This is going to sound bold, but Old World Blues is one of the best pieces of downloadable content that I have ever played. Obsidian has done something fantastic here: in a game where I couldn’t care less about loyalty, morality, or what my character did, they gave me a piece of downloadable content that made me have an emotional response. I didn’t care what happened to the Sierra Madre in Dead Money or the Sorrows in Honest Hearts, but Gabe – Gabe was the one who really got me. Beyond its ability to tug at my heartstrings, Old World Blues has lots to love – but don’t expect everything to come easily.
I should be clear that Old World Blues is not a particularly serious piece of downloadable content, despite the above paragraph. Much like several episodes of the television show Futurama, Old World Blues manages to be simultaneously hilarious and somber. The overall premise is a silly one: you are taken to the world of Big MT (pronounced “Big Empty” or “Big Mountain” depending on who you ask), and you’re subsequently stripped of your brain, your spine, and your heart. You’re trapped here by “doctors” – floating brains with monitors attached to them – who want you to defeat Doctor Mobius, who’s antagonizing the area and, unsurprisingly, has your brain. The rest of the game follows suit with its quirkiness, and it’s obvious that the developers were going for a B-movie vibe. Successfully, I might add. The characters are great, with The Sink (the Courier’s home base) filled with tons of unique personalities and quests that are full of guffaws. There’s no shortness of content either, and clearing everything in the DLC will likely take between 6-8 hours.
Despite the amount of humor in this DLC, be warned: the difficulty for Old World Blues is much higher than the original game or Honest Hearts. I found myself scrounging for stimpaks at every turn and quick traveling back to my base to have appointments with my autodoc often. It got to be frustrating at points, especially given that I didn’t have access to more than the single vendor in Big MT and my survival skill was bare minimum. I’d say that the content might be easier for a character with a different build, but when the game spawns roboscorpions every time a major quest is completed, supplies become limited quickly. Big MT houses many different weapons to help you through. My personal favorite is the K9000 Cyberdog Gun, into which a dog’s brain was implanted to assist targeting. There are several other weapons, and unlike Honest Hearts’ focus on standard guns, most of those in Big MT are energy weapons to match the environment.
Aside from an uneven difficulty, Old World Blues is an absolutely golden experience. If you own Fallout: New Vegas, go buy this piece of DLC. It’s a fantastic romp for science fiction fans and I enjoyed every second of it. Despite all of its humor and wackiness, however, it still has an ability to be serious and emotional when it needs to be. It looks like Obsidian and Bethesda have figured out exactly what a piece of DLC needs to be – and it’s going to be very tough to top this one.