Old World Blues is the third instalment of Fallout New Vegas DLC, one in which takes the player on a sci-fi adventure to the new location of Big Empty (also known as Big M.T.) brimming with comedy and scientific stupidity that fits brilliantly with the Fallout universe, reminiscent of the series roots. You’ll be pulled into the DLC in the usual way by receiving an ordinary unidentified radio broadcast whilst wondering the Mojave Wastelands, but from there on out very little is ordinary.
Upon activating the signal you’ll awake in a strange scientific apartment with no recollection of how you got there, with nothing more than a handful of broken applications and a door to the ‘Think Tank’. Here you’ll stumble upon five scientists embodied in robot sentries, commander of which is Doctor Klein, who casually explain the situation to you. They lobotomized you. Your brain… it’s gone. Oh and if being brainless wasn’t enough of a concern, they decided to remove your spine and heart too. Don’t worry too much though as by some sheer magic you are able to maintain normal functions and even gain perks from no longer having the burden of vital organs.
Over some lengthy, and witty, dialogue you’ll learn that your brain has gone missing and is presumed to be with Doctor Mobius, the evil mastermind behind much terror and evil doings within Big Empty. Doctor Klein explains that they are unable to put an end to his terror, and in turn retain your brain to its rightful owner; this is where you come in. You can have your brain back, and your freedom, if you put an end to Doctor Mobius’s terror, which involves collecting three core items from separate locations within Big Empty and then surviving the final encounter with Doctor Mobius and his race of robotic giant radscorpions – nothing too out of the ordinary for Fallout.
Without a doubt Old World Blues is the most humorous and fittingly silly of all the Fallout DLCs to date, something that I’ve felt the serious Mojave Wastelands has lacked. The varied personalities of the five doctors are brilliant to converse with and manipulate with various skills, trying to get on their good side whilst avoiding their wrath and continual dislike for humankind. My favourite of the bunch are Doctor 8, whose damaged voice module means translating gibberish and symbols and Doctor Dala who is hiding (not very well) her overwhelming sexual desires for your lovable human self.
When out and about in Big Empty there are is a variety of new items to be obtained, particularly if you venture off to explore the multiple additional and untouched locations outside of the core storyline. The most useful of these is a sneak suit that increases stealth, has great damage reduction and an added bonus of an AI that both talks to you and automatically administers stimpaks when you need them. You can also collect various modules littered in the most obscure locations that can be used to equip ‘The Sink’, the starting location and personal apartment within the DLC, with AI controlled devices that can provide fantastic perks such as free healing and facial surgery or even a somewhat handy book wiping machine that can turn boring pre-war books into binders of blank pages.
Those chasing down the critical path can be finished in five to six hours, with an additional hour if after all of the achievements available. If you’re the kind to mop-up all quests and explore all content, you’re looking at easily ten to fifteen hours of content. You’ll also increase the level cap by five upon installing the DLC, adding more benefit to completing more of the side objectives in the core game or returning to Big Empty upon completion for additional experience.
From Fallout 3 to New Vegas the DLC has always been triumphant, particularly compared to the mediocre offerings of most games, with vast new locations to replayability into the tens of hours. Old World Blues manages to surpass all prior DLC, even the fantastic Point Lookout from the original. If you’re a Fallout fan looking for yet another excuse to prologue your playtime, there’s no better excuse than to throw money at Bethesda and pick this up.