If you've wanted to head into the desert, let Bethesda take your hand and lead you. The Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas has just launched, combining last year's bestseller with all four DLC packs and two add-on packs bringing new weapons, ammunition and recipes to the party.
Whether you're a seasoned explorer, or this is the first time you've set foot in the dust, there's something here for everybody - with maps that spread out from the Sierra Madre Casino and the Divide to Zion National Park and Big MT research crater.
So! What's in store here? Let's look at what's been thrown in alongside the full, original game, shall we?
First cab off the ranks: Dead Money, which sees you left cheated, the victim of a raw deal. Face all-new terrain, enemies and some challenging decisions with three other captured wastelanders, as you attempt to recover the legendary Sierra Madre Casino. Play your cards right, and you might just survive, otherwise...
Your caravan has been ambushed in the heart of the unspoiled Utah wilderness, leaving you stranded in the Zion National Park, tribal raiding bands running riot. The road back to the Mojave is about as smooth as you'd expect - not very - and you're quickly wrapped up in a tribal war. Which side will you take - the New Canaanite missionary, or the mysterious Burned Man? Your choices can change the fate of Zion as a whole.
Old World Blues
Back in Mojave, the desolate, trackless desert known as the "Big Empty" has long been considered a no-man's-land, a lifeless stretch of space where nothing can survive. It doesn't take long for you to figure out that's not actually the case - the "Big Empty" is actually full, of mutated monsters.
The original Courier Six - a man named Ulysses - refused to deliver the Platinum Chip way back at the start of New Vegas. He's got one last job for you - taking you through the hurricane-swept depths of the Divide - and if you manage to return (avoiding the violent storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters that may come your way), he'll tell you why he didn't take his earlier assignment.
Courier's Stash + Gun Runner's Arsenal
The last two DLC packs included in the Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas actually contain five content bundles. Four of them - which add up to Courier's Stash - were originally only available as pre-order bonuses for the game.
The Tribal Pack, Mercenary Pack, Classic Pack and Caravan Pack all feature their own unique weapons and apparel, and bring their own advantages to the overall game.
Gun Runner's Arsenal also features a bunch of advantages: Even more unique weapons (plus mods), as well as ammo types and recipes to be crafted as you wander the desolate Mojave Wasteland.
In addition to the hefty storyline, these additional packs - thrown in as standard with the Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas - add a whole bunch more consequences and responsibilities. On the other side of the coin, however, there are also plenty more opportunities to live in glory (or infamy) with a reputation spreading across the Wasteland. Think carefully before making choices - their influences might just stick with you forever.
(By the way, if you want to play a somewhat more tricky version of the game, complete with rebalanced weapons, new expired stimpacks and a handful of other interesting tweaks, take a look at J.E. Sawyer's mod for the game. Sawyer was lead designer on Fallout: New Vegas and the Honest Hearts DLC pack, and was never really happy with the way the game turned out. Rather than working through the studio and forcing his decisions on the world, he bundled up a bunch of ideas - lower level cap, reduced XP gain, boosted weaponry - and released them as a tiny 88k mod, which can be applied to the Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas. It's not recommended for beginners, but once you've taken a look around the wasteland, it's worth checking out.)
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Jimmy the Geek