After a few initial ones, there's a huge wave of Fallout: New Vegas previews now, all based on the same presentation.

GameInformer's preview is just a teaser for the full one in the upcoming magazine, but it has some new interesting facts already.

OK, this one shouldn’t be that surprising. Fallout: New Vegas adds some new perks to the character mix. Want to know more? Here’s a little teaser. “We’ve introduced a new dialog perk called terrifying presence,” says Sawyer. “It allows you to, when someone basically confronts you, instead of talking your way out of a fight you terrorize the person who’s threatening you to the point where they all run. It initiates combat, but they all run for the hills. Some guy comes up to you and says, ‘Man, you just screwed with the wrong guy,’ and you’re like, ‘I’m going to f---ing cut your head off and wear it as a hat,’ and they’re like, ‘Holy s---!’ and he freaks out and as soon as it ends he and all of his crew just run. It gives you about five seconds where they’re just running in terror from you so you can just go off on them. But it’s just one of those things where every once in a while it just comes up in conversation and you can just lay it down.”

G4TV discusses dialogue.

We only saw the dialogue checks several times during the demo, but it appears that in certain situations, barter (and possibly other passive skills) can be used in a similar capacity to speech and you can rely on the skill you have higher points in when another doesn’t cut it. Interestingly, the game will also show how many points you have in a specific skill area versus what you need to pass the check in the dialogue tree. Seems like it will make the game less punishing for those who don’t pump points into their speech skill (fools!).

Gamespot informs as about some new changes to combat.

Using a varmint rifle, we watched several overgrown geckos' heads explode with a few quick shots. There's a kill cam that can be set, which slows down the final shot and makes your kills feel more cinematic, but this can be turned off if you don't like seeing limbs fly in slow motion. Sawyer said that geckos were a favorite from Fallout 2 and that there will be tougher versions to fire at later in the game. The core controls, as well as the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS), remains mostly the same, and we later found out that special skill options have been added for melee attacks. Sawyer explained that there wasn't a lot of development time for New Vegas, and because a lot of people played Fallout 3, the developers didn't want to make any drastic changes--just improvements to the existing controls. He also said that aiming should be more responsive, reactive, and predictable. To discourage players from always aiming for the head, certain weapons will be more effective against limbs. At times, a red shield icon will appear to let you know that you're dealing less damage per shot and that it might be a good idea to switch targets to conserve precious bullets.


Like the town of Primm, which sits near the California-Nevada border. It's notable for having a big roller coaster, which makes an appearance in the game. Instead of an amusement park ride, however, it served as a platform for a vicious gun battle. Obsidian showed off more of Fallout: New Vegas' arsenal, including the Caravan shotgun—a double barrel shotgun—and a grenade launcher, which Obsidian described as "a hoot" to use.


One of the most significant new gameplay mechanics in Fallout: New Vegas comes in the form of the companion wheel, which is designed for easy access to Companion Commands, including access to companion inventories and behavioral orders. If you want your companions to attack everything in sight, you can set them to be aggro. Or, on the flip side, you can have them be very docile. From what I saw, this new radial menu system is a very easy to navigate and is much neater and quicker to access than the companion system in Fallout 3. In fact, the companions themselves will talk to you now and tell you if you've done something stupid, like arming a gun expert with a melee weapon. Companions also offer benefits to you in the form of perks, so you'll want to choose carefully when picking a buddy to go exploring with you.


One other significant tweak, besides skills and combat, is how companions (Sawyer shows off two: a soldier named Craig Boone and a ghoul named Raul) work. Sawyer's basic rule for companions is: "They should feel helpful without replacing the player -- you should maintain and command without babysitting them. But your companion shouldn't just win a fight for you." Instead of a brief and cumbersome dialogue tree like in Fallout 3, you use a handy companion wheel interface that lets you easily perform activities such as switching weapons, managing inventory, healinh, and adjusting tactical behavior. Though, since companions are more active and manageable, that means you can't simply treat them as pack mules and dump items into their pockets -- they'll likely try to use those items.


"There's a lot of different combination of weapons and ammo and things like that so you have a lot of choices, a little bit more than you rather focusing on one single weapon during a long portion of the game," Urquhart explains.

One such example is the addition of a red shield icon in VATS, which lets players know that their weapon isn't all that effective against that particular foe or part.

"Weapons that have a high rate of fire, they do a lot of damage with a lot of little bullets. If you hit a target that has armor, you'll see that red shield," notes Sawyer. "You're doing a little less damage per shot, you'll want [something] a little slower firing and heavier hitting. There's also stuff like ammo subtypes, armor-piercing ammo for shotguns."


The locations are plentiful and varied. Primm – a small town encircled by a rollercoaster based on a real-life place. Novac – under threat from Caesar's Legion, home to Dinky the Dinosaur and amusingly titled due to a few letters falling off of a ‘No Vacancy’ sign. Black Mountain – a dark and dangerous place filled with mutants. There is also a location known as the Helios One Solar Energy Plant. Occupied by the New California Republic, Helios One was built during the pre-war years by Poseidon Energy (from Fallout 2) and currently isn’t fully operational. You can choose to help get it up and running and divert power to the NCR, or you can spread the power out across different locations, or you can choose to use the Archimedes II orbital laser to turn against the NCR.


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. 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.


In addition to Karma, Obsidian has added a faction/location based reputation system to New Vegas (similar to that in Fallout 2) which will see you treated differently depending on how you engage with people. Successfully complete lots of quests for a community and they’ll welcome you with open arms in future, maybe even treating you to perks along the way. Bear in mind though, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction – the example we saw had us helping a slacker scientist get a power station to reach maximum efficiency – under the proviso we rerouted power to the strip. When we got to the command console however we had the option to power a handful of different areas exclusively, or all of them equally. Suffice to say disobeying instructions had a knock-on effect...

Black Mountain suffered many nuke explosions. As a result, its communications array is almost completely destroyed. But one station, called Black Mountain Radio, remains, broadcasting a warning: super mutants are plentiful, it says, and if you've got any sense you’ll stay away. Chris doesn't of course, and approaches the super mutant camp, taking a route that seems to have been carved into the ground just for stealthy players to enjoy. "We tried to make sure with our level design that we included stealth paths that go into all locations so sneaky characters feel special and can take advantage of the lack of security in some areas," he says.


Your journey will eventually take you to Novac, another town with a huge point of interest. In this case, it's Dinky the Dinosaur, the aforementioned T-Rex, complete with the Dino Bite gift shop and a sniper's nest inside of its mouth. This is where the developers introduce you to companions, characters who have their own storylines and will follow and fight for you; the first is Craig Boone, ex member of the New California Republic, or NCR. Not only is it good to have a buddy come along, but you can manage him or her using the Companion Wheel, examining their health, A.I. state and weapons used; you can give them weapons. Over time, you learn that a crazy super mutant named Tabitha (essentially a dude in drag), AKA the commander of Black Mountain, holds a guy named Raul captive. So, you set off to kill everything in your path to save him; you'll run into the Nightkin, tough mutants with the power to cloak. That said, you should have acquired both the Anti-materiel rifle (a 50-caliber monster) and one of New Vegas' best weapons, the Grenade Machine Gun. This bad boy lives up to its name, as it spits grenades like an automatic rifle discharges bullets, one after the other. The mission concludes with you saving Raul and slaughtering Tabitha and her brood. And in case you ever wondered what a mutant would look like in a blonde wig and lipstick, it isn't pretty.

Games On Net:

Fallout 3 must be good. Look how well it sold. Look how many Game of the Year stickers it has on it. Look at the feeding frenzy of rampant hatred that begins if you dare to so much as casually suggest it isn’t the Supreme Being of first person RPGs.

So Fallout: New Vegas, which is by all accounts more of the same, has to be pretty decent too, right? Given my apathy towards everyone’s favourite post-apocalyptic hybrid, I confess myself as surprised as you to be answering that yes, it does look pretty damn good. Here’s why.

For one thing, they’ve cut out a lot of the waiting around. Fallout is not an action game, and you have to expect some exposition, but if you found yourself impatiently mashing the “next” button during Fallout 3’s interminable childhood sequence, you’ll be gratified by New Vegas’s approach. Apparently being dug up and patched back together after near fatal head trauma is a faster way to deliver a new character to actual gameplay than being born, growing up, having birthday parties and going to school. Who knew?

So the time between selecting “start game” and arriving at that trademark “the world is my oyster” moment is much less trying, but better than that, it’s a much more attractive sort of mollusc. I was blown away by the ruined desert landscape of Capital Wasteland – for the first ten minutes, after which I got a hankering for something different to look at. Having escaped the devastation of a ground-zero hit, New Vegas delivers a much more varied and interesting environment.


There seems to be a reverence for midwestern Americana at work in New Vegas. Aside from the tumbleweed feel of Goodsprings, a couple of the other towns Obsidian revealed during the demo I saw featured things like an old amusement park--where you fought bandits right up and down the tracks--and one of those gigantic roadside dinosaurs (Dinky the T-Rex, in this case) that you'd see off the interstate while driving across the desert. Dinky just happened to be the home base of a group of local rangers who were running their operation from within his metal frame, so stuff like this isn't just for window-dressing. But it does add a lot of personality, and some of that trademark Fallout humor.

If you find any that we've missed, let us know!

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