The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

New World Disappointments


Written By: Carl Frill

With the release of Fallout: New Vegas’s new DLC, Old World Blues, answers brought up in the past are finally answered as we delve into the world of the Big Empty. Old World Blues is the 3rd DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, which if you’re unfamiliar with is definitely worth trying, covering a wide array of gaming styles & tastes. So what does this latest addition bring to an already full game?

Old World Blues is an attempt to bring the humor of the original two games into the modern take on the fallout series. This is seen almost as soon as you start the storyline, the first task, talking to the scientists of the “Think Tank”, a pre-war group of scientists. It’s never explicitly stated what project they were gathered for, although many projects are seen half-finished throughout Big MT, some explaining how the creatures of New Vegas came into existence. The head “Scientist” (his brain preserved for over 200 years in a robot) explains how they wish to escape, trapped by a former member of the Think Tank that ran to the “Forbidden Zone”, keeping the scientists trapped, and need various pieces of technology throughout Big MT, and so the DLC Begins proper, as well as the return of the humor from Fallout 1&2.

There’s a heavy 50’s Science theme in the DLC, (and the Fallout series in general), with just about everybody you can talk to with a mad scientist persona, combined with 200 years of seclusion from the outside world (due to a slight nuclear apocalypse), having rather strange personalities to them. Dr. Klein, Leader of the Think Tank, shouts everything in a slightly menacing way, explained as another scientist messing with his volume control, and using the wrong form for words, bringing some quite funny quotes such as “HAVE YOU RETRIEVED THE TECHNOLOGIES YET? WE NEED THEM AS I HAVE INDICATED.” As well as the supposed baddie, Dr. Mobius, who replaces words with similar ones without noticing, such as using raisin instead of reason, a nod to Futurama.

The ending to all this is open, as with all Fallout endings, ranging from killing them all, to killing no one. I had the kill no one ending, which, having scientists at my beck and call by the end, would give me some super advanced technology, but all I got was the satisfaction of not getting into a fight, and my brain back, which along with my spine and heart, were stolen from me at the beginning, leading to a very Wizard of Oz style ending.

The final reward for any ending is player housing you can access at any time, filled with many functions and pieces of equipment, each with their own personality. Talking to a toaster bent on world domination does bring a certain surreal humor in the middle of a gun-heavy game.

However, the biggest complaint is this: with so much backstory, there is very little story involved in this installment at all. Everything feels like it’s already happened, and you’re just there to add a couple of final touches, which may not even make a difference. The plot can be basically boiled down to “go there, get those, and then go there and use them”. These can become annoying; due to the way they are done. One big feature of Fallout: New Vegas was the large variety of playing styles a character can have. I normally choose to talk my way out of fights, and use mini-guns when they’re unavoidable. So the quest that FORCES you to sneak through an area in order to test out a suit. Being terrible at sneaking, this took me several attempts to finish. When I was given the option to do it again for more rewards, I left as quickly as I could whilst being chased by robot scorpions.

There are a lot of side missions to do, but most of these are just more fetch quests, with very little reward in them. Occasionally recordings of conversations are found, showing what has happened to characters from previous events (and one from a DLC yet to be released, but built up throughout the game), but again it feels unimportant, because its already happened, and you have no involvement in.

The large amount of cultural references, within the Fallout universe or not, which start to become a bit boring, due to either being unrecognizable, or feeling like they were shoehorned in when you do understand them. I chose the Wild Wasteland Trait at the start of the game, which adds more of these references to the game than there would otherwise be, which within Old World Blues, bring it to the point where everything has some reference in it. For example, one type of enemy in the game is a skeleton kept animated after 200 years by a suit, occasionally says “hey, who turned out the lights”, a reference to the “Silence in the Library” Doctor Who story. There’s also a lot of reference to The Venture Bros, an American TV series I’ve never heard of, and so didn’t get at all. In the attempt to revive the humor of the old games, it ends up feeling out of place in a game that has clearly moved on and taken a more serious tone.

Overall, the DLC is okay. Not the best, but definitely worth a play if you already have New Vegas. The humor, whilst out of place, is consistently funny, and the storyline there is very good, heightened slightly by your need to explore & find it. But if all you want is the Weapons & player housing at the end of it, you may end up disappointed.

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