Bethesda Game Studios set the bar high with their post-release content for “Fallout 3.” Unfortunately, for the first two DLC packs of “Fallout: New Vegas,” Obsidian was clearly having a tough time matching that same level of quality. Both “Dead Money” and “Honest Hearts” had moments of greatness, but as complete packages, they weren’t exactly unmissable “Fallout” experiences. “Old World Blues,” on the other hand, is just that. Unmissable.
Like every “Fallout” DLC, “Old World Blues” begins with a mysterious radio signal. In this case it guides you to an abandoned drive-in movie lot, and more specifically to a crashed satellite in the middle of the lot. Upon examining the satellite, the world goes white and you find yourself in a medical dressing gown on top of a strange tower filled with socially dysfunctional robot brains. Oh, and your brain is missing. Awkward!
Wide Open Spaces
My favorite piece of “Fallout 3″ DLC was “Point Lookout.” The reason it succeeded was because it allowed for large-scale exploration, in contrast to the other, mostly-linear DLC packs. “Old World Blues” is just as exploration heavy. You’re given free reign to explore the remains of a massive scientific complex known as Big MT (short for Big Mountain). There are a few dozen locations to stumble upon and many of them are completely off the main quest path. If you’re the sort that just likes to wander around and stumble into trouble, “Old World Blues” is the DLC for you.
The map of Big MT exists in a giant crater. It was once an actual mountain, but a nuclear blast took care of that pretty quick. So, as you’d expect, there aren’t too many humans around for you to talk to. There are, however, plenty of robots with brains in jars. Within your first few minutes of “Old World Blues,” you’re introduced to The Think Tank, a team of scientists-turned-robots-with-brains-in-jars. Thus begins one of the funniest sequences the “Fallout” universe has ever seen. I won’t ruin it for you, apart from saying that it involves sonjaculating into a pistol.
The scientists are played by some of the best voice actors in the business, including James Urbaniak (better known as Dr. Rusty Venture on “The Venture Bros.”) and Jim Ward (Captain Qwark from “Ratchet & Clank), to name a few.
One of the big issues with “Dead Money” and “Honest Hearts” was that its quests often felt like simple fetch affairs. Go here, pick this thing up, bring it back. In “Old World Blues,” the quests often require running a scientific gauntlet, testing out high tech stealth suits and battling cyberdog training simulators in a mock high school. Every quest has both humorous and surprising elements which keep the DLC moving swiftly towards an satisfying conclusion.
Warning: Brutal Difficulty
Before entering “Old World Blues,” the game warns you that the DLC was designed for players that are at least level 15. I was around level 35 when I started it, and it was a definite challenge, even for me. The enemies have exceedingly high health and damage stats and if you don’t have plenty of supplies, you may be forced to dial the difficulty down to Easy. On the bright side, the game allows you to keep all of your equipment when you head into the DLC, so if you need to stock up before you head to the drive-in movie lot, you can.
It’s remarkable how much additional work was put into “Old World Blues.” Every facet of the DLC bleeds quality and cleverness, from the voice acting to the quests to the exploration. If you’re a fan of “Fallout” and have $10 to spend, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be spending it on “Old World Blues.”