If you've already spent hundreds of hours combing the wastelands of Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and Anchorage, Alaska in Fallout 3, what might convince you to revisit the post-nuclear version of Sin City in Fallout: New Vegas?
Developer Obsidian Entertainment is taking over for Bethesda Softworks for the follow-up to Fallout 3, set three years after the events of that game and thousands of miles westward, featuring an all-new cast of characters. What does Fallout: New Vegas have to offer the Vault dwelling veteran?
Specifically, for the serious Fallout fan, New Vegas introduces a Hardcore option from the get-go, allowing them to bypass early tutorials and live a more difficult post-nuclear life. Players opting to go hardcore will have to stave off hunger and dehydration, and will be required to visit doctors for more serious injuries. Hardcore also more harshly limits the amount of ammo one can carry, applying weight to bullets. Stimpacks won't heal instantly, but will heal over time.
Players can choose whether they want to go Hardcore during the game's opening, which doesn't begin in a Vault, but at the offices of New Vegas' medicine man Doc Mitchell. He'll patch you right up after your whole "I've got a bullet in my head" ordeal that starts off the next Fallout. Yes, finding out who was trying to blow your brains clean out and why they left you for dead will play some part in the story of Fallout: New Vegas.
Doc Mitchell will fix your face up the way you like and, through a series of tests, help you determine your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. abilities (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, Luck). He'll set you up with a Pip Boy 3000 and get you on your way.
Obsidian's new take on Fallout introduces a few other changes, starting with the Companion Wheel. The pop-up radial menu lets players control their allies in battle, issuing simple command behaviors to AI-controlled compatriots.
The VATS combat system has also been tweaked, allowing for melee attack commands. Just don't expect a massive difference in the way the successful targeting system worked in Fallout 3. But do expect a greater variety of weapons, thanks to new weapon mods that let players customize their firearms with larger clips, scopes and specialized ammo. More outlandish weapons like the grenade machine gun and golf club will also add a little variety to your post-nuclear excursions.
During your journey across the desert lands of Fallout: New Vegas, you'll have to deal with the various factions who claim ownership of certain territories, like the New California Republic, the Brotherhood of Steel and Caesar's Legion. The notoriety system complements the karma system of Fallout 3. Depending on the actions you take—who you kill and who you befriend—various groups will either want you dead, want to be your best bud or attempt to pay tribute to your character.
We'll have extended impressions of Fallout: New Vegas early next week, from the outskirts at Primm to details on what awaits you on The Strip, so keep an eye peeled for further details. If you have any specific questions you want answered, let us know.