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Fallout: New Vegas Lonesome Road Review

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Fallout: New Vegas Lonesome Road Review

Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 23 September 2011, 16:48:45

Tags: Fallout: New Vegas; Obsidian Entertainment

Brother None reviewed the latest Fallout: New Vegas DLC Lonesome Roads over at NMA.

Unlike other DLCs, there are some consequences in the main game to the choices you make. You can wreck or increase your reputation with the factions in the Mojave, and depending on the choices you make unlock up to two additional areas in the main map, which are very small but provide a little extra, including unique weapons and armor. These high-level areas (including one in the DLC itself) provide tons and tons of ammo to players, if any of them need it - I find it hard to imagine they do.

Getting past its linear, combat-focused design – which I'm not a huge fan of – the biggest failings of this DLC lie in its vagueness and lack of picking up loose ends in a satisfactory way. The player is given too little reason to care about the pre-disaster Divide. Many little things could've been handled better, like the explanation of ED-E's presence or why pre-war commissary machines give out bottle caps – or credit chips indistinguishable from bottle caps. The loose end of the tunnelers is never picked up. There was a lot of build-up for this plot, with the “legendary battle of the two couriers”, but the pay-off, especially storywise, is slight, and how exactly this battle became a legend is not adequately explained (there are no sane witnesses around).

Before this DLC's release, Chris Avellone explained in a developer blog that the narrative of Fallout games comes largely from the players. And he's right, that has always been one of the series' main strengths. How ironic is it, then, that Lonesome Road is the very antithesis of this ideal, with an antagonist who hates you because of events that happened outside of the player's control, and a linear, railroaded path that will play out pretty much the same for everyone, differences in dialog depending on your faction allegiance aside.

Content-wise Lonesome Road is satisfactory, and it's almost worth it just for the pretty amazing atmosphere and look of the Divide. But this linear combat-focused gameplay path will not appeal to everyone, and anyone expecting a satisfactory conclusion to the story arc of Ulysses and the Courier might be in for a let-down. If you reflect on it for a while, there is some appreciation to be found in the clever way Ulysses' arc ties in with lessons the Courier learned over previous DLC, and like Elijah in Dead Money he's an image of the cost of obsessing and failing to let go, but this does not make the main narrative structure any more satisfying in an immediate sense. It's not a bad DLC overall, but it suffers from coming right behind the excellent Old World Blues.

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