Fallout New Vegas DLC Review

fallout-new-vegas-ultimate-edition-announcedNow, New Vegas proper is very much a great little game, but there is a reason aside from how the game took me forever to beat why I am covering the DLC that came with the Ultimate Edition in a second post.  Well, in addition to how I’m procrastinating Psychonauts by reading independent Manhwa instead.  Fallout New Vegas’ DLC wasn’t even worth finishing.

Fallout: New Vegas DLC (Dead Money, Honest Hearts, and Old World Blues) Review
Release Date: 19/10/2010
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Bethesda Studios
Rig: AMD FX-8320, 8GB of RAM, Radeon HD 7770, Windows 7 64-bit, Xbox 360 controller

Now, most of my complaints are centered around how the game handles leveling.  In short, enemies, at least in the DLC, scale to remain a “challenge” for players.  Through a process that effectively bumps up their stats, while not necessarily bumping up your gear, which more or less plateaus long before you reach level fifty.  But I have oh so many more things to complain about in the three of the four I played before effectively giving up.

Dead Money centers around the Courier following a radio broadcast and being captured by Father Elijah, a character mentioned but never seen in New Vegas proper.  He plans on breaking into a casino that was largely untouched by the ravages of time in what he refers to as a “heist”.  With the objectives rather simple.  Get the needed crew members, burst into the casino, and get into the vault.  Something that sounds like a quick and energetic piece of DLC, but it is one of the most boring and lifeless sections in any game that I have ever played.fallout-new-vegas-dead-money

Now, to the game’s credit, the characters introduced are well presented and make for good allies when going through the Sierra Madre, with all three of them having interesting backstories as well as being useful in a fight.  Except for how you are fighting only about one enemy in this expansion.  Men in dark clothes and gas masks with an assortment of explosive canisters, spears, and bear trap gloves.  Which will be your primary tools as you trudge on through, as all of your equipment has been removed.  An idea that I rather enjoy, but only as a brief little interlude, not eight hours of just plain old boredom.

It’s a destroyed town with the same dilapidated scenery found elsewhere in the game, except everything has this visually unappealing purple filter that only makes the confusing level design more of a pain.  Not that it is helped by a series of traps that encourage many a careful series of saving, as your limbs are all but gone unless you know how to horde stimpacks.  Which I certainly did, as it was hard to keep my inventory below a certain point, as you collect so much valuable, but overall unwanted and useless crap that cannot be sold until the DLC is done.  Which was a rather delightful experience for me, as it meant the gates were closed, and I could delete the save files out of the discontent I held for that very adventure.  I’d give it a 4/20 for at least having some good dialog.dead_money_batch_small

Honest Hearts fares slightly better, but mostly by being rather mediocre.  After going on a caravan expedition with only 75 or 100 pounds of gear, your caravan ends their importance, and you are tossed into a conflict between three Native American-esc tribes in the mystical Zion Valley.  Where your objective is rather simple, collect a lot of crap while helping out the ones who did not shoot your pals on sight.  With some backstory revolving tidbits of info brought up in the main story, but mostly a question as to whether or not the world is in bad tastes.

In terms of gameplay, not a lot new is added, as you are basically just exploring around a chunk of the normal overworld with slightly lower quality textures and a few new baddies.  Although reskins is the best way to describe all of them aside from a new race of mutant bears who act like any other animal, and just lunge at you with their claws.  Not that they are much of a challenge, at least compared to the giant poisonous Cazadors who are inserted so periodically and randomly that it seems like they were accidentally thrown into enemy rotation.  That, and they take bullets like normal bugs take mild bursts of wind.fallout-new-vegas-honest-hearts-dlc-screenshot

However, an argument towards using certain weapons could be made, but as good as the Anti-matter gun feels, the nuisance of a strength requirement can be a tad punishing for those who did not value said stat as much.  And there is nothing to do with so much of the crap that goes into your butthole of holding, as the two salesmen are either cheap, or just vanish after a while.  Which are pretty light complaints, considering this DLC was by far the least interesting in terms of storyline, as the trio of tribes are terribly simplistic, and the ultimate moral choice uninvolving and rather dull, as it means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Old World Blues on the other hand, probably has some of my favorite characters in the entire game, even though I never got to see all of their storylines end.  After stumbling onto a satellite at midnight, the Courier wakes up at the Big MT.  A form of research base from before the world turned into nothing, where its scientists kept themselves alive by preserving their brains inside of little robots that had the foresight to include three monitors, but no appendages.  You awaken to learn that five of the scientists removed your brain, heart, and spine, replacing them with artificial and overall better body parts.fallout-new-vegas-old-world-blues-release-date-announced

From there, the story is fairly simple with a big bad named Doctor Mobius wanting to take over the Big MT with his army of robo-scorpions, and you need to stop them.  Which is explained after getting to know the five “good” guys by talking to them for the first 45 minutes of the DLC, and basically never again afterwards.  With their individual characters being a series of overly dramatic and well performed elitists with a fetish for science, or perhaps fleshies according to a brain I lesbianed.

Gameplay-wise, the amount of cash from the sole vendor is far more plentiful, and you are even given several new toys to match the retro futuristic aesthetic, like a gun that has the brain of a dog or a plain old sound based energy weapon that makes robots go boom.  At least in theory, as I hit the level cap fairly early in my expedition, meaning that the enemies decided that the kid gloves were off, and I apparently had rocket launchers up the butt, when I was using the same weapons I was 25 levels ago.4731_2011-07-23_00002

Looking up some cold hard numbers on just how much health the baddies were pumped with, I found out that the game put me against three enemies with over 900 health, while the most powerful mamajama I met before had 1000.  In short the game decided a single encounter was something that warranted a challenge that would be the second hardest encounter I had in the game, along with the final.  With much of the rather large and expansive playground being untouched, as next to everything could make mincemeat out of me no problem.  I had the best light armor, and one of the best helmets, but neither were apparently what the game expected of me.

Meaning that I can never try to give a toaster a death ray, or see what the second light switch has to say.  Leaving my experience a very bittersweet one, as the actual content was a bit of a blast, but the challenge made me feel no qualms in dropping the game like a rotten fruit I accidentally took a bite of.  It was a hunt for my main character’s brain that was stolen from them, but even that was somehow hindered in what almost deserves a clap for knocking my expectations far below sea level.  All because I chose to wait to play the DLC, instead of doing it all when I was level 20-25, like a non-dumbass.

Which is a close approximation to what I feel like for spending the extra $2.50 for the DLC, as it oddly made me like the main game less.  Something that is one heck of an achievement if I do say so myself.

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