Fallout 3: Point Lookout DLC
Bethesda Game Studios
June 23, 2009
Journey aboard the Duchess Gambit to the radioactive swamps of Point Lookout, Maryland to help reunite a mother with her lost daughter. Along the way, you may make a small fortune in untold treasures, take sides in a centuries old feud or find yourself as someone's dinner. All that and more await you in the fourth expansion for Fallout 3, Point Lookout!
In this DLC pack, the Lone Wanderer is not leaving the relative comfort of The Capital Wasteland on some epic quest to relive glorious battles or to free a people from their bonds, but to reap the treasures of a land relatively untouched since the end of The Great War. Point Lookout introduces a new location to the world of Fallout 3, Point Lookout, MD, a marsh where the bombs didn't actually fall, but the world still left it behind.
Scattered among this new, large area (one-fifth the size of the Capital Wasteland) are numerous quests that will have the Lone Wanderer criss-crossing this swampy area. Quests ranging from ending a centuries old feud, gathering moonshine ingredients, following in the footsteps of a Chinese spy and locating a cursed book mentioned only in whispers.
Point Lookout has a good bit of diversity in it's design for this expansion. There are creepy semi-abandoned plantation style houses, a classic east coast lighthouse, an abandoned amusement park, a cathedral, plane crash wreckage, an internment camp and plenty of cobbled together shacks populated by all kinds of swampfolk.
As far as inhabitants, the newest addition to the Fallout universe are the Swampfolk and Swamplurks. mutated hillbillies that seem to more at home in “The Hills Have Eyes”. The Swampfolk come in five varieties: Scrapper, Creeper, Bruiser, Tracker and Brawler. Oddly enough, the Brawler bears a striking resemblance to the human form of the main villain from the first Men in Black. The Swamplurks are nothing more than pallet swaps of the Mirelurks from the main game.
The environment itself is a pleasure to look at and very different from not only the main game, but all the other expansions. If not for the face that it is specifically mentioned that Point Lookout is in Maryland, you could easily mistake it for a Louisiana bayou. From Blackhall Manor to Calvert Mansion, you get a faint glimpse of the former glory of this region before the Great War, before the surrounding swamp began to reclaim everything.
In my opinion, the nicest visuals and design in Point Lookout come from the acid trip portion of the “Walking with Spirits” quest. In it, the Lone Wanderer sees a giant bone saw cutting up the terrain, giant, evil Vault-Tec bobble head called Schmalt-Tec bobble heads that make fun of the Wanderer's fears and misfortunes and huge exploding Nuka-Cola Quantum bottles. After that you see the landscape being stitched up by a large sewing needle, waving voodoo dolls, and upside down forest and the Wanderer's mother's corpse. To round up this demented vision, you come face to face with the dead bodies of both Vault 101 and Megaton dwellers and the bomb from the Megaton crater and a twisted version of Mr. Burke named Mr. Break. Trippy stuff indeed.
Since once again the Lone Wanderer is leaving the Wasteland, you are unfortunately leaving behind GNR and Enclave radio only to have it replaced by nothing. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Bethesda to throw in Dueling Banjos or some of that creepy hillbilly “hooting and hollering” music that you hear in creepy movies set in the south. This was the first time that I actually listened to the game's score in the background, but after 5 minutes I got extremely bored with it an just turned off the game music altogether. And that is when I heard it, the ambient noise of the swamp. You could hear the frogs croaking out to their mates in the darkness, crickets chirping away the night and swamp gas bubbling out of the swamp. These sound effects combined surprisingly well with the creepy swampy environment to create a believable swamp traversing experience.
Like past DLCs, your journey to Point Lookout begins with the Lone Wanderer being asked for help. This time it is Catherine asking for help to find her daughter Nadine who has embarked on the Duchess Gambit to Point Lookout to see the world and find her fortune. Easy right? Guess again.
The quest to find Nadine leads directly into a centuries old feud between a Ghoul named Desmond Lockheart and Professor Calvert, a brain in a jar. Calvert has set himself up a “God” to the local Tribals and has set them on a collision course with Desmond who is trying to stop Calvert from expanding his psychic control to all of Maryland. Both Desmond and Calvert will ask you side with them against the other and will have you performing a number of quests that culminate with a showdown between the Lone Wanderer, Desmond and Calvert.
There are also several minor quests in this expansion that will have you exploring all sides of this island. Among them are quests to find moonshine ingredients, complete a Chinese spy's last mission, recover exploration supplies, go on a Ghoul hunting safari and finding the Krivbeknih, a book inspired by the Necronomicon. Unlike the last couple DLC bundles, this expansion is VERY non-linear, you can complete the quests in any order, which is a good thing because with this exploring, you will complete all the requirements for an achievement.
Point Lookout is a rather sizable area to explore, and with such a large are come large rewards, namely large amounts of EXP. The weapon and armor rewards in this expansion are severely lacking. The only real reward worth using back in the main game is the Microwave Emitter, a Mesmetron clone that has high DPS and ignores damage resistance from armor bonuses.
The only glitch I ran into was while exploring the atrium of Calvert Mansion, due to a graphics glitch, I stumbled upon the hidden entrance to the bunker from a later quest. Entering the bunker completed the quest for me without the need to actually do the quest. Other than that, there were no real gameplay issues at all.
There is no real discernible reason that you will want to return to Point Lookout once you complete it other than to farm Punga Fruit, but once the novelty of the new fruit wears off, you will just switch back to Rad- away and leave the swamp and it's Punga eating, moonshine drinking inhabitants at your heels as you board the Duchess Gambit back to the Wasteland.
Whether it was because it was the second to last DLC to be developed for Fallout 3 or if it was just because the developers wanted to focus on having a large explorable area in their DLC, the whole of the experience feels rather underwhelming. Quite a few of the locations have no real use in the expansion other than to take up space on the map. Just think about how cool it would have been to have a mini-quest that played like the movie “Deliverance” or a moonshine running mini game against a pseudo Dukes of Hazzard. Talk about untapped potential. Add to that three of the most unlikeable NPCs in the game, Desmond, Calvert and Tobar, two useless new perks and one new unique weapon with delusions of grandeur. On the upside, Point Lookout is a joy to travel around, especially at night and there is EXP around every corner. While just exploring Point Lookout, without grinding, I was able to gain 4 levels from enemy encounters, but this was not enough to make up for it's shortcomings. As a DLC bundle, it is worth the $10 price tag, but just barely. If you are able to, I recommend that you just pick it up as part of the Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition and save yourself some cash.