““Each of the casinos – Topps, Ultralux, Gomorrah – are all themed differently, and run by individual groups that have a distinct personality,” says Hines. “That’s kind of what Vegas is about. Of course, nothing in the game references modern-day Vegas, but it does have that feeling.” Within moments of starting the demo we saw posters for a lounge act called ‘The Rad Pack,’ inebriated revellers dancing in a fountain, and wandering prostitutes with nothing more than duct-tape to hide what was left of their modesty.
“In addition to that, Washington was highly destroyed and [New Vegas] was virtually untouched. So not only do you get the symbolic differences between the two locations, but then you get the real, tangible differences. It really does set them off against each other. It’s a pretty stark contrast. The primary objective of the art team at Obsidian was to use a very different section of the colour palette for New Vegas, so that when you look at it you instantly see things like blues, and reds, and oranges. Fallout 3 was much greyer, greener, and grittier. That blue sky alone makes such a difference to how the world feels and looks compared to Fallout 3.””
“So, we warp to Novac. That sounds hopeful. ‘Novac’ sounds like it’s named after a sense of hope, technology, and aspiration. A spirit of can-do rebuilding and unity. As we walk up the barren hill to get there, the real reason for the name becomes clear: it’s less of a town, more of a motel where the No Vacancy sign has been vandalized. When we see the sniper sitting in a dinosaur’s mouth, it suddenly becomes a little less welcoming. Even if the dinosaur is called Dinky.
Novac is guarded by two men who take turns sitting in the mouth of the 20ft high wooden dinosaur. Dinky faces the Vegas Strip, and although this motel is free of faction allegiances, we can pick out more points of interest in our surroundings. Camp Forlorn Hope nestles against a hill to the east. A bit west there’s Camp Nelson, operated by Caesar’s Legion and their boss, Dead Sea. Then there’s the mostly defunct power plant, Helios One.
Nevertheless, our position as an outsider makes the paranoid Boone trust us. We make a deal. We’ll find out who did it and take him or her in front of the dinosaur during Boone’s shift. We’ll wear his beret – that’s the code for him to shoot. As you’d expect from Fallout, this could go a number of ways. Boone’s put us in a position of trust, and trust is there to be abused. We could invite anyone we want dead out there, put on the hat, and they’ll get sniped to bits.
That’s assuming we have the verbal skills to convince Boone afterward it was the right person. We decide to take the noblest route and find out who really did it. This involves talking to everyone. It’s not our ball-shaped friend in the gift shop. And it doesn’t appear to be Boone’s patrolling partner, although he confesses to disliking Boone’s wife. We log onto his terminal to make sure, but it contains nothing but a story-building email: nothing incriminating.
Karma still exists alongside a new faction system, so your choices may affect you in more ways you’re used to. Secondly, we have to help out the doctor. He’s a bit brusque but we soon win him over with our conversational skills. This is another feature: we don’t charm him using a generic Speech skill, we convince him we’re the man for the job using our Medical skill.
It makes sense: all the charisma in the world won’t help you chat knowledgeably to a doctor if you don’t know what an appendix is. And more importantly, it makes sense in terms of role-playing skills. The explosives expert might not let you near his bomb unless you can demonstrate knowledge of what does and doesn’t blow up.
So, while the good doctor goes for a walk around, we tend to his patients. There’s comedy here – one guy’s amputation goes slightly too well with the amputation of an unexpected limb – but we imagine things could be even funnier if we weren’t such a damn good doctor. We’d like to have left behind a room full of mutilated guys and some apologies on Post-It notes.
We’re also encouraged to try out the new melee attacks. Up-close combat wasn’t terribly compelling in vanilla Fallout 3, but most of the intimate weapons now have a unique option in the VATS system – you can aim it at a certain limb, as usual, or choose that weapon’s special attack. The 9 iron has “Fore!” which lets you take a powerful, slow swing at your enemy – and it’s perfect for taking out the enemy’s dogs.
So, will you be able to win the affections of both factions? It doesn’t look like it. We’ve gone from tolerated to hated with Caesar’s Legion in just a few minutes and a handful of kills. Grow a pair and choose a side. It looks like you’d be wise to choose a side and stick to it or be hated by both teams.”
“It’s here that New Vegas’ new currencies become important. The game’s two confirmed factions – the slave-taking Caesar’s Legion and the New California Rangers – have their own money in addition to Fallout 3’s bottlecaps.
We’ve seen these factions before: both are interwoven into Fallout mythology. Caesar’s Legion like to dress in leather skirts and sport fetching centurion-style brushes on their helmets. I’d advise against admiring their sartorial choice though: they’re a slaving faction, and friendly dalliances with their leaders will undoubtedly make your reputation plumb new depths.”
“A big part of the Fallout series is customizing and improving your character, so it’s no surprise that S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats make a return in New Vegas, as do traits and skills. Avellone confirmed that just like Fallout 3, this game will have collectibles, including books and snowglobes (instead of bobbleheads). These will grant the player in-game bonuses though not the same bonuses that books and the bobbleheads gave in Fallout 3. He also told us that there will be a ton of perks just like in the previous game, but he couldn’t go into any specific perks during our interview.
New Vegas will also contain challenges that the player can accomplish. "We also have a challenge system set up too in the game," Avellone said. "So not only will you get perks for various achievements and things you do in the game, you’ll also have challenges like how many quests you complete, how many headshots you do, how many limbs shot, and it encourages you to try out weapons just for the fun of it."”
Furthermore, Gamespot has the two gameplay videos that we've seen previously, but this time without the annoying voiceover:
“Arthur: I dumped about 85 hours into Fallout 3. I probably played more Fallout 3 DLC last year than any other game. So I'm looking forward to losing myself in that world again.
Erik: Fallout New Vegas is more Fallout. That's awesome and all you really need to know.”