Review by BloodGod65

Reviewed: 01/11/12

Word to your Mothership

With impressive sales and a large stream of downloadable content, saying Bethesda’s reincarnation of Fallout has been successful would be an understatement. However, all good things inevitably come to an end and Mothership Zeta represents the end of the line for Fallout 3. With the previous four expansions, Bethesda has not only given players a reason to stay inside the Capitol Wasteland, but they’ve also taken us beyond the borders of DC. Now, Bethesda is taking players to the stars.

Like the other expansions, players will activate Mothership Zeta by following a radio signal. Arrive at the source and you’ll suddenly find yourself being abducted by aliens. Once aboard their ship, you’ll have to fight your way free and find a way to return to earth.

While sticking aliens into the Fallout franchise is certainly an odd choice, what’s even more baffling is Bethesda’s decision to go back to the simplistic formula used in the first piece of Fallout 3 DLC, Operation Anchorage. Just like that game, you’ll be stuck in a linear environment with little to explore, dreary mission objectives, and tons of enemies to shoot. None of the things that made Fallout 3 so great are present in Mothership Zeta.

If I haven’t been clear enough on this point in previous reviews, allow me to reiterate once more; Fallout 3 is not a shooter. While you certainly play from a first person perspective, the shooting mechanics are wonky and unpredictable. At times, the game feels like it’s trying to rival an actual first person shooter, with its big battles and nonstop stream of enemies. Not only is it boring, but it just doesn’t play to the strengths of the original.

Aside from shooting enemies, there’s not much to see or do in Mothership Zeta. You’ll get a handful of identical objectives, which usually involve blasting your way through a section of the ship to disable a generator and delve deeper into the mothership. With the lousy shooting mechanics, the routine turns sour in a hurry, especially considering that nearly all the enemies look the same. Essentially, what you get when you buy Mothership Zeta is four hours of repetitious boredom.

The only noteworthy thing Mothership Zeta brings to the table is the array of new weapons and gadgets. There are several new pistol types, a cool rifle, and a crazy plasma cannon type thing. You can also collect a lot of little goodies to sell back in the Wasteland (although most have absolutely no practical use).

At least Mothership Zeta looks different from anything we’ve seen before. The ship is filled with new textures, items, and strange technology. Running around seeing new things is cool at first, but it doesn’t do much to alleviate the overall boredom. The framerate is also problematic in several areas, and seems to dip drastically during the game’s more intense battles (of which there are several).

THE VERDICT
It has been a good run for Fallout 3, but it looks like Mothership Zeta will be sending the game out on a sour note. Just like Operation Anchorage, this piece of DLC doesn’t play to the strengths of Fallout 3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Fallout 3 isn’t a shooter. So why would Bethesda try to do something the mechanics aren’t up to? Even if you’re a hardcore fan of Fallout 3, you still won’t find much to enjoy here.

Rating: 5

Product Release: Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta (US, 08/03/09)

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