Friday, January 4, 2013

Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues

I rarely finish computer games, so I don't have much need for added content, especially in role-playing games (which tend to be truly enormous in size already).

But one advantage to being late getting to Fallout: New Vegas, in addition to finding it on sale at 75% off, was getting all of the DLCs (downloadable content) in the package, too! And I'm still playing the game a lot, if not exclusively. I haven't changed my mind about how much fun this game is.

But a couple of weeks ago, when my character arrived in the New Vegas strip, I decided that I wasn't quite ready to continue with the main storyline. I wasn't unhappy with how things were going, not at all, but I wanted to finish up a few side-quests first.

So I loaded up an earlier save and did that, then decided to try the Old World Blues DLC. Keep in mind that I'd never played one of those before. I was expecting... well, just another quest, if one that was probably larger than most. (And sorry, but I didn't think to take screenshots, so my illustrations here are from the web.)

When I triggered the beginning of it, the game warned me that I'd lose my companions, temporarily, but that I'd keep my inventory. (I'm still traveling with ED-E, the little flying robot I've had almost from the beginning, but I've also picked up Boone, the sniper, since I play as a sniper myself, and he hates Caesar's Legion as much as I do.)

It was also suggested that my character be at least level 15, but I was at level 22, so no problem, right? Well, let me just say that I was very glad I was playing on Easy! This was a lot harder than the base game, even though my character level was half again what they suggested.

Furthermore, the Old World Blues DLC was enormous! Just another quest? Hardly. I started it at level 22, but I didn't finish until I was at level 33 (and you can't leave in the middle of it). I was just astonished at the size of the thing.

In the meantime, I ran completely out of ammunition for my sniper rifle, even though I couldn't use the rifle as much as usual, since much of the combat was short-range. (I suppose that's part of the reason I found it more difficult than the base game, too.)

At first, I didn't realize that enemies would keep spawning. Later, I tried to avoid them, as much as possible, but I still ran out of ammunition. (If you think I could have used melee weapons, instead, you simply have no idea how bad at these things I really am.)

Yes, there's one place in the DLC to sell your loot and buy more ammunition, but quantities were limited. In fact, I started using energy weapons, too, for the first time, using my level increases to bump up my skill level as quickly as possible. That was fun, I must admit, but even now that I'm back in the main game, I'm struggling to rebuild my stock of sniper rifle ammunition.

Now, I don't want to give away too much about the story, but it's kind of funny. You know how you begin the game by getting shot in the head and buried in a shallow grave? Well, in the Old World Blues DLC, you begin by having your heart, your spine, and your brain surgically removed. And your quest is basically an attempt to retrieve your brain again.

The whole thing takes place in the Big MT (either "big mountain" or "big empty," both pronunciations being appropriate). When you finish the Old World Blues main quest, you can leave again and return at any time (without companions, though), if you haven't explored everything.

I didn't know that, so I made a point of exploring as much as I could before I finished the quest. But it's a huge area, and only some of the locations are necessary to complete the quests. (You're directed to those, as needed.) Note that there are some unique weapons and other items available, too, if you look around carefully.

When you begin, and you come to your senses, you're dressed in a hospital robe (but still carrying the rest of your inventory), and... the rest is up to you. But it's not a big puzzle, not a big problem. The first place you go gives you an enormous info dump - too long, in fact - and gives you a safe place to stay. The rest is just exploration.

But the enemies are tough, and they keep spawning. You can clear out one section of Big MT, but the next time you leave, there will be enemies there again. That's part of the reason why I leveled up so rapidly, I suppose, but it's also why I ran short of ammunition. (Oh, don't worry, there are a lot of different weapons you can use. Or, if you're not as inept as I am, you could try one of the many melee weapons.)

The enemies weren't too tough for me, no, but then, I'm playing on Easy difficulty. On harder difficulty levels, well,... I wonder. In some cases, enemies ambush you. Sometimes, doing something to advance the plot will cause them to spawn right on top of you. In other cases, you can't leave a building without getting ambushed by multiple foes.

I don't think I'll say anything about the story, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I enjoyed it, but the whole thing is really, really long. Be prepared for that when you start it. I had fun, but I'm glad it's over.

You also come across bits and pieces of other stories as you explore. I'm not entirely sure if I missed something, or if some of that will become clear later (perhaps in other DLCs?). Well, I wouldn't be surprised if I missed something, since that's almost inevitable, but I did search the whole place pretty thoroughly.

As I say, I've never played an add-on before, not like this. Sometimes, I get DLC with a role-playing game (as a package, like this was), but since I never finish even the base game, I don't seem to have much reason to try the add-ons. But this one was truly enormous. Are the others like this? I have no idea.

Well, I think I'm almost ready to return to the strip and continue with the main quest now. Except that... hmm, I guess I skipped the Van Graffs in Freeside - I didn't even enter the building - since I wasn't using energy weapons then. But now, I am. At least, I've got 100 skill in both guns and energy weapons, since I needed to use both in Old World Blues.

So maybe I'll check that out before I head to the strip. Caesar's Legions have been ambushing us everywhere, since Boone and I have been killing so many of them, and that's been both fun and lucrative. So I might let it continue for a little while longer.

I'm playing other games, too, of course. I've been playing the original Deus Ex, and now I've jumped back into UnReal World (I just couldn't help myself). But I keep playing Fallout: New Vegas as well. I'm really impressed by this game. It's held my attention better than anything I can remember - better, even, than all the other Fallout games, which I also loved.


bolt buckner said...

Do you actually get something for finishing it quickly because in the beginning they insist that you hurry to finish the dlc and that you can explore more later but I never tried to finish it as quickly as possible

WCG said...

I don't know, Bolt. As I mentioned, it's an enormous DLC, and I always try to explore everywhere, so it took me a long time. I don't know what you might get for finishing quickly.

I really leveled up during Old World Blues, and I found some nice weapons. However, I got really short of ammo (one of the reasons I started using energy weapons, too). Enemies keep spawning, so I suppose that might be one reason for trying to finish it quickly.

Supposedly, after you finish it, you're free to come and go as you like, but I never tried that. And I don't know if hostile creatures would still spawn then.

Thanks for the comment. Please let me know what you find out, if you try that.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know on where to find your companion after completing Old World Blues???

WCG said...

In all cases, as far as I know, whenever you dismiss them - not just in this DLC - your companions go back to where you originally found them. The only exception to this is if you've been in New Vegas and have that alternate location to stash companions.

In that case, if I remember correctly, you'll have the option to send them there, instead. But ordinarily, you can always return to where you originally got them and ask them to join you again.