Why Mothership Zeta is awesome

Discussion in 'Fallout 3 Discussion' started by CT Phipps, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016

    Mothership Zeta
    isn't my favorite of the Fallout 3 DLC but that's only because Broken Steel turns the second worst video game ending of all time into one of the best with the extended power-fantasy epilogue of wiping out the Enclave at Adam's Air Force Base. The Pitt comes close having a morally ambiguous story and Raider/slaver focus which I like but in the end, I choose Mothership Zeta over it.


    Because Mothership Zeta is awesome!

    1:] It's a great alternative from the bleak Capital Wasteland

    One of the things which was problematic about the Capital Wasteland is it's a bleak depressing sort of place to visit. It's a lot more interesting than the Commonwealth's gigantic radioactive swamp but there's still a lot of gray and brown. Mothership Zeta finds you in a clean beautiful spaceship which you get to shoot up and explore.

    2:] The Ambition of the DLC shows an actual love of the work

    Part of what makes Mothership Zeta great is that it's not just an extensive retread of the main game. One of the biggest disappointments I had with Operation: Anchorage is that it was a bunch of snowy cliffs and murdered Chinese soldiers with no real insights into the Pre-War era and a bunch of Pre-War loot thrown out like singles at a strip club. MZ, by contrast, gives you a huge new location and host of new enemies in its own self-contained little adventure which is fun and has a direct but coherent plot.

    It feels like a complete expansion in the way other DLC doesn't. Point Lookout, for example, is beautiful but doesn't really have a central plot while Broken Steel is just cleaning up the mess of the main game's ending.

    3:] The Alien Equipment is Awesome

    In the base game, you're basically a fool if you take Energy Weapons at the start but this nicely balances the skill with the Alien Blaster and a supply of ammunition which can be used right up until the end of the game.

    4:] It has a zany 50s Science Fiction feel

    Just as the Dunwich Building and Point Lookout has a lot of Lovecraft feel to them, this is a game which nicely has a B-movie science fiction feel to it. I would have probably felt bad about this if it was part of the main game but as a side-story, I felt it was perfectly enjoyable.

    5:] There's some quiet character development going on

    Somah is a Raider/Slaver from Paradise Falls but you don't learn this unless you're paying attention and even if it's just implication. You have to side with her, though, because it's a survival situation. Elliot is a survivor of Operation: Anchorage and gives a lot of perspective on the Pre-War era as well as his guilt for his government's involvement.

    Sally provides the perspective of what it must have been like back then to be a child and relatively innocent. Even the cowboy character and samurai have somewhat tragic stories.

    6:] A fun bit of Karma for Vault-Tec's CEO

    After spending decades preparing human beings to be guinea pigs from a position of godlike authority, he's subjected to the exact same sort of karmic retribution. It may only happen in a holotape but it's an enjoyable bit of retribution which is sweet in irony.

    7:] The Existence of Non-Combatants

    The game could have easily made every single alien someone you're meant to gun down and slaughter but the developers nicely made it so there's a bunch of people just running around terrified during your rampage. It's a nice bit of humanization for what could have been presented as an existential threat.

    8:] Your Awesome New Base

    I always felt Fallout 3 needed more bases to it and the opportunity to have your very own starship as a place to operate from is an amazingly good idea. My only regret is they close down large parts of the ship from your usage.

    9:] Giddyup Buttercups

    It is my deepest hope we'll eventually get a rideable Giddyup Buttercup in Fallout 5. Even so, I love their inclusion in Fallout 5. Robot horsies=awesome, especially when you have to wonder how many of those Raiders died trying to pet that one in that room.

    10:] New Enemies

    Bethesda enemy variety suffers when they don't bother to make new ones. I liked the Hillbillies and Tribals in Point lookout for the same reason I love massacring the Zetans. They're a new and fun enemy to slaughter.

    11. Unexpected Gameplay Changes

    I, for one, loved the fact this climaxes with a gigantic battle against a enemy spaceship. There's also the fact it takes advantages of its oddball premise with things like the space walk and other fun bits of oddity to break from the main shooting gallery elements. Quiet moments help keep the drama going strong throughout.

    12.] The Mothership is an original unique location

    We've been through ruined buildings, Vaults, and the desert many-many times. Mothership Zeta is a great contrast and memorable in a way which only Rivet City and Megaton really equals in the original game. You can go from Robotics labs to Cryogenic freezing chambers to bridges to engine rooms and all.

    13:] It's a neat reference to the Easter Egg of the first game

    Which it is. I will also point out Silent Hill also has similar in-game use of aliens and nobody makes a fuss over them.

    14:] It's visually spectacular in places

    Nuff said.

    15:] You get to see Canada blown up

    I love Canada and now it can enjoy the same post-apocalypse horror we enjoy here in the Capital Wasteland.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  2. RevBladeZ

    RevBladeZ First time out of the vault

    Sep 23, 2016
    I hate it. Aliens should have never been anything more than an easter egg. Out of all the stupid things Bethesda has done for the series, making aliens a canon part of the storyline is the worst. It would be okay if Bethesda just came and declared it non-canon but instead they just expanded on aliens being canon with the Cabot House in Fallout 4.
    Worst part is that in one of the captive logs you can find, it is heavily implied that it was not the Chinese nor the Americans that started the Great War. It was Aliens.
    • [Like] [Like] x 19
  3. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Honestly speaking, in a game which has already got radiation zombies there's not much taken away by adding aliens. Mothership Zeta is a side story which doesn't really affect the main game but provides an alternative quest to the characters in the same way the supernatural quests do. I should also point out the aliens in Cabot House are not the Zetans and very different kind of aliens since it's a reference to Lovecraft's The Nameless City. So there's two kinds of aliens running around in Fallout.

    There's been multiple sources of the Great War including the dummied out revelation of the FEV virus by an American spy for the Chinese. Also, Dick Richardson said the Chinese attacked first and the Zetans were trying to get America's launch codes so it is confirmably not the Zetans who started the Great War. It's also just a possibility even in the DLC.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  4. NovaRain

    NovaRain Casual Modder Modder

    Mar 10, 2007
    It's the worst of FO3 DLCs, even lower than Broken Steel and Operation Anchorage in my book.
    • [Like] [Like] x 9
  5. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Clearly, you can't appreciate the allure of the Tesla Gun or the beautiful Pew Pew of the Alien Blaster.

  6. Garbagecrone

    Garbagecrone Nihil Novi Sub Sole

    Apr 7, 2016
    Zeta and Anchorage were in my opinion the worst of the Fallout DLCs, and honestly the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I wasn't a huge fan of a franchise about player freedom getting reduced to a first-person corridor shooter. I got really bored of Zeta really fast. I don't think I ever finished it, or ever came back to Fallout 3 after not finishing it.
    • [Like] [Like] x 6
  7. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    You say things like they're a new enemy to slaughter, but is that what Fallout is meant to be?
    Is that what Fallout has really become?
    It's about the horrors of war, it wasn't meant to be one of those games that glorified killing.

    "Hahaha so many non-combatants- pew pew take that you scientist studying a lesser species, pew pew take that you janitor that had no idea what the fuck was going on, pew pew I AM CT PHIPPS FUHRER OF DER STARSHIP"

    Once again going to have to respectfully disagree with you.
    • [Like] [Like] x 11
  8. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    For me, the location and visuals forgave much as well as the new types of enemies, equipment, and quirky zany story which was removed from the rest of the Fallout 3 experience. I primarily enjoy murdering the Enclave and Raiders in the Bethesda Fallout games but Aliens beat out Super-Mutants every time.
  9. a721402

    a721402 Played FPS for decades still suck at it.

    Mar 29, 2016
    Something like Zeta surely will be awesome when it's a something like Borderland DLC, but it's not, and it's a Fallout 3 DLC, so it's just bad.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    The original Fallout was in part inspired by Mad Max and takes a great deal of pleasure in displaying the ultra-violent ways you can slaughter everything from rats to Rad Scorpions to Lou Tenant in explosive ridiculous ways. As much as the text and limited graphics could allow.

    This doesn't make it pro-war but it does, however, make violence consequential.

    Mothership Zeta, also makes it clear the Technicians of the Zetan race are noncombatants which is more than the main game provided. That prevents the game from blindly painting a strange new race with a "murder them all" action. In that respect, they're like Fawkes in that they show the races you fight have evil members and good ones--and you're shooting the bad ones.

    So to speak.

    Thank you, I took Sally's advice not to shoot the noncombatants. I feel like I was liberating them from oppressive dictators despite our lack of communication.

    My biggest regret is they didn't have an attempt to communicate with one of the aliens via sign language ala Christine or some more Science and Medicine checks.

    Those would have been fun.

    Also, sealing away the rest of the UFO is bullshit. You earned your new house.

    Borderlands is basically Fallout in space. I mentioned that in the Nuka World podcast.
    • [Like] [Like] x 3
  11. Garbagecrone

    Garbagecrone Nihil Novi Sub Sole

    Apr 7, 2016
    Is that really what it takes to make a good Fallout story now? Zany quirks and new lifeforms to murder? Like I get that that's more or less the core loop of Fallout 3, but is that where your standards are at? And I mean I guess it's subjective but shooting things in Fallout 3 was never particularly fun to me.

    Also, what impressed you about the visuals? I'm genuinely curious. I thought the color pallet was far too similar to the base game for an alien spaceship, and it managed to have maybe the most boring space skybox I've ever seen.
    • [Like] [Like] x 10
  12. Garbagecrone

    Garbagecrone Nihil Novi Sub Sole

    Apr 7, 2016
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  13. a721402

    a721402 Played FPS for decades still suck at it.

    Mar 29, 2016
    Except Fallout is not supposed to be borderland, Fallout is about human nature and conflict between different ideology, Borderland is just about shoot, loot and humor.
    • [Like] [Like] x 9
  14. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    I view the Bethesda fallout games to be a spin-off of the Tim Cain RPGs. They're exploration-based shooters wiith RPG elements. As such, my expectations for them are different than if they were a "pure" sequel to Fallout the same way that World of Warcraft is different from Warcraft or Telltale's Tales from the Borderlands is different from Borderlands proper.

    My primary love for Fallout 3 is the depiction of the burnt-out, irradiated hellish Capital Wasteland and the myriad stories you find exploring of the Pre-War World as well as the horrible waste of life which occurs daily in this new world order. I don't really play it for the murdering of Raiders, Super mutants, or Feral ghouls but it helps accent the primary story that you've wandered from a safe place to a world where life is cheap.

    But that can be extremely heavy storytelling so Mothership Zeta is a huge change of pace and a more "fun" adventure which nicely balances agaisnt the heroic badassery of Broken Steel and the more somber moral ambiguity of The Pitt.

    I like the retro 1950s-esque design which doesn't actually attempt to look like a spaceship as we'd imagine it but something more akin you'd find in a Pulpy magazine of the period. The Grays are a thoroughly discredited concept in my mind but work well in the Fallout world the same way the Illuminati works in Deus Ex.

    Eh, there's a bit more going on there if you bother to look. The games never takes themselves too seriously, which is a plus, but you also have the fact Pandora is a place where desperation has turned the population into psychos, quite literally in many cases, but even the heroes are ruthless antiheroes. Starvation, hopelessness, and anarchy have made it so that everyone is one kind of monster or another but that's because the world has made them that way.

    Handsome Jack, Atlas, Dahl, and Hyperion representing the Enclave-esque view that this status can be solved with brutality and oppression.

    Which, for me, is a very Fallout sort of feel.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  15. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    @CT Phipps
    Good points once again, but you always do this - talk about what it should have been. You always say (about 3 and 4) "it's so good, but" and then you always list one of the problems with it and then suggest a better alternative that Bethesda could've easily done.

    Or is sign language too much to ask from Bethesda's writers?
  16. Bubba Zanetti

    Bubba Zanetti I know what I'm doing

    Oct 6, 2015
    This DLC was a boring slog to suffer thru and I have virtually no recollection of the experience, save for wondering when the shit would ever end.
    All the flash and spectacle means zero to me when the entire proceedings are void of any substance.
    Like a tried and true dumbass, however, I squandered ten bucks on this and was determined to get my money's worth to see it thru to the end. I've since grown a tad bit wiser regarding what I piss my money away on.
    I don't even know why I spent money on this in the first place as the entire concept is ill-conceived--muddling the differences between settings and easter eggs.
    • [Like] [Like] x 10
  17. lolpop109

    lolpop109 Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 14, 2016
    I have to be honest Mothership Zeater was my worst fallout 3 DLC. I only played it once and every other DLC i played many times ect. It was also a buggy and won't start for awhile. I mean it was kinda cool with space ect but i dunno i just don't like that aliens might have started the war. I mean logically in how many years have the present time line aliens of other species could be found but thats not the problem with me it more the end bit that weas actually the worst when the other spaceship was destoryed.

    It did have fun elements and I thought the girl character was very thought out but the whloe premises of the DLC was werid but i dunn maybe people say that about Old world blues ect but I dunno. I also prefer things based in realism even though you could say fallout isn't believable it is to me after playing it so long has become believable.

    The cabot house quest is one of the worst fallout quest ever at the end. However actually the frist part was not intresting but decent intill everything just started getting really werid and fuck that old powerful cabot dude
  18. Garbagecrone

    Garbagecrone Nihil Novi Sub Sole

    Apr 7, 2016
    I mean my problem with Mothership Zeta isn't, surprisingly enough, the fact that there are aliens. Hell, I honestly think that aliens could be handled well in the Fallout setting (I would have accepted that the Wanamingoes were actually aliens for instance. Also, as long as I'm doing a parenthetical, the Illuminati worked in Deus Ex because they were a part of the premise. The premise of Fallout has literally nothing to do with aliens.).

    For Zeta to be a "Fun" contrast to Fallout 3's hamhanded genocide-or-wasteland-saint spectacle of nonsense, it would have to be fun to play. It really, really isn't.

    Warcraft's storytelling before WoW honestly wasn't that much better, also.
    • [Like] [Like] x 5
  19. CerberusGate

    CerberusGate I should save my game in a whole new slot

    Jun 6, 2016
    Didn't like Zeta. Even before I got into New Vegas and the classic games, I thought it was mediocre. After getting into the series, I thought the DLC was horrid overall.

    The basic story was mostly railroaded so that the player only has one solution to the campaign, the weapons are merely aesthetically different from weapons from the Capital Wasteland (they felt like reskins of Laser weapons at best), the ending bears no consequence (almost as though the Lone Wanderer merely had a fever dream) and the characters are forgettable. Even the aliens are barely fleshed out (their food is some squid thing, they sleep in weird pods and they do experiments because aliens) which just proves how shallow the whole thing was.

    The aliens should have remained as easter eggs (like they were in 1 & New Vegas) and never should have made a full appearance.
    • [Like] [Like] x 9
  20. Risewild

    Risewild Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    I would say that they sealed half of the ship because that was the half you explode to beat the DLC... The second spaceship is actually half of the ship that detach from the "first". So having access to half of the ship you just blow up seems a bit strange :aiee:.

    Mothership Zeta could have been a great non-canon DLC, but like most of Bethesda's work it was a wasted opportunity. We really don't own the ship after we beat the aliens, we just go back there to get some goodies from time to time. :shrug:
    That reminds me... I was making a Mothership Zeta Player's House mod for TTW before my computer decided to explode. :twitch:
    • [Like] [Like] x 2