With the last of the Fallout: New Vegas DLC now available, the RPGamer staff has teamed up to give our readers a breakdown. Here we pair up to tackle each of the four main DLC releases available on Xbox Live for 800 Microsoft points and PlayStation Network and Steam for $9.99. Note: For this roundup, we were all playing the Xbox 360 version.
Dead Money is a tough DLC to recommend. The environment of the Sierra Madre is certainly far more colorful than what players may give it credit for. There's actually quite a lot of freedom in the order of events, and players certainly have tons of places to explore... provided they don't blow themselves up accidentally. See, Dead Money is full of great dialogue and atmosphere, but what it fails to produce is the word "fun." This particular DLC is an exercise in frustration more than anything else since the player is forced to wear a bomb around her neck that will beep and possibly explode when in an area surrounded by radio signals. If you aren't fast enough to perform whatever task that needs to be done, prepare to redo it. The reality is that the writing is very strong in Dead Money, but good writing cannot fix the lack of enjoyment this DLC provides. The only bit of satisfaction players may receive is locking a certain someone in a vault and high-tailing it out of Sierra Madre, never to return. - Sam Marchello
Sam's Verdict: Strong writing, but the frustration level is so high that it's simply not worth the torment.
Having played Dead Money so far ahead of the other DLC packs, it was much more appealing before comparisons crept in. The strong point of this DLC is the three companions, all of which are fantastically written. There is Dog/God, a nightkin with multiple personalities. The Dog side of the personality is brutal, yet loyal to the voice that speaks to him. God is the nightkin's intelligent, articulate counterpart. This character pair makes for a very dynamic companion. Dean Domino is a former Vegas lounge singer who became a ghoul after the bombs were dropped. He's paranoid, devious, and still looking for a way into the vault of the Sierra Madre, making his alliance with you rather tenuous. Last is Christine, a former Brotherhood of Steel soldier hunting down Father Elijah. She has had her vocal cords torn out by an auto-doc, so the player is left to determine what she is saying via non-verbal communication. All three characters mesh well in opposition to the antagonist, Father Elijah, making this DLC fantastic for anyone wanting a character-focused plot. It's just a shame it is smeared by the horrible gameplay decisions Sam described. The bomb collar that restricts where you can go is the most annoying thing in all of New Vegas. Such a shame, as this could have been amazing. - Michael Cunningham
Michael's Verdict: This has fantastic companions that will watch you get your head blown off over and over, so while I recommend this, I do so with extreme caution.
Honest Hearts offers some nice perks, weapons, and new characters, but it's the story that pulls this DLC down. All throughout New Vegas, players were told stories of the mysterious Burned Man, so the idea of finally getting to meet up with him was intriguing. Like so many things in life, it turns out that the legends were greater than the reality. Joshua Graham is a fantastically designed character, from his background to his bandaged body, but his story feels so compressed that it lacks the impact it should have. Here is a man who was once a Legate in Caesar's Legion and all you get from this expansion is a little bit of exposition about his history with the Legion and what he's trying to do now. With the exception of the ending, there is just too little direct interaction with Joshua or anyone else in the area for that matter. It's a conflict of tribes, little more. The characters could have been fantastic, but the DLC falls short by doing nothing with them. During the mere four hours players will spend in Zion National Park, don't expect to be doing much. - Michael Cunningham
Michael's Verdict: Easily the weakest of the DLC packs. I love the character of the Burned Man, so it's a huge disappointment that we don't get to see more of him.
Honest Hearts has a promising start. A plot twist occurs seconds into the DLC, the location looks and feels new with a focus on uncivilized tribes, and the story drops a bomb when you meet the legendary Burned Man face to face. While the setting, characters, and premise contain everything an excellent DLC needs, Honest Hearts quickly fails to deliver. As Michael said, Graham has little to share after his opening speech, and the short quests amount to nothing more than helping an uninteresting friendly tribe survive over an uninteresting enemy tribe. There is the start of a theology-driven argument on evangelical Christianity, the evils of genocide, and the extent to which an outsider should alter a tribe's identity, but it only lasts a few sentences before forcing you to pick a side. Light on optional quests, land area, and places worth exploring, Honest Hearts is ten great minutes followed by four hours of shooting bears and stereotyped, naked Native Americans. The ending is a heavily scripted, drawn out affair that concludes with a whimper. It would have saved time if this DLC was an equipment pack and a one page biography on Joshua Graham; unlike Michael I felt like all the other characters were shallow and one-dimensional. - Glenn Wilson
Glenn's Verdict: Not bad, but it's short and lacks depth in every way.
Old World Blues
Featuring an eccentric entourage of broken immortal scientists, the zany humor and unrelenting madness of Old World Blues have more in common with other games in Obsidian Entertainment's legacy than anything that fits in the Fallout world. The DLC opens with a lengthy, brain-bending discussion that casually leaps between warped perceptions and demented impossibilities. This introduction to the unfacts of Old World Blues is tough to follow, distracting slightly from the comedy when you're trying to figure out what the heck is going on. Unfortunately, the first scene and individual follow-up conversations with each scientist make up nearly all of the dialogue in the DLC, and considering how much weirdness is packed into the setting, the lack of balance between doses of story and combat is disappointing. The next ten to fifteen hours is spent exploring the crater that was the Big MT. Quests send you to a plethora of diverse locations in the small region, and although some drop you into more creative, funny situations or introduce you to new mentally-addled NPCs, many of the quests are either bland item fetches or solved purely in conversation. The Big MT is packed with immediately respawning foes, so even a small amount of backtracking adds significant combat time to the DLC. The story unshockingly concludes with the player getting to judge the scientists who trapped and experimented on him, although it's a shame that the ending sequence is short on the group dialogue that made the DLC unique at the start. Worth playing for the creative script and setting rather than the plot choices and constant combat, Old World Blues is an excellent one act play. By the end, it grants so many experience points and a permanent hub that's so awesome, it makes the main story of New Vegas easy and works best as an end of game or second playthrough DLC. - Glenn Wilson
Glenn's Verdict: Buy for Obsidian's creative writing at its best.
Of all the Fallout: New Vegas DLC, nothing even comes close to the wackiness that is Old World Blues. Featuring an eccentric cast of characters, players are forced into making a unique choice that is unlike anything they've ever experienced before: they have to make up their minds, about their brains. The poor Courier has been completely lobotomized by a group of scientists and is forced to become a guinea pig in a science experiment gone awry. Like what Glenn commented upon earlier, Old World Blues' strength comes from its writing. It's hilarious, odd, and it's hard to know how to react to some of the situations that occur within the story, particularly the killer toaster with a deep desire to destroy the world. Clever and smart, the writing shines and makes it rewarding to traverse through the Big MT. The overall pacing of the DLC is somewhat out of sync, as there's a plethora of quests to take on, but traversing through the Big MT becomes problematic when hordes of lobotomized "friends" come out to play. The balance between story and combat is lacking, and backtracking and respawned enemies do add to the playtime. The amount of story feels so little compared to the amount of combat that occurs in this DLC, but with the number of areas and ample content to explore, there's lots to do, and the story alone makes this easily worth a recommendation. - Sam Marchello
Sam's Verdict: Quirky and hilarious, Old World Blues has bar none the best writing of the four DLC packs.
Lonesome Road is the last DLC of the Fallout: New Vegas quartet, and it brings the story full circle. The Courier is contacted by the original Courier Six, a man by the name of Ulysses, who refused to deliver the Platinum chip at the start of the main game. It is here in the Divide that the player learns the truth behind why he or she was the last to carry on this mission. Lonesome Road is by far the most linear of the four DLCs, and with good reason. Its linearity represents that long winding rad-filled road between the Courier and possible salvation within the Divide. The writing is powerful, pushing forward moral choices that can feel heavy handed, but which have consequences to match. The decisions made by the player will have full affect on the Mojave when completed, so it's worth it to the take the journey for Obsidian's writing alone. This locale is also one of the most difficult to navigate as areas are full of radiation and irradiated Deathclaws that come in droves. Although players are given a special weapon, the Red Glare, it can be a real challenge to keep important items in stock as supplies are scarce in many locations. This can pose a challenge, but with the help of ED-E, players will at least have a companion on this difficult journey. Lonesome Road is not only a morally driven DLC, but it's also a combat heavy one that will challenge players to the fullest. If swarms of Deathclaws fail to appeal, then this add-on is one to avoid. If a challenge is what one is seeking, look no further than the Divide. - Sam Marchello
Sam's Verdict: The complete package, though its challenge level may be a turn off for some.
Lonesome Road is a fitting end to the New Vegas DLC. Its linear nature makes it seem almost like a final dungeon, and as such, the higher level of challenge found here is completely understandable. Though interaction with other characters is at a minimum, what there is between Ulysses and ED-E is often very heavy with Ulysses often waxing poetic about why he and the Courier are in this mess. A lot of the discussion is very subtle, and will reference back at times to the other DLC. It's a fantastic send off for the game and grants some wonderful bonuses. Just don't expect it to be a walk in the park, as you'll likely be going through stimpaks like crazy. Oh, and the Courier's Mile is the most brutal area in the entirety of the game, so make sure not to miss it, especially if you want all of the achievements. - Michael Cunningham
Michael's Verdict: Totally worth the effort it will take you to get through it. Tackle it last, because you'll need all of your resources to make it through.
So that's it for RPGamer's roundup of the Fallout: New Vegas DLC. If you've not already jumped on board for these, hopefully this will help you make a decision as to which to get if you can't spring for them all. For those looking for more equipment, there are also two smaller DLC packs that add just that: Gun Runners' Arsenal (Xbox Live for 320 Microsoft points, PlayStation Network and Steam for $3.99) and Courier's Stash (Xbox Live for 160 Microsoft points, PlayStation Network and Steam for $1.99).