Fallout: New Vegas (X360, Windows, PS3)
There were too many people jostling to try the next chapter in Bethesda Softworks' post-apocalypse franchise for me to manage any hands-on time with it, but I did get to chat with a developer from Obsidian Entertainment who gave me the lowdown while I stole glances over the shoulders of those who were engaged in some fine looking mutant mutilation.
Set a few years after Fallout 3 , players take on the role of a new character. Not a vault-dweller but a courier who has been robbed, shot, and left for dead on the road. That's all the reason we need to begin exploring what remains of Las Vegas 100 years after the nuclear holocaust.
The landscape of New Vegas appears to look much like the world of Fallout 3's Washington, D.C., but that's more to do with the fact that it's a desert than anything else. Turns out Sin City and surrounding area were spared a direct nuclear hit. There's still a colourful and populated strip where you can step into a casino and gamble. Outside the city you'll find wastelands, but also splashes of green in the form of desert plants and a surprisingly crisp blue sky. But, obviously, construction is at a standstill. Expect plenty of grey, dilapidated, century-old structures.
Many of the mutant humans and creatures I saw were familiar, but there are several new factions that players will encounter, including the colonizing armies of The New California Republic, Caesar's Legion (which gives me hope we might be able to explore the remains of the famous hotel and casino), and a group led by a mysterious man named Mr. House who controls the strip.
But new setting and personalities aside, returning players will recognize much of what they see. The HUD, the menus, the ability to slow down time and select specific body parts to attack; it all recalls New Vegas' immediate predecessor. However, I was told that there are some subtle changes. A new "companion wheel," for example, will allow players to interact with their followers more efficiently, directing them to use stimpaks and specific weapons with ease. Plus, Obsidian has added iron sites to weapons, which ought to make free targeting a bit more effective-though behind-the-scenes rolls of the dice will still dictate damage (this is, after all, a role-playing game).
So it's Fallout 3 with refinements. Given that the original is one of my favourite games of this generation, that's more than enough to sell me. Guess I know how I'll be spending around 100 hours of my time this October.
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