Game Review: Fallout New Vegas – Lonesome Road

Mark Butler reviews the final DLC installment for the epic open-world RPG. 

Out now for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 (reviewed).

It may be the final piece in the gigantic and ever-eventful Fallout: New Vegas puzzle, but at first glance Lonesome Road’s locations and environments seem wearily familiar. There are desolate cityscapes peppered with ruined office buildings, long stretches of shattered freeway, and the grimy interiors of abandoned factories and silos, complete with whirring mechanical doors, glowing security monitors and patrolling sentry bots. To the Fallout veteran, it may seem starkly unoriginal. Even cliched.

However, appearances can be deceptive. And as you begin to traverse, blast and bludgeon your way through this latest adventure, it soon becomes rapidly apparent that there are many fresh and surprising additions that help make Lonesome Road a bold and exciting experience – even for those who have already sunk 50 hours plus into the main game.

There’s a handy and endearing new robot companion – an ED-E spin-off no less – who brings a genuinely interesting back-story to the party (with a few winking nods to fans of the wider Fallout series along the way). There’s a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping elevator-ride, featuring ravenous nasties dropping from the ceiling, which makes you wonder whether you’ve accidentally stumbled into Dead Space 2 by mistake. Then there’s the dormant warheads littering the ravaged landscape, which can be detonated to open up new pathways and reveal caches of weapons, ammo and equipment. And that’s before we even get on to the pump-action rocket launcher. Oh yes.

The main story-line of Lonesome Road is also something of an enticing draw for the player, with the Courier led to a nuclear-torn landscape by the mysterious and menacing Ulysses, who seems to know a great deal about the Courier’s earlier life. Voiced with delicious bowels-of-the-earth-deep relish by Roger Cross, this enigmatic, Vegas-hating figure promises to reveal details of the Courier’s forgotten past and answer many a pressing question – even if that may mean some uncomfortable home-truths. To confront him, you must journey all the way to the earthquake and storm-riven land known as The Divide.

Troublesome Beast: The new tunnel creatures are cunning and deadly

Quite a journey it is too. It may be a largely linear venture, primarily focused on the mission at hand, but there are frequent possibilities for brief yet rewarding exploration off-the-beaten-track and the whole enterprise is one that really grabs and immerses you with its well-paced reveals and compelling set-ups.

The swirling winds and shattered buildings of the ironically named Hopeville hide the first mutated remnants of the NCR and Legion troops who arrived long ago, skulking in the shadows and armed to the teeth. This gives way to an abandoned underpass littered with the bodies of well-equipped troopers, and ferocious, spine-tingling growls herald the arrival of new and deadly creatures. Should you survive this encounter, many more satisfying trials and tribulations lie beyond. It’s a deeply atmospheric experience, and one that is made fun as well as intriguing by the sheer wealth of new kit you get to play with.

It seems that Obsidian really took on board the criticism of early add-ons Dead Money and Honest Hearts, which failed to provide players with much in the way of juicy new weapons or equipment. Here, there’s mighty melee weapons, helpful and inspired pieces of kit, armour, upgrades and – thank the Lord – tasty firearms, including the aforementioned rapid-fire rocket-launcher, which is a joy to unleash.

You’ll need it too, because the enemies here are particularly deadly. The ghoulish soldiers wield health-sapping shoulder-mounted machine guns and anti-material rifles, while the glowing tunnel creatures can fell you with just a few hefty swipes. Fortunately the level-cap has once again been raised by 5, there are some mightily handy and imaginative new perks to select, and various panels located in silos around the map – which you’ll need your helpful robot friend to unlock – allow you to buy supplies and repair your favourite toys. The real pleasure of a great action-RPG is in collecting loot and experience, leveling up and choosing new specialisms to aid in battle and survival. Lonesome Road nails this to a tee.

Tooled-up: The rapid-fire rocket launcher packs a real punch

There are some drawbacks though. It would be fair to point out that most of the new foes are really just re-hashes of already familiar monsters, there’s still the odd glitch on show (though these appear to be very much of the minor, niggling variety) and this final DLC doesn’t quite have the distinctive, original flair of the deeply funny Old World Blues or horror-themed heist Dead Money – though it is infinitely more accomplished than the latter.

That said, it’s a deeply enjoyable and often exhilirating trek through a deceptively interesting landscape – with the eventual conclusion providing difficult choices, startling reveals and a number of significant implications for the populace of the Mojave – and beyond.

In short, it’s a fitting end to the New Vegas saga, and well-worth getting your hands on if you’ve enjoyed the moody exploration, moral dilemmas and meaty action of the main game. Packing a great deal of extras, and also boasting a fine story-line to boot, Lonesome Road is very nearly the perfect example of what great DLC should be.

 

FMV Rating: ****

 

 

 



Comments
3 Responses to “Game Review: Fallout New Vegas – Lonesome Road”
  1. Dejuavue says:

    I was greatly disappointed with all the DLC of fallout 3; so much money for so little. I can only imagine what New Vegas’ DLC are!!

  2. FalloutBoy says:

    WTF? You hated FALLOUT 3 DLC????

    New Vegas doesn’t even touch the Fallout 3 DLC. Fallout 3 Game of The Year is well worth the price. New Vegas GOTY edition should be skipped….just buy Old World Blues and maybe this…(I haven’t played this yet). New Vegas is fun but overrated in regards to DLC.

    • Mark Butler says:

      Certainly agree with your defence of Fallout 3’s DLC, FalloutBoy. It was, with the possible exception of Operation Anchorage, truly excellent. I have quite enjoyed New Vegas’s too, however. Dead Money was flawed but an interesting departure that almost came off, while Old World Blues and Lonesome Road excel in my opinion. Honest Hearts was the only real disappointment.

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