Lonesome Road is the final piece of DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. It promises to fill out more of the Courier’s personal story — revealing details of how the Courier was chosen to deliver the Platinum Chip and what the Courier was up to before that whole “shot and left in a grave to die” thing. You will also finally get to meet the enigmatic Ulysses, the man who ensured that the Courier got the Platinum Chip job.
Lonesome Road takes you to the Divide, a recently-nuked environment that sports far more rubble and radiation than the Mojave. Walking through a more completely devastated area was a rude shock. This DLC is all geared toward sending you to confront Ulysses, so the environments are extremely linear and there is little scope for exploration.
As the last of the DLC, Lonesome Road seems intended for later level characters. The enemies are tough, especially the new Tunnelers that you meet in the back half — they have lots of health, hit hard and can pop up from underground to give you a sudden pasting. There’s Marked Men, extreme ghouls who carry high-quality ordnance and can use stealth boys to sneak up on you. There’s also Deathclaws. You know them.
During Lonesome Road you will be given a LOT of background about the Courier’s life before. Most of it is delivered in long monologues made by Ulysses through ED-E, so you just sit there watching ED-E while Ulysses’ voice speechifies at you. I understand that this was a budget thing, as they had only a limited number of actors to do voice work for this DLC, but it does grate after a while. Also Ulysses, would it kill you to use a couple more personal pronouns when you talk? I got a bit confused as to who was doing all the verbs you were saying.
The Courier’s backstory was not of huge import to me. I didn’t feel a great need to know it —the Courier I was attached to was the character that had emerged from my actions and decisions in the Mojave. Who cares what I did before that? However, that’s just me. I appreciate that people play RPG for the lore and these folks would get heaps more out of Lonesome Road, as it ties up some threads and answers some questions about the Courier and the broader conflict between NCR and Caesar’s Legion.
The final confrontation with Ulysses was a little anticlimactic, a bit like those later episodes of the X-Files when they finally started explaining everything and it wasn’t quite as good as you’d hoped. Ulysses haunts the rest of F:NV’s world so thoroughly that perhaps I had built it up too much.
On the plus side, there were multiple options for resolving the confrontation with Ulysses, including Speech checks. A choice you make at the end can open up new locations in the Mojave — this is a good idea for DLC in RPGs and there should be more of it.
ED-E is a crucial character in Lonesome Road and along the way you can find him some serious upgrades, like being able to repair weapons, make ammo for energy weapons and increased damage and armour. ED-E’s free repairs are an invaluable timesaver for those of you who tote around unique gear, or like to use shishkebabs as I do.
There is some other reasonable loot, including a cool unique rocket launcher for the explosives experts. Marked Men carry high-level guns and energy weapons like anti-materiel rifles and gatling lasers and you will find some quality melee gear too. It’s a bit chicken-and-egg though, because to survive Lonesome Road you will need to be pretty well equipped already. You can also get some decent armour and cool-looking clothes, like a NCR General’s outfit, if you’re into that sorta thing. There’s some other handy stuff like a bedroll that lets you sleep anywhere outside and stimpaks that automatically inject if your health drops below a certain level.
As with all F:NV DLC, Lonesome Road lifts the level cap by 5 and provides some new perks. None of the perks are gamebreakers, but hoarders may appreciate one that increases your carry weight by 50 and there’s some level 50 perks that reset your karma and provide damage and combat bonuses.
All up, Lonesome Road is interesting but short and is perhaps the weakest add-on for F:NV. I say this purely because it doesn’t allow for much discovery of hidden goodies or environmental storytelling, which is kinda my favourite thing about Fallout since it went 3D. Instead you get linear areas and direct storytelling. Despite this, it is still worth getting, not just for the lifted level cap, but because it fills out the Courier’s story and has an impact on the Mojave after you leave. The pay off will be biggest for three types of people: those players who are aching to know more about Ulysses and the Courier’s past, those who like having ED-E as a companion, and those people with Explosives builds who want a kickass new toy.