Downloadable content adds new life to the wasteland

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Fallout: New Vegas DLC!

War. War never changes. And neither does my love for this series. Brought back to life after ten years by Bethesda Softworks in 2008, and continued by Obsidian in 2010, the Post Atomic Role Playing Game never ceases to present a bleak yet continually enthralling vision of an alternate, irradiated, paranoid future.

Not many people like each other in the Mojave Wasteland, but most get along well enough so they don’t try to kill each other. Most. Here are a couple of downloadable expansion packs which showcase a few groups that don’t get along, and chronicle your efforts to change that, for better or worse.

  • Dead Money, released 2/22/2011

A grand, opulent resort in a remote corner of the Mojave, the Sierra Madre, sends a message through the wasteland. The Courier (you), whether out of curiosity or greed, answers the call, only to be put in a nigh-untenable situation: an angry, bearded man has slapped an explosive collar on your neck and ordered you to help him access the vaults located deep underground for some unknown reason. He’s drawn three other individuals for this same purpose: the schizophrenic Super Mutant Dog/God; out-of-work lounge singer and con-man Dean Domino (who is now a Ghoul); and experimental refugee Christine, and you must work with them all to open the casino. What you do with them afterwards, ‘Father’ Elijah leaves to you.

Four major obstacles present themselves in this bleak, haunted landscape encompassing the villa and casino: an all-permeating Cloud of rusty gas that kills or mutates all it touches; the Ghosts, mutated men sealed in their hazard suits which failed to protect them from the Cloud; implacable Security Holograms which cannot be destroyed and fire deadly lasers; and malfunctioning radios, some of which cannot be destroyed, which threaten to detonate your collar with their stray signals. Through all this and more you must survive; a surprising and deadly twist awaits you if you play your cards right, no pun intended.

  • Honest Hearts, released 5/17/2011

After the defeat of Caesar’s Legion by the NCR at the First Battle of Hoover Dam, Caesar was furious with his second-in-command, Joshua Graham. Caesar had Graham covered in pitch, set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon, where he was carried to the Zion Valley region, and surprisingly did not die! With his strength of will and the aid of his New Canaanite brethren, he survived. Unfortunately, years later, thanks to the evil Salt-Upon-Wounds and his White Legs tribe trying to get into the Legion, the New Canaanites were wiped out save for one other, Daniel. Graham now works with the Dead Horse tribe to seek revenge against the White Legs, but Daniel is mobilizing the Sorrows tribe to evacuate Zion.

You travel with the Happy Trails Caravan Company, trying to establish a trade route in Zion, but your party is ambushed by White Legs and you barely escape with your life. Thankfully, a Dead Horse tribesman, Follows-Chalk, assists you in this and accompanies you to meet with the legendary Burned Man, who turns out to be Joshua Graham himself. Graham needs your help if he’s to wipe out the marauding White Legs, but also directs you to Daniel, who wants to evacuate Zion with the Sorrows. Which side you choose is up to you.

These two DLCs help to further flesh out the world around the Mojave, and provide many more hours of gameplay. At least two more DLCs are in our future: Old World Blues, which deals with a massive, abandoned research facility, The Big Empty; and Lonesome Road, which brings you to the Divide, a barren, volatile stretch, and gives you a chance to settle up with the Courier who refused the job of delivery of the Platinum Chip, saddling you with all the troubles you’ve experienced thus far. Five out of five stars for Dead Money and Honest Hearts!