Vivendi Universal recently dropped by the GameSpot offices to show off a new build of the Xbox version of Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. The fact that the game runs on a modified version of the Snowblind engine used for Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance should give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect from the gameplay. At the beginning of the game, you can select from one of three characters, each with his or her own unique attributes. For example, Nadia is proficient with ranged weapons and can fire two pistols at once, but she's pretty weak when it comes to melee combat. Conversely, the tank character in the game can use all the heaviest weapons and sustain more damage than the other characters. However, he can't use two weapons at once. The third character, Kane, is the only nonhuman of the group--he's a ghoul, which is basically a horribly disfigured version of human. Because of his physical attributes, Kane is resistant to damage caused by radiation and can carry most of the weapons in the game, but he can't take quite as much punishment as the other characters.
There are around 33 weapons in the game, ranging from spiked gloves and handguns to rocket launchers and laser rifles. There are also a variety of explosive devices, such as mines and grenades. You can buy these items from shopkeepers all throughout the game, but many of them can simply be picked up after you've killed an enemy or found in boxes and car trunks. It's also worth pointing out that you can put three weapons in a quick rotation menu that allows you to switch between them on the fly. There are also varying types of armor, with leather armor being the weakest.
In addition, characters can be equipped with different skills taken directly from previous Fallout games. For example, the sadist skill gives you health for killing enemies, while the man's best friend skill equips you with a canine friend that will attack enemies. There are dozens of skills available, and some will prove to be more useful than others, depending on your play style.
The actual gameplay is pretty straightforward and closely resembles that of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Targeting specific enemies can be quite useful in almost every combat situation, since it also lets you execute evasive maneuvers such as rolls and back flips. This is especially important for Kane, since he moves relatively slowly and can't evade enemies as well by simply walking in the opposite direction. Whenever you make contact with an enemy, a number will appear over its head, indicating how much damage was inflicted, though this feature can be turned off if you find it distracting. Some sequences involve walking around town areas and talking to the local residents to receive side quests. Of course, your overall quest is to locate a missing paladin from the Brotherhood of Steel, but there will be several relatively menial tasks as well, such as locating a prostitute's missing cat. When you reach the end of an area, you'll have to take on a boss character who will be much more powerful and require a little more strategy to defeat than the average enemy.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel will support cooperative play for two players. It will also have some unlockable features such as extra playable characters that can be acquired by beating the game on different difficulty settings. The game is currently scheduled for release on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 in late October.