The Issue With DLCs: A Fallout Perspective

I have to say one bad thing about Lonesome Road, and that is home the support NPC might die. See, throughout the campaign you learn about your robot companion, and at the very end he might have to sacrifice himself. The problem I had was that my dialogue options reflected somebody with a severe case of melodrama. It felt like the sorrow I might had felt from the robot’s sacrifice was taken away, and replaced by something fake that the developers thought I would feel. If that experience showed me something it’s that trying to create a dramatic conclusion is difficult, if thus far the player did not feel fully attached to the character. I honestly felt more attached to all the characters from the original game, as well as Dead Money, than from any of the other DLCs, simply because the dialogue choices I had were far more subtle and more immersive, I would say.

The last mini-campaign was Dead Money. This one felt like Lonesome Road, in terms of initial difficulty. “Oh hey, welcome to a new, hostile and unknown environment. You do not have any of your original gear. Here is some scrap, for weapons and armor. Good luck!”. To be honest? I loved it. Everything was explained, almost from the beginning. Each one of the NPCs was fascinating to learn about. I felt great sadness when I had to kill one of them, but throughout the whole campaign it was all an experience worth the money, just like Old World Blues. While the loot was almost non-existent in Dead Money (good loot, that is) there was plenty of sneaking, thinking and planning. It was shorter than Old World Blues, and while there were all manner of short stories scattered, here and there, as you unearthed the truth about the Casino and its people, it all lead to a very climatic conclusion.

However, the DLCs greatest strength was also it’s greatest problem. See, you have a bomb collar strapped to your neck. The problem is that the Radios all around the map can trigger it prematurely. Sometimes you had an easy time finding these radios, but during the later stages of the game it became increasingly frustrating, almost to the point where I quit the game entirely. Some of the Radios were so close to one another that you literally had to make a dash for a terminal, seconds before you collar exploded, to turn the radios off. During some moments you would find “blind spots” among the radios, while other times you might had stumbled into a radio that you could not spot until your third or fourth death.  In the end the loot was worth the effort (depending on how much you could carry away of it) and I felt that overall the story was good. If not for the troublesome mechanics it would had been excellent. While you learn what happened to some of your companions I wanted to bring some of them back to the Mojave, something that was, sadly, impossible.

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition showed all manner of DLCs, each one with its different strengths and weaknesses. All of them added something new to the game, or had their own mechanics. The main exception here being Courier’s Stash. While it did offer new equipment it only did so at the very beginning, giving you a much easier start. In all the other DLCs you had to earn for your loot and prizes, one way or another. The Courier’s Stash was not about earning your loot, you simply received it. I should not complain too much about this, since sometimes having slightly better starting loot could make your gameplay more interesting, but in the case of the Courtier’s Stash there might had been an option, where you choose which set you start with, depending on your background, or you might had found these different small stashes around the Mojave. Otherwise it just felt lazy.

Remember that video from EatMyDiction? That is the problem I see with “free content DLCs”. By free I mean that you obtain them for free in the game. If you study how much experience, reputation, clothing and cars Diction received from those DLCs to me it looked like jumping forward, over a certain portion of the game, if you decided to pay a little more (or a lot more, if there was no special offer on the DLCs).

I would want to urge developers to produce DLCs that introduce new content, new mechanics, new campaigns. All of that is wonderful, but spoon feeding the player with bonus items from the start? In some games that might work, but the general rule should be, “Earn it on your own, bub”.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

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About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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