The Point Lookout State Park, once shining national preserve, is now an eerie and overgrown swampland. The one real remaining piece of old civilization is its large boardwalk, complete with a ferris wheel. While the entire map of Point Lookout is very large, bigger than any of the previous DLC pack’s additional zones, it feels in some ways the most claustrophobic of the four due to its very effective art design. Walking through the swamplands is akin to the experience of Atreyu in the Swamps of Sadness. Unfortunately in this experience, you turn out to be Artax. Give yourself a hundred points if you get that reference by the way. Also, in this experience, there are inbreeds… Lots of inbreeds.
You see, aside from the Swamplurks (Point Lookout version of a Mirelurk) and the Swamp Ghouls (Point Lookout version of a Feral Ghoul) you will often times run into packs of cannibalistic swamp folk which go by the enemy names like ‘Creeper’ and ‘Brawler’. Generic-sounding enough but these sad, inbreeds will kill you faster than Jeff Foxworthy can tell a ‘you must be a redneck’ joke. They are crafty in both their pack mentality and their use of bear traps. These traps litter the swamps and create a real sense of tension all the time. Thankfully, by time you reach Point Lookout you should be of high-enough level that they wont damage you all that much. Also, most of the new enemies in Point Lookout are far tougher than their Capital Wasteland equivalents.
Questing in Point Lookout is more akin to the original game in that while there is a central quest line to the area, Bethsoft has included a ton of smaller quests to pick up along the way, one of which will even give you the option of completing it back in the Capital Wasteland. Cross-over quests like this really help to tie the maps together and is essential for that ‘expansion-like’ experience.
One can find a ride to Point Lookout via a paddle boat at the mouth of the Potomac. Her captain will give you all the details of your lovely vacation which really don’t turn out to be the truth of the matter. Regardless, you are not there just sight-seeing as a women at the docks before you shove off will ask you to look for her daughter in Point Lookout.
One thing I wanted to see more of was re-population of the Boardwalk. While there is a merchant in the midway area and a couple of small stores to explore, most of the buildings and stands were boarded up. I think this was a very cool opportunity to create a real post-apocalyptic bazaar, selling an array of new and interesting items. Instead, it feels empty and not quite the focal point of the new map I had hoped. Also, Point Lookout only features a small number of new items for you to use and most are too pointless to actually use to begin with. My character does not need an American Civil War cap or Workman’s Coveralls. The three new weapons introduced in the game end up being more of a novelty as well and you will probably not use them very much as you undoubtedly have something better already.
Aside from these two points of contention, Point Lookout has been the most well-released of the DLC packs thus far. Previous packs have suffered various bugs and setbacks from a technical standpoint. Point Lookout downloaded via my Games for Windows LIVE client smoothly and started without issue. I must applaud Bethsoft for its handling of Point Lookout’s quality control. In this respect they have learned from their past mistakes and have risen to the challenge set before them.
Something I really appreciate about Point Lookout is its take on the actual history of the region in terms of the American Civil War as well as poking a bit of a shameful finger at the government sods who thought locking up thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II was a good idea. The American Civil War has really touched the land of Point Lookout as it has in our reality. In our history, it was the site of a Confederate soldier internment camp. In Point Lookout, the land is home not only to mass graves from the American Civil War but also an internment camp of Chinese Americans from the game’s fictional, and ultimately apocalyptic, war. This internment camp is a stark reminder of the horrors that paranoia and war breed and, as you explore the various bungalows of the camp, you get a very negative picture of human nature.
Overall, Point Lookout is well worth the purchase of 800 Microsoft Points and leaves us with yet another chapter to tell of our post-apocalyptic adventure. It also leaves us clamoring for more, and the next DLC pack Mothership Zeta, which releases at the end of this month, will take us on board an alien spacecraft!