All done with Fallout New Vegas DLC now– just finished Honest Hearts.

It feels like the fastest and slightest of the four DLCs, though that may be because my level is in the upper 40s and even a Giant Cazador doesn’t faze me.  (I recall a time in the very early game when I was trying to explore the mountains and first discovered Cazadores as well as how unavoidably they could massacre a low-level character.)

Spectactular place, Zion:


The main quest gets you involved in a tribal war– repercussions of the larger war outside, as one side is allied with Caesar and the other is assisted by Caesar’s ex-general Joshua.  There’s some heavy material here– the role of religion, civilization vs. tribalism, vengeance vs. protection vs. pacifism– but overall I think the developers bit off more than they could chew.  You basically make one big fat choice, and it appears the actual battle plays out about the same either way.  There’s no option to join or help the Bad Tribals.  (Not that I wanted to, but the main game and the rest of the DLC allow you to take the really evil path if you want to.)

Plus I think the game doesn’t quite manage to avoid the colonialist mindset.  The tribes are obvious nods to Native Americans, though it seems only the Dead Horses are supposed to be actual Natives.  The ‘good tribes’ have Indian-like names and speak broken English, and mainly attack with melee weapons– out-Westerning the Westerns, as 19th century Native Americans were quite happy to use guns.  The tribes seem to be easily manipulated; all three tribes are effectively under the leadership of Caucasians.

I don’t think the developers intended to be quite this regressive; but I think ending up with this infantilizing picture is almost inevitable if you start out with the idea of “tribes vs. civilization” and don’t really look beyond pop culture for your research.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be terribly negative.  The DLCs as a whole are pretty impressive, and I think all of them are more satisfying than the main New Vegas storyline.  Plus Zion turns out to be a treasure trove of Xander Root and Broc Flower– which we learn early on in FNV are the principal ingredients in Stimpaks, but which are annoyingly rare in the Mojave.