|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Obsidian Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 19, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by J. Matthew Zoss
April 27, 2010 - For many gamers, Fallout 3 was unquestionably the 2008 Game of the Year. Developer Bethesda Softworks managed to brilliantly update the classic Fallout formula with the first-person RPG formula it had perfected in games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The game was a huge hit, and a sequel became all but inevitable. Two years later, that sequel has yet to be announced. However, series fans will only have to wait until the end of the year to return to the world of Fallout when the spinoff, Fallout: New Vegas, hits stores.
Although Bethesda has handed the development off to RPG veterans Obsidian Entertainment, much of Fallout: New Vegas will feel familiar to fans of the last game. The core game remains unchanged - you still play a created character who wanders an open-world, post-nuclear environment, taking on missions and interacting with the residents as you see fit. However, New Vegas also has major changes in both the setting and gameplay. New Vegas wasn't hit directly by nuclear weapons in the war, and the city itself is much more intact and functional than anything in the Capital Wasteland. The world is brighter, the color palette is wider, and mutations are less obvious. However, that doesn't mean that New Vegas is any less dangerous than the Capital Wasteland. Fortunately, you'll have several new tricks at your disposal to keep you safe.
The V.A.T.S. system from Fallout 3 is returning in New Vegas, which allows you to freeze the action and strategically target specific enemies and their individual parts. A new upgrade to V.A.T.S. adds special attacks with unique effects to melee weapons. For example, a golf club weapon called the 9 Iron has a special attack that can potentially knock enemies off their feet. If getting up close and personal isn't your thing, New Vegas still has plenty to keep you satisfied. New Vegas features twice as many firearms as Fallout 3, including ridiculously powerful weapons like a rapid-fire grenade launcher and the Helios One orbital laser. You can even customize your weapons with scopes, larger magazines, and more.
Along with the additional weapons, several other features debut in New Vegas. After you create your character, you'll be asked if you want to play in Hardcore mode. Despite the name, this isn't a new difficulty setting - you can play Hardcore Easy or Hardcore Hard. Should you select this option, a few important tweaks will be activated. First, stimpacks will heal over time instead of instantly. You won't be able to fix a crippled limb with stimpacks, either - you'll have to visit a doctor or use specific healing items just for that task. You'll also have a dehydration meter that will function much like the radiation meter; over time it will deplete and you'll suffer ill effects until you rehydrate.
Another new feature streamlines how you communicate with and command your companions, which will come in handy as you interact with New Vegas' various factions. The way you interact with different groups will affect how they treat you. Harassing the residents of a town will make the entire populace more hostile towards you, while rescuing said town from invaders might cause them to shower you with gifts. The trademark Karma system will return as well, and obviously will tie in quite neatly with the new reputation system.
The reputation system is a good yardstick for Fallout: New Vegas as a whole. It, along with most of the other changes, seems like natural extensions of the core Fallout gameplay. Fallout: New Vegas looks like it will offer up more of the same gameplay that players loved in Fallout 3, while offering up new content that keeps things fresh without feeling out of place. More of the same would be enough to make another Fallout game one of our most anticipated titles of 2010. The fact that Obsidian went the extra mile makes us want to play it even more.
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer