Friday, September 7, 2012
DLC review: Fallout: New Vegas - Lonesome Road
In Fallout: New Vegas, you were made aware of the fact that you were not the only courier in the Mojave - just the one carrying the all-important Platinum Chip. In the Lonesome Road DLC, you finally come face-to-face with another courier, though not in the manner you might expect. Beyond a pile of rubble in the Mojave lies passage to the Lonesome Road - a path that weaves into a long-abandoned area known as the Divide. Along the way, the protagonist courier will discover ruins of a city and the few Marked Men of the Legion sent to scour it. Walking among the ghosts of the Divide, the courier will rediscover his past and make one very important decision regarding the future.
The Lonesome Road lives up to its name from the moment you begin walking along it. Though you will have encounters with enemies like the Marked Men, wild Tunnelers and Deathclaws, the journey is entirely concerned with you and your fellow courier. You are not allowed to bring any companion characters along, as per Fallout DLC tradition, but you will meet up with another ED-E robot with his own small tale to tell. You can collect optional upgrades for him, making him a relatively useful ally in combat.
Unlike previous New Vegas DLC, keeping an eye on your radiation level is a key component to Lonesome Road. Not only is there a good chance that you might wander into areas with significant amounts of radiation, but your Pip-Boy's radiation detecting abilities will help you to locate small nuclear warheads that block your path. A laser detonator, which is given to you early in your trek across the Divide, allows you to blow up these warheads from a safe distance. You will encounter the vast majority of these warheads in order, due to the overall linear nature of this DLC. But there are a handful that lie off the main path and can grant access to areas teeming with vicious Tunnelers or stacked with medical supplies and ammunition.
As mentioned before, the one person in your company from start to finish is Ulysses, your fellow courier, who regularly converses with you through the ED-E robot. Ulysses' cryptic messages gradually reveal that you once visited the Divide, and that he has found something of great worth buried in the wreckage. Though most of the answers to what Ulysses is posing you with are not reconciled until the last half hour of the experience, the element of mystery is what makes the story so intriguing. Ulysses is by far one of the most entertaining, complex, and human characters in the world of New Vegas. The dusty atmosphere and solid storytelling realized within the confines of this desolate realm mesh surprisingly well with the linear direction of the Lonesome Road, and in the end makes for the strongest add-on to Fallout: New Vegas.
My rating: 8.75 (out of 10)*
*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)