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I'm currently at Gamescom in Cologne, here to bring you my very own impressions on Fallout: New Vegas. I've only had the opportunity to play the game for a short while so far - the lines are huge, unfortunately, but I'll try to get another peek at the game later. Lots of spoilers ahead, so beware! Just some facts about the game here, I'll also post my personal impressions later. For now, here's just a random collection of facts and names.
The demo, which you've probably read about in dozens of previews already, starts just outside The Strip, in a settlement called Freeside. The active quest at the start of the demo is Ring-a-Ding-Ding!, and the objective to confront Benny in the Tops casino.
The entrance to the Vegas Strip itself is guarded by two securitron robots. To enter, you either need to have a New Vegas passport, or a lot of money. I didn't have a passport and I failed the credit check, so I tried to use the Science option to command the robot to let me in. Of course I knew I would fail, since my Science skill was lousy - the skill indicator next to the line was [Science 18/80] and the line itself something akin to "Robot! Let me in!". Now I do know, however, that a character with real science skills can be more successful here.
Freeside is mostly controlled by the Kings, who are a group of Elvis wannabes, ruled by the King himself, who can be found in the King's School of Impersonation, together with his cybernetic dog Rex (who is reportedly a potential companion). At the School, I have to talk a guy called Pager into letting me in - either through caps or through the Speech skill. I choose the latter option, and tell him that I need to pay my respects to the King, so he lets me in.
I ask the King if he has any jobs available for a fine adventurer like me, so he gives me the G.I. Blues quest. There are some bodyguards for hire at the Freeside gate, and he wants to know how one of them, Orris, is making so much money and is monopolizing the market. He gives me a couple of bottlecaps and sends me to hire Orris and find out the truth. If you want to know more about this quest, you can find it out in several other previews, like this one. I decided, however, that there's not much of a point in covering what everyone else will cover anyway, so I decided to venture out of Freeside and explore the surrounding area.
The demo starts with no map markers on the world map, so I ventured blindly in various directions. One of the places I managed to find nearby was the Crimson Caravan Camp.
The Vegas office of the Crimson Caravan is headed by Alice McLafferty, who was also in charge of the company's operations in Hoover Dam in the canceled Van Buren. She is normally in charge of the Hub HQ of the company, but the New Vegas branch has been underperforming lately, and she came to clean it up. She also mentions that the New Canaan Mormons (another Van Buren reference here) are in charge of most northern trade routes, while the Gun Runners control most of the gun trade in the area. She gives you a quest called You Can Depend on Me to deliver an invoice to doctor Hildern at Camp McCarran. There are also lots of brahmin in the Crimson Caravan camp, which confirms that the big horners are not the only domesticated animals in the area.
Other characters in the camp, aside from the generic caravaners, are Blake (who comes from a town in the NCR called Oak Creek), who can sell you various wares, and Don Hostetler, who doesn't really talk much (at least for now) aside from telling you to go talk to McLafferty instead.
Just outside the Crimson Caravan camp, you can find the New Vegas Medical Clinic, which is run by Doctor Usanagi. She has some high-tech equipment there, and so she's able to upgrade your stats with implants (which are a bit more plausible than the Fallout 3 bobbleheads). There's an implant for each of the main statistics, even for Luck (called Probability Calculator). Of course, the implants aren't cheap. Other implants include sub-dermal armor and one that makes your health regenerate.
I've also been looking through the Pip-Boy, to see any info about other quests there. Here's what I found out:
Jessup is in charge of the Great Khans (another returning faction from the original games) in Boulder City and is holding some NCR people hostage. You are asked to deal with the situation in the Boulder City Showdown quest.
The very first quest, which consists of character creation, is called Ain't That a Kick in the Head, while the optional tutorial you can go through with Sunny Smiles is Back in the Saddle. The first part of the main quest, in which you need to find out who tried to kill you, is They Went That-a-Way, which leads to the aforementioned Ring-a-Ding-Ding!.
Another interesting bit of info is that the armors I've seen don't have both Damage Resistance and Damage Threshold, but each has only one of the two. The leather armor had DT, while the Vault 21 jumpsuit had DR.
That's pretty much all for today, but stay tuned for more New Vegas information and my general imperessions later!
See: Part 2