A lot of people compare Fallout 3 vs New Vegas but rarely do people just compare the DLCs against each other. Since TTW allows us to play all the DLC from both games I'm kind of curious how others on here rank the various DLCs comparing them to each other and their own personal views of the DLCs. Anyhow here's my ranking and opinions of the DLCs.
1. Old World Blues- This was an easy pick. This DLC is pure awesome twilight zone style being far out there. You have a bunch of scientists (Think Tank) that ripped their own brains out still running experiments after the apocalypse with one scientist Doctor Mobius trying to keep the Think Tank (his friends) in Big Mountain contained to keep them from spreading destruction and misery upon what is left of the world. The whole time playing through the DLC Mobius is tripping on Psycho and Mentats threatening the PC across the sound system in Big Mountain sicking Robo Scorpions on you to keep you from being able to leave so the other scientists won't be able to leave either.
On one hand the whole DLC is silly as hell especially the dialogue with the Think Tank and Mobius and yet on the other hand going through the dialogue with Mobius and after exploring Big Mountain you understand why he is doing what he is doing. It balances out the wackiness with being serious enough to make the DLC a comedy and yet still an engaging story. The DLC also explains things in both vanilla New Vegas i.e. Nightstalkers and Cazadores as well as explaining the cloud, holograms, slave collars and other things from the DLC Dead Money as well as laying out a good back story for Ulysses, Father Elijah and Christine.
While Big Mountain explains things in the Mojave and DLCs Dead Money and Lonesome Road for that matter one really nice thing about Old World Blues IMO is that it's not tied to the Legion vs NCR vs House main questline from New Vegas. I think that's one of its bestselling points. I just don't like New Vegas main questline. I view the NCR as lame and the legion while not near as bad they just aren't all that interesting either outside of Caesar and a few other NPCs and as far as Robert House goes yeah, I'm not impressed by the Fallout version of Howard Hughes. So Old World Blues being detached from the main quest in New Vegas was a pro for me.
I could go on about the gear in Old World Blues, the various side quests, etc. but I think I've said enough good things about Old World Blues to get the point across of why I think it's the best DLC. The only thing I don't like about Old World Blues is that you got to play it through before leaving. You can't come and go like you can in Point Lookout and Lonesome Road and that is the only real downside to Old World Blues IMO.
2. Operation Anchorage- This DLC is my most favorite to play through out of all the DLC for Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Hell, I just love the concept of the DLC to begin with. The whole DLC is about you going through a computer simulation that is supposed to be a recreation of the Liberation of Anchorage Alaska from the Chinese. When in reality you find out the whole thing is just the personal propaganda video game of General Chase. General Chase made the simulation completely divorced from what actually happened during the Liberation of Anchorage from the Chinese.
Personally, the funniest movie I ever saw in my life I would have to say is Doctor Strange Love with the delusional General Ripper starting WW3 because he's worried about the Soviets corrupting his "precious bodily fluids". General Chase is a nutty just like General Ripper which makes him awesome in my book and makes this whole DLC awesome. The whole DLC has the political black comedy satire thing down. You have American troops and Chinese troops executing prisoners of war just for the sake of killing them. You have the same type of stupid lines "Subroutines? This is an Army gig, not the Navy." in OA like you do in Doctor Strange Love with lines in the movie like "you can't fight in here this is the war room!"
Unlike Old World Blues the simulation part of Operation Anchorage is not to be taken seriously at all. The whole thing is a bullshit fantasy of what should've happened in General Chase's mind. You have soldiers screaming "stars and stripes forever" and you have a speech check option to get General Jingwei to kill himself by committing hara-kiri. I laughed my ass off the first time I played through OA and I still chuckle playing through it even today. One thing that also makes this DLC so awesome and funny is that a large amount of people still believes this DLC is supposed to have accurately portrayed what happened during Operation Anchorage. It's amazing how many people never hacked the terminal to find out the whole thing is bullshit. Hell, the reason this DLC is not number 1 is because it's just a quest mod at the end of the day it's not an expansion with a giant new area like Point Lookout that you can explore so I can't give it the number one spot.
3. The Pitt- The best morality choice quest in both Fallout 3 and it's DLCs and New Vegas and it's DLCs. On the one hand you can commit a truly horrible evil act by ruthlessly putting down a slave rebellion and preserving slavery in the Pitt where slaves live and die under the rule of Ashur and his brutal raiders. If you go down this path it's quite clear that while the horror will continue progress will be made to rebuild the Pitt and usher in industrialization as well as medical research advancements in curing mutations and radiation treatment. If you choose this path you’re essentially choosing to do evil in the present to usher in a greater future.
If you choose to free the slaves your committing good in the present doing the right thing at the cost of a better future down the road. Werner is not Ashur and it seems obvious that the chance for the slaves to stay in the Pitt under his rule is not very likely to last. Most if not near all of them will vacate the Pitt in the future destroying the chance of rebuilding the Pitt and ushering in industrialization. The Pitt is highly likely to end up being nothing more than a city infested by Troggs if you choose to save the slaves.
It's a great morality question. Do I due horrible evil now for a better world in the future or do I do good now for a worse world in the future. I mean let’s face it the slaves aren't going to do as well as getting medical break throughs as Ashur and his wife will and they also aren't very likely at all to rebuild the Pitt with most of them being brought to the Pitt against their will with only a few like Midea being born in the Pitt.
The big problem for the Pitt for me and pretty much everyone else whose opinions on it that I read is that the Pitt is just way to short. The questline can be done in an hour after leaving vault 101 for the first time if you don’t bother collecting all the steel ingots. You have the whole city of Pittsburgh and surrounding environments and you can’t explore it. You have the train yard when you first arrive to the Pitt, The Bridge, Downtown, The Mill, Steel Yard and Uptown. Except for the Steel Yard there is no exploration in the Pitt. I get why you don’t have a ton of exploration during the questline because that wouldn’t make sense but afterwards you would think you could explore Pittsburgh a little bit. I mean common who didn’t climb to the top of the blast furnace and didn’t want to go exploring the skyscrapers in the background? As much as I like the Pitt it feels very unfinished compared to the other the DLCs.
4. Lonesome Road-The true post apocalypse DLC of New Vegas. This DLC is interesting since it deals with your back story. It has the character Ulysses whose angry at the Courier for what happened at the divide. Essentially Ulysses saw the Divide before it was destroyed and saw potential for it to be a different nation other than the Legion or NCR. Ulysses liked what he saw it gave him hope for something else something better. Unfortunately for Ulysses the Courier delivered a package which caused the nukes in the Divide to go off killing most of the people there (and doing far worse to the survivors other than Ulysses) with Ulysses barely surviving. Ulysses then goes back to the Legion and later finds the Courier is alive and lure the Courier back to the divide to basically punish the Courier for crushing his hope of a new nation…America awakened.
Lonesome Road is the most interesting of the storylines of all the DLCs since it deals with a character that views himself as being wronged by the Courier and yet inspired by the Courier at the same time. Ulysses wants to both punish the Courier and crush his hope while at the same time wants to remake the world single handily. If you pass your speech checks with him (not easy to do) you can talk him out of fighting you. Or you can fail the speech checks or just straight up decide to kill Ulysses. Either way you get to change the fate of others again. You can nuke the NCR, Legion, both or choice to cancel the launch altogether…you decide the fate of countless people at the end of this DLC and get to remake the world. That’s a hell of an ending for a DLC.
Overall the DLCs story to me was excellent. The only real complaint I have about it is the need to blow up the warheads to move around in Lonesome Road. That felt tacky as hell playing through the DLC. Other than that, I would say the DLC is extremely well done and the reason why it’s ranked #4 is because I just like the 3 above it a little bit more.
5. Point Lookout- The Forgotten by Time DLC. Unlike the Capital Wasteland Point Lookout wasn’t hit with nukes instead it’s like small towns in the United States when industry leaves them and they become ghost towns. Point Lookout is basically abandoned by others except some of the locals who happened to be inbred mutant hillbillies. The Swampfolk of Point Lookout are pretty much the fallout version of the hillbillies in Deliverance except they are not gay rapists. Instead of rapping you the swampfolk just kill you and eat you. You also have brain damaged fruit worshiping tribals and smugglers which are basically just generic villains Bethesda added to the DLC with them being like Talon Company wearing combat armor but not nearly as cool.
The DLC adds a giant new world space and does have exploration which is nice compared to something like OA which is linear. Traveling through Point Lookout you find a lot of interesting places like the jet crash site, Turtledove Detention Camp, USS Ozymandias, etc. Exploration is what they went for with Point Lookout and they did a good job with it in this DLC. You have a lot of places to go in this DLC.
This DLC along with Lonesome Road are the only two DLCs that allow you to leave and come back anytime you want to. From a gameplay perspective that is a great thing. You may get tired of exploring Point Lookout and just want to head back to the Capital Wasteland. Or you may just want to go to Point Lookout to do a side quest only and then come back to DC. The way it’s setup story wise in game it makes sense for you to go back and forth (unlike Lonesome Road) coming and going.
Point Lookout’s side quest are nice the Velvet Curtain quest in particular with you having to explore Point Lookout to finish the quest having to destroy the lost Chinese submarine. At the end of the quest you also see how the Communist Chinese brutally treated their agents by trying to kill you in the trap. You also have The Dark Heart of Blackhall quest which depending on the option you choose takes you back to the Capital Wasteland and into the Dunwich Building. This quest confirms supernatural exists in Fallout 3 and while it adds the supernatural it does it in a very minor capacity to not distract from post apocalypse of the game. It’s well done and doesn’t hurt the game or take it in a wildly different direction the same way Daniel Littlehorn is implied to a be a demon, the antichrist or the devil.
Overall the DLC is well done. I give it the 5th rank because while it is very well done I just personally like the top 4 DLCs more that and some things I just didn’t like about the DLC personally. I didn’t particularly care for the swampfolk that much. Bethesda went with mutant hillbilly trope with that and while they succeeded it’s just not something I was into due to just personal preference even though they nailed the trope it’s just the whole redneck hillbilly trope I think has been kind of done to death and beyond but that is my personal view. I really don’t like the tribals because I think the concept of them is just stupid. I would say the tribals of Point Lookout being brain damaged and acting the way they are was better done then how tribals are in Honest Hearts though.
6. Broken Steel- The game continuation DLC. Broken Steel does some really great things and really lets you down on other things. The best things about Broken Steel is that it allowed you to continue the game after starting project purity. Broken Steel also introduced more powerful enemies like Feral Ghoul Reavers and introduced new gear like Hellfire Armor, Tri-beam laser rifle, Tesla Canon, etc. Broken Steel let you do the main quest whenever you wanted to do it whether at the very beginning of a playthrough or at the very end.
Broken Steel also adds small side quests like dealing with the cult outside of Megaton in Springvale. Dealing with a gang raiding water van caravans. Then you have the quest dealing with the ghoul griffon who is swindling his fellow ghouls selling irradiated water as aqua cura making them a bunch of false promises in Underworld. Broken Steel does add some not bad small side quests into the main game.
I would say the second-best thing about Broken Steel outside of allowing you to continue playing after taking back Project Purity was the fact Broken Steel alters the wasteland. You see water caravans traveling in the wasteland. You see Project Purity purifying water. You get a bunch of new encounters added to the game like Megaton Residents trying to take an entire water shipment pulling out guns and getting killed by the Brotherhood of Steel. You also have an encounter at Fort Bannister where Paladin Jensen is captured by Talon Company and you can free him and his team will attack Fort Bannister. Overall Broken Steel adds some nice things to Fallout 3.
However Broken Steel does suffer a serious problem and that is the questline being linear and that there is no option to join the Enclave. That is everyone’s biggest beef with Broken Steel and what everyone wanted was the ability to side with the Enclave and Bethesda which did allow you to side with Eden in Fallout 3 prior to Broken Steel removed any real option of siding with anyone else except the Brotherhood of Steel. If you use the FEV virus it just makes the water kill you if you drink too much of it. Making using the FEV virus pointless unless you want to do a kill everyone playthrough.
Besides not being able to join the Enclave Broken Steel’s main questline just isn’t that good. Yeah Liberty Prime gets blown up which is cool but the questline is boring. The Presidential Metro is cool and so is Adams Airforce Base but the questline to finish off the enclave just isn’t all that great. The questline is very non-epic just like Take It Back and the Battle for Hoover Dam. Bethesda does allow you to pull a dick move and nuke the citadel which is nice but at the end of the day kind of dumb since you can’t side with the Enclave.
Overall the DLC does a lot of things extremely well but just misses some important things that prevented it from being at the top of my list.
7. Dead Money- The most in-depth character DLC and the one that fails at being a horror/survival DLC. The characters in Dead Money are very well done with a ton of info about them. As far as writing goes the characters in this DLC are the best written outside of Ulysses in Lonesome Road between Fallout 3, New Vegas and all the other DLC. It’s just not even a contest.
Dead Money also really nails how destructive greed and wrath truly are which New Vegas absolutely fails at. In Dead Money you see how Greed and Wrath ended up turning the Sierra Madre into a hell hole after the war and how it leads to the deaths of the residents inside. How Greed and Wrath ended up killing Sinclair, had the love of his life Vera Keys die alone in agony and had Dean Domino never being able to just move on with his life after 200 years. It shows how people just won’t let go of their Greed and Wrath even 200 years after the bombs fell with Father Elijah literally embodying both. He is greedy for the resources of the Sierra Madre and wishes to inflict retribution on everyone in the Mojave for what happened at Helios One. Again, Obsidian did a great job here with the writing.
While Obsidian did a great job with the writing they did a poor job with the DLC in most other areas. This DLC tries hard and I would say fails greatly at being survival/horror oriented. The Ghost People aren’t a challenge. I was one shot one killing them in most of my play throughs at higher levels just using the throwing spears in VATS aiming at their heads. The Ghost people are extremely weak enemies and while Dead Money has little in the way of resources for the most part the Ghost People are easy to take down if you have thrown some skill points in Melee or Unarmed skill. Since Ghost People and the Holograms are the only things outside the turrets you must deal with in Dead Money that’s a negative in my opinion.
Outside of the Ghost People you have the Holograms to deal with. I think Obsidian kind of fails here with Holograms because you can’t damage them with any type of weapon which to me seems kind of stupid I mean shouldn’t a pulse grenade disrupt them at least temporary? So, the Holograms are unkillable unless you find their emitter and destroy that which in turns destroy the hologram. Overall the holograms from a gameplay perspective where just kind of dumb. On the first play through they will annoy you because you don’t know where the emitters are after that you know where the emitters are and the holograms become a joke.
It’s not just the emitters it’s the radios as well. One the first play through they are annoying after that you know where they are and they aren’t challenging. Which brings up the main point of Dead Money is that the first play through will probably annoy people with people not enjoying getting shot at by unkillable holograms or having to do a lot platforming in game that was never really designed for it in the first place at the very end of the DLC no less which is again annoying. Dead Money isn’t a challenging DLC to play it’s a DLC that fails to be challenging and tends to just annoy most people who played it the first time.
Dead Money also is extremely stupid with the not being able to come back to the Sierra Madre after completing the DLC without using console commands or mods. That’s just stupid. If you want to come back with a fatman and rain down mini nukes on the Ghost People and the villa then you should be able to. The whole not being able to find your way back due to the cloud explanation made no sense considering others like Dog/God have done so. Seriously, the coolest part of the DLC besides the story of the characters for me was being able to gamble in the hologram filled casino of the Sierra Madre. So not being able to return and do that or explore the rest of the villa was a really dumb design choice. Not being able to return to Anchorage makes sense since Operation Anchorage is a simulation however the Sierra Madre is not so not being able to come back in the vanilla game is just stupid.
8. Mothership Zeta- The B science fiction movie DLC. Zeta has a lot of problems with it. The first being it is just nothing but corridor fighting going from room to room throughout the space ship which while in game makes logical sense (you are fighting through an alien space ship after all) but from a gameplay perspective got terribly monotonous very quickly. Compared to OA which had you fighting up cliffs in a mountain range, through caves, through bunkers, through trenches, through open fields, etc. it was at least varied in Operation Anchorage where as in Mothership Zeta it’s just not. Zeta is an extremely combat heavy DLC and considering Operation Anchorage was extremely combat heavy as well as Broken Steel the 5th DLC of Fallout 3 with it being run and gun corridor fighting just ended up again being extremely monotonous.
The other problem besides the monotonous gameplay of Zeta is that the spaceship is itself very boring. You have the Cryo Lab where you could potentially have a lot of cool references to real world history like for example you could’ve found the bodies of Jimmy Hoffa, D.B. Cooper, Amelia Earhart, etc. on-board Mothership Zeta or a survivor of the Roanoke Colony on board Mothership Zeta. Bethesda could’ve done a lot of interesting things with the Cryo Lab and yet they didn’t. The whole Cryo Lab is just wasted potential. The only thing alright about the Cryo Lab was the fact you had 3 guys who fought in the Liberation of Anchorage Alaska fighting alongside you. While that’s cool and all it could’ve been way better.
Zeta Aliens, the abominations and the Drones also kind of suck as well. The vanilla look of the abominations made them look like puppies and kittens where you just look at their faces and the last thing you think of is terror. Christ Bethesda made them facially wise look cute like a puppy or kitten. These are supposed to be horribly mutated humans created as biological weapons and yet they do not inspire fear or awe looking at them. You would think mutated humans turned into biological weapons by Aliens would be at least somewhat disturbing to look at but the abominations in Zeta just look goofy.
Ultimately Bethesda did secede in making Mothership Zeta a B Sci Fi movie DLC. The problem is doing that just made Zeta not interesting or all that fun to play at the end of the day. I mean the alien weaponry is cool and a few other elements in Zeta but most of it just feels like a lousy b movie at the end of the day.
9. Honest Hearts- The cowboy and Indians DLC. This DLC literally has a ton of Native American stereotypes in it…it’s bad. Playing through the DLC I was wondering why they just didn’t have every tribal greet me saying “How”. The tribals are devolved to the point where they forgot how to speak English and instead speak some made up language that resembles that of Native Americans. Essentially the tribals are native americans and Native Americans are depicted as being retarded in this DLC. I don’t mind tropes and stereotypes if done well. Like for example if we could’ve scalped the white legs we killed and got caps or something else for them that would’ve been cool. If we saw prisoners of the white legs being forced to play a game where if they lose they were put to death like the Mayans would do to their prisoners that would’ve been cool. If we saw the white legs commit human sacrifices like cutting out an NPCs still beating heart that would’ve been interesting. No instead what we got was some serious cookie cutter bs in this dlc.
I’ve played Honest Hearts 3 times and 2 of those times I got annoyed with it and just killed Daniel and Joshua Graham. The one time I forced myself to play it through to the end going through the questline I just shook my head at how bad the questline is. Collecting walkie talkies? Really? The tribals are literally so retarded that they have a taboo about entering prewar areas and Joshua Graham needs you to do it for them. I got to ask why the hell doesn’t Joshua Graham get off his lazy ass take his tribe with him to get all the required things he needs? The whole quest was just lame as hell and Joshua Graham could’ve collected all this stuff on his own just taking a few of his tribals with him to guard the surrounding areas while he looted the gear.
All Honest Hearts outside of the landscape, Tommy Guns and perks added to the game just quite frankly sucked badly. Yeah Zion looks good and the Tommy Guns are cool as well as Sneering Imperialist but everything else about this DLC is just pathetic from my point of view. I wish I could say more nice things about the DLC but it’s just lame to put it bluntly. I mean if the tribals built some pyramids in Zion or carved homes into the faces of the cliffs in Zion that would’ve been cool but they just don’t have anything going for them and the game itself states these people are retarded. The tribals in Zion ruin Zion as an interesting place…overall this DLC I view as the worst of the “real” DLCs.
10. Gun Runners Arsenal-It adds weapons, ammo types and challenges to the game but no new lands to explore or quests to do. So, this DLC is not on par with the rest of the DLC Bethesda and Obsidian made for Fallout 3 and New Vegas with the exception being it’s better than the crap packs.
11-14 Tied between the crap packs- Really the crap packs are as bad if not worse than horse armor for oblivion so they deserve to be dead last.