When Operation: Anchorage was release in January, opinions were mixed. Fans either loved or hated the focus on combat over story and, depending on their character, found it too easy or challenging. Most other comments ranged from “It’s too short” to “The weapons are worth it”. Building on the praise and dealing with the criticism of Operation: Anchorage, Bethesda created the second DLC episode, The Pitt, a more traditional, story-driven Fallout experience. And after a delay (or two with that corrupted mishap on the initial launch day) The Pitt has been released. The question is, “Is it worth your $10?”
The story in The Pitt is actually pretty decent. To sum it, your character infiltrates The Pitt, a massive raider and slaver settlement, in order to liberate the slaves and find a cure to the radiation plaguing the city that has been created by the head of the slavers. Or, you can side with the slavers and crush the slave revolt. Like I said, it’s pretty decent and goes along with the Fallout’s karma-driven side quests. However, the good and bad karma paths are much clearer than some of the side quests in the main game and aside from a small twist, your view on the situation won’t change that much.
The city itself though is a pretty cool place. Unlike DC, Pittsburgh was not directly hit with a nuclear bomb. Thus, many of The Pitt’s buildings have remained mostly intact, letting you do some unique exploring in the Steelyard area. Aside from that, The Pitt is still a very unique city from DC. After climbing to the top of the Steelyard, possibly the highest point you can reach in both the DLC and the main game, I gazed out at the horizon. The mills churned out smog and fire, the sky was tinted orange, and skyscrapers jutted out of the ground farther out. The view was simply breathtaking and goes to show that The Pitt truly is something very different from DC.
Additionally, the structure of The Pitt is different from DC. The Pitt is roughly a quarter to half the size of DC (the entire map though, not just the city of DC itself) but is still fun to travel across. However, rather than being a bombed-out, lawless wasteland, The Pitt is much more of a dystopian society that has, interestingly enough, improved since the Brotherhood of Steel visited and “cleaned up” the place in an event called The Scourge. Still though, it’s not all that good. The slaves live in downtown; an ugly, desolate place where they can go to work and, in many cases, die. Meanwhile, the slavers and raiders rule their workers high up off the ground, called Uptown, and the leader of The Pitt, Ashur, lives in his mansion called The Haven. Radiation turns the citizens of The Pitt into Trogs (a.k.a “Frog People), hideous creatures that crawl about the Steelyard, in addition to bandits called Wildmen. Slaves can win their freedom and move into Uptown by being triumphant in gladiatorial combat in an arena. Truthfully, it resembles a much more rundown version of Ancient Rome in terms of its architectural structure. It’s an intuitive concept but the way it is displayed makes it look like a location that belongs in the Fallout Universe. And while you can’t return to DC once you’ve started the quest, you are free to travel in between the two once you’ve completed it.
That brings me to my next point, the quest itself. I’d say it’s a bit longer than OA and, unless you rush through it, will take you several hours to complete, which still puts it on the short side. However, The Pitt has replayability value to it in the form of finding 100 steel ingots. Now, this is not one of those collection quests where you will find 99 of something and be killing yourself over finding that last one. The ingots are easier to track down as they are always grouped together, so you will always find several at a time. In addition, the quest is made worthwhile by, in addition to an achievement, a unique item given to you by the foreman for every ten ingots you find. However, it is still a collection quest and thus, it is still bound to annoy you in someway, regardless of how Bethesda has improved it.
Speaking of which, the items in The Pitt are fairly good. The new items certainly keep the Fallout feel and there’s actually some useful stuff in here. The armor has some useful bonuses and looks pretty cool for the most part, including a new version of Power Armor. The weapons are all very awesome and there are some for every type of weapon enthusiast. The Auto Axe simply owns everything while the Infiltrator is a stealth character’s best friend. Not too mention that one of the rewards for finding a certain amount of ingots is the energy weapon equivalent of the Terrible Shotgun. Plus, many of them have unique variants so there’s certainly a lot more weapons than Operation: Anchorage and are great additions to the main game.
Despite all this, I still have some problems with The Pitt. Despite Bethesda’s attempts to make The Pitt challenging by taking away your gear until the end of the DLC, I didn’t find The Pitt all that hard. One could blame it on the difficulty I was playing on (normal) or the fact that I used a character that I’d put a lot of time into developing. However, Pitt raiders are no different than DC raiders, Trogs are pretty much jumping ghouls, and the alleged “boss fights” in the arena each took roughly a minute or two for me to win. And once my gear was returned to me, raiders assumed their regular role as bullet fodder. I still found it fun, but it just isn’t that hard. Maybe at a lower level the challenge will increase but high-level characters will still own everyone.
In addition to that, The Pitt still has some glitches. I played it on the Xbox version and the glitches I encountered were few and all of them were fixed by simply turning off my Xbox for a while but the point is, they still exist. One of these happened to me during my first experience with The Pitt. One of the image files for an item had disappeared and so, when I equipped it, it showed a large exclamation point in a large red diamond where the item was supposed to be. Now this was after the re-release of The Pitt and I fixed it with the aforementioned method but I had assumed a glitch like this had been fixed. I also noticed that some load times were noticeably longer than in the main game but I don’t know if this is a problem with the DLC or my Xbox so this may not be a glitch at all. I have heard from other plays though that they have found The Pitt much more full of glitches than I did. Your experience with The Pitt is going to be somewhat reflective on how many glitches you encounter but if you would at least like to know what to expect, here is a list of known bugs for the PC and Xbox versions. However, if your game has glitches that simply make the DLC impossible to finish, it is possible that you are playing the corrupted version of The Pitt and all you need to do to correct this is to download the fixed version. You’ll know it’s corrupted if those exclamation points I talked about earlier start popping up all over the map.
Overall, The Pitt is an improvement over Operation: Anchorage. The more story-driven experience may annoy some but it is mostly a good design choice. The city itself looks fantastic and fresh and the items are all pretty awesome. The quest is still a lengthened side quest and won’t take very long to complete but it does have a decent story and the ability to return and collect ingots extends the time. However, it’s still pretty easy and bugs will rear their nasty heads every once in a while. But if you’re a die-hard Fallout fan, this is still a must-buy. Otherwise, it’s certainly worth your $10 and will be an enjoyable experience if your looking for something new to do in Fallout 3 if you don’t mind it’s blemishes here and there and certainly if you don’t run into a lot of bugs.
+ Setting is fantastic, items are very useful and very cool, allows you to go back to The Pitt once you’ve finished
– Still short, pretty easy, and some nasty glitches