Bethesda has long led the charge on DLC, starting with "Oblivion" and now "Fallout 3." With "Fallout 3," they've tweaked and prodded each release, trying something new and introducing interesting corners of the world to explore. It seems, too, that they're getting better at it, as the latest DLC, "Point Lookout," is the best yet.
What makes it so good? Very simply, it recaptures the awe that you felt when you first starting playing "Fallout 3." The moment you step off the boat, onto the rusted, broken-down boardwalk of "Point Lookout," you feel lost...but in a good way. While you have a quest to get you going, it's very easy to just explore the massive map that the DLC introduces (which, according to the devs in 1/5th the size of the Capitol Wasteland). You can just pick a direction and set off, diverting whenever you see anything interesting on the horizon or your radar. It's that level of exploration that's been missing from previous "Fallout 3" DLC packs, which have been very quest-based, giving you step-by-step directions on where to go.
There's a level of cleverness in the writing of the quests in "Point Lookout" that reminds of The Dark Brotherhood quests from "Oblivion." A dark twinge with a definite sense of humor is present in all of them. For example, one has you taking soil samples from around the landscape to determine if the leftover bodies from the Civil War have made "Point Lookout" a viable oil drilling location.
Point Lookout definitely has a unique vibe, compared to the rest of the game. The fact that the ocean is always in sight (since it's a peninsula) gives the map a very open feel, but bring in rustic backwoods mutants and you have something ripped from "Deliverance."
The New Weapons
Simply: There aren't enough of them, and the ones that are there aren't terribly different from weapons we've already seen. The lever-action rifle, for example, uses the same model as Lincoln's Repeater, a unique rifle already found in the game. The double-barreled shotgun looks neat and fits the setting, but is outclassed by the combat shotguns of the mainland. There is a new energy weapon and a new grenade type, but overall it seems a little lacking on this front.
The New Perks
While some of the new perks are useful (increased damage to ghouls, for example), none of them are really game-changers. I guess this has to do with the level cap not being raised (also a bit of a bummer), but the boosts you find in "Point Lookout" are pretty forgettable.
Despite a few shortcomings, I had more fun with "Point Lookout" than any of the other DLC packs thus far. It's definitely worth the 10 bucks and should offer at least 6 hours of hillbilly gameplay.