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Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues
Score: 90%
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/Free-Roaming/Adventure

Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues is a welcome addition to Fallout: New Vegas's DLC roll-out. It builds on the Fallout mythology in unexpected ways, offering insight into the origins of many of the critters you've been killing during your adventures in the Mojave, while offering a motley cast of new characters.

Although the tone is still serious, there are numerous notes of dark humor running through the entire expansion. These not only provide a couple of much-needed chuckles, but are also able to transform the tedium of fetch quests and other not-so-fun elements into enjoyable experiences. It's something you'll want to get lost in and explore.

What I Liked:
Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues takes a different approach than the past two add-ons. Rather than taking place in a small area to play around in with a linear path, Old World Blues is an open-world offering more in-line with the core game.

It all starts when you're summoned to a remote area of the desert, only to be kidnapped. You wake up in Big Mountain (called Big MT by the locals) and soon meet Dr. Klein, a brain hooked up to a trio of monitors serving as his eyes and mouth. He's joined by a group of scientists in a similar state. Did I mention you're not in the best of shape either? The scientists have removed your brain, as well as your heart and spine. As it turns out, you're a bit of a curiosity for the scientists since your body is still able to function without your brain, apparently making you a great candidate to help Klein stop Dr. Mobious, a "mad" scientist locked in his lab cooking up things like laser-mounted scorpions.

Old World Blues is drenched in 50's style sci-fi elements. Though they have always played a role in the series, Obsidian has gone all-out with including off-the-wall elements. There are loads of elements and even wilder characters to meet as you poke around the facility. The actual real estate is small, but there is a lot to do and discover. I like the return to the heart of the Fallout experience.

Exploration pays off in a number of ways. You'll discover a lot of backstory reaching all the way back to Fallout: New Vegas, though you'll also stumble upon new, incredibly useful equipment. There's a new machine gun that actually barks as your shoot it, as well as a Sonic Emitter that can disintegrate nearly anything it hits. As a bit of an added bonus, the weapon can be enhanced with sound chips, offering new abilities and sounds, like an opera singer.

Old World Blues also ups the level cap by five, granting access to a handful of new perks. You'll also unlock new abilities via The Sink, your own little residence in the facility. The area is home to some of the game's more colorful characters, like a militant toaster who wants to declare war on the other appliances or light switches who are programmed to not get along. The fixtures are funny and grant a couple of really cool options, such as a character re-spec.

What I Didn't Like:
There isn't a whole lot not to like about Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues. As is usually the case with DLC, most of the issues were part of the core game and fixing those would require re-furbishing entire systems. There are still a few minor issues surrounding combat via V.A.T.S., as well as a couple of bugs that have been hanging around for a while. Voices run into each other, or sometimes completely cut out, and you'll sometimes get caught up in geometry or see items completely vanish.

Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues also keeps the difficulty high. Even if you're not playing on Hardcore, expect to die a lot. There are loads of enemies to wade through and they love to swarm you. Part of this is an understandable by-product of the level cap increase and new weapons, though others are because of the lack of healing items. Stimpacks are rare, forcing you to rely on whatever food and meds you can scrounge up. On the plus side, you're equipped with a really cool piece of auto-healing armor.

Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues is, without question, one of the strongest Fallout expansions yet. It manages to offer up a lot of gameplay (at least 10 - 12 hours depending on how much you want to explore) and loads of new play options. It's strongest feature, however, is its humor. It is just funny. Even though you're doing little more than going on fetch quests - the bane of RPG life - you're always rewarded with some humorous line or item that keeps you wanting to go forward. Most of the time, I kept playing just to see where the game would go next.

Even if you felt a bit burned by past Fallout expansions, Old World Blues is a "Must Buy."

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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