RELEASED: December 2010
AVAILABLE ON: PC, PS3, X360
DEVELOPER(S): Obsidian Entertainment, Bethesda Game Studios
PUBLISHER(S): Bethesda Softworks
Just a day before the release of the highly anticipated follow-up (and spin-off) to Fallout 3, Bethesda Softworks announced that Fallout: New Vegas would be blessed with downloadable content. Four DLC packs have since been released, and the first was Dead Money, in which the player is given the chance to visit a ghost town near the Nevada border and rob a high-security casino with a dark past. Another ten bucks on the line - what will you do, and what should you do?
Blowing the bank at Sierra Madre
Richard Herd : Father Elijah
Dave B. Mitchell : Dog / God
Laura Bailey : Christine Royce / Vera Keyes
Barry Dennen : Dean Domino
The Courier's journey across Nevada is interrupted by a mysterious radio signal broadcasted from an abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker in the southeast. When the Courier investigates the origin of the signal, he is captured by an insane former Brotherhood member whose only agenda in life is to rob the fabled Sierra Madre Casino, which was supposed to open on the day the bombs fell. With a particularly fatal slave collar on his neck, the Courier is forced to assemble a team from the town of Villa and find a way to break into its high-security shell of a casino. To make things worse, the eerie inhabitants of the Villa don't take kindly to strangers.
Even though I downloaded Dead Money back on Christmas Eve, I consciously let Fallout: New Vegas rest for almost a year, hoping they'd harvest most glitches in that time and optimize the experience. Well, in that sense the game isn't much better than before. It still randomly freezes, lags and features some more amusing glitches such as severed heads bouncing on their spots and perhaps even bolting through the air like rockets. However, it was nice to return to the world of Fallout: New Vegas - did a few quests before following the signal to trigger Dead Money, just to be able to review the DLC within the Monster Mash frame, and watched in disappointment as the immersive political conflict that is Fallout: New Vegas turned into a pseudo-horror borefest that is Dead Money. The title most likely refers to the ten I spent on it; it's worth five at tops. Perhaps the worst part of it is that you MUST see it through if you want to return your character to the "real world" - it's the same as with Mothership Zeta for Fallout 3, and no, I did not like that DLC pack either.
|Dean Domino, another ghoul companion that |
doesn't sound like a ghoul at all.
We've already went through the game's basics, so there's no need to return to them. Refer to the Fallout: New Vegas review from December 2010 if you disagree. Dead Money has a few "special features", which I would more correctly describe as "shortages" or "unnecessary nuisances". First, there are very few different enemies to encounter - most of them are "Ghost People", the inhabitants of the Villa to whose existence we never get a proper explanation. They're quite cool in design; they look like outcasts of the Foot Clan in TMNT, and they're immortal... or at least they're claimed to be immortal. Officially, you can't actually kill them before gaining the proper perks, but unofficially, all you need to do is shoot 'em down, wait 'til they get up, and then shoot them again. Immortality at it's not-most-climactic. Besides them, the most common enemies are the Holograms, who you can't kill - since they don't really exist, naturally. Their lasers do, though, and they're fucking deadly regardless of your experience level and density of your armour. The only way to dispose of them is to hack a security terminal and recalibrate them, or find their transmitters from somewhere in the environment and destroy them. They're usually in some really awkward, hard to reach spots. Of course they are.
|Your new Holorifle is a good weapon to have |
along in Dead Money, but it doesn't have
much special purpose outside this quest.
Some places on the map are blocked from the unprepared by the toxic clouds that will certainly kill you if you spend too much time within them. Towards the end, you need to navigate through some; again, having a certain companion along will help you survive longer.
The most distinctive special feature in Dead Money - you're wearing it; the collar which is set to explode if you happen to stray from your linear path, OR if you spend too much time within the radius of some mysterious radio signals. The collar is damn annoying, and that only. You can prevent your skull from being blown to pieces by destroying HAM radios and unshielded speakers around town and the casino, but they are usually unnecessarily hard to find, AND the distance from which the signals start affecting the collar seems to be extremely random. The final dungeon - which, of course, is the casino itself - is one damn sudden-death trap of trial and error, in which you have to save all the time, not only because of sudden deaths, but also the game's evergrowing tendency to freeze. Everything that makes this whole quest so tedious and unenjoyable culminates within those halls.
|It is told that the best way to kill Ghost People |
is to dismember them. Hmm, sounds familiar.
It's got a story that's decent enough, although totally detached from the plot of the game - and if it was free, Dead Money would provide for a moderately good weapon for a Fallout fan to kill a few hours with. As it is, it's damn dull, annoying, and inescapable once you start it. Aside from permanently raising your level cap by five, it doesn't even benefit your main game one bit, if you're not ready and willing to sacrifice a whole bulk of your inventory for the few literally heavy rewards you're offered for beating this son of a bitch. If you're still eager to play it, discard any thoughts of downloading the stand-alone product and wait for a special edition of New Vegas. One's surely coming and it'll surely include this junky bundle.
GRAPHICS : 8.0
SOUND : 7.5
PLAYABILITY : 7.0
LIFESPAN : 5.0
CONCLUSION : 6.5
GameRankings: 72.14% (PC), 69.86% (PS3), 70.25% (X360)