After discovering a rogue radio signal, the wasteland wanderer stumbles into a Brotherhood of Steel Outcast outpost, stationed around a military simulation device. Coincidentally, the simulator only permits one outfitted with a Pip-Boy to partake in its virtual world, a scenario used to train soldiers for the liberation of Chinese-occupied Anchorage, Alaska. The Outcasts call upon the Pip-Boy-wielding wastelander to help unlock the compound’s armory, accessible only by those who conquer the simulation.
It may seem contrived, and it is, but the actual simulation is fairly entertaining. Split into two major sections, the simulation details the American victory over the Chinese at Anchorage, Alaska beginning along the wind-swept cliffs and ending in the heart of the Communist encampment. Equipment is limited (and virtual) inside the simulation, which increases difficulty and encourages stealth and strategy. During the second half of the scenario, the player gains control of a customizable squadron of soldiers, ranging from a sniper to a Mr. Gutsy.
Unfortunately, the entire package, in and out of the simulation, is brief, easy at high levels, and somewhat lacking in action. It’s too bad the Americans hadn’t yet constructed Liberty Prime at the time of the simulation; he would have tossed things up a bit. Literally. One of the advertised highlights, the customizable squadron, has little effect on the gameplay. The end rewards are significant, including a unique suit of armor, but may not be worth the asking price.
For those Fallout 3 fans that can’t get enough of the wasteland, Operation: Anchorage provides a few extra hours of bliss. The chilled atmosphere of Anchorage offers a change of scenery as well, but feels less post-apocalyptic than it should, and this may be the most disappointing aspect of all. Operation: Anchorage helps flesh out the Fallout universe, however, with its lesson in history and the events leading up to the big war.