The second DLC update to last year’s RPG of the year Fallout New Vegas was released this weekend despite recent proximity to Fable 3’s PC debut as well as The Witcher 2, which both came out earlier this month.

For a mere $10, Honest Hearts will increase your Fallout New Vegas level cap another 5 levels, as well as add another 4 or so hours of content that takes place in Utah’s glorious Zion National Park. This park located north of the Mohave Desert is known for its most prominent feature, a 15-mile wide canyon carved deep within the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River; the perfect place for our second expansion pack.

Our side adventure starts when you hear a new radio broadcast calling for brave souls to join up with the Happy Trails Expedition. Apparently you’ve teamed up with a few shady characters, but there are caps in it for you, so you don’t mind. Everything is going just fine until the group is ambushed by a bunch of tomahawk wielding tribal men. Everyone is slaughtered and you are saved by an English-speaking tribal scout. You make the mistake of following him back to his settlement and it isn’t long before you are caught in another three way struggle for the fate of Zion. One group wants to conquer the canyon, another wishes to flee, and the third wishes to stand up and fight. And you are left to choose sides or go home.

When you first arrive in Zion, the place seems rather cramp. The mountainous walls throughout the map make navigation tricky and mildly frustrating at times. The character in Fallout really can’t jump to save his life but the graphics are breathtaking in the usual Fallout manner. Early on in your adventures you are presented with a few amazing vista views of the Utah valley, post-nuclear, of course.

Like most role-playing adventures, it generally pays to stop and help the local populace with their problems. Some minor quests in this DLC involve luring baby animals with fruit, disarming bear traps placed at a major river crossing, and clearing out some of the local wildlife that are causing trouble. It all builds up to a climax where you must decide with which of the three factions you wish to side.

Through a small misunderstanding involving my sniper rifle, I found that I had created a forth faction towards the end of the game. Luckily, the developers actually planned for this and created an ending for me that involved mass slaughter. Oopsy! My mistake happened on the very last mission where Jacob, the leader of the tribe that wishes to stay and fight, and I infiltrated the enemy tribe’s stronghold. Our goal was literally mass extermination. My usual tactic of stalking and snipping didn’t suit Jacob’s play style and he abandoned me to chase after the enemy, only to get himself killed. Oh well, that is what makes roleplaying games fun!

As far as I can tell, there weren’t any graphic updates in this DLC, but they did add a few new creatures and textures to change it up a little bit. There are a ton of new recipes, if you are into those things, as well as achievements and perks. Unfortunately most of the landmarks throughout the National Park are picnic benches, trailers, and outhouses, abandoned since the end of the world. If the Zion National Park has any cool landmarks in real life, I sure didn’t recognize them while slaughtering tribal men, but the transparency effects on the mist and waterfalls were cause for pause.

Overall this DLC expansion really has little to do with the main storyline of Fallout New Vegas. Sure, they try to tie in the story of the Burning Man, the former commander of Caesar’s army that was punished for his failure at the Hoover Dam, but mostly you are running around doing quests for a few tribal leaders.

There are at least three companions in this detour, all of which leave you before you return to the Mohave, but they do make for an interesting enough distraction in an otherwise bland content pack. We do get new weapons, but I found nothing remotely special like the Fat Boy missile launcher.

What makes Honest Hearts fun really is that we get to revisit the Fallout world again. This episode is shorter than the previous DLC, Dead Money, which I found more entertaining and well in-line with the New Vegas storyline. But this content pack is long enough to keep you entertained for an evening behind the barrel of your favorite weapon, and therefore is easily worth the $10 price tag.