After the delightful twist to Fallout: New Vegas that was Old World Blues, there was really no telling what Obsidian was planning next with New Vegas’ on-going series of DLC packages.
Lonesome Road is different. It’s different from what you’ve become used to in New Vegas, and it’s different from Old World Blues. Lonesome Road isn’t what I had anticipated it to be.
Lonesome Road is different, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
Lonesome Road drops a bombshell on you when you receive a message from none other than Ulysses, the courier originally tasked with delivering the Platinum Chip but who refused to do so. He claims that he can answer all your questions. He’ll only do this, however, after you’ve made your way to a place called The Divide. In order to get there, you’ll need to trek through the Lonesome Road.
After that message, you’re given a marker to head to and from there the option to either go ahead or stay back – but let’s face it: you bought the DLC so of course you’re going in. Going in, the atmosphere immediately changes. You walk past the barrier and are greeted with scary surroundings. It’s strange because you’re constantly surrounded by destruction in New Vegas, but for some reason when I first took a look at the path ahead me I literally did exclaim “Whoa!” out loud.
Given the story - “alright, I need to follow this road” - Lonesome Road is understandably linear; you’re not given a mission and then free to do what you want like in Old World Blues, instead you're told to just keep going until you reach Ulysses. I can see that Obsidian did try to keep things fresh though, with nicely placed obstacles such as eerie abandoned military bunkers, collapsed buildings and warheads that need to be blown up using the Laser Detonator that can sometimes uncover a few secrets here and there should you choose to bother with them (and which normally trigger set pieces where you’re ambushed - this gets old and predictable after a while).
Despite what seems to be an interesting build up at the start, Lonesome Road falls flat on its face when it comes to explaining the damn story. The actual story surrounding how The Divide came to be the way it is is better told than the one about why the hell your character is even bothering to get to Ulysses once it’s made clear pretty early on that the guy wants you dead. The difficulty of Lonesome Road was also disappointing; given the fact that you’re able to go back at any time to restock on Stimpaks, get armor fixed or whatever else you might need doing, the robot companion you’re paired up with is pretty much useless apart from making you smile every now and again with its cuteness. I must say, though, that the increase in Deathclaw appearances will constantly shock you - I can't be the only one who gets a sense of hopelessness and weakness when going up against one, let alone several at once. Obsidian haven't just increased the population of already-known enemies, though, and as always have added new ones such as the Marked Men who have a very interesting back story to learn about and different variations do provide for more intense combat scenarios. Tunnelers are another addition that are normally found during the underground segments and seem to attack in large groups. Nothing freaks you out more than having to face these things in the dark, with the only light source being their eyes.
It took me around 5-6 hours to complete Lonesome Road, with attempts to blow up as many warheads, find as many posters and pick up as many upgrades for my robot companion as possible. Don’t expect a gripping story or anything of the like with Lonesome Road. It adds what other add-ons for New Vegas have done in the past, including an increased level cap, a few more weapons and the extra area on your map. It suffers from all the usual bugs you’ve come to expect, including some extra stability bugs which are noticeable before you even get to the DLC area. This add-on is simply for those New Vegas fans out there who want something more to do, or something more to explore.