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Fallout 3 New Content, Adventures In GFWL

Fallout 3 has released its first batch of downloadable newness. The DLC, called Operation Anchorage, is apparently available now. You're trying to gain access to a shelter, which requires you complete a military simulation of the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska, set between 2076 and 2077. Once it's installed, it's announced on the radio, and you can hot-leap to its location. There's a smattering of new content, including a new perk: Covert Ops. What follows is my attempt to get it.

You need to know that I've not read previews of this, nor indeed about the DLC for the game at all. I am now aware that it's a Games For Windows Live affair, but this wasn't a piece of information I'd picked up before today. I've not touched GFWL since its redesign. None of this may be relevant to you, or happen to anyone else. This is what happened to me.

My first instinct, and you'll laugh, was to launch the game. I have the Steam version, and wondered if it would auto-update to let me choose to buy the new content. It costs 800 Microsoft Points, it seems, and while I'm not sure how one would spend those on a PC, I was confident I'd find out.

There was first a hefty update. I hadn't tried to run the game since before Christmas, and the patch has appeared since then. The game opens. Sadly, the "DOWNLOADS" option was greyed out. Never mind, I thought, I'll look on the Fallout 3 website for details. With the announcement of the launch today, it must surely be the big news story... Um, no. Instead the patch from the 13th presided. (Steam Update News? Last entry, October 31st.) In fact, if there's a clue about it on Bethesda's site, I can't find it. There's nothing under Downloads either.

Shhhhhhh, it's a secret!

Looking in the comments on the ShackNews story, I saw that it requires Games For Windows Live. Aha! Back into the game, and the "LIVE" option. Down pops the slick new interface, and asks me to log in or create an account. I have one, of course, so popped in the details. It needed to update. Good old Windows. Without asking my permission it quit out the game and downloaded its updates, then vanished without telling me it was done. Nice.

So I restart Fallout 3 and DOWNLOADS is still greyed out. Go into Live, tell it my account details again, and this time it downloads my account. Ta-da! The DOWNLOADS option is there! I'm surely almost there. I click it.

"No new content available."

I see.

Back to the ShackNews comments. Ah, it seems you need to run GFWL. Quick search of my hard drive, as I'm sure I installed it once. Maybe not. Let's screw that, I thought, and just download it again. I find the download on the site, get it, run it, and it's installed. No option for a shortcut on the desktop, etc, but it's there in the Start Menu. Any second now!

Run it. I require a hotfix for Windows XP to install GFWL. Apparently this couldn't be included in any of the four hundred thousand updates Windows XP likes to install each week. So I click the option to get it, and find myself on this page, which eventually has the link after discussing error codes I haven't seen. Download it, run it, and I have successfully completed the KB938759 Setup Wizard! It now requires a restart. Oh good Lord.


Restarted. Run GFWL. Log in. And there it is. The evidence that Operation Anchorage exists. My MS points balance is empty, which means it needs to launch IE (dust flying everywhere) and asks me to log in again 30 seconds after logging in. You can't buy 800 points, obviously. You have to buy 500 or 1000. I don't want 500 or 1000, I want 800. £8.50 for 1000. Of course it requires a credit card, there's no option for Paypal or Google Checkout. Nor even a Switch card. It's gotta be about those credit cards! Fortunately mine's already registered from 360 excursions, so that will save time.

No it won't! Of course it won't! It was funny when I said it would save time, wasn't it? The valid, working card is greyed out, the radio button next to it unavailable for checking. "You have no valid cards on file." Apart from THE ONE YOU'VE GOT LISTED THERE. Ah well, there's an "Edit" button next to the card entry - I'll reassure it that it's fine. Oh no, silly me. The "Edit" button doesn't do anything, does it. Nor does "Add a new Credit Card". I click on another link to another page of the site. Click the link back to the "buy" page. Re-enter my password, because it's been over a minute. This time I'm allowed to add a new card. Well, exactly the same card. Money spent.

It's a 352MB download, which begins.

Thank goodness the uncontrolled madness of being able to buy the content from the publisher's website, or worse, from inside the game, has come to an end. I'd love to tell you all about it, but I've run out of time. However, there's lots of info here on this unofficial page.

PS. If I'm logged into Live I can't access my save games. Sign out and they come back, but I get this message:

Oh good grief.

Edit: Eurogamer have given the DLC 5/10. Also, solutions for this savegame bullshit are in the comments below - thanks guys.

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Fallout 3

PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, we killed John out of jealousy. He now runs