Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money

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Ah, the Sierra Madre resort and casino. The most opulent and extravagant resort ever conceived. It was built with the finest luxuries and top of the line security. And it never opened. On the day of its big gala opening, the bombs fell. The hotel's system hermetically sealed; no one could get in and no one could leave. In time, the air conditioning and climate control began to fail, spilling poisonous gas into the surrounding area. Almost everyone in the surrounding areas died. Almost. A group did survive. They seemed to have special has-mat suits that offered some protection but they changed. Their eyes glow, they never speak and, if they defeat a foe, they drag their unconscious form away to what may be a fate worse than death. Legends call them the Ghost People.

You, the courier, were drawn to an abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker by a mysterious signal. Next thing you know, you've been knocked out. You wake up with a slave collar around your neck and receive a message from the missing Brotherhood of Steel elder, Father Elijah. He wants you, along with others who have been captured, to search for the Sierra Madre treasure...or die trying.

Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money is a downloadable add-on to Fallout: New Vegas. It features new enemies, new quests, new achievements and raises the top level from thirty to thirty-five. You are helped in the game by a ghoulified lounge singer called Dean Domino, a mute human named Christine Royce, and a super mutant called Dog or God, depending on which personality is in control at the time.

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Average score: 67% (based on 21 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)

A harsh addition to the New Vegas storyline

The Good
As with New Vegas's other DLC expansions, Dead Money revolves around one of the characters mentioned in the main game's backstory - in this case the ex-leader of the local Brotherhood of Steel faction, Elijah. Without going into the story details too much, you're essentially tasked with supporting him in his quest to carry out a heist in an casino complex filled with toxic mists, insane monsters and indestructible security holograms. And to make matters more complicated, not only are you stripped of all equipment, but you have an unstable bomb-collar around your neck, as do the NPCs you have to work with. And if anyone dies, all the bomb collars go off!

Compared to New Vegas and the other DLC expansions, Dead Money is arguably both the grittiest and grimmest. The toxic cloud permeates everywhere and will drain rapidly drain your health in certain areas. Booby traps and bomb-activating radios are liberally scattered around everywhere. Ammunition is incredibly scarce, especially at the start, so combat is mostly hand-to-hand. And barring a few caches, there's very little in the way of equipment, so you'll have to eat the few scraps of radioactive food you find, constantly scavenge for things you can take to a workbench.

Then there's the ghost people who guard the casino; unspeaking and unremittingly hostile, they're hard to take down and will rise up from the dead unless physically dismembered. And the back-stories for the members of your team are perhaps the darkest element of this DLC, especially as the main plot thread unfolds...

Overall, Dead Money offers a very different experience to the rest of New Vegas; in many ways, it's arguably the most post-apocalyptic of them all, as all too often, a handful of bullets and a tin of radioactive pre-war food is all that lies between victory and extinction...

The Bad
It's easy to see why a lot of people don't like Dead Money, as it is radically different to the rest of the New Vegas experience and can be frustratingly difficult thanks to the combination of near-unkillable enemies, toxic mists and limited supplies. It's also got a few functional quirks: you can't leave until it's completed and once completed, you can't return to it.

Personally, I enjoyed the change of style and pace. However, there are a few issues with it.

First and foremost: Sierra Madre is the most visually repetitive area in the entire game, especially when it comes to the "traditional" village outside the main casino complex, which is riddled with dead ends and locked doors. Your Pipboy is all but useless in this environment, and the permanent twilight makes it all too easy to miss pick-ups and potential paths.

Secondly is the main plot. For all that the individual characters have interesting back-stories, the story behind Sierra Madre is frankly a let-down, as is the final show-down with Elijah once the heist is complete. And the "one human companion" limit built into the game-engine negatively impacts both the plot and gameplay, as the first half of the game essentially devolves into a set of escort missions based around each NPC's particular perk.

The Bottom Line
As a post-apocalyptic experience, Dead Money absolutely nails it. As an expansion pack to New Vegas, not so much!

Xbox 360 · by Jamie Mann (17) · 2015

Avoid. No, really, just don't.

The Good
Fundamentally, Dead Money has a very solid foundation. It starts with the Sierra Madre Casino: The latest, ritziest most glamorous casino with riches to satisfy any man's lust. In this, you have all that you would want from an entirely new area of post apocolyptia to explore.

Add to that a wonderful back story to it as well, one of the best of any Fallout DLC, that tells of untold amounts of loot of offer to any man that can unlock it.

Then add an ensemble cast. You get to meet the highly regarded Father Elijah that you here about from Veronica in the main game, assuming you have her as a companion, anyway. There is also the crew of 'locals' that you recruit that help you that is more than your usual bog standard wasteland effort that add a sizeable chunk of depth to the story.

The Bad
Despite all of the promise from the above, what's wrong with Dead Money completely wipes out what is a whole lot of potential. Largely, this comes in the forms of gameplay mechanics added to the Sierra Madre.

First up, is 'The Cloud', a toxic, ground level fog that gradually corrodes your health away.
Secondly, there's the combination of a bomb collar and the sound transmitters. Step too far away, and BOOM! Given that exploration at your own leisure is one of the hallmarks of recent Fallouts, this isn't most welcoming. But this is largely annoying because you have very narrow corridors you can walk down, and they have gaps in them, so your often sprinting around blindly hoping to get back into the range of a transmitter before you get your head blown off. Which is frequently.
Thirdly, at the start of the DLC you get stripped of your weapons, ammo, food and stimpaks, and you have a holorifle given to you, which never has a decent amount of ammo and isn't very good for dealing with the permanently hostile Ghost People that populate the Sierra Madre.
Fourth, there are LOTS of bear traps everywhere. All these four things just were not executed very well. They make for a very irritatingly caution laden, nerve racking affair that feels really out of place in a modern Fallout.

Gathering supplies is also an irritant. The only place you can get food, stimpacks and ammo from are Sierra Madre vending machines that not just take Sierra Madre chips, but you also have to find unlock disks for the various essential supplies.

Father Elijah was also a major let down. For all Veronica goes on about him, you'd think he was a saintly hero. Where as here, he is little more than your run of the mill gibbering mad man.

The Bottom Line
Dead Money has a solid premise: A casino with untouched loot waiting to be claimed, the vaunted Father Elijah, A whole new area to explore, complete with a whole new back story with interesting characters to compliment it.

But ultimately, it tries to do too much to inject tension by various mechanics that it just becomes an irritating slog that when all is said and done, I was very frustrated with so little gain that it really wasn't worth bothering with. And for all the riches and spoils on offer, you'll probably end up with little to none of it. Unless you cheat. Even then, it probably won't be worth it.

Xbox 360 · by Starbuck the Third (22654) · 2014

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Game added by LepricahnsGold.

Windows added by Kabushi. PlayStation 3 added by Yearman.

Game added December 29th, 2010. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.