Fallout: New Vegas – Honest Hearts
Our all or nothing review policy on DLC leaves no room to reflect any notions of ‘not quite’ or ‘only just’, so we feel obliged to mention sooner rather than later that Honest Hearts is only just one to avoid.
It’s better than New Vegas’s previous DLC pack, Dead Money, but is still burdened by many of the same problems, the main one being that it’s just too small. It’s not a question of value – you do get a reasonable amount of content for your MS points – but a question of what it is that makes the main Fallout games work.
They’re huge, open, complex games with multiple quest threads and subplots that overlap and tie together, and all of this works so well because they’re so big. Honest Hearts is essentially a mini Fallout game and, as such, doesn’t really work very well.
Like Dead Money, Honest Hearts takes place on an enclosed map, completely separate from the main game, but unlike Dead Money sticks to pretty much the same formula as the main game. You get caught up in a conflict between various factions and the main quest thread sees you helping to resolve it in return for help returning to the Mojave Wasteland.
Along the way there are choices to be made – whether to do the optional side-quests or not, whether to do the optional objectives within quests or not, and what to say to various characters about various things.
Some of the above will then affect the epilogue plot summary you get at the end. This formula works for the main game because it’s so huge and so complex and because you have so much freedom. On a smaller map with a much shorter main quest at about four hours, there’s no room for freedom or complexity and you just feel like you’re going through the motions.
The three tribes in Honest Hearts are the Dead Horses and the Sorrows, who are friendly; and the White Legs, who are hostile. They’re not much different to the factions in the main game really, except that they have generally cruder equipment, talk a lot of spiritualist nonsense and ask gormless questions about the “civilised lands”.
The White Legs are essentially just another Raider faction with a different look and the factions, like everything else in Honest Hearts, just feel like more of the same only actually…less.