Regular readers will notice that the following article is a slight departure from our usual preview style. For gamescom 2010 we've adopted a streamlined structure, allowing us to cover as many games as possible while giving you the important juice and info. In many cases we'll be running longer, more detailed previews upon our return to the UK.

What is it?

The follow-up to Fallout 3, one of the biggest titles of 2008. It's another post-apocalyptic sci-fi outing, but this time the setting has shifted from Washington to the deserts surrounding Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam. This time the development is being handled by Obsidian, a studio that is home to many of the people who worked on the original Fallout and its sequel.

What was shown?

Fallout: New Vegas screenshot

Bethesda allowed visitors a full hour of hands-on time, but given the massive scale of the game this still felt like a drop in the radioactive ocean. The story kicks off with the player's character - a humble courier - getting shot in the head by a gangster in a chequered white jacket. You survive the attempted murder (it would be a pretty crap game if you didn't), then the game begins with you being resuscitated by a doctor in the town of Goodsprings; the recuperation process acts as a combined tutorial and character generator.

Once the player makes it through this sequence - which is far briefer than the 'growing up in the Vault chapter of Fallout 3 - they set out in pursuit of the guys who tried to whack you. After getting some combat tips from a female barfly named Sunny Smiles, I set out across the wastes, battling pale-skinned geckos. I eventually reached the town of Primm, where soldiers from the New California Republic were trading bullets with a band of escaped convicts. Primm is also home to a weathered old man by the name of Jonathan Nash; he runs the local branch of the courier company you work for and is able to shed a bit more light on the people who hired you.

Our Reaction

Compared to the other big-hitters on Bethesda's list of upcoming releases, New Vegas doesn't offer much in the way of eye candy. Fallout 3's sprawling vistas were pretty impressive two years ago, but now the engine is looking pretty long in the tooth. That said, the retro/ruined future mash-up vibe is appealing as ever. There's a darker, meaner tone to the intro to New Vegas; Ron Pearlman provides the gravelly narration as the scene is set, detailing the growing conflict between the New California Republic and Cesar's Legions - a bandit army that has enslaved 86 American Tribes. Western and gunslinger imagery permeates the game's look and feel, but the interface and general appearance is largely unchanged from Fallout 3.

Fallout: New Vegas screenshot

Most of the significant gameplay additions pop up under the optional Hardcore mode, which seems to be aimed at the long-time Fallout fans who took umbrage with a few of Bethesda's design choices. Under this setting your stimpacks will no longer instantly heal, but rather slowly replenish your health over a period of time; they also lose their strange, magic ability to fix crippled limbs - forcing you to visit a doctor if you come a cropper. Ammunition has a physical weight, so it's now harder to walk around like an amateur arms dealer. Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, playing a Hardcore game forces you to deal with the threat of dehydration. If you don't drink clean water on a regular basis, you can expect a visit from the Grim Reaper.

Another nod to the original games is to be found on the character creation screen, where you can now pick optional traits that offer some form of bonus strength and weakness trade-off: If you pick 'Four Eyes', for example, you'll gain +1 Perception while wearing glasses, but suffer -1 Perception when you're not. New Vegas may not win over the bitterest of Fallout 3's critics, but it seems to be doing a lot of things right - particularly in the mystery that surrounds the hero's initial near-death. After an hour I was certainly hungry to play for a few more - and that's surely a promising sign.

CORRECTION: We originally reported in this article that Mark Morgan, the composer who worked on Fallouts 1 and 2, was returning to work on New Vegas. This is not the case, although much of the game's soundtrack resembles his style. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

Fallout: New Vegas is set for release on October 22, for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

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9 Comments

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Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

It'll be hard with both my partner and I *desperate* to get our hands on this game... better start arranging the time slots now.

Also, I made a post in General Gaming regarding the preorder bonuses for New Vegas for us UK gamers which might come in handy...
Posted 15:17 on 09 September 2010
bobbobson's Avatar

bobbobson

Considering a large chunk of Morgan's soundtrack for F1 & F2 were direct lifts from Aphex Twin & Brian Eno, that may not be such a brilliant idea…

Specific examples:

- Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2" (Hankie, Grass)
- Brian Eno's "Music for Films" (Alternative 3 - originally the soundtrack of a hoax documentary of the same name)
Posted 15:12 on 09 September 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Thanks for posting that! I don't feel so bad now.
Posted 10:09 on 23 August 2010
Aonaran's Avatar

Aonaran@ mydeaddog

I've got another update, my friend:

"Hi guys,

To clarify this once and for all:

All of the new music in Fallout: New Vegas is by Inon Zur, however we do use some of Mark Morgan's tracks from Fallout 1 & 2. They're mixed in with the Inon music in places (so are sound effects from Fallout 1 & 2) and the actual tracks themselves will play in specific locations. We use some of Inon's music from Fallout 3 as well. There's a ton of music in this game.

So that journalist had a remarkably good ear to catch the snippits he heard!"

...and that is from the senior producer!

http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php...__p__16300070&
Posted 22:31 on 20 August 2010
Aonaran's Avatar

Aonaran

No worries, based on the sound of the music and early rumors it was very plausible. Thank you for the clarification!
Posted 16:08 on 19 August 2010
K3RT's Avatar

K3RT

Really can't wait for this game!!!
Posted 13:32 on 19 August 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

I'm afraid you're absolutely right: I've just checked this with Bethesda, and they've confirmed that it's not his work. For some reason I'd cemented in my head the idea that he was coming back (there was a story that reported he was, but as you said it was actually just a rumour).

Humble apologies, and thanks for pointing that out.
Posted 11:53 on 19 August 2010
Aonaran's Avatar

Aonaran

Apparently, Morgan has denied working on this project in the past and all signs point to Inon Zur as the composer. While the sound clips that are beginning to surface in many interviews SOUND like Morgan, Zur has shown in the past (Fallout:Tactics) that he can approximate Morgan's sound. Would you care to elaborate on how you concluded the soundtrack was composed by Morgan? Did you hear this from an official source, or is it purely speculation?
Posted 03:34 on 19 August 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

big fan of the fallout 3, after being skeptical about the vegas setting im now looking forward to buying this and thinking of pre ordering this aswell.
great preview neon
Posted 23:48 on 18 August 2010

Game Stats

System Requirements
Release Date: 22/10/2010
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 382
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