First look at Fallout: New Vegas

Working alongside Bethesda’s internal team, Obsidian has built a Fallout world of the same scale as Fallout 3, with twice as many guns, and some new gameplay additions to address weaknesses of the previous game. “It’s more fun to work with an engine than on an engine,” says Obsidian.

New Vegas’ tweaks are small but significant to anyone who played Fallout 3 and kept a list of issues they’d love to see worked out. First among the additions is upgraded real-time shooting. VATS (Fallout 3’s pause, select, and shoot system) is still fully-functional for those who like it, but regular bullet-slinging has been polished. Down-sight aim brings more accuracy, and an optional kill cam brings the visual flare that was originally only offered with VATS kills. And those who wanted more variety from Fallout 3 will be happy to find double the weapons, and new weapon mods to make things more interesting. We witnessed scopes, extended clips, and high-speed kits being attached to weapons. You really have to see a grenade machinegun firing at full speed – a blinding white light fills the screen, and whatever was alive before is no longer.

Above: A 9mm with extended mag and scope

VATS has received tweaks as well, including special moves for melee weapons. You may have already seen the maneuver we saw, “Fore,” which liberated a bandit’s head from his shoulders with a surprisingly-sturdy nine iron.

The RPG elements have been tweaked as well. New Vegas contains more companions, and a new command wheel which aids in control. Plus, on top of the Karma system, which rates your goodness or badness, a reputation system keeps a more detailed record of your interactions with the game’s factions. What you do to please one faction may piss off another, and your decisions in that regard will affect your progression.

Above: …It’s up to you to decide how to use Helios One, and who should benefit from it

Possibly the most significant of Obsidian’s additions is Hardcore Mode, which they say would have “just been the game,” had they not wanted to alienate those used to, and expecting, the same experience and difficulty of Fallout 3. Everything is more difficult in Hardcore Mode. Ammo is weighted, and dehydration won’t be tolerated, but if you play the whole game with the increased challenge, you’ll be given a “special reward.”

New Vegas’ environment is full of landmarks to help navigate, and isn’t just Vegas – it’s the whole surrounding area. A California-Nevada border town with a famous rollercoaster (which you can run around on), a cheesy giant Dinosaur, Helios One, and the Vegas strip itself are some of the highlights. We didn’t get to see the strip, which, at the time of our demo, was “still under construction, both literally and figuratively.” We did get a few hints as to its content, though. It won’t contain any real-world casinos, but will contain properly-themed ‘50s establishments, and gambling is available both on and off the strip.

Above: “Dinky the Dinosaur” makes for a great sniper nest

The strip will “be Vegas,” said Obsidian, so take that however you like for now. We were also told that the game’s cast is on par with Fallout 3’s, and that licensed music will be “appropriate to the setting,” and may contain, at least partially, a selection of Country Western songs.

What we saw gave us no doubt that New Vegas will be an experience as vast and satisfying as Fallout 3. Despite the identical look and feel, the game isn’t just an expansion – it’s as new as its post-war Vegas, and we’re massively eager play with all its high-speed, mutant-exploding toys.

May 4, 2010

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  • lawman2593733 - October 17, 2010 2:12 a.m.

    Hope in "Hardcore" you only dehydrate while outside, and half that amount while in a settlement or city. At least somthing similar to that setup though, and no getting hungry like in the Sims every few minutes, and a definite thank the lord you don't have to go to the bathroom too. Everyone knows that in the post nuclear world of Fallout you can go to the bathroom on a tree or in a bush. No toilets, no problem.:)
  • CAPST3R - June 6, 2010 4:11 p.m.

    I was planning on saving for the new ghost recon, which I may still do, but this actually looks quite good! The weapon mods and hardcore mode look surprisingly good, and as long as the style of merchants are kept from Fallout 3, this could actually be bloody great! Is there any word on the merchants, or the way that equipment will degrade, GR?
  • DankKingpin - May 21, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    pumped for this game. Kinda wish that you could transfer files over from Fallout 3 so I could continue playing as my dude, even if he does look like Daniel Faraday from LOST. But that would conflict with the Vegas Storyline.
  • Godstrike3020 - May 19, 2010 midnight

    this looks so fregin awesome that want to play it now the other fallouts where the best games ive ever played so this will out do them
  • AElli - May 6, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    This is gonna be great!
  • AA95mp - May 6, 2010 4:56 p.m.

    finally upgradeable guns!
  • lymanzaar - May 5, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    Hardcore mode sounds pretty interesting, but the dehydration idea is similar to the Malaria aspect of Far Cry 2. It's gonna get pretty repetative, and possibly anonnying. Other than that, i have pretty high hopes.
  • D0CCON - May 5, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    Now add an optional content filter to remove all of that gratuitous gore and you have yourself a customer New Vegas.
  • DriveShaft - May 5, 2010 9:29 p.m.

    All I can say is: FUCK YES!
  • FreekinIdiot - May 5, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    Oh yes throwing knives FTW! Imagine how badass it would be to complete the game on hardcore mode just using throwing knives... 'Yeah i just took a death-claw down with 147 took an hour.'
  • darklink123 - May 5, 2010 11:41 a.m.

    I really hope throwing knives are back, I really missed them in Fallout 3.
  • reveffect - May 5, 2010 3:28 a.m.

    with the addition of hardcore mode i am extremely excited. i love games that actually put you in a survival situation where you also have to worry about hunger and dehydration and so on. the weapons also look much better in new vegas than in FO3 especially the 9mm pistol. in FO3 the 9mm looked and sounded weird, it also was a bit wide when you held it in your hand versus seeing someone else holding it or it laying on the ground. same goes for some of the other weapons because i can understand why the laser rifle looks so big when its in your hands because of how much energy it has to generate just to pump out a single laser but when you see a laser rife on the ground, in someones hands, or holstered on someones back it looks all thin instead of being some what wide and big. the 9mm in new vegas actually looks like a 9mm pistol compared to the one in FO3.
  • Cwf2008 - May 5, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    California/Nevada border town with a rollercoaster...Prim, Nevada then? HURRAY A CITY IM FAMILIAR WITH AND ONE I'VE BEEN TO!
  • Cleanser247 - May 4, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    I enjoyed the Fallout series, and Fallout: New Vegas is definitely on my list of upcoming games. The atmosphere Bethesda creates is very unique, and it really draws the players into it. I can't wait until it's released. Good preview Tyler, I've been waiting for some Fallout news for a while!
  • TheIronMaiden - May 4, 2010 10:28 p.m.

    this is the first game on my list, nothing will earn the spot before it. Hardcore mode sounds badass, would love to know what kinda special item it is.
  • GameCraze - May 4, 2010 9:25 p.m.

    Can't even imagine waiting more than 4 months for this game, yet the longer they take, the better it's gonna be :D Damn, though, Hardcore Mode sounds great... I like the tweaks they made to FO Vegas but I hope they don't completely alter the game... I love FO3's mechanics...
  • SeattleSound - May 4, 2010 9 p.m.

    I wonder what the "Special reward" is.
  • RebornKusabi - May 4, 2010 8:46 p.m.

    I REALLY cannot wait for this game! I loved Fallout 3 and all of it's DLC that was released for it. I recently bought and played through the first 2 Fallout's thanks to Fallout 3 just to see how far the series has come. Admittedly, I much more prefer the way the series has evolved to now but I respect the earlier installments and love the fact that they have gotten a significant amount of the original team involved in this one. Also, because I really REALLY wanted this option in the original, I'll be immediately starting this game on Hardcore Mode "Day 1" because I really love the idea of having to manage your inventory more carefully and have to micro-manage your health and well-being more. The fact that you can get dehydrated is in my opinion very cool and I can't wait to see what else they do with the Hardcore Mode! reCAPTCHA- "sissies for" (Huh... well "Spam-blocker bot", elitism is completely uncalled for >_>)
  • 2dboy - May 4, 2010 8:15 p.m.

    I was going to wait for the "games of the year edition".However , I can't really wait that long :D