragoons) and… something else I’m sure.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      The thing is that they seemed to learn their lessons from this DLC and made The Pitt, Broken Steel, and Point Lookout (especially Point Lookout) for about exploration and wandering.

      Then, for whatever reason, they made Mothership Zeta. >_>

      1. Even says:

        The way they described it at the time, it was their attempt at doing something wacky and humorous as opposed to the more grim DLCs. Guess it was something, but I hardly remember anything else but the mindnumbing gameplay.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          It was “wacky,” but that did nothing to stop all the annoying linear hallways that forbid backtracking and the forced encounters that were harder than they had any right to be thanks to bullet soak enemies.

          1. MrGuy says:

            You forgot characters that make no sense, are no help, aren’t remotely interesting, and don’t have any real reason to be there.

            The worst was the little girl (Sally). She’s a little kid who was somehow abducted before the great war. This makes no sense – unless she’s somehow been seriously altered in some way, how has she not aged in 200 years? I mean, she clearly tells you about how she’s constantly up and running around the ship, so she hasn’t been in stasis the whole time.

            Sally’s existence (and slightly creepy dialogue options) had me CONVINCED she was some kind of alien spy in disguise who was going to turn on me in the third act. I was actively disappointed when she turned out to be an ostensibly normal little girl.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I don’t know about that. You could explain that with “alien tech thingy did stuff to her.”

              Still, you have a point. The characters were essentially poorly conceived stereotypes.

              1. MrGuy says:

                Which would be kinda awesome. If they’d bothered to do anything with it.

                Will she be a little kid forever? Is she, like, immortal now? Is it like being a ghoul, but without the cosmetic issues? Or was she in stasis until, like a year ago, when they woke her up for some reason, so it’s only recently she’s been running around the ship.

                Also, they did “alien tech thing stuff” to us. Are WE ageless now?

                Don’t get me wrong – I like a little mystery. But at least acknowledge it a bit. Heck, have some dialogue like “Before the war? Wait, you’re 200 years old? How is that possible?” “I don’t know.”

                It’s weird there’s zero curiosity about the world’s oldest nine-year-old.

                1. Ciennas says:

                  Further- what happened to the new crew of whatsawhojit- the lone wanderer and company. If fallout 4 is set in that region of canada we accidentally shot, I would be amused. It could be a really well written the pitt dlc.

                  “Y’see, we were doing okay there until suddenly BAM! A great big death beam came from nowhere and now we’re as savage as those assholes in the Capital Wastelands! Wonder who did that, eh? We were just about done with restoration, too.”

                  *player shuffles uncomfortably.*

                  1. newdarkcloud says:

                    Don’t worry. Fallout will never leave America because of the nature of the franchise.

                    1. Ciennas says:

                      Ah, but Canada was annexed before the apocalypse. We might just stop by some time.

                    2. Even says:

                      I really hope it does expand some day. You don’t really need to be in America to have the same sort of twist on things. The world by large is already filtered through the “50’s Cold War that never ended” theme.

                    3. Klay F. says:


                      While it might be interesting for a Fallout spinoff to see through post-War Chinese eyes, newdarkcloud is right, the franchise won’t leave American soil.

                      There is way too much Americana/pop-culture present. As I said above, this doesn’t preclude the possibility of a spinoff, but it wouldn’t really be Fallout, just some other game in the Fallout setting.

                    4. Even says:

                      I didn’t really mean just a Chinese point of view, though I suppose it may be a logical one if you were to make the leap. Anyhow, I have to disagree. You’re talking about things that have very little actual meaning in the universe itself and which only get parodied at best. They only way they really define the world is the on-set, the level of technology and the history of the world up mostly only until the apocalypse actually happened. What the games mostly deal with is just the aftermath of it. The world itself is something totally different than “Americana”. There may be some room for the argument, that the series is too entrenched in America already, but I don’t really see why it couldn’t try something new. There’s a world with already a lot of history out there, and it just seems such a waste to squander it just for the sake of more of the same which we’ve been given for around 5 or 6 games in a row, depending on your count. It’s not a horse the series should (and can) ride on forever, if they actually plan on making more games.

                      To add a little tidbit: They actually were planning a game focusing on the Resource Wars at one point, which would have happened in Europe and it’s also an idea that J.E Sawyer mentioned in an interview as a game that he’d love to make if he could.


                      (I’d link to the interview itself which the article refers to, but the site has seemingly vanished from the interwebs :/.. I read it a while back and it was fairly interesting.

                      Edit: Have this instead http://www.formspring.me/JESawyer/q/678608182 )

        2. MrGuy says:

          You can almost see the wheels turning.

          There was a weapon called the Alien Blaster in each of the first two games. Hey, we should reprise that in Fallout 3.

          Great idea, but how do we do that?

          Hey, I know – let’s have a crashed UFO out in the wasteland, where the captain carries it.

          Hmm…OK, we could do that. But for us to be able to hide the crashed UFO, it needs to be pretty small. Where did it come from?

          Guys! Guys! I have an amazing idea!!!

      2. Point Lookout was the best of the F3 DLCs for those who like finding what I’d call “war leftovers.” The downed plane, the Chinese secret agent, etc.

        It needed more NPCs, or some kind of Megaton-like population, even if they didn’t do anything. Without that, the shop at the beginning of the DLC didn’t seem to have much reason to exist.

  3. Ciennas says:

    I think this could have been made better with, say, a break between the sections.

    The Sim breaks cleanly in chapters to reset you to home base. They were all strictly linear anyway, so they could have ran with it a little better.

    Same set up. But a bigger vault to play in before the sim. Say, put three extra doors between our heroes and the final door. Each section of sim that completes boots you out of the sim, and you can open the next door and collect some rewards and solve puzzles to clear the next bit.

    You select which order the missions go in, in order to open up another section of the armory, and at the end, you unlock the final door with the T-51 by defeating Jingwei.

    In between missions, you watch as the squad start tearing themselves apart, and can either intervene to diffuse the tension or egg them on to tear out each others throats.

    I know that that thought is orders of magnitude harder to implement then write, but would that have fixed this a little?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Maybe? It’s really hard to tell. Most of the problems come from this DLCs decidedly linear nature. You can’t do much of anything aside follow the path. You can’t use any of your non-combat skills (and even then, nothing but Small Guns). You can’t really sneak past. It’s just shooting.

      1. Ciennas says:

        I dunno. I hear good things about Dead Money- what’d it do that was better?

        (Don’t have the spare lucre for DLC, so I haven’t done anything more than New Vegas Vanilla and quest mods.)

        Functionally, they’re the same story- a team of unlikely people teaming up to infiltrate a pre-war relic for the cool stuff inside.

        Aside from dead money not directly dropping the cast for four fifths of it to introduce characters who wouldn’t matter anyway.

        (Personally, I think more could have been done with more effort to polish it- maybe shine a direct parallel between the people in the sim and the people in the vault, maybe have them not be Outcast, but rough and tumble badasses, each corresponding to a player archetype?)

        The overwhelming theme for me for everything Bethesda does that’s not Morrowind: it could be great, but it feels like it’s missing something.

        1. Klay F. says:

          Disclaimer: I’m one of the few people who actually like Dead Money. Well, okay, maybe “like” is a strong a word. I didn’t hate it like so many other people do, though I understand where they are coming from.

          The main draw for me is that there are TONS of opportunities to use your non-combat skills. Plus there isn’t even close to the amount of combat in Dead Money as in Operation Anchorage. There’s “lots of combat”, then “shit-tons of combat”. Anchorage went about 5 light-years past that.

          1. Adam says:

            They did kind of give Dead Money short shrift in the FNV season. I maintain that had they each gone through the DLC on their own first (and not ragequit like Mumbles did, to the point where she quit playing the game entirely) that they would have enjoyed it much, much more. There are still some logical absurdities (It never really does explain exactly how and why the casino works the way it does, aside from a generic “its security systems went haywire”) and the dialogue doesn’t quite flow the way Obsidian’s best writing does (the finished parts of KotOR II remain the standard to which I unfairly hold all video game writing) but it’s as good as any quest in the main game, and light-years beyond ANYTHING in Fo3, DLC or otherwise.

            1. Klay F. says:

              Also, I see tons of hate for Dean, Dog/God, and Christine. While I sort of understand the hate, I really liked them. I DO wish they’d shut the eff up for two seconds though. Seriously, they would literally interrupt THEMSELVES.

            2. MrGuy says:

              Yeah. I thought Dead Money had some really solid ideas. The Casino Heist theme was absolutely in keeping with it being New Vegas. I liked the characters – they had backstory, motivation, drive. I liked how Dean turned out to play a big role you didn’t know about. I like Elijah as the driving force. I liked the “do it or I’ll blow your head off” threat. I liked “the cloud” in concept. Some great ideas.

              What I hated about Dead Money is they bit off too much. They couldn’t figure out how to write a DLC that was long enough, used all the characters, had a compelling plot, and had a balance of combat and plot.

              Unlike a good heist movie, you didn’t need these specific people to do their jobs – we have a ghoul Vegas lounge singer that we use to plug in an extension cord, and a mentally ill Super Mutant we use to flip a switch. The combat felt forced – OK, let’s do some plot. Now let’s break things up with grindy combat with samey mooks. Now let’s do more plot. The “oh, you got separated and robots locked all the companions behind plot doors” was really handwavy. There was just a lot of poor execution on excellent ideas.

              Which I contrast to Mothership Zeta, which was poor execution on poor ideas.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Old world blues.Its worth every penny.Screw all the other dlcs,and buy the penis fingered one.

        3. newdarkcloud says:

          I am one of the people who really liked Dead Money, so I’d like to comment on this a little bit.

          “Functionally, they're the same story- a team of unlikely people teaming up to infiltrate a pre-war relic for the cool stuff inside.”

          Yes, but there’s more to it than that. In Op: Anch, the Brotherhood Outcasts are actively antagonistic towards you and are almost completely unrepentant. At the end of it, all but 2 of them try to stab you in the back. The work with you because they have to and want you to know how much they hate it.

          In Dead Money, the characters are all at first pretty ambivalent towards you. They don’t hate you, but they don’t particular care about you either. How you treat them as you go through the DLC can make them hate you, but it can also make them really like you and want to help you. At first they are forced to work with you, but later on once the shackles are released, what you did to them will affect whether or not they continue to work for you.

          1. Klay F. says:

            Yes, and Christine’s/Dean’s/DogGod’s personality is/are more nuanced than: want technology, be dickish to player.

          2. Ciennas says:

            @cloud: exactly my point. The idea is solid, but the execution could have been better. Like being able to choose whether or not the squad tries to kill each other, or if you’ll take control and have your own squad now, or what.

            And better balance for somebody who didn’t pour points into small guns- like make that bayonet knife have a sneak attack bonus (and do more base damage then a combat knife), make the armor have built in brass knuckles, and equip to the player an energy pistol if they’re more skilled in those weapons.

            That would have helped too.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I think that this DLC could work, but as you say it would require a major overhaul in terms of writing, level design, and the loadout they give the player. It’d practically be an entirely different story than the one we see now.

              Although I really don’t see why they didn’t give you at least one weapon for each combat skill at the start of the simulation. >_>

              1. WJS says:

                The loadout complaint is rather ironic, I think; it wasn’t long ago that it was mentioned that in the original Fallout, heavy weapons and energy weapons were skills that were useless for a lot of the game. Small guns was what you would be using most of the time. Now we have a sequence that does that, and boom! Complaints!

  4. Paul Spooner says:

    I think this could have been interesting if they had “abstracted” the game engine, graphics, and mechanics for this “computer game” simulation. Your character stats get reset, and the skill tree is limited (to things that are useful). The graphics are turned down to a 1950s vision of virtual reality. Maybe the arsenal is still limited to handguns, but it should feel “different” than real life.
    Then, as you go through the simulation your character levels up and you get a sense of “place” instead of feeling like you were just teleported to another zone. Of course, making it look and feel different would be a lot more work… oh well.

    1. Ofermod says:

      Oh man, make the graphics like “Battle Zone”. Hell, throw in some tank segments.

      1. Or make your skills mean more. A science skill check could let you alter the rules of the simulation, or perhaps even do something outside of the pod (winning against a foe let you have a hacking bonus that opens a hidden door with some loot behind it for when you get out, for example). Maybe even learning something about the DC area would have been cool, like a certain general or scientist had a home at place X near Y metro station, and because you found it, you can go in and get some bonus items or a new quest hook.

        There was so much more that could have been done, but the biggest sin was making the entirety of the sim completely meaningless and without player agency beyond mowing down mooks that you couldn’t even loot.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          This isnt the matrix you are looking for.

  5. rayen says:

    out of curiousity, what helps youtubers the most? is it subscribes? is it likes? or is just if a video gets a enough views? I have a couple of channels i want to support including spoiler warning and i don’t mind watching ads so is it something the video makers have to do or what?

    1. Even says:

      As the Spoiler Warning channel isn’t monetized, it only really benefits to gather a bigger audience. Having subscribers doesn’t necessarily mean anything (at least not so much in the relatively lower numbers since your listing will likely be too low to make a real difference) since anyone can subscribe whether they actually watch or not, but you can use it as an indication of the potential amount of viewers you could have. The likes boost up your score and make your video more visible within the site.

      For Youtube partners who monetize their videos, more visibility means more watchers and more money in their pocket. For good or ill, it’s how the most popular channels make their living.

  6. Newbie says:

    It seems to me Shamus that you are under the false assumption that the Spoiler Warning Crew’s torturous ordeal through Operation Anchorage, at a stubborn heavy pace, filled with setbacks of deaths and game-breaking bugs, wasn’t entertaining. In fact I believe this sequence came at a perfect time to offer intrigue and malevolent glee at the Crew’s pain, while then giving us a break from the green and grey of DC.

    1. Hitchmeister says:

      Yes. The crew suffered greatly filming these episodes and assumed we would suffer just as much watching them. But some of us, took great sadistic glee in watching them suffer. I look forward to once again chuckling with delight at Josh’s plaintive cries of, “Stop shooting me!”

      But, playing through this myself was every bit as bad as they describe. The rewards being horribly unbalancing to the rest of the game didn’t help at all.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        These episodes are some of my most watched among the Fallout 3 season.

    2. Flavius says:

      Moreover, there is a secondary benefit that you missed:


      Which makes this totally worth it.

      Also, spoilered for any new viewers.

  7. MrGuy says:

    It’s not just that this entire DLC is a videogame plot door.

    It’s a videogame plot door that you open by playing a video game.

    A videogame which itself is mostly a plot door (a quest to take down a field that is keeping the Power Armor soldiers from entering the Chinese base).

    It’s, like, Doorception.


    1. Nytzschy says:

      Yo dawg, I herd u like plot doors so I put a plot door in your plot door so you could open a plot door while opening a plot door.

  8. MrGuy says:

    Also, major lore issue…

    Apparently, the only way to be able to play the game is to have a Pip-Boy. For some reason, you can’t take off the Pip-Boy, and it won’t work with someone else. They even have a dead Gary from Valut 108, whose arm they ripped off, and were unsuccessful in using his Pip-Boy.

    Wait. Remember when we got the Pip-Boy? In the long, drawn-out session of our childhood? The guy who gave it to us apologized for giving us such an old one. One he’d refurbished special for us. The guy who did this is the local equivalent of a maintenance man, not an electrical engineer. HE was capable of taking a previously used Pip-Boy, cleaning it up, handing it to us, and we could use it JUST FINE. Right away. No wiring into our nerves. No bonding to our DNA. It’s a wristwatch with benefits, not the neural ports from The Matrix.

    They HAVE Gary’s Pip-Boy. They are supposedly geniuses with old tech. They can’t figure out how to do what the janitor of our vault has no problem with?

    1. “This Pip-Boy has not been configured for the current user. Warning: Resetting this unit to factory specs without diagnostic equipment and an original Pip-Boy OS device will result in a loss of all data and may damage the unit. Reset? (Y/N)?”

      But seriously, the Brotherhood has this strange history of being all about tech, yet not being able to fix it. There was the malfunctioning armor in Fallout 1, this place in Fallout 3, and then the easily-reparable (at least by me) equipment in their lab in Fallout New Vegas. Maybe their field agents aren’t as technically skilled as those back at BoS HQ, wherever that is.

      Okay, they can fix giant robots, but that’s probably because they enjoy Liberty Prime’s one-liners as much as we do.

    2. Keeshhound says:

      Have you seen the DC Brotherhood and Outcasts’ bases of operations? Neither of them have any janitors. There are no janitors anywhere in the DC wastes. If you were to tell either group that you knew a janitor personally, they would likely fall to their knees before you and BEG that you intercede with him on their behalf.

      The Vaults were never meant to save normal people. They were a plot to preserve the janitors. Everything and everyone else were superfluous.

      1. I just realized: The real janitors were being replaced by Mr. Handys from RobCo (see the Sunset Sarsaparilla Company). With the apocalypse and the rarity of the Mr. Handy unit, the janitorial arts are apparently lost until someone re-discovers them independently.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      I could swear one of the Fallout games mentioned that the Pip-Boy is bolted onto it’s wearers arm. It’s possible, and even quite easy, to just remove the bolts and take off the Pip-Boy. There really is no reason they’d ever have to “cut your arm off.”

      As for it interfacing with the simulation, I think it’s that the Pip-Boy computer serves as an intermediary between the pod an Neural Interface Suit they make you wear (so that they have something they KNOW they can equip you with once you head back into “the real world”). Correct me if I’m wrong as that’s fanon I pretty much just made up.

      1. Given their general dislike of the player/tribals/everyone, I think if you had the option of telling them that Pip-Boys don’t require amputation to remove, they’d tell you they were well aware of that as they reached for the rusty saw.

        As for the bolts, maybe they require one of those proprietary socket wrenches like the ones needed to reset the “maintenance required” light on most cars these days.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          That’s actually why they let you take all the weapons from the cache; they only came for the wrench. As you walk away, loaded down with gear and rubbing your arm, they’re all high fiving each other and talking about what they’re going to do now that they can resize pipboys to wear.

  9. drlemaster says:

    This is where I checked out the first time you ran this. Not because it wasn’t entertaining (it was hilarious), but because it made me realize just how little I cared about what happened in this game. Perhaps I’ll pick up where I left off.

  10. I-Spy says:

    Oh lordy, I had forgotten how much I hated the Outcasts. They felt like a horribly played strawman set up against the Brotherhood’s (DC chapter) moral righteousness. Even the casual dialogue you have with their NPCs bashes you over the head with how full of themselves they were. When I got my power armor (from this DLC no less, since the reward is bugged to be the Best. Armor. Ever.), I wasted no time scouring them from the game. Got some sweet tech out of the deal as well. Two birds, one power-armored stone.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      If you save McCraw and the Scribe lady, they thank you and treat you entirely differently. She also becomes a repair shop.

      1. I-Spy says:

        Really? I accidentally shot at them in the crossfire of the endgame backstabbing, so they turned hostile and had to be put down. If the DLC wasn’t such a bore I would’ve played it again to see that.

  11. Deadfast says:

    Well, the drinks were off the chart this episode. Like literally! I had to double the range. Josh, your potty mouth kills viewers!

    1. StashAugustine says:

      I’d previously speculated if you could get by using shots of beer instead of liqour. This episode is two beers by itself, so I’m guessing not likely.

    2. Even says:

      What’s the context for counting the Gauss Rifle as OP though? Did they fix it later on? I recall it being not really worth the trouble, especially when you had nothing to reliably fix it (before Mothership Zeta anyway, and that epoxy stuff was still somewhat rare).

      1. Klay F. says:

        The Gauss rifle is almost totally not worth having. When it works, yes, its quite powerful, but (as we will see later) because of the way Gamebryo treated its projectiles, it would more often than not pass right through an enemy with no damage. As far as I know, this was NEVER fixed, even by mods, because it would have required rewriting parts of Gamebryo. Obsidian even had the balls to add it to New Vegas completely unfixed.

        EDIT: AAAANNNDDD Ninja’d below.

        1. IFS says:

          Really? I can’t remember ever having any problems using the thing in New Vegas, although my experience with that game was surprisingly bug free considering the games general reputation so maybe I’m just really lucky.

    3. Ofermod says:

      Also, a question: Wasn’t “VATS Shenanigans” part of the drinking game at somepoint? Or is that not retroactive? (I think it was added in Honest Hearts, possibly).

    4. Thomas says:

      I’m predicting that the number of drinks per episode increases as the series goes on

  12. Tohron says:

    Looking at the drinking game tally (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Agy-quAatA_9dFIwSlJCMVFEQjVSbTBHNDAzY1pWaGc#gid=0) this was the most intoxicating episode by a considerable margin – and the one the pushed the cumulative BAC into “definitely lethal” territory. Guess you can count on Operation Anchorage for something.

    EDIT: Annnnnd ninjaed!

    1. Thomas says:

      By the way
      ‘The normal body will metabolize between .015 percent and .020 percent BAC per hour. ‘

      So that should be easy to tabulate right?

      Even with the upper limit, that’d put us at over .52% already, so pretty much dead come what may. Since it’s so extreme, if we want to add in that calculation, I reckon we should use the upper limit

  13. By the way, the Gauss rifle may be “differently bugged” than the way it appears to be. From what I read on the Wiki, you ARE missing your target, but the animation of hitting dead center is mistakenly used. From the page about the “beta” Gauss Rifle:

    The beta version is especially interesting because, when fired, it shows the true trajectory of the Gauss rifle’s shots, where as the “official” version of the weapon shows a misleading visual representation of the bullet trajectory. When firing the beta version, the round clearly fires quite a ways up and to the right of the center of the scope. For some reason this off-center trajectory remained unchanged in the “official” version, leading many players to confusing missed shots, because visually the round appears to be dead-center despite the fact that the actual coded path for the round remains up and to the right. A side-by-side comparison of both Gauss rifles, the beta and the “official”, tested on multiple targets from multiple angles seems to confirm this.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Interesting. I have played the PS3 version and I do not recall having significant problems with the Gauss Rifle. It became one of my mainstays.

      1. It could have been your skill level. I don’t think Josh has a lot of points in energy weapons at this point, so he’s more likely to encounter the “you hit but you missed” bug.

        And yeah, I used it a lot, too, but I was in the high 70’s for energy weapons with a few VATS perks when I got it.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Possibly. I am usually highly invested in both Small Guns and Energy Weapons just because early game Small Guns are so plenty and late game Energy Weapons become plentiful, especially once you get to the Enclave base.

    2. That is bizarre, I don’t remember that at all. 0_o

  14. Even says:

    The hilarious part about the simulation is the implication that its programming was lead on the whims of General Chase who was running the place, and he kept insisting on all sorts of pointless features and stuff that didn’t make any sense to be in the simulation. You can read about it if you hack one of the terminals inside the bunker.

  15. Geromy says:

    I didn’t think Operation Anchorage was that bad. It wasn’t great, but it was certainly better than Mothership Zeta. Plus, it was a much better start than Dead Money in New Vegas.

    1. Spammy says:

      I… don’t agree on the Dead Money comparison. Operation Anchorage strips out the RPG elements of the game in favor of shooting through bland linear environments. Dead Money, for all its faults, was built top-down from an interesting concept (“A casino heist movie with a haunted casino. In Fallout!”) and had its character arcs all tightly wound around a central theme of learning to let go.

      1. Ofermod says:

        Dead Money also, in some ways, stripped down the shooter mechanics in favour of the RPG elements. There wound up being a *ton* of non-combat skill checks.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Since Fallout is primarily an RPG, that’s not a bad thing.

      2. Geromy says:

        I tried really hard to like Dead Money, but I couldn’t even finish it. I got into the casino and all, but I wasn’t having any fun at all. I found it maddening.
        Operation Anchorage, on the other hand, made me feel nothing. I got through it and never played it again. I remember it with ambivalence. It was a thing I paid $10 for, but I don’t feel strongly one way or the other. I got Dead Money on sale for $5, and have regretted it ever since.

    2. Zerotime says:

      I didn’t like Operation Anchorage for the gameplay, but I did like how it threw the most ridiculously unbalanced piece of armour in the game at you.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      I like Dead Money more than I did Anchorage. Dead Money at least had an entertaining plot and cool new enemies to fight. This DLC sucks on almost every level.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        Operation Anchorage is where I gave up on FO3. I would say that Dead Money was one of my favorite DLC’s for New Vegas, but since they were all really good that’s not saying much.

    4. Indy says:

      The only way I think Anchorage is better than Dead Money is that it uses a nice blue colour filter instead of a brown one. And I guess the concepts of the tanks and land mines that will turn up eventually are better than the ghost people and the holograms. Everything else, I think Dead Money does better.

  16. newdarkcloud says:

    One thing I will make note of in this particular DLC. Unlike other DLC and the vanilla game, if you fall into the canyon, you are instantly teleported to the place you fell from with no fall damage. It’s no consolation since so many other things are wrong in this DLC, but it’s worth pointing out.

    1. Ofermod says:

      Does it at least lampshade the teleportation with some sort of “Simulation error: Wrong location” message?

      1. Bryan says:

        Ezio did not kill civilians!

        1. Indy says:

          Power cannot be used during cooldown!

          1. Ofermod says:

            Warning: Ezio was not a mercenary during cutscenes!

            1. MrGuy says:

              No no no, that’s not the way it happened. Shall I start again?

  17. Jake says:

    I like the little touch at 3:25 of Shamus saying he “run out and got [Operation Anchorage]”. What a quaint method of purchasing content for your games.

    1. Don’t forget to rewind your DVDs, tune into Channel 3, and dial your telephone! :)

  18. Gruhunchously says:

    Outcast Guy: That computer on you’re wrist… maybe you can be useful to us after all.

    [Intelligence] My Pip-Boy makes me unique and you need my help because of that…

    Moments like this really betray the mentality (and mental capabilities) of Bethesda writers.

    1. MrGuy says:

      It would be funnier to me if that was the LOW intelligence option…

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      To be fair, a lot of the Medicine options in New Vegas operate on a similar principal.

      Example: In Camp Forlorn Hope, for the quest to find the Hydro thief, you need a Medicine of about 50 or 60 just to ask what the symptoms of Hydro addiction, otherwise your Courier thinks Hydro “turns skin purple.”

      1. Adam says:

        Well, can YOU pick up on the symptoms of withdrawal? For a drug that your Courier may have no experience with?

        Point being, I’ll take this over

        [Intelligence] Reiteration of EXACTLY what you just told me, but with bigger words.

        any day.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I’m not saying it’s better or worse, I am saying both are rather egregious.

        2. StashAugustine says:

          [Intelligence] Metal Gear?

      2. Keeshhound says:

        Of course, part of the problem with skill checks like those are that we don’t get a clear indication of what skill level means in Fallout. Sure, it’s safe to assume that 100 is expert level, and 0 is incompetent, but where does that leave 40 or 70?

  19. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I liked Operation: Anchorage. Partly, I liked the chance to get some backstory, but I also liked the gameplay. I think the difference is in how various people approach the game -Fallout 3 has always been an FPS/3PS with RPG elements to me, rather than an RPG with FPS mechanics. And I liked using VATS to get through this game -something special about watching someone get blasted off a cliff in slow motion.

    You guys may remember Fallout 3 as a game where you got to do lots of skill checks. I remember having to skulk through endless subway tunnels. The opportunity to take some long shots and fight in a different environment was a breath of fresh air.

    The backstory and the loot were just bonuses.

    Oh, and on the Outcast’s armor – I figured they painted the armor black, either as a symbol of their separation, or for the same reason knights did it – black paint is cheap and will protect the metal from corrosion when you can’t clean it all the time.

    I do wish the Outcast/Brotherhood dynamic had been more developed in this game, though.

    1. Hitchmeister says:

      Operation Anchorage works great if you have a lot of points in small guns. They even betray that they expect the player to go that route. “Butch” praised Reginald’s skill with the sniper rifle right (after Josh missed everything he shot at) because they expected giving you a really good long range weapon would make the previous segment a cake-walk. It just doesn’t work if you didn’t build that way.

    2. Yeah, I assumed it was painted. That’s what it looks like to me: black with red trim.

  20. I really liked the Gauss Rifle. It was one of my favorite weapons in the game. :(

    I didn’t notice any problems personally, though it’s possible I wasn’t getting any crits and just didn’t notice. Seriously, how are you suppose to tell when you get a crit in this game? You don’t even get a percentage or anything.

    1. I think it gives you a quick “Critical hit to [enemy name]’s [body location]” or somesuch at the top of the screen. I know I’ve seen it in and out of VATS.

      1. Indy says:

        Josh’s complaint about the crits of the gauss rifle is that it doesn’t do any extra damage. It might be hard to notice on something you can one-shot but it’s painfully obvious on anything that takes two.

    2. Adam says:

      And it’s not the chance to score a critical hit that they’re complaining about, it’s the fact that several times in this episode alone, it’s clear that they scored a direct hit but the round passes harmlessly through the target without effect. An obvious, stupid bug that should never have been let through.

  21. Vorakan Chalaopak says:

    Ah, just when I was thinking, “Huh, this is all a lot more positive than I remember.” I actually really appreciate the complaining you guys do. It usually highlights flaws that aren’t otherwise discussed in the heaps of praise this game gets, and this series in particular is what got me hooked on Spoiler Warning.

    Anyway, I like the idea behind Operation: Anchorage, or at least what I think was the idea behind it. Exploring the culture and history of America right before the war sounds like an intriguing concept, and it would have been awesome if we’d gotten more of that. I’m pretty sure there were some elements of this on the terminals around the facility, but all I remember of it was loads of boring, meaningless combat. And hilariously unbreakable armor. Like a lot of things Bethesda does, it was a pretty sound idea, but the implementation left me wanting.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      If not for the coding error that made the armor unbreakable (technically it is breakable, but has 1,000,000 hit points as opposed to 100 of normal armor) I would have no reason to play this DLC.

      As it stands, that armor ensures that I play through it every single playthrough of Fallout 3.

    2. Klay F. says:

      Well, the DLC WOULD have been a great look at pre-war American history had the terminals not completely invalidated everything you experienced in the simulation. The terminals basically imply that while the simulation was originally historically accurate, once General Chase shows up, he basically turns it into his own personal fever dream.

  22. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Someone please correct me.Please.Because if this is true,its really depressing.But it seems that:

    Assassins creed is the only video game that uses VR that has actual safeties turned on.Meaning if you die in VR,nothing happens to you in real life.And even that game had the bleeding effect,which screwed you up because of too much VR overuse.

    1. Could be. I dislike the AC series for quite a bit of its storytelling, but mostly I hate the fact that it gets away from “assassin” to “blood-crazed murder machine operating in the open” in fairly short order and never goes back.

      But overall, I blame Star Trek: The Next Generation for the whole “safety protocols have been disabled” malarkey. Holodecks shouldn’t have been used for recreation, they should have been things you dropped on planets you wanted wiped out.

    2. Klay F. says:

      Its worth noting that the game has both a VR without the safeties, and a VR WITH safeties, which you then proceed to turn off.

      1. Even says:

        Or not. Turning it off is just the preposterous good karma option.

  23. Zombie says:

    Ahhhh, the first introduction to Sid, and how many Sid’s long something is. It’s kinda a shame that it never became a meme like the bonnet, or BEEEES. But I will always remember it fondly. I also second the motion that science is the work of the devil.

  24. John Doe says:

    The armour isn’t dirty, it’s painted.

    1. WJS says:

      But why is it painted? Even if you believe (as the developers clearly did) that these are the “bad” Brotherhood, they aren’t going to think that they’re the bad guys themselves, are they? It’s not even like they decided to go rogue; they decided not to when the bulk of the force in DC did!

  25. WJS says:

    Never mind that apparently they’re able to improvise tanks in enough numbers to bother the US army, they arm them with guns so crappy (if you believe Sgt. Butch) that they’re out of range of that overlook. That’s well within rifle range, let alone field gun range.
    Also, why is there a cave full of battleship shells? Are we supposed to believe that these improvised tanks are armed with battleship guns? Which somehow have less range than a rifle?

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