Fallout 3 Mothership Zeta Micro-Review: The Final Frontier

Bethesda has released the final planned downloadable content for Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360 and PC, beaming players aboard a strange alien vessel in Mothership Zeta.

We've been to Alaska in the past, Pittsburgh in the present, and we've even taken a field trip to Point Lookout State Park, so really, is there anywhere left to go but up? Mothership Zeta takes Fallout 3's protagonist far above the chaos of the D.C. Wastelands in order to experience a different kind of chaos aboard an alien spaceship. New weapons and armor aid our hero in his or her quest to escape alien captivity and perhaps save humanity from a threat worse than nuclear annihilation.

How does Bethesda's post-apocalyptic masterpiece fare in this strange new setting?

Loved
Great Moments In Sci-Fi Adventure: Mothership Zeta is a classic tale of pulp science fiction. Boy (or girl) meets aliens, boy is experimented on by aliens, and boy leads a ragtag band of prisoners in a revolt against their alien captors in order to save the earth. You acquire alien weaponry, uncover secrets of alien technology, and eventually find yourself back on the planet with enough new hardware to make a high ranking member of the Brotherhood of Steel weep. While most of the action is standard Fallout 3 fare, only with the player using new weapons to kill new creatures, several impressive set pieces really make the downloadable content sing, including a thrilling conclusion that will leave you seeing stars.

Space Tongue In Space Cheek: Mothership Zeta might take place in the shallows of space, but its sense of humor is quite down-to-earth. A motley cast of characters joins you on your quest to escape the alien's vile clutches, adding much-needed laughs to what otherwise would have been a rather plain adventure, despite the extraordinary setting. It's comforting to have other humans with you in this strange locale, even if one of them leads you on a wild, Star Wars reference-riddled ride through the ship's waste disposal system, and other is a Samurai that speaks extensively in Japanese, which no one else in your "crew" understands.

Hated
I Am Generator-Bane: You will be blowing up a lot of generators in Mothership Zeta. Almost every major objective in the downloadable content involves blowing up generators, to the point where when you come across a quest with a different objective, you'll still be keeping an eye out for them, just in case. It wouldn't be as annoying if there were different ways to take out said generators, but no... it's all pretty much the same thing.

As the last of the planned Fallout 3 downloadable content, Mothership Zeta isn't quite the ending I had hoped for. As grand finales go, it's got grand in spades, but is sorely lacking in the finale department. Don't get me wrong here...it's an excellent experience, but it just doesn't deliver the sense of closure I'm looking for in Fallout 3. At the end of your adventure you're back on the surface, a bit older, a bit wiser, a bit better armed, and wanting more. Bethesda has said that taking the level cap past the 30 established in Broken Steel would unbalance the game. Fair enough. If we can go no further, give us a grand finale.

Mothership Zeta might not be an ending, but it's a roller coaster of a space adventure that's well worth the price of admission, especially if you hate power generators.

Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta was developed by Bethesda Softworks and distributed to the Xbox 360 and Windows for download on August 3rd. It's also announced as coming to the PS3 later. Retails for 800 Microsoft Points ($10 USD). Played PC version. Played the core quests, got a bit sidetracked, sampled the new weapons, raised my hero from Level 29 to Level 30 over the course of about five hours.

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