I was well over 300 pounds when I started using NROL4W, so I can't really answer about problem areas and looking ripped. However, I definitely saw strength increases. My first hint of this was when filling the propane tank for the BBQ. Normally I would lift it out of the car, then rest, carry it partway, and rest, finish carrying it. I can now lift it out of the car, carry it easily, and put it in the backyard without slowing down.
When I was done with it I went on to Power Training (Robert dos Remedios) which I loved, but have a tendency to overdo. I was doing the low rep one and lifting way too heavy, since at the moment I still have lots of fat loss to do before I really work on building more strength.
So, I've just started the original NROL program now. I picked the version for the 'serious about lifting but seriously overweight' so now I'm back to lifting three times a week followed by intervals (yuck), but enjoying it.