Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Genre: First-person Shooter/RPG
ESRB rating: Mature
Release date: Available now
So far the downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas has been somewhat hit or miss with fans. Dead Money was riddled with problems surrounding difficulty and Honest Hearts, while definitely an improvement, still lacked the proverbial punch players are used to with this franchise. However, Obsidian is clearly not willing to go down without a fight, and the latest expansion for New Vegas has arrived in the form of Old World Blues.
Like all of the downloadable packs, Old World Blues starts out with a mysterious transmission. When investigated, your character will be instantly transported (companions stay behind, sorry) to The Big MT, an abandoned scientific research compound. Upon waking, you learn that you have been enhanced. The kind, cyborg-esque doctors who discovered you have taken the liberty of removing your brain, spine and heart and replaced them with more modern technology. As a result, several of your core functions and abilities have been upgraded. Armed with new weaponry and technology, the player must traverse The Big MT and restore order to the chaos that plagues this microcosm of the Fallout universe.
Players of New Vegas will find the formula of Old World Blues familiar. Find things, kill people and animals that are trying to kill you, and decide everyone’s fate through dialogue choices. If your character is proficient with energy weapons and has strong science attributes, you will probably find yourself at an advantage. Old World Blues also allows players to bring items from the main quest into the Big MT, so it is strongly suggested you stock up on ammo, armor and aid. Your reward for completion is the ability to level up five extra ranks.
I found Old World Blues very challenging (death was a nasty habit my character seemed to take on), but not so much so that I was overtly discouraged. The story was certainly intriguing, and the modifications and new add-ons gave the game plenty of new twists while still grounding it in the rules of the Fallout world. The length is just about right given the cost (about $10.00) and the there’s enough diversity in the missions to avoid redundancy.
The decisive factor in players’ judgment of Old World Blues will probably relate to how much they enjoy dialogue. The verbal wordplay and characters are very inspired, but I personally found the script extremely longwinded. There were several instances where I zoned out and began button-mashing just to get the chance to start actually doing something. I also didn’t mind dying repeatedly, but I understand how that could be rather annoying to some, and unfortunately, it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Old World Blues is the first downloadable add-on to New Vegas that gets a thumbs up from me. It’s clever, creative, different and most of all, fun. Go out and give it a try!