Fallout: New Vegas Lonesome Road DLC review
|REVIEWS - VIDEOGAME REVIEWS|
Like load screens? Good - we're going to get on just swimmingly...
One of the most cram-packed games of 2010, Fallout: New Vegas, has had yet more content squeezed into it with the release of the fourth download pack, Lonesome Road, which promises to be a challenge for even the boldest of players. Delayed since August for unknown reasons, this new DLC brings the courier's story full circle, and answers questions raised at the start of the original game. This time the player is taken on a journey across many treacherous environments on the road to the Divide, to meet the original courier six.
As with previous DLCs, once downloaded a message appears informing the player of a signal which has been found containing coordinates, this time containing the words 'courier six' and signed by 'Ulysses' a character referred to throughout the previous download packs. As soon as you're ready, the user must travel to the canyons of the divide, where a message informs you that 'history awaits....'. Before embarking on the quest, as you may have guessed from the title of the DLC, companions have to be dismissed, as you take the journey alone.
From the beginning, we are welcomed by something Fallout does so well - a beautiful, panoramic view of the landscape we will be traversing. Tornado swept canyons, buildings destroyed by earthquakes and collapsed bridges can be seen for miles, flanked by rocky mountains...who'd have thought a post nuclear war world could look so good?
The view can't be savoured for long however, as the path leads the player into a dark abandoned silo, where we meet ED-E, a flying robot. With the looks of Weebo from Flubber (wow, there's a 90's reference no one will get) the voice box of R2-D2 and obsessed with a TV show featuring a robot named RALPHIE, ED-E takes an instant shine to the courier. He converses through old voice recordings of his previous owner and varying beeps depending on his mood. As you progress through the DLC he can be upgraded, in order to create ammo and repair weapons and as he shadows the courier throughout the quest he is also the way in which Ulysses contacts the player at different checkpoints.
Throughout the original game, the conversation aspect is often one of the most intriguing parts. Taking the time to listen to what the characters have to say and choosing the right response - based on how you want the conversation to pan out - can be both entertaining and challenging. However, the conversations in 'Lonesome Road' are long. Extremely long. There is so much information to take in about the history of the wasteland and how the courier ended up with the platinum chip, that it can at sometimes be an information overload. The conversations feature so many characters, locations and events that it is almost impossible to take it all in, so much so that there should be an achievement just for listening the full way through. On the plus side you do get a vast insight into the main characters past, and answer some questions raised from the game, but anyone who is not a Fallout addict will almost certainly skip through this to get to the action.
The quest takes the courier across varying landscapes, including abandoned buildings and destroyed bridges, although most have been seen before. One new environment you must travel across is an underground tunnel, created by war and earthquakes which is home to a new enemy, the Tunneller. A black scaled creature with large bright eyes, which hunts in packs, this mutant is extremely difficult to kill. Once one is defeated it's not long before another three arrive in its place, and it is not uncommon to be fighting five or six at a time. These are not the only things stopping you from completing the quest either as the DLC is filled with enemies, including one of the hardest in the original game, the Deathclaw, which are often hiding where you least expect them.
At times, one can't help but feel that the creators have thrown in lots of enemies solely to ramp up the difficulty and to prolong the quest, as they can feel out of place and a burden. This in turn forces the player to be constantly saving the game after defeating a group of enemies, as it won't be long before another corner is turned and a fresh group are revealed, eagerly waiting to ambush and kill you. Basically, get used to that infamous loading screen, because you are sure to see it regularly during Lonesome Road.
When it is not groups of enemies forcing the player to restart it is hidden mines, which serve no point apart from to slow the player down. They are often placed on their own, and in the unlikeliest of places, again making it feel like they are there for no reason than to pad out the game and to extend the length of play.
An entertaining feature of the DLC is the addition of the laser detonator, a device which is crucial in order to complete the quest. When the gun shaped device is pointed towards a nuclear warhead, of which thirty are scattered around the landscape, and the trigger is pulled the bomb is detonated, creating a huge nuclear explosion which can kill nearby enemies and form a path to allow the player to continue their journey. The optional objective of finding all thirty warheads not only adds an entertaining side quest but is often essential when needing ammo or stimpaks as they are few and far between throughout the Divide, and can sometimes be uncovered from the rubble after a bomb has been detonated.
As the DLC built to its climax it didn't lose any of its difficulty, with a long fought battle awaiting the player; and the choices that said player makes can change the landscape of the Mojave wasteland forever. However, the moral dilemma the player faced at the end of previous Fallout DLCs, and one of the reasons the game stands out from many other RPGs, is lacking within Lonesome Road. It's ending is the definition of an anti-climax, and it's hard to see how the extreme difficulty of this DLC is worth its rather lacklustre finish.
Lonesome Road offers gamers looking for a challenge - having completed Fallout: New Vegas - with just that; with new enemies and a hard environment to conquer. However, this is not for beginners and comes with a warning that players under level 25 are advised to come back when they are at a higher level. The pack increases the level cap by five, contains 125g in five achievements, and adds around three hours of gameplay, although it doesn't add much in terms of variety, with the main part made up of killing enemies and not much else. The DLC is packed full of conversation and information, and for anyone who enjoys that part of the game and hearing of the history of the characters then this is the DLC for you. Unfortunately, for anyone who has yet to download any of the content for Fallout: New Vegas, I would advise downloading the other three before this one.
It seems when it comes to new ideas, the road has come to an end for Fallout:New Vegas.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.