Welcome to the Sierra Madre, a lost paradise where you can get away from it all in a beautiful resort casino. Assuming you aren’t killed by the maniacal treasure hunter, the toxic gas clouds, the ghosts, or the infinite amount of traps.
Such is what awaits you in the first downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money.
It’s taken me a bit of time to get this review out because, well, Dead Money is hard! I wouldn’t recommend starting this DLC if you aren’t at least level 20 in the main game, if not higher. It’s pretty tough stuff. You’ll probably want your unarmed/melee pumped up a bit too if you can help it.
Dead Money has our favorite courier receiving a strange radio signal via his Pip-Boy that leads to an abandoned bunker that further leads to the majestic and mysterious Sierra Madre Casino. Once you enter (after confirming you want to continue) you are knocked unconscious and equipped with a nicely fitting collar. It’s not for fashion, but for blowing off your head should you defy your new “friend,” Father Elijah.
Elijah is after something in the casino. Is it a legendary treasure? A lost love? Something more sinister? You’ll find out but not from me.
He tasks you with finding others who are needed to open the doors to the fabled casino and if you fail or attempt to escape, well, he’ll blow you up. Pretty good motivation right? I’m not going to tell you anything else about the story. There’s some great elements here that makes up a lot of fun hours of gameplay and I don’t want to spoil them for you.
Dead Money feels almost like a stealth/survival horror game as you sneak around trying to avoid the creepy looking Ghost People, which often times is unsuccessful. There is ground to cover in Sierra Madre, despite the thick toxic gas cloud that covers the surrounding villa, and plenty of traps to avoid. In fact, I think I took more damage from traps than I did from the Ghost People. It would do you good to keep an eye towards the ground watching for trip wires or bear traps.
If you concentrate on exploring, you’ll find plenty of items to keep you alive, including weapons, and you’ll take to crafting really fast. You’ll need to. Also, if I can take a moment to give some advice: pick up every Sierra Madre chip you see. They’re scattered all over the place (especially in fountains) and are the currency that will save your life. You use them to purchase items from the vendors spread around.
I’ve heard the DLC is just as buggy as the main game is so save often. I can say that I didn’t experience any major problems.. well, that’s not exactly true. I fell through the world once and was running around underneath the map for a while.
Dead Money is a great addition to the New Vegas experience and Fallout lore. I had a blast playing it and think any fan of the franchise will have just as much fun. Just be prepared for some difficult, but satisfying, times during your visit to the Sierra Madre!
Dead Money is available now on XBox Live for 800 points.
Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language and Use of Drugs.