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[Editor's Note: Steven Kelso and Andrew Bennett both take a look at Fallout 3's latest DLC offering]

Y’know, Maryland is one of those overlooked states. It’s smack dab in between Washington D.C., and New York City. It could be one of the most overlooked states in the entire US… with the exception of Kansas of course.

Who would’ve thought that Point Lookout, Maryland was home to swamps, hillbillies, and moonshine? I suppose the apocalypse really changes things, doesn’t it? Don’t really reckon you’d want to vacation there, but its home to some of the best characters and stories Bethesda has ever crafted.

It’s a good thing too, because after spending countless hours within the Capital Wasteland of Fallout 3, a bit of a vacation is a must – regardless of the locale. You can get burnt out fighting Protectrons and Super Mutants all day long – eventually even hanging out with the Brotherhood of Steel gets tiring. Fortunately once you’ve downloaded the Point Lookout DLC, your character will get wind of a riverboat docked at the edge of the Potomac, which might just provide the excursion you’re looking for.

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Immediately you’re met on the docks by a mother who is looking for her wayward daughter. She begs you to find her up in Point Lookout, and you’ve really no choice but to agree. You meet another interesting fellow, the captain of the Dutchess Gambit, and he charges you an abnormally large amount of caps just to ferry you a few miles up the river.

As the irradiated water sprays you in the face, you’re greeted by Fallout 3‘s Point Lookout State Park. The once beautiful boardwalk, hotel, and lighthouse introduce you to the dingy, broken, and depressing atmosphere that characterizes this DLC. As you step off the boat the captain gives you a handful of ideas as to where you could begin your adventures; you could go to the mansion, delve into the swamp, or even stroll along the boardwalk. Personally, I’d encourage you to check into the motel first, as it’ll reward you with one of the most amazing stories that Fallout 3 has ever provided. In fact, the ending will absolutely shock you spitless if you allow it to. Oh, and that’s just the sidequest!

No matter which way you go, you’ll find yourself fighting the newest enemy: Swampfolk. These backwards, inbred, mutated hillbillies will come running at you with profane, mispronounced words and  giant axes to back it all up. Their patterns are irregular, and you never quite know what’s going to happen next with these guys. You’ll meet one of the few sane Swampfolk, and all she asks you to do is make moonshine. Yeah, you’re in the sticks.

Another faction are the Tribals, a group of people who look a little bit too much like Native Americans to not be  a parody of them. They’re attacking the mansion, and the ghoul inside, Desmond, beseeches you to stop them. This quest line includes one of the strangest experiences of all time, and you almost feel like you lose a piece of your mind once it is all said and done. Bright colors, freaky bobble heads, and children laughing are only half of what you’ll go through to become an initiate of the Tribals.

Each one of the twenty-six new locations in the game will offer you a little bit of something; perhaps it’ll be a freakishly wonderful new quest involving a Christian missionary’s desire to end the occult, or you might just find some ammunition for that new shotgun, or lever-action rifle. Just as in the original Fallout 3, exploration is important to experience all there is to offer in the game.

One strange item of note: you’re going to find a lot of wild fruit, yeast, and fission batteries out there in Point Lookout. Make sure you collect all you can as they are used to brew moonshine, which sells for 300 caps a batch.

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The entire atmosphere of the Point Lookout DLC  is a bit more relaxed than that of it’s predecessors. Chances are you’re going to survive most everything thrown at you without much trouble, unless they’re coming in great numbers. The main focus is exploration and discovery. You’ll follow the story of a Chinese spy, end the conflict between Desmond and the Tribals, and so much more.

With the exception of Broken Steel, Point Lookout is the best package of downloadable content Bethesda has offered for Fallout 3. The only criticism I can provide is that I identified some framerate issues, and I also experienced a crash. I’m not sure why Bethesda is having such technical trouble with their DLC as of late, but it chipped Point Lookout‘s otherwise flawless presentation. Despite these minor issues, I highly recommend you check it out.

Steven Kelso gives Point Lookout nine bottles of moonshine out of ten. Yehaw!

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Andrew Bennett:

The latest downloadable content for Fallout 3 has you taking a ferry south from the bustling streets of the Capital Wasteland to the quaint, fog ridden vacation spot of Point Lookout.  Waiting for you is a community with a strong established religion, a beautiful inn, and lots of inbred rednecks just waiting to get to know you.  The fair is 800 Microsoft Points, it’s a short ride, but well worth it.

As with all other Fallout 3 expansions, the player starts this one off by receiving a message that there is an opportunity just itching to be taken advantage of.  In this case, it’s a quaint offering to take individuals down river to the nice beach front community of Point Lookout.

Unlike The Pitt and Operation: Anchorage, the primary difference with Point Lookout is that once the player opts to go to this new area, they are not tied down to it until completion.  If for whatever reason, half way through your vacation you decide that you want to go back to the Capital Wasteland, the option is always there.

Depending on how adventurous you are, Point Lookout can be one of the shorter or longer DLC’s available to you.  The main quest line is rather short, and can be powered through in a matter of hours.

Beyond that though, Point Lookout offers a whole new lush area just waiting to be explored, with exciting secrets waiting behind every swamp.

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On that note, even if there weren’t any secrets to discover you’d still probably want to explore this content.  All Environments in Fallout 3 are all pretty much designed around a desolate nuclear wasteland that cannot support life.  As cool as that is, Point Lookout takes it in a new direction.

Being shielded by the initial nuclear explosions which laid waste to the Capital Wasteland, Point Lookout is for the most part still intact.  This time around you will be exploring and battling through forests and swamps instead of deserts and mountains

The nuclear fallout appears to have affected the locals more than the environment.  The majority of the locals look disfigured and mutated, though it’s unclear at this point whether this is from the radiation or inbreeding.  I’m not a doctor, I don’t know.

It wont take long for anyone to figure out that Point Lookout is intended for higher level players.  You might expect Fallout 3 styled hippies and inbred rednecks to die pretty quickly, but they can surprisingly take a lot of punishment.  It wont matter that you sport around a gatling laser, if you don’t pay attention, you’re going to get an axe to the head.

Unlike The Pitt, my time playing through Point Lookout was bug free.  Throughout my entire play experience I did not encounter a single glitch.  That said, this doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.  Knowing the history of F3 DLC, even though you don’t have to worry about bugs and glitches, I still recommend that you save often.

All in all, Point Lookout was a good experience and worth every MS Point.  If you’re just looking to power through some quests, this might not be worth the cash.  The main story line is short and shouldn’t be the sole reason for purchasing this DLC.  If you love exploring and want to expand upon the same great Fallout 3 game play,  then this one’s for you.

Andrew Bennett gives Point Lookout an  8.0/10.

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