Bethesda very nearly lost me for good with the last attempt at DLC. It really was genuinely atrocious. Thankfully, The Pitt proves a far more worthwhile, interesting and enjoyable experience. Technicalities regarding its use of Games For Windows Live weren’t much of an issue this time around – the experience of getting it running last time wasn’t repeated. But I’m sure there’s a better way of doing it in future once the deal with Microsoft runs out. Steam anyone?
Anyway. The Pitt then. As per Operation: Anchorage, the mini-expansion starts off with a crackly radio transmission from one Snake Pli- “Werhner”, a runaway slave from the hive of scum and villany, The Pitt, touched upon by a Brother of Steel in the main game. He wants you to help find – by find, he means steal – a cure for a mind and body warping disease ravaging the slaves of the Pitt from his former master, a bombastic, self-styled saviour named Ashur who is rebuilding Pittsburgh on the backs of kidnapped slave labour kept in line by bondage-fiend-bandits with a perchance for chains and corpses.
You’s is ugly bugly!
Right from the outset, you’re given choices; specifically on how to get to the Pitt. I personally didn’t like the idea of cooperating with slavers to get in so decided to fight/sneak in. Still got beaten to a pulp with my gear nabbed by a rather green man mind (you’ll know what I mean when you meet him.) Things move fast from here; you meet your contact and the plan is set in motion with you being sent into the darkest corners of the Pitt occupied by “Trogs” – humans mutated to the point of madness. They’re a bit rubbish actually. Things are improved by the fact you’re given the excellent new Auto-Axe weapon. Perfect for cutting the blighters down. From here you gradually move closer to the target, finding out more about the brutal world of The Pitt on the way. I wont say much more on the plot however since I don’t want to spoil details; but it’s actually quite good. One thing I felt was a problem with Fallout 3 a few months on after playing it was the comparative lack of new factions; you ended up basically seeing the main protagonists such as the Brotherhood of Steel, the Enclave etc. from the previous games. There wasn’t much sense of any other political factions within DC up to much. The Pitt improves on that greatly. The plot essentially revolves around the reconstruction of Pittsburgh, and thematically it brings up some interesting quandries for you to decide on. The “moral decision” isn’t a straight foward one of the oppressed against the oppressors, and is probably one of the most engaging plot lines in Fallout 3 so far.
The new content is generally quite good. As I said in the previous review for Operation: Anchorage, the new toys Bethesda are adding are genuinely quite fun. There’s a few new sets of raider armour for those who like that sort of thing, and an excellent new silenced assault rifle with a scope – should go nicely with the Chinese Stealth Suit I guess. The environments are brilliant too. While there’s no significant departure from the brown and grey of Fallout 3, the design of The Pitt has a sense of depth and individuality to it. It’s not just a generic tumbling ruin, and its design reflects the social structure brought to the fore in the plot. Things are a bit combat orientated, but not to the same degree as was the case in Operation : Anchorage. There’s more scope for alternative character variations to flex their talents in most parts of the Pitt. It’s also a bit short. I couldn’t help but feel that despite the plot being quite good, it came to a close just as it was teetering into the brilliant. It’s probably a good sign that I actually did want to play on afterwards though, compared to Operation : Anchorage where I wanted to finish the damn thing just to have my game save access the main game again instead of being stuck in the sim.
All in all, The Pitt is a welcome step up from the dire Operation: Anchorage. The content is good, technically functional (unless you have it on the 360, apparently) and I certainly liked the plot. But it is a bit short. At a rough £6.50 price mark, it’s not too bad. Considering it’s £1 a pint night at my local, I got 4 hours straight fun for 6.5 pints, and I can actually see myself going back to play it again. With that in mind, it’s not a bad buy. Give it a try.