Release Date: 2/22/2011
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The Good: Excellent story, characters, and choices, the ending is great
The Bad: The whole game works against you, extremely hard, the beeping collar is not a good mechanic, cramped and boring to play in
I have a feeling the Fallout series has a curse that the first DLC release isn’t very good. Dead Money tries to do things with the game that it can’t do, and it makes the DLC very hard, and some times boring, but the story, characters, and underlying reason why you’re in the Sierra Madre are great. You start off by following a signal to the Sierra Madre Casino, but then you’re knocked out and a collar is put on you. You’re told to find three people to help you open the casino and bypass it’s defenses.
The three characters are great to talk to and learn about. Dog/God is a Super Mutant with schizophrenia, Dean Donimo is a British stage actor turned ghoul, and Christine is a mute who was tortured. After you find each character you must take them to their designated spots in the Villa. This is the second part of the DLC, but by the time you get here you’ll have cried up a storm. The game features heavy stealth and hand-to-hand combat so people who put points into the classes will breeze through this. There are guns, but the ammo is scarce, but people who invested in energy weapons have no shot here.
The ghost people are extremely hard to kill even if you are at level 30. You’re mainly forced to use melee with bear trap fists, spears, and knives. If you invested in guns you’re going to have a real hard time here. It doesn’t help that all your equipment was taken away and you stuck with the few armor pieces in this whole 8-12 hour DLC. It’s light armor and it sucks, but it’s better than nothing. There are no vendors here just vending machines. Oh, but wait you can’t use caps. You have to use Sierra Madre Casino chips that are scattered everywhere to buy stimpacks, ammo, and everything else. Yes, why would they work against the system that’s already made and working? It’s very odd, and makes playing the game so frustrating because you’re scrounging and looking for exploits in the game design to not die.
It doesn’t help that the DLC is very maze like and this is bad in this type of game. Where are the open areas? Nowhere. It’s just corridor after corridor, and it’s dark, bleak, and boring to look at. Everything looks the same and it’s not very nice to be in either. Not in a good way either I felt cramped throughout the whole ordeal, and it gets worse when you get in the casino to figure out how to get into the vault. I hope Obsidian doesn’t force us to do things the engine can’t really do next time. Part of the frustration comes with the beeping collar. Let it beep to long and you blow up and die. There are speakers everywhere that emit a signal and you have to run around until it stops, but this is trial and error. Run down the wrong path and signal won’t stop there so you die. Yes, save constantly or you will tear your hair out.
This mechanic is probably the most flawed since Fallout isn’t meant for this kind of stuff. I started hearing the beeping in my sleep it goes off so many times. Some speakers you can shoot and others you can’t, but good luck not get tired of this. Overall, the story is excellent, and I really felt attached to the characters. The ending is probably one of the most interesting I’ve seen in a game, and I’ll say this part because it won’t spoil anything. There are gold bars and you can carry as much as you can and they are worth over 7,000 caps each!! I saw these and tried to stuff my pack with them, but they weigh you down quick. I decided to drop everything except one weapon and my armor to carry about 7 of them. People who have the Rat Pack perk will take advantage here.
With two different endings, and choices being a big part with the three characters you should enjoy this part of the game. Only get this if you are a hardcore Fallout fan otherwise you should just pass. It’s way too hard, and the mechanics work against what’s already established.