Bethesda and Oblivion allow players to uncover the secrets of the Sierra Madre casino with the recent release of the Dead Money expansion pack for Fallout: New Vegas.
Dead Money beings with a radio transmission to the player inviting their character to attend the grand opening of the Sierra Madre casino. However, not all is what is seems upon entering the casino’s gates. The player’s character wakes up after being knocked out by gas with a bomb collar strapped to their neck and a red toxic cloud surrounds open areas of the casino’s courtyard. To make matters worse, the hologram of someone referring to himself as Father Elijah tells the character to find the treasure hidden in the depths of the casino or the bomb collar will go off. To achieve this goal the player must recruit three other of Elijah’s captives: a super mutant named Dog (or God, depending on which personality the player gives him), a lounge singing Ghoul named Dean Domino, and the mute Christine. Each have their own special abilities that will help the player explore the deadly Sierra Madre grounds.
Gameplay is largely the same FPS RPG format the past couple games in series have had, but with a few slight changes. The “Old World” technology of the bomb collar does not mesh well with the intercom speakers and radios located around the DLC’s map, which means that if the player gets too close to one they must shut it down in some way or the collar will go off. The collar will beep for a few seconds before actually going off, which gives the player time to back away and search for the thing that is interacting with the collar. The casino’s holographic security, which was turned on when the bombs of the Great War dropped, is still active and are incredibly deadly when set off. The last major change is the addition of the Ghost People enemies, which are only killed once they have been dismembered. If not, they will just get up and start attacking the player again.
The story of the DLC is one of the most interesting aspects of it, as it hints at a lot of things to possibly be released as DLC in the future. The Big Empty, an area located east of the Sierra Madre full of Old World technology, is mentioned by multiple characters and hinted at by the game itself as a location the player will explore in the future. The character Ulysses, another courier who is hinted as to have to a past with the player’s character, is also mentioned, as well as a battle between the two characters.
Overall, the Dead Money DLC is a great addition to the game. The addition of new weapons, enemies, and an extra five levels for the player’s character are welcome additions to the game. However, new players should be warned that the DLC can get very difficult at times, so do not just jump right into it with a new character. In fact, the game even warns the player before entering the Sierra Madre’s grounds that their character should be at least level 20 before attempting this. For any Fallout fans looking for more to their New Vegas game, this is a great choice.