Wandering haplessly across the bridge connecting The Pitt to the outer wasteland two things become immediately apparent. Firstly The Pitt looks lovely; everything from the burnt orange haze masking a starry night sky to the smoke trails flowing calmly up on the horizon, a burnt out US army truck and a deteriorating ‘Welcome to The Pitt’ sign hanging from the bridge, Bethesda have dedicated time to making The Pitt look even better than Fallout 3. Secondly, if it were you, like actually you, you’d turn back. Despite being a long underground journey away from the DC Wastelands, The Pitt is no more welcoming. Sporting inhospitable with pride, corpses strung out high above, mines carefully placed as much to keep people out, as they are to keep people in. Within ten minutes The Pitt is already looking more promising than Operation Anchorage.
Once inside the situation doesn’t improve. Slavers happily remove all the weapons and equipment amassed in DC and you’re catapulted into The Pitt as a slave. So much for ‘enjoy your stay’.
Most players will have reached level twenty by the time they enter The Pitt and even without the equipment hoarded through the Wasteland, it never bumps the difficulty up, chances of dying are minimal. Whilst this means the well written narrative is often left unhindered by repeating levels, it’s a little disappointing and worth increasing the difficulty to make the most of the new weapons and enemies.
Unlike Operation Anchorage there are no ammo stashes or health regenerators, the RPG element has been implemented once more and The Pitt benefits from it by being less linear, with more room for exploration (one side quest requires the player to explore a vast Steelyard, collecting Ingots in exchange for increasingly valuable weapons and equipment.) Much like Fallout 3 itself then, The Pitt is as much a competent FPS as it is a solid RPG and it’s good to be able to loot corpses and amass an inventory to take back to DC once The Pitt has seen the back of you.
Oblivion fans that missed the inclusion of an arena have been catered for. Gladiator style arena fights return, though without the difficulty pumped to hard the three battles fought are unlikely to challenge any character above level 15. Regardless the arena fits well with the decadent atmosphere crafted through the quiet slave banter, harsh guards, and general aesthetics of The Pitt.
And that’s probably its strongest asset. It looks and feels a part of the Fallout world and yet is different enough never to feel familiar. The industrial, and generally quite large, environments are interesting to explore, and the huge amount of new dialogue, not to mention a dozen or more new characters, maintain the high standard set back in the DC wastelands.
The main quest will last those willing to take their time and discover all The Pitt has to offer anywhere from four to eight hours. It’s far more substantial than Operation Anchorage, with less emphasis on combat. Despite that the new weapons are a joy to use. The Auto Axe, a sort of giant circular saw attached to a long handle, is perfect for dispatching the new enemies Trogs, mutated humans, more beast like than the Feral Ghouls of DC. They’re fast and agile but enter the coveted VATS system with the Auto Axe and they’ll be a pile of floating limbs in seconds.
It’s generally a question of value for money with DLC. There’s no doubt The Pitt is one of the best offerings in downloadable content we’ve seen yet and of far more value than Operation Anchorage. The new quests, and small offering of side quests, are great, and fit into the Fallout world perfectly. Add to that an interesting array of new weapons, equipment, enemies, and a large dose of new dialogue and characters, and the 800-point price tag is certainly justified.