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Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues DLC review

Given the relative mediocrity of previous Fallout: New Vegas expansions, Honest Hearts and Dead Money, one could be forgiven for gazing with a jaundiced eye upon yet another seemingly cynical attempt by developer Bethesda to eke out ten more dollars from the series’ fanbase. But don’t let predilections prejudice you: Old World Blues is an exceedingly well written, at times hilariously funny, and generally challenging (in a good way) expansion pack. While it doesn’t alter any fundamental gameplay concepts, it does much more of what Fallout: New Vegas did best: funny dialogue, interesting characters and settings, and plenty of cool items, perks, monsters, and, of course, drugs.

Set at the semi-fictional “Big Mountain” in the middle of the Mojave Desert, OWB starts the player off as something of a guinea pig in a pre-war science facility called the Think Tank. Here, the scientists have effectively turned themselves into undying robots and need you to help them get a few machines back online, clear out some mutated creatures (and you’ll finally learn how some of these mutated creatures came to exist), and do a variety of various odd jobs for them. In return, they’ll forcibly turn you into a cyborg. Yeah, it’s like that.

To be sure, OWB still suffers from some of the stutters, control missteps, and generally old-looking engine that all other New Vegas titles have had to deal with, but if you’re a fan of the series in spite of these, you’re not going to have any problem with how OWB looks or feels. As always, the voice acting, level design, and especially characters and dialogue, are simply top-drawer. Several characters, many of them varieties of intelligent kitchen appliances, steal the show, including “Toaster,” a psychopathic, megalomaniacal toaster reminiscent of Monkey Island’s Murray the talking skull, and “Blind Diode Jefferson,” a self-aware jukebox with a penchant for rambling, pointless (if hilarious) tales of woe.

Like any good story, it’s the characters that make OWB a fun place to play around in, and these are better-written characters than any previous Bethesda Fallout, which are perfectly integrated into the Fallout ethos. It’s like the writers at Obsidian made a careful study of all the Fallout minutia and built a believable set of quests and plot points around characters that were derived from that study. If you love the world of Fallout and would like to get more detail on the backstory and mechanics, you’ll love OWB. But even if you’re a casual fan of the series, or just someone looking for a quality RPG experience in general, you won’t be disappointed. This is one DLC pack that does everything right – hell, it’s even got the challenge level and the number of hours it’ll take to beat it (about 8) down perfectly. Money well spent.

Aug 8, 2011

17 comments

  • BackwaterRifle - August 10, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    Correction: You state that DLC is 'developed' by Bethesda. It is developed by Obsidian and published by Bethesda. Obsidian is making these DLC - so blame them if it sucks. You can, however blame Bethesda for most of the bugs in the engine - but not in the quests. What you just said saved me a bunch, thank you. @ everyone experiencing serious glitches, you must have done some fucked up shit to get the glitches you have,because I've been playing this nearly every day since it came out, and haven't had a damn problem. Before that I had been Playing FO3 every day since November 2009 and had no problem with it till my best play though fatally glitched in the summer of 2010. Damn you rivet city and your inescapable freezeeness
  • ElGuybrush - August 9, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    Muggy is awesome. As for the bugginess, buy it on pc I encountered bugs and I opened up the old developer's console and got right past them. Because I can do that on a PC.
  • Evernight57 - August 9, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    Correction: You state that DLC is 'developed' by Bethesda. It is developed by Obsidian and published by Bethesda. Obsidian is making these DLC - so blame them if it sucks. You can, however blame Bethesda for most of the bugs in the engine - but not in the quests.
  • jackthemenace - August 9, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    I'll buy OWB, but first I still need to buy Dead Money. It looks like it's the only way I'm going to get rid of the ED-E glitch.
  • Yeager1122 - August 9, 2011 6:38 a.m.

    Might be the firs DLC for new vegas i look into gettting.
  • ombranox - August 9, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    Don't forget the fact that its got Captain Qwark and Dr. Venture!
  • SirNinja - August 9, 2011 6:06 a.m.

    @D0CCON The last step *will* be avoided, actually - the fourth DLC (Lonesome Road) will be the final one. Hopefully it's as good as (or better than) Point Lookout was!
  • Pocotron - August 9, 2011 3:32 a.m.

    Elijah's Advanced LAER. Now I don't know what to do with my other weapons.
  • ManiacalMuphin - August 9, 2011 1:58 a.m.

    I absolutely HATED Blind Diode Jefferson. Plus the scaling was a bit weird, with three headshots needed to kill a lobotomy patient? Seemed like another great idea that was lazily shit out by Obsidian, the half retarded reject that lives in Bethesda's basement.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - August 9, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    I have such a love/hate relationship with Fallout. I love the setting, the gameplay, the characters, and it feels more like an RPG than say, Mass Effect or Dragon Age. However, I can't stand the bugs and glitches. I wasn't able to finish Fallout 3 because about 3/4 of the way through the game it kept either freezing in mid conversation, or crashing. When I heard that New Vegas was even worse bug wise? Fuck no. It might be a good thing though, because both games hurt my eyes to look at.
  • D0CCON - August 9, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    It looks like the trend Fallout 3 had is continuing. The first two packs are mediocre, the third is really good, and if the pattern continues, the fourth is amazing and the fifth one drops back down to the level of the first two (hopefully the last step can be avoided).
  • Jadernader - August 9, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    Easily my favorite DLC, the first 2 were very meh. This one was also the toughest one to me, i got messed up pretty good. But anyways if you dont want this because the other 2 sucked then I ask you to give thisn a shot.
  • p0wnd - August 9, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    Just out of curiosity, what bugs and glitches did you have (I played through it and found everything and didn't experience any bugs, apart from the odd VAT glitch). Also I think the laser traps, sound beam gun thing, legendery enemies and new enemies was enough 'new' for me. But 8 is probably the right score. Also the ending is amazing. Can't wait for Lonesome Road now.
  • Darth_Griffin - August 9, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    the only thing I could really complain about in OWB is the length of the opening dialogue sequence with the bots. Otherwise it's all good.
  • Thequestion 121 - August 9, 2011 12:30 a.m.

    I might just get this DLC :)
  • Zepaw - August 9, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    For how much I loved the main game of Fallout: NV it is disappointing how meh all the DLC reviews up to now have been. I have not played any yet. hoping a copy with all of them included will come out some time later like Fallout 3 GOTY.
  • RamenChimera - August 9, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    "Dr. Klein", eh? So this is what happens to Kleiner after half life 2.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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