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DLC #1: Dead Money, or, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (no, not that one)
Dead Money is an unusual blend of Survival Horror and The Caper. At the start of the pack, you are knocked out by the villain du jour, who steals your inventory, slaps an explosive collar on you, and forces you and several others (a nightkin with a split personality, an egomaniac ghoul lounge singer, and a mute Brotherhood of Steel assassin chasing the villain that brought you all here) to take part in breaking into a casino full of ghosts and laser-shooting holograms. You lose all your weapons and gear at the start, and are forced to make do with an (admitted quite good) energy rifle with limited ammo and whatever you can scrounge from the inhabitants. Despite the usual initial irritation of any Warring Without Weapons level, I rather liked being forced out of my self-inflicted rut of using nothing but energy weapons. Because of limited ammo, melee and unarmed weapons become a much more useful option than usual, and there are unique variants of both to be found in the DLC. In addition, the area is full of invincible enemies (the aforementioned holograms) and speakers broadcasting a frequency that can set off your collar, so stealth becomes vital for much of the quest. All three companions are engaging, well-written, and sympathetic, even though at least one is also a bastard.

Perhaps the biggest flaw is a constant in this sort of DLC: after it's over, you're left with a Game Breaker to take into the main story. In this case, it is the vending machines scattered throughout the area. These machines use a System Shock-esque Hand Wave of "nanomachines" or some such in order to allow the casino's chips to be converted into useful items, like chems, weapon mods, or ammo. After the DLC is over, you receive 100 chips every three days, or 1100 chips every three days if you broke the bank at the casino while there (surprisingly easy to do). A stimpack costs 25 chips, while .357 magnum ammo costs 2 chips per round. Add in the thousands of chips you will likely find during the DLC itself, and the 10,000 chips won before you are banned from the casino, and supplies are never a problem again.

Even with this flaw, the DLC itself is quite engaging, the levels are fun, and I can never get enough of The Caper in any medium anyway. I recommend this DLC to experience the story, levels, and characters.

I agree with more or less everything you said in this review. I always used the YCS/186 on everything, so I was glad that the game basically forced me to use something else. However, I'm a bit disappointed you didn't mention much of the main plot or the high difficulty.
comment #9864 CPFMfan 12th Sep 11
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