The last bit of New Vegas DLC is finally here! The core premise of Lonesome Road is a final confrontation with Ulysses – the mysterious courier that passed up the job that almost got you killed. What are his motives? Does he really want you dead, or did he just try and save his own skin?
More importantly: is the DLC worth buying to find out? Read on for the answer.
Like most of the New Vegas DLCs, you can take all of your weapons with you, but no Mojave companions. That latter limitation won’t really matter, because shortly into the DLC you meet a cute clone of ED-E, your trusty floating robot friend, who will help you in numerous ways; from attacking enemies, to unlocking various shops, to providing very helpful buffs and perks. This upgraded version of ED-E is a blast to play with, and is easily the best part of the expansion, especially given his pretty expansive [and depressing] backstory that’s told to you throughout your journey through the divide.
Once you’re dropped into the DLC, your mission is pretty clear – find Ulysses and figure out what he wants. As you trek your way across the great divide and beyond, you’re given little tidbits of information on why your apparent rival has acted the way he has through ED-E’s communications raido, in addition to some extra (interesting) backstory on ED-E. None of it is really earth shattering, unfortunately, but it does help clear up some lingering questions and wrap up the courier’s storyline in a neat little package.
Juxtaposed to the intimate narrative, Lonesome Road offers some pretty drab locales that you’ve seen before – other than one short mine-shaft explosion segment [that's highly reminiscent of the Resident Evil series] and the final room everything is extremely familiar. A short while into the DLC, Lonesome Road hands you a detonator device, which allows you to blow up specific warheads that remove obstacles from your path – most of them seem arbitrarily placed however, and there’s really never a sense of excitement when you blow them up, because the vast majority of the time, they’re simply just in your way.
The enemies are standard fare, basically consisting entirely of ghouls and a slight remake of the “lickers” from Fallout 3′s The Pitt. Lonesome Road attempts to make the ghoul enemies seem a bit cooler than they are, by claiming that these “Marked Men” have had their flesh ripped from them by the strong winds of the divide. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed by them, given that their tactics/gear are pretty much the same as every other humanoid enemy in the game; at the end of the day, they still act and look like ghouls.
Other than a few distractions such as the “seek and find” mini-game where you can find all of the remaining warheads to detonate, or collect all of ED-E’s upgrades, Lonesome Road is fairly linear, which is a disappointment compared to the open-world style of Old World Blues or Honest Hearts. As previously mentioned, your mission is pretty clear from the get-go, and the only non-predictable tidbits are few and far between. However, despite the linear nature of the expansion itself, there is a ton of content here, that can easily last you around ten hours if you let it – so if you really, really love New Vegas and are content with roaming around something other than the Mojave, you won’t be disappointed with your purchase.
The final confrontation, however, is a bit of a disappointment to say the least – it morphs from an enthralling philosophical question into a “thug fight” really fast, for no apparent reason. The final encounter is billed throughout the entire DLC, from beginning to end, as this epic duel of ambiguous morality, but as the curtain falls, you’re basically battling more thugs, robots, and a guy with a big gun. Something similar to the mine-shaft segment would have really shined here, but unfortunately we’re stuck with this.
Thankfully, there are around four different endings you can obtain, depending on the course you take with the final choice of the game; but most importantly, the final choice you make completely changes the storyline when you return to the Mojave and even opens up a few completely new areas to explore. While it isn’t technically the final ending of the game, Lonesome Road’s conclusion, in my opinion, is even more satisfying than the actual ending. Part of the allure for New Vegas, for me, is that you’re able to delve into the story of the courier just as often as the epic battle for New Vegas itself – for those types of gamers, Lonesome Road is probably the epitome of Courier fan service.
Loot wise, Lonesome Road is pretty standard fare – you’re able to obtain the laser detonator, a rocket launcher called the “Red Glare” and a few hodge-podge items such as a nailgun and a welder. It’s not an enthralling collection of items, but they still help mix things up a bit once you bring them back to the Mojave.
Overall Lonesome Road is a fairly standard romp through the world of Fallout, but I can’t help but expect more out of the game’s supposed final expansion. While the experience overall is enjoyable, other than the very end; after everything is said and done and your choice is made, there isn’t anything truly exciting on offer on this DLC.