Fun If Your Character Knows Which End of a Gun Goes Boom
Do you like fighting? Do you like fighting with guns? Does your Fallout 3 character like fighting with guns? Then this, my friend, may be the downloadable content for you. Operation Anchorage does something interesting, it actually fleshes out the Fallout universe, something that is normally relegated to the pieces of information and data that are scattered through the various wastelands. This is the first time you've been able to play in the universe before the bombs fell and while it's linear and extremely combat-focussed, it still makes for an enthralling detour to your exploration of the Capitol Wastes.
The mission opens with a vague radio transmission from a group of Brotherhood Outcasts who can't seem to open an armory without completing a simulation. None of the computers they have are sophisticated enough to interface with the simulation, but guess who's is? If you said yours, congradulations: you're playing an RPG. The simulation drops you in the middle of the Chinese invasion of Anchorage, Alaska, the event which apparently jumpstarted the war and eventually led to the nuclear option. You've probably heard by now that the game is very combat-oriented, you could've also read it in the sentence I typed above and you'd have heard right, I would highly reccomend investing some points into Small Guns if you're going to tackle Anchorage. I did, so I had a blast, but I could see where someone who'd developed a more social or intelligence-based character would have a really rough time. They give you a melee weapon, but don't think you'll be able to stab your way out of this predicament, it's mostly there for show.
The thing that makes the DLC somewhat unique, but even more combat focussed, is that you bring in none of the equipment that you had in the real world, including Stimpacks and ammo. You get all your health and ammo from stations liberally scattered throughout the world. These show up after almost every encounter, so as long as you can make it from one battle to the next, you'll probably be fine. Combat takes you to some interesting locations, mostly moutainous to start, but afterward shifting gears to a field-focussed background style.
Ultimately I found Operation Anchorage worth the $10 pricetag, but just barely. The extreme focus on combat and the fact that there is only one right way to do things (hint: it involves guns and lots of bullets) somewhat undermines the open nature of Fallout 3 and I found that to be a little disappointing, but you do get some very cool equipment, very unique equipment from completing the simulation and some of the self-aware remarks you can make while inside it are very amusing. Ultimately you should purchase Operation: Anchorage if you have or are planning to make a combat specialist, otherwise you can probably give it a pass and not be missing too much.