With the Dead Money DLC for Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas having made its way from Xbox 360 to PC and PS3, some reviewers are taking the chance to have (another) look. GameSpot played it on PC and found it frustrating and tedious, giving it a 6.5/10.
You spend most of your time in the streets of the casino's surrounding villa, making your way to important locations while avoiding a number of dangers. One such danger is your collar, which begins beeping--and eventually explodes--when you wander too close to radios and other devices that trigger its self-destruct mechanism. You can destroy most of these instruments, though locating them during the small window of opportunity can be a challenge, forcing you to put yourself in temporary danger to find the offending radio and shoot it down. Your collar isn't the only reason to proceed cautiously, however. The streets are dotted with bear traps and mines, and doorways might be protected with shotgun traps. And then, there's that feared red cloud, which reduces your health should you breathe in its vapors for long. The pace is slow and methodical, and at first, the resulting tension makes for a pleasant twist on the typical New Vegas exploration. Gunning down a speaker as your collar signals your impending demise provides relief to the rising stress, as does spotting and disarming a bear trap before it harms you. While PlayStation Universe took a look at the PS3 version for a sort of highlight feature, with no clear recommendation or opinion given.
The tension turns into tedium with time, however. This, in part, results from the sameness of the corridors you traverse. The villa is separated into a few different sections, but the maze of streets and balconies looks much the same everywhere you go, and the imprecise quest marker doesn't always provide a clear sense of direction. The red cloud and subdued lighting are atmospheric at first, but because there's so little to break up the view, the muddiness loses its short appeal. After hours of slow progress--punctuated with frequent saves and reloads--you long to explore without so many stringent rules holding you back. Once you make it into the casino, your eyes will thank you for the visual variety, but the invulnerable holographic sentries you encounter don't ease the frustrations. A forced stealth sequence in which being spotted means an instant fiery death is New Vegas at its worst, as are multiple timed escape sections that test your patience and have you cursing the game's clumsy movement mechanics and vague sense of direction. The casino trip rewards you not with fascinating exploration, but with excellently written backstory uncovered at terminals and in voice recordings. The Sierra Madre's riches aren't the resources locked in the casino's vault--they are the glimpses of past greed and deception, as well as the drive of one man to protect the woman he loved.
Dead Money puts you in the company of several local misfits also sporting explosive neck pieces, whom you must work together with to plunder the delights of Sierra Madre in order to remove the collars. However, you'll have to be extra vigilant all your collars are linked, so if one of your companions ends up brown bread, you'll quickly find yourself decorating the walls too. Like New Vegas, the game limits you to one chum at a time, with each one packing their own companion perks. Elsewhere, Dead Money elbows bottle caps to the side in favour of the more thematically suited Casino caps, with ammo and weapons remaining a decidedly rare commodity. Needless to say, there's a fair amount of leg work involved in acquiring additional items, especially Stimpaks, which require special codes that are dotted around the sprawling city.