In my review of Fallout: New Vegas, I stressed that, while the game was undoubtedly a worthwhile experience, the technical issues stopped it from being as essential as its predecessor. Six months later, and a few major patches later, the game is better than ever, and more importantly finally ‘playable’. More importantly, the first piece of DLC has been released, Dead Money, which appeared on Xbox 360 a few months ago. Does it add enough to the game to make New Vegas the 9/10 game it wasn’t last year.
Dead Money is a by the numbers piece of Fallout DLC, that’s to say that it’s a strand of missions in a new area that can be activated before you complete the game. The only piece of DLC for Fallout 3 that didn’t have this structure was ending fixer Broken Steel. Outside of this new area to explore, the game comes with 5 new trophies, a bunch of new perks and companion characters, and, most importantly, a level cap increase of 10 to Level 35. This feature in particular will make the £8 entry fee seem tiny to anyone who’s invested a fair few hours into New Vegas.
The addition of more perks, weapons and an increased level cap is all well and good, but these are not the main attraction in Dead Money. Set in the ‘Sierra Madre’, a Casino that never got the chance to open its doors to the public, the area has been taken over by a mysterious group called The Ghost People. Dead Money takes you through both the casino and the nearby city which has fallen victim to a deadly toxin. It’s one of the most diverse areas in new Vegas, the exterior and interior environments showcasing how well the game pulls off both.
In terms of the missions you get up to through the 5 hours it will take you to complete Dead Money, its regular Fallout fare here. The emphasis is on companion team play though, with 3 new companions available for you to explore Sierra Madre with. In this way, adopting a gameplay style that utilises the RPG style of play is near essential. Dead Money is extremely difficult at points, and so managing your resources and teammates can be tricky. It can feel very trial and error at times, with you retrying sections over and over again to no avail. This won’t be a problem for New Vegas veterans, but for people who aren’t as dedicated, it could be a problem.
No matter the slight issues, Dead Money is a bargain. There’s a good 5 hours of content here, with extra story, characters and extras to extend the rest of the game. It’s not the best of the Fallout series, but for fans who had already come to the end of their playthrough, now is the perfect time to head back to New Vegas.
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