The road leading to the Courier who refused to deliver the Platinum Chip is finally available as Bethesda released what is most likely the last DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. The Lonesome Road will have you finally coming face to face with Ulysses as you travel the Divide.
Story wise, Lonesome Road is OK but falls short of what I expected. The previous DLC, Old World Blues
, was such a fun one to play in both scope and story that I had high hopes for Lonesome Road. Sadly, I thought the story didn’t live up to the buildup of this DLC though the end dialog of Dead Money and some of the information you gather in Old World Blues.
The path you traverse if somewhat linear, unlike Old World Blues which had you going in all sorts of directions in the vast crater. You’re pretty much lead from the entrance to the Divide towards Ulysses’s location with some minor side roads on the way. In that sense it’s a little disappointing as I do love exploring, but I will say the level designers did a fantastic job in presenting a very awesome looking area in the Divide. Just seeing the view when you first enter can be a little breath taking and it brought back many of the feelings I had when playing Fallout 3 the first time and walking out from the Vault into the brave new world.
New weapons are available of course and the one that’s probably the most enticing is the Red Glare. It’s an automatic rocket launcher with the ability to unload 13 rockets in a matter of seconds. It sounds pretty powerful, but you do need more than a few shots to take out enemies so while it’s visually striking, it does lack a little punch. The good news is you can upgrade the Red Glare to help fire faster, increase the zoom, or increase the rocket speed. Out of all the weapons I found in Lonesome Road, the Red Glare was the one I used the most when I wasn’t holding a LAER+ or holorifle, two of my existing favorites.
It’s recommended you be of level 25 to tackle Lonesome Road and you best do so as there are some enemies in the Divide that can take you down very quickly. The ghoul-like Marked Men can hold some pretty serious firepower and come in groups with some of the unique Marked Men packing quite a punch. The tunnelers look like gremlins and can knock you down pretty easily. Some even use stealth to sneak up on you and a group can quickly overwhelm you. Finally, a few Deathclaws make their appearance and veterans of Fallout know how dangerous those can be without the proper weapon and experience. The new enemies in Lonesome Road aren’t anything special in terms of visuals, but they are different enough to give a little bit of variety to Lonesome Road in terms of opposition.
Like most Fallout DLCs, you're forced to leave any companions behind, which I wish the developers would stop doing. There's no reason for the sake of the story in Lonesome Road to make you drop your companions before you enter the Divide. At least you won’t be going at this one alone as an ED-E unit will be your companion for most of the way.
The ED-E unit is quite useful in that not only will he help you take out enemies, he can offer some assistance such as repairing your currently wielded weapon by 25%, generate energy ammo, unlocking control panels, and other helpful things. You’ll be able to upgrade the ED-E unit with other capabilities by finding broken ones around the Divide. The ED-E unit also has a nice little back story to it that gradually unfolds as you get through the campaign. I’m happy that at least one companion gets to accompany you in the DLC, but wish the developers would stop coping out of letting you take some from the main game into the DLC.
I was anxious to hear what Ulysses had to say, but to be honest I sort of got impatient with him about half way through the DLC. The way he spoke, in broken sentences, was kind of annoying. I know there are some characters that can get away with it, but the writing for Ulysses just didn’t draw me in. Still, there are some things that Ulysses reveals that bring some nice closure to some parts of the story of New Vegas. I just wish the way the character was portrayed was a little bit different, but some may like his dialog.
Lonesome Road ups the level cap by 5 and adds some new perks, but I didn’t think most of them were anything special, though the Voracious Reader that turns damage books into blank magazines that allow you to copy other magazines does make all those random books useful now. There’s also some end of the DLC perks that let you add another point to one of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes and give you some instant fame or infamy with some of the factions in New Vegas.
Speaking of the end, Lonesome Road does allow you the ability to change the landscape of the main game so I do like that option. More DLCs should let you do this and the option to change some part of the Mojave Wasteland is a nice perk to have for those purchasing the DLC. Also, the end is rather satisfying and visually appealing.
Yes, I ran into my share of bugs with Lonesome Road. Twice I was going from one area to another and the entire game locked up while loading. Compound the fact that I didn't save for a while in both situations and you can probably guess how frustrated I became. It got to a point that anytime I was about to go to another area, I would save the game just in case. Another weird bug I ran into happened during my time in V.A.T.S. As I got ready to unleash my wrath on an enemy, my character would just walk off screen as the camera remained stationary. It seemed my character was too busy moving around and not firing resulting in my untimely death as a few tunnelers pounded on me of screen. It happened a few times and I never experienced it before in any of the previous 40 hours of gameplay I had in the Mojave Wasteland.
Lonesome Road isn’t the worst of the New Vegas DLC, but it’s not the best one. It helps answer a few questions while providing you with a relatively short storyline to go through. It took me about 4 hours to finish the DLC, which is a little under the average of the time I take in playing Fallout DLCs. I do like that you can permanently affect some part of the Mojave Wasteland should you choose to do so. The final confrontation with Ulysses is a little anti-climatic for me, but the end sequence after that was rather fun to watch. All be told, if this is the last quest based DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, it didn’t go out too badly and I did enjoy my time in the Mojave Wasteland, sometimes more so than the Capital Wasteland. It’s too bad this DLC won’t let you continue playing after the events of the main game. Players of Fallout: New Vegas should have a solid time with Lonesome Road and I have a feeling I’m going to miss my time in New Vegas with the conclusion of the extended content for the game.
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