Fallout: New Vegas Hands-On

We entered the Mojave wasteland for a new look at Obsidian's postapocalyptic role-playing game.

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Talking to the team behind Fallout: New Vegas, it seems that it will have more in common with the first two games in the series, rather than 2008's Fallout 3. According to the creative team, the west coast setting means that it will have relatively little in common with the Washington-set Fallout 3, but it will feature some characters and locations from the original two games. We managed to score new hands-on time with the game to find out more.

The E3 demo starts out in Vegas itself, which has been left unspoiled by the nuclear apocalypse that ravaged much of the rest of the US. It's only age and a general lack of maintenance that has left Vegas slightly ruined, but the gambling business still continues apace. New Vegas is a mix of glamour and seediness, with one city dweller throwing up down the walls of a casino during our intro. However, you'll be able to go into casinos and play blackjack, roulette and slot machines--all of which allow you to win (or lose) in-game credits.

Our time in New Vegas also allowed us to meet some of the seedy characters that call it their home. You can't take normal weapons into casinos, but Mister Holdout wanders around on the streets, trying to sell concealed weapons that can help you avoid detection. Chairman Greeter is the man that introduces you to the Tops Hotel and Casino--the place that you're going to be staying during this section of the game. We were told that this bit was from around 20 to 30 percent through the main story.

After the casino demo, we moved out into the Californian desert and were met by a small group of New Californian Republic soldiers. We had the choice of fighting on the NCR side or turning against it, but we decided to ally up and help the soldiers take on Caesar's Legion. The mission was to take out a CL leader called Nelson, and we had the choice of taking two different routes to get to him. After fighting a little bit of resistance, we made it through to Nelson's hideout and took him down using the V.A.T.S. combat system. This should be familiar to players of Fallout 3, but for the uninitiated, it allows you to slow down time and pick off individual parts of an enemy's body, with frequently spectacular results.

New Vegas introduces a new command wheel that allows you to give direct orders to certain allies. In the demo, we were able to use the wheel to tell our man what weapon to carry, for example. New Vegas also allows you more customization over your weapons, including augmentations such as clip size, silencers, and scopes. The story will take place a few years after the events of Fallout 3, and your character is a courier who is left for dead before a doctor brings him back to life. The beginning of the game will be spent trying to find out who did this to you, as well as what you were carrying, but it will soon branch out into another multilayered storyline.

Fallout: New Vegas is shaping up well for its October 22, 2010, release date. Be sure to check out the new images that have been released for the game, as well as all of the other Bethesda show content, at e3.gamespot.com.

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