The first four expansion packs for “Fallout 3” tested a myriad of different elements and managed to successfully bring them into the series without a hitch. “Operation Anchorage” turned the game into a “Call of Duty” type of shooter, while “Point Lookout” and “The Pitt” told fun stories with plenty of room to run around and explore. “Broken Steel” strengthened the game’s one true fault, giving it an ending that was not only more memorable, but more logical as well.
The last expansion “Mothership Zeta,” however, fails to deliver on all of these fronts and feels like a bland corridor shooter, void of the heart that made the series one of the best in modern gaming.
The missions also lack the same variety of the other downloads, making you feel like you’re running around doing errands. While being captive on an alien ship is supposed to be a terrifying experience, there’s nothing particularly scary about “Mothership Zeta.” If you’re on level 30 and have a nice assortment of weapons and stimpaks with you, this is an expansion that should take about four hours to complete. Unlike “Point Lookout” and “The Pitt,” you won’t want to come back after you finish. You’ll most likely have problems navigating through it the first time, as many of the areas look exactly the same, so coming back and going through this excruciating process all over again is an unlikely one.
Other problems with this expansion include the minutest things, such as having problems opening and closing doors. For some reason, it’s harder to find the exact spot where you have to be looking to activate certain things. At first, we thought this was just our being rusty with the game, having not played it since “Point Lookout,” but none of the other packs or the main game seem to have this problem. Because of this, you may have trouble finding and picking up hidden items and opening up doors. When everything on the ship already looks incredibly similar, this is another problem the game could have done without.
While “Mothership Zeta” has a few cool weapons like the Drone Cannon, MPLX Novasurge, the
Alien Disintegrator and the shock baton to help you kill your enemies until you get your goodies back, they are not nearly as cool as some of the other weapons found in other packs. The Alien Disintegrator works well, but lacks the fire of the Drone Cannon, which unfortunately is as accurate as a cross-eyed hick from “Point Lookout.”
After playing through most of this expansion, you’ll almost wish you were still there.
Graphically, “Mothership Zeta” is a muddy mess. In standard definition, it’s often hard to see around corners and almost impossible at times to see people’s faces while they’re talking to you, ruining some of the campiest dialogue in the series. In high definition, it’s a bit better, but pales in comparison to its bigger brothers.
If this was any other game, belonging to any other series, its review probably would been a bit less scathing. But because this is “Fallout,” a game that many people have dedicated over 100 hours of their lives to, for nearly a year, you can’t expect anyone to want to leave the series on such a low note. If this would have been the first of five expansion packs for the series, many of its flounders could have been dealt with and possibly even forgiven, but to go out like this, is simply unforgivable.
Fallout fans deserved better than “Mothership Zeta,” an expansion that on its own merits, is mediocre at best and is nowhere near the caliber of its predecessors. Hardcore fans may want to buy it for sentimental value and to get a few more hours out of the greatest game on the system, but they’ll end up with a sour taste in their mouths for it.