Honest Hearts DLC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Versions: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PC, PlayStation 3 (forthcoming)
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Price: 800 MSP ($10) – Buy Now!
Fallout: New Vegas was released back in October of 2010 and since then only one DLC pack was released. Now in the last few weeks three DLC packs were announced to be released for the next three months. The first of these DLC packages is Honest Hearts, and with it comes the story of a legend that many of us have heard about in our journeys through the Mojave wasteland. The legend of The Burned Man, still alive somewhere in the wasteland. Besides the legend in the flesh, does Honest Hearts have enough going for it to justify your time?
Rumors and legend of a burned man run rampant across the Mojave wasteland. Caesar’s Legate from the original attack on Hoover Dam was burned alive due to his failure to take over the dam from the NCR. But the rumors say that this man did not die that day, but he still is alive somewhere in the wastes.
The story of Honest Hearts starts the same as previous DLC missions have; the discovery of a radio transmission. The discovery comes instantaneously as you begin your game. It is worth noting that this is not end game content and will require you to have a non-completed save file to access the content, otherwise you will need to start over from scratch.
After you track the radio transmission to its source you will find yourself working for the Happy Trails Caravan Company. They need some additional help because things have been rough in Zion lately and they could always use another gun. After you leave the Mojave Wasteland things quickly go wrong as they usually do. Being a caravan in the wasteland must be the most dangerous profession there is.
After an incident occurs you find yourself the sole survivor of the caravan team and with no way to get back home you must trust the local tribes or do things your own way and make your way out of the Zion National Park. The three tribes that are occupying Zion are the Dead Horses, The Sorrows and the White Legs. The White Legs have connections to Caesar’s Legion however and are out for blood.
The main attraction here is obviously Joshua Graham himself, the Burned Man. Shortly after beginning your journey you will encounter this man and he needs your help. The Dead Horses and The Sorrows have been under attack by the brutal White Legs and you are the only one who can help sway the events unfolding for these tribes.
Joshua Graham is a very interesting character. He is a man full of righteous vengeance and can be quick to take the most violent route possible. But there is much more to this man who used to follow a way of peace. The bandages that Joshua wears can be seen as a metaphor for the layers that have hid his personality and transformed him into what he is today.
The storyline itself may not be as long as some may prefer but it is actually quite revealing in regards to how the player would handle such a unique situation. There are a few different choices one can take to quell the violence though two mirror each other exactly up until the end and a handful of side quests to help pad out length but players may still find themselves finishing Honest Hearts a bit to quickly for their liking.
Players will find themselves a bit awestruck the first time that they look around themselves after they make it into Zion National park. This is because the environment is very amazing to look at. Zion National Park may still have some devastation to it but it also is a beautiful place to see. The textures are good looking on the rocks and there is only a small amount of pop to them. For the most part the smaller details are also a huge plus as there are a number of cave painting-like artworks scrawled across the cliffs in places. Plus there are actually fish in the water!
Despite having a very impressive looking environment, there really isn’t a whole lot of new enemies or NPCs here. Besides the various tribes’ different appearances and Joshua Graham himself, we have seen everything there is to see before as far as humanoids go. There is a new enemy this time around, or should I say an old friend. The Yao Guai return and have seen a minor graphical upgrade but unfortunately remain more or less the same beasts you will remember from Fallout 3.
Now there really isn’t a whole lot of new voicework to speak of, and barely any music as your radio is disabled when you enter Zion, but something that does deserve a mention is the voice of The Burned Man. The voice actor that they matched with this man does a magnificent job delivering the emotional impact that The Burned Man is meant to drive home.
Before you agree to go along with the Happy Trails Caravan Company you must lighten your load. Players are only allowed to carry 75 lbs. of equipment with them which is limiting but not as bad as Dead Money which stripped you of everything you wore. Players are also unable to bring along their companions meaning you will need to go alone.
Zion doesn’t contain any game changing mechanics like Dead Money did. You are able to venture anywhere you choose to right from the start though a companion you pick up shortly after entering will try to nudge you the right way. There are plenty of places to explore in Zion, including a number of different caves and abandoned campgrounds. Exploration is even rewarded as reaching high points on the map with a specific companion will reveal nearby locations on your Pip-Boy.
A variety of new healing and crafting items are available, focusing on the fact that the tribes in Zion have had to survive off of what is growing around them in Zion. This includes Datura roots and their byproducts. Besides healing items however you will also be given a couple of new weapons, including the Yao Guai gauntlet, .45 auto machine gun and pistol, tomahawks and war clubs and even a few unique weapons. This means that you will find yourself taking more than a few things back to the Mojave wasteland after your done with Zion.
Thankfully it isn’t a one way trip like in past games. After the player finishes the main storyline in Zion they are able to return as many times as they wish. Of course the quests will not reactivate but it is a good way to gather some more of the unique items found only in Zion to take back with you.
Honest Hearts is exactly what the fans of Fallout: New Vegas should be waiting for. The map itself is wide open and allows players to go wherever they please right from the beginning which reinforces the whole exploration aspect of the title. It is unfortunate however that no new enemies were introduced minus the Yao Guai and that the story itself can be completed in around 5 hours with all routes explored. At least with the ability to return to Zion when you finish the story you are given an infinite amount of time to venture around and explore every canyon and cliff face.
I give Fallout: New Vegas’ Honest Hearts DLC: