Fallout: New Vegas Preview
What happens in Vegas… Well, maybe that rule dies out in the distant future when the glitz of the strip has been replaced by widespread freakishness, ‘cuz the stuff that’s going to happen in Fallout: New Vegas could become the stuff of mythic legend. Sure, it looks a bit like the current Las Vegas but after a devastating nuclear war, there’s a whole lot of freakishness (more than the typical level of freaky humans in today’s world), which is why you’ll see some definite sights during your travels. Of course, you can always take a load off in the futuristic environment, as many of the casinos still operate. There’s The Tops, Lucky 38, Ultra Lux, and the decadent Gomorrah; if you drop enough coin, you’ll get yourself a free room for the night (who’s thinking of “Swingers” right now?). Win too much and you might get tossed on suspicion of cheating. But then you can pick up some missions from the people roving the broken and battered streets.
Yes, it’s quite the environment, and fans of Fallout 3 should feel right at home in the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. But this time around, that atmosphere has a definite attitude; a flash and panache most decidedly lacking in the previous series entry. And although Obsidian’s last effort (Alpha Protocol) turned out badly, we have faith that Bethesda isn’t about to release a sub-par Fallout and besides, the upgrades and enhancements are intriguing. Remember the melee combat mechanic in Fallout 3? Wasn’t much to it, was there? Well, maybe that’s why the’re implementing a special melee attack in New Vegas; every weapon has at least one such attack, and this infuses more strategy into up-close-and-personal combat. For instance, if you check the screenshots, you’ll see a golf club and what appear to be futuristic boxing gloves; with the former, there’s a “Fore” option and with the latter, there’s an effective spike gauntlet. Oh…the pain.
The rest of the gameplay should be fairly similar to that of Fallout 3. The depth will be there in terms of character development, you can choose to attack mission objectives in a number of different ways depending on your playing style, and you will once again have the option of a first-person or third-person view. Most people didn’t use the latter in Fallout 3 but you may change your tune in New Vegas; those who have tried the latest title say that with a camera change, third-person is actually preferable. IGN describes it as being “tight to the hip of the character” and is what we’ve come to expect from some of the best third-person action titles this generation. Besides, with the sheer number of ways to outfit your character, you’ll want to actually see him or her, right? The rest of the game features an expansive landscape, loaded with perils, mysteries and decidedly odd objectives that only add to the pervading sense of sci-fi weirdness.
New weapons like the throwing spear and incendiary grenade should really up the ante when it comes to battling; we know the spear gun in Dead Space 2 will be a sweet new option and we’re expecting nothing less from the spear in New Vegas. The incendiary grenades are exactly what they sound like. The V.A.T.S. system will return from Fallout 3; if you’re unfamiliar, it means you can pick out various parts of your enemy to attack individually. Maybe it’ll remind you of the Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption, or something. But a new addition will be a command wheel that lets you assign orders to allies; you can tell someone what weapon to carry, for instance, and on top of which, there’s added customization for those weapons. Clip sizes, silencers, scopes and other augmentations are available and not surprisingly, depending on the path you take, you may not even see some of them. The freedom is definitely there and fans of the franchise wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lastly, just to clarify, this is indeed a direct sequel even though it’s not called “Fallout 4.” The story takes place a few years after the events of Fallout 3; your character is a courier who is left for dead at the start of the story. At the start, you’ll be tasked with finding out who tried to kill you, and why but of course, that’s only the beginning. A branching plot will reveal itself the more you play in true role-playing fashion. There’s little doubt that Fallout: New Vegas will prove to be a highly sought-after title when it releases on October 19.
6/17/2010 Ben Dutka