Earlier last week Bethesda Softworks promised us a new direction for Fallout 3 with the release of their latest piece of DLC, titled The Pitt. Unfortunately it ran into many problems which seemed to curtail the gameplay experience at every turn; mapping errors, texture problems, and innocent looking doors which seemed to lead to the same empty zone in which Gordon Freeman was imprisoned by the G-Man all those years ago. He must be subletting. Anyway, The Pitt’s flaws seem to have been corrected, so now it’s time to talk about just how The Pitt measures up post patch.
First, a little history.
When the bombs fell during the extremely brief Great War of 2077, Pittsburgh was not on the list of direct targets, and so 200 years later the city remains more or less intact, as does all of the manufacturing technology that was left behind when the city was evacuated. Unfortunately for the city, the arm of radioactivity is a long one, and the nuclear fallout which had leaked into bodies of water further upstream finally made its way into the three rivers which come together at Pittsburgh. This led to an abnormally high level of background radiation which led to a wide variety of medical ailments; skin lesions, mental incapacity, impotency, and even mutation. It has been said, though, that a cure for these medical ailments has been found in The Pitt, and a man asks you to help him retrieve it for the good of his people.
That’s basically the setting. Once you install the DLC pack, you’ll receive an announcement about a new radio channel for you to listen in on; it’s being broadcast by a man named Wherner who promises rewards if you help him save his people from their servitude by stealing the cure from the wicked folks who are keeping it for themselves. It seems to be a simple thing, but what you soon learn that nothing in The Pitt is at all simple. Your first view of the city seems to bear out Wherner’s story, for the Pitt is undoubtedly a hellhole. Giant plumes of smoke drift out across the city, flames spurt out from exhaust vents, and the water is so radioactive that falling into it can kill you almost instantly. The city is divided between the workers, who are little more then slaves, who occupy the downtown area and the raiders and ex-slaves who occupy Pittsburgh’s Uptown, along with the leader of the city, Lord Ashur. Beyond that you have to figure out not which side is good or evil, but which one is the best for the city. You’ll see for yourself.
Now that all of the bugs have been fixed, the graphics are back to their normal level that we have come to expect from Bethesda, but there are still some minor graphical errors and twitches here and there. However, the environments have been really well designed, and manage to give you a sense of expansivenees in an area that consists of a total of five zones which range from the small, like Mill and The Hole, to large, like Steelyard and Uptown. The shot of the city from across the river is particularly impressive, so much so that just looking at the city says “Go away.” You won’t see much new in other established areas of the game, such as character designs and movements, but it is of the usual Bethesda quality.
The game’s audio is a more defined example of both old and new fitted together; most of the voices you’ll hear are taken from other areas of the game. There are some new character actors who were taken on for this game, in particular Lord Ashur, but with all of them they carry off their roles well. The voice acting is supported by the usual background sounds – all the explosions, shots, and shouts that you’ve come to expect from the volatile world of the Capital Wasteland — but there is also a new crop of environmental effects, such as the grinding of the Auto Axe or the sound of a rapid fire suppressed weapon.
I’ve heard that some of the players out there are still having problems with the DLC, but hopefully that is not the normal case at this point. If the bugs have been ironed out, then The Pitt is a decent expansion – but the extra waiting period and the fairly small zones make it not quite worth the wait. On the plus side, however, some of the new weapons, armor, and perks are quite useful for several kinds of characters, and it can result in about three hours of gameplay from start to finish, with more if you take on some of the optional quests. In the end if you really want to take the Fallout 3 experience further, then The Pitt is definitely worth it.