If you’ve gone through the core New Vegas campaign, one of the more interesting elements for the Caesar’s Legion portion is the legend of the “Burned Man.” Unfortunately, the game never really sheds much light on the legend which you really felt was coming “anytime now!”
While the main game may have disappointed you on that front, at least Obsidian Entertainment is making good with the second DLC pack for Fallout New Vegas, “Honest Hearts.”
Here you join the Happy Trails caravan that would like you to get them safely into Zion, and if possible, to New Canaan (in Utah). One of their caravans went missing before, so fearing the worst, you are hired as their protection.
While better than Dead Money stripping you from everything, the item situation still isn’t perfect. You are expected to limit your items to 75 pounds prior to starting the mission. If you have the Strong Back perk, however, you can carry 100 pounds. Also, like usual, you have to go it alone (though you’d think the caravan would welcome some additional guns). The only guidelines they give you as to what you will be facing is steep mountains, various tribes, and some great trading opportunities.
Right from the start, your caravan is slaughtered (you suck at your job), and the story begins.
Unlike Dead Money, the storyline is weak. Infact, it’s weaker than many side missions in the core game. The idea is there is a tribe that lives in Zion (The Sorrows) that is being terrorized by the violent tribe the “White Legs.” Joshua Graham (the Burned Man) came to help with the assistance of a tribe loyal to him, the “Dead Horses.”
While Zion itself is 100% radiation free and a nice change of scenery, the terrain does not lend itself well to exploration or short cuts. There are a few set paths around Zion (the road and the river) that will get you almost everywhere you want to go. Unfortunately, that may take you a VERY long way around to new destinations. It seems as though this was done to pad the overall expansion length, as the content itself isn’t even half as long as Dead Money (with the walking around everywhere and doing every mission available, it took me 3.5 hours). On the plus side, unlike Dead Money, fast travel is an option once you discover various locations.
You will meet up with three new companions along the way:
Follows-Chalk – Dead Horses tribal companion. Male follower of Joshua Graham. He shows up right after the attack on your caravan and stays with you only long enough to reach your first destination.
Walking Cloud – The Sorrows tribal companion. Female follower of the Mormon Daniel. Appears toward the beginning as a companion, and stays with you most of the expansion.
Joshua Graham – The Burned Man, appears toward the end as a companion.
Unlike Dead Money, there are no new enemy types other than members of the White Leg tribe (simple costume swap on existing models, saving development time I guess). Other enemies include the geckos, spore plants, yao guais, and the mantis. A little disappointing there.
There “are” some new weapons, but nothing very interesting (again, mostly of the melee variety). There is a new pistol (a light shining in darkness), but is’ basically just a .45 auto. There is a laser pistol variant (the compliance regular), some other weapons with slight modifications, and some new tribal weapons (like the tomahawk).
Other additions include: six regular perks, three companion perks, five new achievements/trophies, and your level cap is increased by five.
The difficulty level of this expansion is incredibly easy. The game doesn’t even offer a suggested starting level before trying it. I think I died once in it, and that was when I was almost dead after a fight, then sidestepped off a cliff (don’t judge me).
This expansion can be revisited after completion, though there is very little reason to do so.
The verdict? The difficulty is too easy, the storyline drudges on in a way I found uninteresting, not many new items to be discovered (though there are plenty of rare Mojave Wasteland items the enemies will carry just waiting to be looted), and the environment, while a refreshing change, is somewhat bland and difficult to traverse. As such, I can only recommend this expansion for fans of the core game that needs a somewhat short diversion to tide them over for a few hours.