After following a signal to an old bunker, you awaken to find that you have been stripped of your equipment and had an explosive collar placed around your neck. The enigmatic Father Elijah has told you that your only chance of survival, perhaps even escape, is to do what he says and find a way inside the casino and down into the very vaults themselves, where untold treasure is rumored to be located. It will be up to you and the cooperation of some unlikely allies to find a way inside and to find a way to survive.
Dead Money takes place within the closed confines of the Sierra Madre Casino. This is a small resort complex featuring a complex of streets and buildings surrounding the Casino itself. Throughout this complex there hangs a strange and deadly red cloud which kills any that come in contact with it; even the best protective masks and clothing are no help. Stalking these streets are strange, zombie-like beasts that can only be killed by removing their heads. On top of all of this, there are deadly security holograms and radio signals that can destroy your explosive collar within seconds, if you don’t get away from them or find a way to stop them.
"…it truly changes things up for the formerly over-confident gamer."
Dead Money is interesting in that it truly changes things up for the formerly over-confident gamer. By the time I played this content, I was already level 30 and had a deadly arsenal and high stats and skills in most categories. What I found was that excelling in Dead Money required me to develop different skills. I found the need for a higher medicine rating and cannot understate how helpful melee combat skills were. The weapons were few and far between, and the ammunition was also hard to come across. Those who embraced making ammunition and equipment likely had a far easier time that I did at the beginning of this episode.
You will be introduced to three new companions this time around: a mute woman, a ghoul, and a super-mutant with split personalities. Each one has a different story and provides different perks to make use of as you explore your surroundings, ranging from the ability to stay in the red mist longer or having extra time before the collar explodes. You will need to make use of all three companions at various points, and all help to lend some color to the proceedings. Each also has small quests and options you can uncover through solid speech abilities and patience. Unlike the main game, these companions will force you to do much of the killing on your own: no more crack-shot NPC companion to save your day.
Make no mistake: Dead Money is fairly different as far as Fallout content usually goes. It is fairly challenging at times, and you never really become the ultra-badass you can typically become in the main game. Many will likely feel let down at practically starting over, but it has been months since you touched the main game, then it could also provide a great beginning to getting back into it. Although the level cap has been raised by five, and a few new perks have been added, this episode takes place prior to your completion on the main game. Enough is discussed to foreshadow the forthcoming content, but the fact that nothing you do will have any effect on the main game is slightly disappointing.
The bug and glitches still exist, although the game continues to see the release of new patches that are slowly fixing the issues that it shipped with. I didn’t encounter any major game-breaking bugs in this episode, but check the forums if you encounter any issues.
The content will last you around 4-6 hours and features multiple endings. You will come back with some interesting equipment and a few new perks to help you in your travels but not much else. For ten dollars, I had enough content to enjoy myself and certainly liked it more than some of the other Fallout related DLC I have completed in the past. If you enjoyed New Vegas and want to see more of the story, then Dead Money is the first of four new episodes to download and play.