Fallout: New Vegas Updated Hands-On - An Hour in the Slums of Freeside

We have only one precious hour to explore the slums of Freeside on the outskirts of New Vegas at QuakeCon 2010. <i>Will we make it out alive?</i>

QuakeCon 2010 is under way, and as it turns out, id Software's parent company Zenimax Media is showing new games from another subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks, including Fallout: New Vegas, the next chapter in the Fallout series from Obsidian Entertainment (a studio that includes several of the designers behind the original Fallout games of the late 1990s). We sat down with an entirely new area in New Vegas, Freeside, with a powerful character and not a whole lot of direction. Sadly, we had only an hour to play the game and weren't able to make all that much progress, though we got a good sense of some of the game's new content and quests. Please be advised that this story contains minor plot spoilers.

In New Vegas, if you want peace, you must prepare for bloody gun battles.

Our session began with a male character at the edge of Freeside, a garbage-filled, broken-down slum filled mostly with petty thugs, piles of junk, and the occasional revitalized postapocalyptic casino. We started with a basic mission of trying to enter New Vegas from the main gate, and followed our compass in the lower-left corner of our screen down the street until we saw what appeared to be a gun battle in the streets. Apparently, a few Freeside thugs were engaged in battle with a frosty-haired, pinstripe-suit-wearing dead ringer for the late, great Sammy Davis Jr. named "Old Ben."

Being the upstanding citizens we are, we pitched in to help defend the beleaguered non-player character (which had a proper name) from the similar-looking thugs (who did not have proper names). To tell you the truth, in all the excitement, we kind of lost track and may or may not have accidentally fired a shot or two at Old Ben using the game's VATS zoom-in combat system (which, just like in Fallout 3, pauses the game and lets you aim at specific body parts on your target). And we may or may not have accidentally on-purpose zoomed in on Old Ben to unload a few shotgun shells directly into his face. And this may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that Old Ben was using a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world (which would blow a punk's head clean off)--a gun we didn't yet have in our inventory. But mainly, it was the upstanding citizen thing. Shockingly, once the thugs were dead, Old Ben had the nerve to open fire on us, and, like any right-thinking citizen of the postapocalyptic wasteland, we defended ourselves by sneaking in close, opening up VATS again, and emptying the contents of our shotgun into his cranium. It was only fair.

So, we took Old Ben down and picked up his shiny hand cannon, and, feeling pretty good about ourselves, turned our attention to a band of what appeared to be greasers from the 1950s called the "Kings." We opened fire on one with our Magnum and, as advertised, blew his head clean off in trademark Fallout 3 slow motion and whacked his friend in the same fashion, beheading and all. It was the other three Kings guys we didn't account for that somehow got the best of us, firing at us on all sides, and soon our character was taking a dirt nap.

Threats in New Vegas don't always respond to reason. But that isn't necessarily a reason to attack. Unless you really want to.

We then restarted from our original position and decided to try a less homicidal approach, maybe even talk to a few characters before shooting. We followed our compass to the New Vegas gates, which were guarded by "Securitron gatekeepers"--giant police robots with a comical retro-future look that could have come out of The Jetsons. The metal monsters were basically giant steel boxes mounted on a unicycle wheel with an antenna on top and a TV monitor display in front showing an exaggerated cartoon caricature of a grumpy policeman. One police robot immediately approached us once we neared the door and demanded the right to run a "credit check" on us--which essentially meant that we had to either attain passport documents (through a series of quests), bribe it with 2,000 bottle caps (which we didn't possess at the time), or hack it using the science skill (our character's skill was insufficient).

Rather than risk violent death yet again, we instead set out to find a passport, first making the acquaintance of Old Ben who, as it turns out, is a capital fellow who wants to contribute some good to the lawless slums, especially given his shady past as a guard, a butcher, and an "escort" (and for the record, the term "escort" here doesn't mean that he protected other characters by walking alongside them; it means the other thing). In order to get the proper papers, we had to work with the King's gang (rather than just slaughter them), which meant that we had to speak with the gang's leader, a man known simply as The King, who hung out in a nearby music shop dedicated to, of all things, musical impersonation, and which required a loading screen transition to enter. For those who can't quite place the reference of working with 1950s-era greasers in Las Vegas based in a musical impersonation shop and led by a man named The King, you'll figure it out when you meet the man in the gang's headquarters and he thanks you (thanks you very much) if you decide to work for him.

Our first job was to investigate a Freeside bodyguard, Orris, who is somehow monopolizing the business of guarding bodies and is taking valuable job opportunities away from the Kings. The gang leader put an extra couple hundred bottle caps in our pocket to pay off the potentially crooked chaperone by posing as a civilian in need of protection. After crossing to another quadrant of Freeside (and sitting through a load screen to make the transition), we found our entrepreneur and hired him to babysit us from point A to point B, then followed him when he took off running.

New Vegas is the new Wild West. Better cock your pistols.

All of a sudden, the bodyguard stopped us, claiming that something didn't seem right, and ordered us to follow him into a sharp detour that led to four menacing thugs. The bodyguard pulled out his sidearm, and shots were fired at the thugs until they went down. We then spoke with him and, thanks to our character's above-average intelligence score, were able to point out that he gunned down four thugs with only three shots. The bodyguard dodged the question and we decided to drop the issue rather than risk blowing our cover and followed him the rest of the way. At this point, our quest journal updated itself, directing us to report back to The King with our findings. After a quick run back to that area, which involved sitting through another loading screen transition, we reported that the shyster was running a scam with phony assailants and were rewarded with a wad of cash and a new quest--to find out why a band of travelers were assaulted at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park the other night.

We headed off to the camp area where the battered travelers were holed up, sitting through another load screen transition to get there. Apparently, the two other witnesses were in the same tent and saw little of the three thugs, except that they were much bigger than most normal travelers and extremely young, and one of them was named "Lou." "Lou Tenant." From this clue, our character surmised that the characters were likely part of the New California Republic, a political group that once had aspirations to unite the scattered settlements of the wasteland, but is now busy warring with a highly organized group of New Vegas slavers called Caesar's Legion.

Now that we knew the attacks were caused by the military, we headed back to The King's base, sitting through another load screen transition, and informed him of our findings. Perplexed, The King suggests that this attack could mean that NCR is making a bid for control of all of New Vegas, which would be big news indeed, and instructed us to speak with the medic Julie in Freeside's squatter camp. We once again left the building, once again sitting through a load screen transition, and made our way to the squatter camp, sitting through another load screen, to find that Julie, the humanitarian medic, was up to her neck in wounded civilians and extremely short on valuable Med-X supplies to treat the wounded.

New Vegas will jingle and/or jangle its way to stores this October.

After vowing to help her with her supply issue, we spoke with her about the recent attacks to find that she was sympathetic to NCR and actively working with them. The nurse suggested we find an NCR officer to discuss the attacks, but since time was running out on our play session, we decided to leave the beaten path and start poking around the squatter area, which also houses two casinos, the Silver Star and the Atomic Wrangler. We ducked our head into the Atomic Wrangler to find a dark and seedy bar with a basement housing poker and roulette tables next to a cashier's window where all the game's currencies (bottle caps, Legion currency, and NCR dollars) can be exchanged for chips, and a second floor housing private rooms for escorts (again, the other kind of "escorts") offering a good time in exchange for bottle caps. We skipped out on the amenities and instead spoke with the proprietor, John, who suggested that he could help Julie with her Med-X supply issues if the nurse used her science skills to help refine the casino's alcohol still to churn out purer, more-concentrated alcohol to lace the house's drinks. The bartender pointed out that stronger drinks meant drunker patrons who spent more money at the casinos, and since it was for a good cause, we agreed to ferry the message back to Julie.

It was just then that our time with New Vegas ran out, so we reluctantly relinquished the controller. While we didn't get to experience much of the game in the time we were given, we were able to get a sense of the open-endedness and degree of choice you'll have in the game. Just like in Fallout 3, you can seemingly resort to violence just about whenever you want, though in many cases, this can have deadly repercussions--using words instead of bullets can get you what you want without a lot of pain, especially if you have sufficient ability scores or skill points. New Vegas will be released this October.

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Discussion

203 comments
Robi86
Robi86

Tygravius, just a reminder that bethesda is just a publisher in this sequel,nothing more, unlike fallout 3 where they developed it.

Tygravius
Tygravius

Can't wait for this!!! Will be able to determin how awesome the game will be by the size of the book (guide) it will come with. If it has alot of pages like F3, right on! Need a good rpg with not too much dialogue. It's a fine line and Bethesda/F3/Oblivion has/usually delivers.

AkhilAnilkumar
AkhilAnilkumar

I just know it that this game is going to rock!!!!

pact4lyfe
pact4lyfe

the level cap is 30 guys but future add on will probably make it go to 50 er something

hillelslovak
hillelslovak

So what's the level cap gonna be? I got sick of F03 after a couple long playthroughs, but with all the new weapons and other content, I have this pre ordered for day one. DJ Hero 2 and New Vegas will own my soul for a while.

Vkain
Vkain

Ah New Vegas. Can't wait....Six days left.

Jock9
Jock9

This looks really good, I love the idea of the NCR. It sounds abit like Jericho; the TV show or Jeremiah if anyone knows of them. I am gonna enjoy this game so much, to make choices and decisions like who i am gonna side with and help. Right at the moment the NCR are seeming my most obvious choice to side with but we'll see on 22nd, they may not be as good and friendly as they seem.

menace420
menace420

the graphics are still the same..... i don't understand why all the loading?!?!? they should use the engine that assassins creed uses. fallout is still a classic game and i have faith this will be awesome!

Martyr_of_Wrath
Martyr_of_Wrath

@New-Vegas-Fan for answering my questions and putting up with me you earn +1 internetz. Spend it wisely. :P

New-Vegas-Fan
New-Vegas-Fan

@Martyr_of_Wrath Its no problem, and yes he will be in Fallout New Vegas, there are some pics of him floating around gamespot, and he is a diffferent looking super mutant to say the least.

davidsworld3
davidsworld3

I will love this game but I cant wait until it goes modern style and leaves the cheesy music and 50's scenery behind kinda gets old after a while but still cant wait to BE GOD in this game lol...enie menie miney moe who is going to die right now? It's awsome you can choose who dies in the game you can be a good guy or a bad guy I usually end up going crazy and killing everyone once I am strong enough to get away with it lol

Martyr_of_Wrath
Martyr_of_Wrath

@New-Vegas-Fan one more thing and i'll leave you alone, do you know who Marcus is? He is supposedly from Fallout 2 and is being brought back in New Vegas. ???

New-Vegas-Fan
New-Vegas-Fan

@Martyr_of_Wrath haha its no problem. Happy to be of service:D

Martyr_of_Wrath
Martyr_of_Wrath

@New-Vegas-Fan thanks lots man. your cool with me. not that it'll get you far :). thanks again. lolololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololol

JohnisGodd
JohnisGodd

The closest thing I ever had to a glitch in this game is when I decided to save over my autosave file on top of a grenade that exploded almost immediately after it loaded. It was my fault. And not a glitch at all. Just thought I'd share. Took me damn near 45 minutes before I managed to survive the explosion.

Martyr_of_Wrath
Martyr_of_Wrath

@New-Vegas-Fan your image is to awesome, how/where did you get it?

New-Vegas-Fan
New-Vegas-Fan

@ermac1986 i agree with the24 year old person below me. Once i got to the lvl 30 cap, no matter how hard i tried to go about the story, it just felt the same and in the end, felt cheep :( P.s Looking forward to Fallout: New Vegas Woop Woop :D:D

ermac1986
ermac1986

FO3 was an excellent game but Obsidian and Bethesda need to realize that this isn't an RPG game at all! A true RPG game is one that has 200 plus hours of gameplay for the gamer, which involves a much higher, if not endless level cap. The 30 level cap made fallout 3 feel recycled every time I re-played it, and it gets old doing the same thing over and over again. Yeah there was enough to explore physically but not enough to explore within the level scaling. Increase the level cap!!

Daffy_DK
Daffy_DK

i just pre-ordered new vegas, can't wait.. i never really had any crashes on fallout 3 on my ps3, so i don't worry all that much.. loved both FO 1 - 3.. fallout is just fantastic in my eyes

nzmx121
nzmx121

so angry right now... I went in 2 eb games to preorder the collectors edition, and theyve all sold out. :(

gazzad
gazzad

I played fallout 3 religiously for ages!! Must have been nigh on 100 hours or so, will all the DLC on the xbox 360, I had fallout 3 from when it was first released too! I very rarely had any crashes at all, or even many glitches except ones that were self inflicted and intentional :D Geuss I was maybe just very lucky... or its not as bad as people are moaning that it is!!

silverwolf21
silverwolf21

OK, i RARELY ever have a crash/glitch on FO3 first of all. I have it for xbox 360 (GOTY) and PC (with DLC seperate) and ive never crashed to the extent im mad. If your dont lik it, your a perfectionist or a prick Lol play the game or dont.

supernova777
supernova777

I'll wait and see what people say about the crashing.

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

@ athleos hey dude when your playing fallout 3 and it crashes hit the ps home button and the o button at the same time until the menu screen pops up and than just back out of it. the glitch will end and you can keep on playin. but it doesnt make it stop so you may have to do that.. alot. thats what i did to fix the glitches

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

lol @ PinkyFingarNail why ps3 fanboys? what about those 360 fanboys? or pc fanboys? or wii fanboys? or super nintendo fanboys? or sega fanboys? or fanboy fanboys? come on show some originality man..

PinkyFingarNail
PinkyFingarNail

okay, loved fallout 1-3, but there are more glitches then there are pathetic ps3 fanboys!

athleos
athleos

Look here Bethesda, I bought the Fallout 3 game, I didn't download it as a free bit torrent, and Fallout 3 constantly crashed over and over again and again. How can anyone enjoy the game! I tell you this, if Bethesda still refuses to patch Fallout 3 PROPERLY then what makes you software developers at Bethesda think I will wast my money on on another truly amazing game, when you don't even support your current game that have been out for a long time??? If Bethesda wants me to buy fallout New Vegas, then properly patch Fallout 3 so it will stop crashing long enough to enjoy it!!!

athleos
athleos

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

athleos
athleos

Will this new release from Bethesda be stable? I mean FOR CRYING OUT LOUD wHY

drago9876
drago9876

@ bodylotion: Umm... it actually does have some relation to this game.... I'm talking about a free roam hold it out zombie game.... And this game is a free roam game is it not? @ enclave4444: A-First two Fallouts? I'm not talking about the ones way back.... im talking about 3 and New Vegas B-Everybody has a different taste into a game that they kinda like. I like Nazi Zombies from CoD:WaW. So i thought making a zombie game focused on holding your fort as well as searching for supplies/survivors would be pretty neat

drago9876
drago9876

@ gideonkain: There are no zombie games like that....

BlackcloudC28
BlackcloudC28

@Merlinmint: Yea, the menu music in FO3 was my favorite game theme of all time. It just carried with it such a sense of human desperation and adventure that I'm nearly driven to tears each time I hear it.

BlackcloudC28
BlackcloudC28

Looks pretty nice so far, let's hope the modders are as enthusiastic about this one as FO3, hey?

Knutte79
Knutte79

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Crayzorder
Crayzorder

Wasn't even considering getting it. Now I will be after price goes down probably. Gamespot sure does love convincing me to make a empty wallet!

aganinja
aganinja

ok then i hope they bring new RADIO STATION BETTER THEN GNR

frankj22
frankj22

Hope they fixed the 3rd person view, I never use it in FO3 but I hope to use it for melee combat in NV. Anyhow the VATS system was perfect for fps mode.

RocSeanD
RocSeanD

@aganinja GNR was a Washington DC radio station.

aganinja
aganinja

I really hope they bring GNR BACK

Tommz7070
Tommz7070

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pete_PhD
Pete_PhD

Let's hope for some diagonal running animations! The lack of proper running animations really destroyed the immersion in Fallout 3. It was ridculous that they were too lazy to fix it.

shadow-crow
shadow-crow

idc bout the story i want the new weapons, enemies and the freaking casinos!

LOVERPS3
LOVERPS3

the game is good but,,,,,,!

Hammstray
Hammstray

Looks cool but I doubt my parents will let me get it...

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

@brickdoctor - yeah, the article makes it sound like each load screen takes several minutes, which i doubt is the case.. sure it would be nice if everything streamed into one fluid world, but i would much rather the devs focus on making a good game instead of spending all their time on lods and keeping the frame rate up

GTAKing11
GTAKing11

i really hope the engine is better. plus the movement of characters is improved, seemed a bit too stiff at times, especially when you viewed your character from 3rd person. As well as the NPCs.

drummerdickens
drummerdickens

To those wondering if it was my copy, I tried 2 different copies on 3 separate PS3's. I thought it was genuinely accepted the PS3 version of Fallout 3 was awful and save games decided to corrupt on a whim? Check their official forums, a lot of people had the same problem.

tobelight
tobelight

Start off by saying Fallout3 is my all time favorate game of all time as of right now. And to the few saying "thier copy" didnt have any bugs either on PS3 or 360 I gotta call bs on that. FO3 had glitches and bugs Period. Hopefully New Vegas has fewer or none. Regardless CANT freaking wait.