“Come on over to Point Lookout for a stay! The bombs have dropped, and you deserve a vacation. Just step on the barge, take a quick catnap, and you’ll be here in no time. The unspoiled wetlands of Point Lookout are jam-packed full of adventure, treasure, and breathtaking scenery to accommodate those from all walks of life. And if you care to, grab a shotgun, some moonshine, and a harmonica and let loose!”
Point Lookout, the fourth and latest DLC for Bethesda’s masterwork Fallout 3 takes players to the swampy backwater tourist trap of Point Lookout, Maryland. From the moment the wasteland hero steps off the ferry and onto the abandoned boardwalk, players are immersed in a land of skeletal trees, bubbling methane swamps, and deformed swampfolk that recharges the magic of that Fallout-style exploration that made the core game so magnificent.
Point Lookout presents a non-linear area for those eager to go into the swamps unadulterated by a linear story. Players are free to dive for treasure along the rocky beaches where ships have wrecked. They can delve deep into the marshes to discover old shacks and the corrupt result of generations of inbreeding. Or perhaps players simply want to climb atop the lighthouse and observe the gulls circling above. No matter the player’s vacation agenda, the experience is fantastic. Like all vacations, however, this one goes by too fast.
Fortunately, there are a number of quests to bolster the time spent in Point Lookout. The main quest involves investigating a score of drugged-up cultists for a foul-mouthed ghoul, although later the cult takes to the backwoods while the Point Lookout lighthouse shines its beacon on more modern troubles. The main quest is brief and lacks the flair of Fallout 3‘s major events, but manages to entertain nonetheless. One step of the quest in particular upsets expectations in a short-lived, but effective scene. Perhaps the worst aspect of Point Lookout is a lack of interesting material rewards, especially from the main quest. The scenery is great, but the pay? Not so good. Side quests are typically fitted to the setting, such as making moonshine, a smart move by the developers. This ensures that players get the full effect of that lovely bayou life.
And such a life wouldn’t be complete without the appropriate gear. Thus the developers have blessed players with the double-barrel shotgun, lever-action rifle, and even a few Confederate hats. There are the requisite achievements and perks as well as a whole host of new graphical components. The unique graphics of Point Lookout make it a refreshing escape from the Capital Wasteland, even if the Wasteland Wanderer is unlikely to agree after being hacked half to death by an axe-wielding brute. Whether it was radiation or years of “selective” breeding that made the Point Lookout folk so strong is unknown to all. Regardless, the never-before-felt atmosphere of Point Lookout is one of its biggest tourist traps.
What may be the best Fallout 3 DLC to date, Point Lookout effectively sets the mood almost immediately upon arrival to the haunting Maryland locale. The developers did almost everything right. From the ferryman that looks and talks just as one might expect down to the shocking and witty writing, almost all aspects of Point Lookout outshine previous downloadable content. Had there been greater rewards and a slightly more dramatic main quest, Point Lookout would have approached perfect. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is truly unbeatable. So grab a beer, set your fishing rod aside, and keep that shotgun within arm’s reach. They’re coming for you.