Old World Blues
Old World Blues, released in July, is something yet again wholly different from both the previous two DLC adventures, as well as New Vegas itself, yet, strangely, it's the DLC that feels the most like Fallout.
Old World Blues dumps you off in a semi-abandoned research facility deep in the desert, removes your brain, spine and heart, replaces them with perk-giving cybernetics and tasks you with ridding the facility of the mad scientist who's taken it over in the intervening years since the Great War. To say this is an odd start for an adventure is putting it mildly, yet the oddness of the adventure's beginning is just scratching the surface.
Your quest-givers are a group of floating, disembodied brains (the "Think Tank") and you will share your new home with a gaggle of robotic companions with odd personalities such as Light Switches 1 and 2 and Muggy, the neurotic, miniature securitron whose sole purpose in life is to clean coffee cups. Locating and reinstalling these personalities is one of the collection quests. Each offers to perform optional, but interesting tasks and you can turn them off again after reactivating them, but I chose not to. Muggy in particular quickly became one of my favorite Fallout characters ever.
The research facility itself, called "Big Mountain," or Big MT for short (and referred to as "Big Empty"), is both smaller and more fascinating than the environs of the Mojave depicted in New Vegas; simply exploring the world and uncovering the origins of many of Fallout's pre-war technologies and creatures easily rivals (if not surpasses) the joy of following the adventure.
Banging on the edifices of Big MT will quickly yield a variety of weapons and items unique to this adventure, like the Plasma Defender and Sonic Emitter, the latter of which is adjustable and integral to the main quest. You will also discover an advanced stealth suit that you will activate and upgrade by taking part in a number of Portal-esque scientific experiments. If Dead Money was Fallout-as-survival/horror, then parts of Old World Blues can rightly be called Fallout-as-stealth/adventure, finally giving players a good reason not to blow off the sneak stat and go in guns a-blazing. But should you decide to go in guns a-blazing anyway, the upgradeable .357 caliber minigun with a disembodied dog brain tracking system will get the job done quite nicely. Plus it will bark to alert you to the presence of nearby enemies, giving a whole new meaning to the term "man's best friend."
Berserk securitrons, cyberdogs, maniacal lobotomy patients, robo-scorpions and animated, formerly-living researchers wearing powered safety suits (Half-Life, anyone?) are the unique enemies you will encounter in this DLC, and each presents unique challenges. The adventure as a whole should take 8-15 hours, depending on how much time you spend exploring, and is as rollicking and fun an adventure as has ever graced a Fallout game.
Bottom Line: Each of the three DLC adventures offers something different, but of the three Old World Blues is by far the most interesting and engaging. Dead Money will show you a side of Fallout you would never have expected and Honest Hearts, while a bit short, rounds out the main game adventure very nicely.
Recommendation: Each DLC is worth the money for die-hard Fallout players, but those on a budget would do well to start with Old World Blues and then grab the other two with whatever spare points you find laying around.
Russ Pitts is the Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist.