Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues DLC Review

A lot of us on the team love the Fallout games so today, we have a review of the latest DLC for New Vegas for you. Old World Blues!

Old World Blues is drastically different from previous DLC packs released for this game. I’m not one to dispute the fact that certain aspects of Dead Money and Honest Hearts weren’t exactly brilliant, but their more meritorious features shone through clearly, and the same has happened with Old World Blues.

Old World Blues sees the player drawn toward a message broadcast across the Wasteland, as is the usual with these DLC packs, which beckons them to go a midnight showing at a local drive-in theatre. Here the player is captured by an unknown force and simultaneously transported to the pre-war research facility known as Big Mountain, or the Big Empty to those who have heard of it in passing.
The player comes face-to-face with members of the Think Tank, a collection of scientists from before the war whose brains are now suspended in orbs, their expressions replicated by three computer screens on telescopic arms. These seemingly benign characters reveal that they have extracted your brain, heart and spine and replaced them with synthetic alternatives, but your brain has been stolen by the illusive Doctor Mobius, a fellow scientist hiding in the Dome in the nearby Forbidden Zone.

Straight away, the player can appreciate the comedic value of this DLC, where each character has their own quirky personality and agenda. The dialogue of this DLC is extremely impressive, with varying degrees of satire and a number of speech and skill checks to diversify the scale of conversations.

Quests are often short but sweet, requiring the player to descend into one of the downtrodden facilities to retrieve something of interest, which can then be used to progress the main questline, leading to the endgame where the player has to face off against Mobius, and then the Think Tank in order to secure their freedom from Big Mountain. In terms of story, Old World Blues is focused mainly around the Big Empty, what it was used for before the war, and what has transpired there since, culminating in the arrival and departure of Father Elijah, previously of the Brotherhood of Steel and a character encountered in Dead Money as the main antagonist.

There are numerous references to Elijah and to a companion from Dead Money, Christine, an operative of a Brotherhood splinter group known as the Circle of Steel, as she was given the task of locating and assassinating Elijah. Regrettably she fails, but she did leave behind her recon armour, her sniper rifle and holotapes with which she recorded her progress.

Old World Blues also introduces several new weapons and a player home full of ‘personality’. By this I mean that each appliance within your home, such as the Toaster, the Sink, the Light Switches and the Jukebox, can all be upgraded with personality files which essentially bring them to life for the entertainment of the player. They each serve a purpose, giving a service to the player such as a temporary skill boost or the ability to upgrade a weapon.

New weapons available are mostly energy or melee, with the odd gun thrown in. Most notably if the K9000 Cyberdog Gun, a powerful .357 minigun that utilises the actual brain of a dog to detect and target enemies. There is also the Sonic Emitter, a small energy weapon with the ability to cause extra damage to robotic enemies and anyone wearing power armour. The Sonic Emitter can also be upgraded to include new effects that increase its capability in combat, such as incendiary damage or the ability to dismember.

The most notable ‘appliance’ is an auto-doc, a pre-war triage module that tends to the player’s wounds if their health is low or their limbs are crippled. It also possesses the ability to alter the player’s traits if they wish, which can drastically affect the way they play the game.

Where this DLC differs from previous ones is in its design. Dead Money and Honest Hearts were very much noticeably different from the vanilla version of the game, their unique environments accentuated through unique and polished landscapes. Although Old World Blues tends to offer us new perspective and some new terrain obstacles, in terms of design and environment, not much is new. On the bright side though, the Big Empty tends to feel distant and separate from the Mojave Wasteland, almost like the moon, with its bleak terrain and space-age structures.

The great thing is that, like both of the previous DLC’s, Old World Blues makes reference to things that are yet to come, namely the final DLC pack, Lonesome Road. Also, some characters provide quests that can extend the play time by a considerable amount. These are mainly fetch quests, where the player collects seemingly useless junk such as coffee mugs and ruined books, and in return receives other useful crafting items or caps.

All things considered, this is my favourite DLC so far. I find that the player can truly appreciate the Big Empty. It gives so much back to the player, rewarding them for the most mediocre of tasks, and encourages a casual atmosphere, daring the player to go one step further and discover the most that this DLC has to offer. This DLC is probably the most similar to the vanilla version of the game, sharing many qualities with the Mojave Wasteland, yet at the same time, proving itself to be a truly unique and extremely enjoyable experience.


Michael Rood


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