Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta
System: Xbox 360 (also on PS3 and PC)
Genre: Action RPG
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: August 3, 2009
Mothership Zeta, the fifth and final installment of Fallout 3’s downloadable content, is a bit of a disappointment. The premise is undeniably cool and offers a welcome diversion from the standard nuclear wasteland: you begin to receive an unintelligble radio transmission, and after wandering to its source you discover a crashed UFO site. Upon investigating the wreckage, the spacecraft beams you up into Mothership Zeta, a massive aircraft in which aliens are holding other humans hostage. You wake up in a cell with another abductee, and the two of you team up with a few others to take down the unworldly bastards that are conducting god-knows-what experiments.
The entire campaign takes place on the UFO, which is both a blessing and a curse. This is refreshing because it offers a different environment that is unique from the normal game. Unfortunately, it also completely wipes out one of Fallout 3’s greatest traits: the ability to roam freely. Mothership Zeta is a predominantly linear adventure that only offers corridor after corridor, with intermittent firefights behind certain doors. For those looking to explore a massive alien spaceship with lots of quirky nooks and crannies, you will be disappointed. Outside of a few amusing Easter eggs, there is little in the way of excitement.
A greater variety of enemies would have helped break up the monotony, but there are exactly three nuisances to come across: aliens, sentry bots, and turrets. By the time most gamers will have acquired this DLC, they will likely have powerful enough weapons to easily obliterate any adversary aboard the ship. The bonus weapons that can be found in Mothership Zeta are hardly anything to go crazy over either, as they are mainly variations of guns that can already be found in the wasteland.
Although the general combat and exploration is lackluster in comparison to the main game, Mothership Zeta isn’t a total drag. The human characters you meet are mostly entertaining, and there is a certain Japanese Samurai that is especially amusing. There’s still that same Fallout charm that will keep avid fans interested throughout the 3-4 hour runtime, and the DLC caps off with a satisfying (and explosive) conclusion. It’s just hard not to feel like more could have been done with the killer concept.