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Fallout: New Vegas had its fair share of glitches, but overall, it was one of my favorite games of all time. Running around with a .44 Magnum, a prophetic robe, and Danny Trejo is one of my deepest badass fantasies. But I’ve had my romp, and now, I’m just waiting to see what the planned DLC can offer.

The newest contender, Dead Money, set in the doomed wasteland of the Sierra Madre casino, just launched on the Xbox 360. Does it match up to something like The Pitt, one of the quality packs from Fallout 3? Or does it completely fail like Mothership Zeta?

First off, for those who are curious, this initial pack of DLC does increase your level cap by five – unfortunately, it doesn’t do much else for your core game. You still aren’t going to get to continue the main storyline after the Hoover Dam showdown (they’ll probably sell us another pack for that), your current companions are automatically sent home, you can’t return to the Sierra Madre once you leave, and the rewards aren’t that astounding. Now that the setup is out of the way, onto the bread and butter!

In typical Fallout DLC fashion, a new quest and radio station will pop up on your pip-boy. Once you follow it to a tiny metal grate in the sand, prepare to be gassed, and have your equipment taken away until the end of the DLC. When you wake up, you’ll find out an elderly gentleman named Elijah wants you to crack into the vault of the prestigious unopened Sierra Madre Casino, so that he can reap the benefits.

It sounds simple enough, but there’s a catch: Elijah fashioned an explosive collar around your neck – and if you try to escape, he’ll detonate it. He also wants you to find three other team members with varying skillsets, and rescue them to help you on your way. But there’s another catch: to prevent one person from betraying the others and running off with the treasure, if anyone dies, everyone dies. Oh, and did I mention that being in proximity with active radios and speaker systems will set off your collar too? Sounds like fun!

Before you get into the casino, you’ll have to romp around the outside villa area for about an hour and a half, and deal with deranged, gas mask equipped inhabitants called “ghosts”, that seem to have gained super human strength from the area’s noxious fumes – but you’ll have some help in dealing with them. Your companions range from a schizophrenic mutant, a cautious mute, and a cocky ghoul playboy. All of them have a bit of mystery to them, and their own specific perk, which really adds to the package. For instance, your mutant companion will eat ghouls, preventing them from getting back up. You can also talk to your team, and build up a bit of a personal relationship. Once you actually get into the casino, you have some options in regards to what you want to do with them – but getting into the casino isn’t going to be easy.

In fact, make no mistake; this DLC is hard. The enemies do a ton of damage, they’re resilient (you’ll have to blow their heads off to really finish them, otherwise they get back up), speakers that activate your bomb collars and poisonous gases are at every turn, and health replenishing items are extremely scarce.  Towards the end of the DLC especially, having to constantly watch for radios and speakers really starts to get tedious. A lot of them are hidden in spots that require you to get into position to shoot them with only a few seconds to detonation left, meaning there’s going to be a lot of trial and error involved.

Unfortunately, in addition to the sudden spikes of difficulty, the actual act of completing the DLC is bogged down by familiar surroundings throughout, and as previously mentioned, tedious trial and error in certain sections when you’re trying to not set off your collar. Also, a few required quests are needlessly complicated by the imprecise quest map, and other general mechanics of the game. While these issues have been present since Fallout 3, it would have been easy to design around them.

In spite of some mechanical issues, the writing for Dead Money is on par with the quality of New Vegas. All of the characters have their own demons to deal with, and I really enjoyed talking to them at great length, as well as dealing with their fates at the end of the package. While your team’s backstory and narrative is fleshed out, the actual quest isn’t as engaging – like the Resident Evil series, the bulk of your information is going to come from various notes and computer logs – not from the events of the main story. While there are a few key tidbits here and there that really bring the narrative together at the end, a lot of players will most likely glance over them. In the interest of not spoiling the game for everyone, I don’t want to talk about the story more than that, as pretty much anything else I could reveal would ruin it.

Personally, I also felt like the buildup to get into the casino itself was too long, and the surrounding areas housed too many drab looking locales – I know that you’re supposed to get the feeling that poisonous gas has overrun the area, but it could have looked a little more detailed.

Despite the fact that it was a bit too difficult at times, and sometimes felt uninspired, what I liked most about Dead Money is the fact that everything is encapsulated. The Sierra Madre has its own currency to spend on its own unique vending machines; most of the characters involved play into the main storyline somehow; and it has its own set of multiple ending sequences. Once you’re actually in the vault and get to see what’s in it, don’t expect to be excited; you’re either going to be completely let down, or complacent. I was the latter, as there isn’t really anything “fun” item-wise in the vault, or in the entire DLC package to bring back to the Mojave Wasteland. That’s perfectly fine with me, but I know a lot of players have come to expect “super” items from their Fallout DLC.

Ultimately, while Dead Money is a pretty fun affair, it doesn’t really have the “wow” factor a few of the DLC packs did in Fallout 3. While the three hours it took to complete is on the longer side for downloadable content, I’m not really sure Dead Money is worth the full $10 asking price.

Gamer Limit gives Dead Money a 7.0/10

  1. avatar robot

    Picking the game up soon, guess I’ll leave this DLC alone though.

    • avatar Peculiar

      From what I’m able to tell autosaves don’t seem to sync with setamcloud. I WAS able to recover my lost autosave by copying the backup the game made to a regular save file. I save a *little* more often now

  2. avatar ajodgf

    robot and the reviewer are gay faggots wohooo

    • Always glad to see the usual retards are out in force.

      This review mostly concurs with what a friend who played through it told me once you also put it in perspective with the fact that he is a rabid fallout fanboi who will forgive anything bad in the game.

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  3. avatar PaperCamm

    Did you remember to factor in the level increase?

  4. avatar torinic

    i beat this today and it wasnt that great. i was expecting alot more and boy was it hard.

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  5. avatar this guy

    I completely get the complaints, but this looks to cool to pass up on

    • avatar Leonardo

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  6. avatar BrosnanSucks

    “Three Hours”? Did you even play the DLC?!

    • I did everything there was to do, fulfilled every dialogue tree, got every achievement/ending, and collected over 1,000 Sierra Madre chips.

      I’m not sure how “other people” are spending 8 hours in it, unless they really enjoy the atmosphere, and are just walking around – and I didn’t enjoy it enough to spend that much time in it.

    • avatar Vasko

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    • avatar Dadang

      disculpen, soy nuevo en esto.. alguien me dice q hay q hacer para barjalo al disco externo por favor!! un link se cayo..solo esta disponible el d magaupload..ya tngo ese link descargado, ahora q hago??

  7. avatar GrimJesta

    BrosnanSucks echoes my sentiments. One of my favorite quotes of the week is from the Eurogamer review:

    “If you rush through, you could probably polish it off in a few hours, but if that’s the case why the hell are you playing Fallout? Call of Duty is over there.”

    I’ve been playing for just over three hours and I’m still outside of the Casino Madre, discovering new places and things (also: better weapons and tons of ammo). The reviewers that seem to be taking their time and exploring (a core method of playing Fallout) have this DLC clocked in at around 8 hours. Yes, it’s tough as hell, but man is it fun. Survival Horror Fallout for eight hours. I’m there.

  8. Haters gonna hate Chris, I have noticed alot of the reviews on Gamer Limit seem to take a crazy level of flaming for no apparent reason. GT5 articles I am looking at you. Plenty of other reviews out there all site the same weaknesses as this one.

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  9. avatar hiphop545

    I have to say this DLC (Dead Money) was very disapointing. I spent 3-4hrs on it and it was brutally hard also after getting in seira madre vault I expected something ace for all the hardwork like a weapon or sumfin but was disapointed. There is some gold bars worth 10,000 caps each but you cant take them all with you (they weight 35g each) and once you leave you cant go back, Im hoping the next dlc is much better and less difficult this was a let down I spent a tenner on it and was extremely disapointed if you havent got it yet your better off waiting for the next dlc or game of the year edition.

  10. avatar hiphop545

    But on a positive note there is a couple of good guns in it but thats all my advice? wait till goty or next dlc release…

  11. avatar Kouga

    I honestly don’t see what people found was so hard about this DLC. I went through on level 30 on hard and it was not a problem. You just have to learn to conserve your resources as much as possible and have a good enough character build to survive.

  12. avatar Dan

    I found this add-on to be more of a grind then anything else.
    It is true that the story and the characters are solid, but this is a lot more trial and error. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BOOM!, Reload,

    Repeat…. The repetition reminded me a lot of the quests in “World of Warcraft” that people complain about.

    Having a higher skill in the lock picking and hacking will help, it’s not as useful as you would think coming from a Fallout game.

    What really hit me for a loop, was the convoluted mess that is the endgame for this DLC. You are given several options as to what you

    can do to complete the endgame, but the game tries to cheat you out of them.

    Not going into detail and giving anything away the Fallout Wiki states, “Elijah is immune to damage until he reactivates the forcefield

    blocking access to the elevator…”. {The elevator being the way out}. WTF!?!

    Obsidian storied their way into a corner and has to resort to a cheat to get
    out of it? That’s what I’ve come to expect from Obsidian {KOTOR II, anyone?}, but not from the Fallout franchise. Dirty pool,

    gentlemen. I restored my game to prior to entry into Sierra Madre. I may try it again, but I doubt I’ll have the time.

    I am also disappointed that the DLC can not be accessed after the Hover Dam endgame. If you try Dead Money, be sure to attempt it

    before the final battle at the Dam. If they plan on putting out more DLC for this game, they need to rework that similar to Fallout 3.

    I hope they give the next Fallout game duties back to the developers that did Fallout 3.

    I’ll give this a 6/10, and it’s definitely for ‘fanboys only’.

  13. avatar Random Dude #424

    I know the reviewer already claimed otherwise, but I don’t see how he got through in three hours unless he rushed through the whole thing. Also, it’s not all about length — it’s well-written, fun, and difficult, which is more than you can say about any of the Fallout 3 DLC (including the Pitt, which was IMO the best one… Broken Steel suffers for a weak ending), or for that matter any DLC I can think of off the top of my head.

    Also, to Dan-person that said “I hope they give the next Fallout game duties back to the developers that did Fallout 3. I’ll give this a 6/10, and it’s definitely for ‘fanboys only’,” your Beth fanboi is showing. Fallout 3, while a fun game, was much easier and very poorly written in comparison to New Vegas — this extends to the DLC as well.

  14. avatar Silly Contrivance

    I think Chris’ review is dead on, though a bit gracious.

    I just finished this DLC and it seems like the character and script guys created something the week the levels designers – and creative director – were on vacation.

    Uninspiring environments, repetitive and boring content, uninspired weaponry, and silly contrivances like the collar and the cloud all conspire to make this DLC the worst Fallout 3 or F3 New Vegas DLC yet.

    Who let that product go out the door? And why all the artificial limitations designed to drag out game play and keep the player from peeking behind the curtain?

    A great example of the corners they cut is when the player transitions from the Villa Courtyard to the Casino, he clicks to opens a gate and is then whisked the mile or so (by the looks of it) to the casino by a simply load screen. I guess someone really didn’t want to have to render the landscape between those two locations or have to create extra gameplay.

    Compared to other Fallout 3 DLC, Dead Money is a complete waste of time. They should just sell you the level cap increase and not steal valuable hours of your life from you with a nearly unplayable piece of crap like Dead Money.

    One last point…I had already hit the (too-low?) levels limit and finished the main New Vegas story line, and was then forced to go back to a much older save – what can I say, I don’t like to save a lot – to play Dead Money. This seems silly. It seems like DLCs – especially self-contained ones like Dead Money that are released a long time after the main product’s initial release – should pick up where the main story leaves off, not force you to regress in the main storyline to even start playing the DLC. The level of thought and professionalism of the team behind Dead Money is astoundingly poor compared to what most of us have come to expect from the Fallout 3 franchise.

    Unless you like monotonous and slow-paced not-that-scary horror movies, I encourage you to pass on Dead Money. I’m sure you have more important and enjoyable things to do, like writing thank you notes or detailing the interior of your car or napping or getting dental work done.

    : )

    • avatar Anonymous

      zozoramelu
      TOTALLY agreed with you. Dead Money is a FULL WASTE OF TIME and the WORST DLC Fallout game EVER. DON’T BOTHER. Unless you are a Fallout junkie and you don’t like using ‘Fixer’ to cure your addiction…

  15. avatar RileyEvan

    All in all, a mixed bag. I liked the overall story, but wished it was fleshed out more. I liked the moody atmosphere, but found the play redundant. Entering the DLC sight unseen means you run the risk of having a character ill equiped to handle the environment. No great new weapons. Loot, what you can carry of it, is about pointless back in New Vegas. Expect several trips back to the bunker as this is the only place to spend your remaining sierra chips. And returning to New Vegas means never getting back to the DLC. Anything left behind is lost forever.

    An OK game that could have been so much better.

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  16. avatar makka

    is it good thn or bad

  17. avatar tibbs

    i want it but dunno whether to get it or not

  18. avatar paki man seed

    I think Chris’ review is dead on, though a bit gracious.

    I just finished this DLC and it seems like the character and script guys created something the week the levels designers – and creative director – were on vacation.

    Uninspiring environments, repetitive and boring content, uninspired weaponry, and silly contrivances like the collar and the cloud all conspire to make this DLC the worst Fallout 3 or F3 New Vegas DLC yet.

    Who let that product go out the door? And why all the artificial limitations designed to drag out game play and keep the player from peeking behind the curtain?

    A great example of the corners they cut is when the player transitions from the Villa Courtyard to the Casino, he clicks to opens a gate and is then whisked the mile or so (by the looks of it) to the casino by a simply load screen. I guess someone really didn’t want to have to render the landscape between those two locations or have to create extra gameplay.

    Compared to other Fallout 3 DLC, Dead Money is a complete waste of time. They should just sell you the level cap increase and not steal valuable hours of your life from you with a nearly unplayable piece of crap like Dead Money.

    One last point…I had already hit the (too-low?) levels limit and finished the main New Vegas story line, and was then forced to go back to a much older save – what can I say, I don’t like to save a lot – to play Dead Money. This seems silly. It seems like DLCs – especially self-contained ones like Dead Money that are released a long time after the main product’s initial release – should pick up where the main story leaves off, not force you to regress in the main storyline to even start playing the DLC. The level of thought and professionalism of the team behind Dead Money is astoundingly poor compared to what most of us have come to expect from the Fallout 3 franchise.

    Unless you like monotonous and slow-paced not-that-scary horror movies, I encourage you to pass on Dead Money. I’m sure you have more important and enjoyable things to do, like writing thank you notes or detailing the interior of your car or napping or getting dental work done.

    : )

  19. avatar Pat McGroyne

    I expect more from Bethesda. This DLC just seems unnecessarily complicated and convoluted. I accept the adventure part of FPS, but I don’t want to attack everything with a butter knife, either. Those that have played the original have earned their artillery, let us use it!

  20. avatar Skip

    Not worth the money, i know it’s only $10 but you can get something better for that. What does the DLC give you? 5 more levels, a migraine, a BAR which you can’t repair in the Vegas world except from npcs gold that you can’t carry alot of and unless it bugged my game out, I noticed upon returning toothe Mojave, all NPC’s bottlecap count droped to almost nothing.

    Overall, worse DLC for a fallout game since mothership zeta. Atleast Zeta you could take more away from it.

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  21. avatar Mcarter37

    Only good thing about this dlc was the holo-rifle. Once fully repaired back in the Mojave, it is all I use now

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    • avatar Tokan

      there is a good reason why you are sent to fight the muatnt if you follow the story. Fallout 3 intro is quit stupid with your young characters going rambo in the vault and killing several trained security officers. The atmosphere is not as oppressing, especially with the radio on, and people look quite static, and well they soundeven happy. And the antagonist is pretty poor compared to the other games, the introduction of muatnts is not so good either

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