Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money Review

The first DLC for Fallout New Vegas, Dead Money, is out now for Xbox 360 (and I assume it will be out on PC and PS3 eventually), costing you 800ms points and for once, more than just a quick sit-down to go through and complete it. In Dead Money, you are lured by a radio signal and captured, forced into cooperating with 3 other individuals to pull off a heist at the Sierra Madre casino. Sounds easy enough, but the only problem is, there's an explosive collar around your neck ready to pop your head into bloody bits if you so much as think about disobeying your given heist plans. Sounds fun, eh? Like most of the DLC from Fallout 3, this one has its pros and cons, but it was honestly a lot better than I thought it would be this time around. And hey, it actually wasn't buggy either. Breakdown time!

The Awesomesauce:

This one's a game-changer, so to speak. You have to conduct yourself in this DLC differently than you would in the Mohave desert, because you go in stripped of your weapons, food, stimpacks, the works. This provides challenge. I appreciated that Dead Money wasn't just a walk-in-the-park add-on that most could easily breeze through in a single sitting. I no longer felt invincible, storming through the area with my high-powered weapons and armor - I was weak again - and that was a good thing. The new environment added an element of creepiness, and you actually had to pay more attention to what you're doing. There's traps everywhere, and you need to scavenge what you can to stay alive. There's a few new weapons and equips you can find and keep after you've completed the content, adding a little variety. You get your choice (well, it's not a choice, really, since you're forced to work with them or your head will explode) of 3 new companions to help you break into the Sierra Madre casino, and each of your newfound "friends" are pretty damned interesting. Should you think about running away, you die. If your companion dies, you die - you're all linked by your explosive collars to keep you in check for the story... and it's awesome. When you're finally in the casino, you can gamble and get some chips to help you buy much-needed supplies as well. The environment is cruel, and it feels that way when playing Dead Money. Overall, it was just a lot of fun - more fun than I expected to get out of the first batch of downloadable content for New Vegas.

The Buzzkills:

If Dead Money gets anything wrong, it's in the way the environment and enemies grow stale over time. You spend a lot of time in the Villa area before actually getting into the Sierra Madre casino for the rest of the DLC, and the layout is somewhat like a very same-looking maze. I usually like to explore new areas, but when it all started to look the same, I got kind of worried. I found myself taking wrong turns or going to places I shouldn't be yet just because of the way it was laid out. I had a sigh of relief when I finally got into the casino and the layout changed for the better. As also mentioned, the enemies grow old too. Aside from the occasional hologram that you just avoid (kind of like a walking security camera), all you really fight throughout the entirety of the content are these "Ghost" villagers. There are a few minor variations between them, such as one attacks you unarmed while another throws spears at you, but for the most part, they don't change and it feels like they're just there to have something to fight. I would've liked to kill more than one enemy. Finally, the only thing I can think of that actually bothered me beyond the 2 points previously mentioned was the lack of music. There was none. This is just a personal preference, however, since I prefer the music to whatever ambient noises are in the background.

You'll see lots of these guys... because they're pretty much all you fight
Final Thoughts:  For a DLC, this is pretty good, and I gotta hand it a deserved 4/5, if I were to give it a numerical rating according to my opinion. If you've liked everything that Fallout has thrown at you, and you're still hungry for more, you could definitely do worse. Pick this up when you get the chance. It's challenging but not overwhelmingly so, changes the pace a bit, and actually takes a bit of time to complete. If you're an achievement whore like me, you'll get some extra points while going through an interesting break-away from the main story of New Vegas. And I don't think you'll leave disappointed - it even has its own slideshow ending, similar to that of the story ending, before throwing you back in the Mohave. Just don't attempt this DLC until you're at least level 20, or the "ghost" villagers will very clearly define prison rape for you.

PS. Try to find all the little clues hinting at another upcoming DLC
/* Save often on this one, or you'll regret having to retrace your steps a lot */

No comments:

Post a Comment