|System: X360 (XBLA), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bethesda Softworks||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 27, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
For the most part, the visual differences found in Alaska's chilly setting are like night and day in comparison to the locales in the scorched wastes. Instead of being viewed through a dismal filter of browns and tans, the softer blues and grays in Anchorage's mountains and plains are a little softer on the eyes.
The same immaculate level of detail carries over, and many additional little touches of sound and visual effects round out the experience nicely. The screen shakes and the controller rumbles with every blast of the massive artillery cannons you're seeking to take out, and the far-reaching fiery explosions accompanying their destruction is impressive. As previously mentioned, the latter portion of the game evokes a World War II-like vibe with whizzing artillery shells exploding close by and the sounds of battle not far off from the trenches.
Bethesda didn't need to mess with the good thing it has going with Fallout 3's core gameplay. Thankfully, the more action-oriented changes in Operation Anchorage are temporary. They do indeed provide a different style of pacing and a refreshing change of scenery to complement the solid gameplay in Fallout 3. While the more linear, FPS-style gameplay isn't an improvement over the slower, exploratory pace in the main game, it shakes things up a bit.
Operation Anchorage clocks in at about three hours. Players who've held off from brushing up against the level 20 cap or are only a short-way into the main campaign will find the goodies earned in this first expansion particularly bountiful. Succeeding in your virtual mission and cracking open the sealed stash translates directly into a big payoff of extra firepower, cool armor, and helpful gizmos to use in the rest of the game. Electrified ninja swords, stealth armor, and a new gauss rifle are only a few of the goodies awaiting players. The vignette is an entertaining diversion, but the rewards for completing it are what make it truly worthwhile.
CCC Staff Contributor