The Fallout series has taken you all over the United States – and this time, Obsidian is keen to send you to Utah to help Happy Trails Caravan on an expedition to Zion National Park. But it isn’t just any old job: Joshua Graham, the famous Burned Man from New Vegas’ main storyline, is the star of the show.
So, given the expectations, the burning question must be: “it worth paying $10 to meet Joshua Graham?”
After heading to the Northern Passage, near the mid-northern part of the map, you’re required to drop to 75 pounds or less (or have a 50 survival skill rating) before you are able to embark on this DLC. While this may seem like a pain, there is a convenient chest right near the quest’s start to drop your items in, and it’s a much better method than the tired “take all your items away you’re left with nothing” approach.
Once you enter Zion, you’ll start traversing Utah’s crimson canyons to initiate the core storyline, which involves two warring tribes – The White Legs, and Graham’s tribe. Along the way, you’ll find a few distractions, but ultimately, the first fifteen minutes or so is kind of bland (as is your companion/tour guide, Follows-Chalk), at least until you get to meet Graham.
So is the final Burned Man reveal as cool as it sounds? Well, if you bought into the story behind Caesar’s Legion (like I did), your answer is yes. Graham’s voice acting is pretty solid, and his character model is instantly recognizable. There are enough unique dialogue options to warrant his inclusion in the DLC, and he shows up enough to carry the story forward – in short, I hope to see more core characters included in future DLC offerings, because it really helps add to the package.
Thankfully, you can inform Graham that Caesar is dead (provided you killed him, of course), and engage in a few meaningful conversations that provide you with some interesting bits of backstory on the relationship between Caesar and the Burned Man. Graham will also sell you a lot of useful weapon additions and an assortment of ammo if you wish to barter with him.
Once you’re done chatting it up with the head honcho, you’ll go on a series of errands around New Zion to gain his trust, and secure your passage back home. On route to these quests, you’re free to explore New Zion’s various nooks and crannies, and engage in skirmishes with the area’s wildlife and local White Leg ruffians. After gaining Graham’s trust, the real conflict begins, and the story starts moving a bit. While it never goes anywhere you don’t expect, it’s never really tiresome at any point.
Like most Fallout DLC packs, Honest Hearts will take you around two hours to complete (if you just do the main story), but you can also explore New Zion to your heart’s content, and most likely push around five to ten hours of total play. Like Point Lookout, in addition to the core locations, there are few optional areas to explore in the DLC’s sandbox.
As far as post-completion content goes, I have to place the following disclaimer: I’m not one to really care about DLC goodies. However, not every gamer is the same, and many people out there buy these DLC packs just for the outfits/weapons to use afterwards. So, for those fans, I have good news to report: this DLC pack offers a healthy serving of extra perks, and items.
The perks on offer aren’t just throwaway ones either, like the useful “Home on the Range”, which lets you sleep at any campfire, and reap all the benefits of a full rest. Graham’s SWAT vest, a unique .45 pistol, and a Yao Guai gauntlet are also some pretty neat pickups. Honest Hearts also raises the level cap by five, which is good news for everyone.
There isn’t anything mind blowing about Honest Hearts, but it’s a much more solid effort than Dead Money, and a step in the right direction for New Vegas’ DLC. I’m really enjoying overarching story behind the two couriers that promises to culminate in the final pack, and the addition of a main story character like the Burned Man is a huge plus for fans of the game.
If I had to compare Honest Hearts to any previous DLC in the Fallout 3/New Vegas universe, it would probably be Point Lookout: and that’s easily a good thing.
Gamer Limit gives Honest Hearts an 8.5/10.