What goes on in Vegas...
October, 2281. Welcome to a Vegas very different from the gambling Mecca of Hollywood legend. This is New Vegas, the crumbling remains of a city decimated by the Great War 204 years previously – and a city torn apart not just by nuclear mutants, but by posses of outlaws and bandits and their bloody battle for power.
You play as The Courier, a lone messenger gunned down and left for dead in the Mojave Desert. Set four years after the epic Fallout 3, and on the other side of the USA, the story is driven entirely by your decisions and actions as you track down your would-be killer. Do you form careful alliances with desperate gunslingers and sand-blasted factions? Or do you go in all guns blazing in a bid to conquer the crumbling casinos and faded neon glamour for yourself?
It's a treacherous tightrope. As you travel the vast Mojave wasteland, taking in the infamous Vegas Strip, the massive Hoover Dam and countless scorched settlements in-between, you realise that in order to make a few friends, you must make even more enemies. The key to your survival lies in your ability to play one group against the other to take the heat off your own back. Mess up, and you're cactus feed.
Fallout: New Vegas packs one of the most open-ended, engrossing experiences around. Check it out now for a unique taste of Vegas. Enjoy your stay.
Blaze of glory
For Fallout veterans, the new Hardcore mode provides an even steeper challenge. You must pay careful attention to your body's needs at all times, as dehydration, starvation and fatigue are constant threats. Expert resource management is needed too, as ammunition now has weight which eats into your overall carrying capacity. Stim-Paks and Rad-Away also take longer to heal you. The Hardcore mode is tough, and can be switched off at any time, but if you can meet the challenge all the way to the end of the main storyline you will get a special reward.
Pick up the Collector's Edition to receive a special Making Of documentary, where you'll find out how a real life fruit machine developer helped to design Fallout: New Vegas's countless side attractions. There's also a graphic novel which gives you a valuable insight into the events leading up to Fallout: New Vegas, plus a set of playing cards with a profile of every major character in the game.
Exclusive to the PlayStation 3 Collector's Edition is a voucher code which allows you to download a special equipment pack containing a more effective outfit to protect you from the Nevada sun, a 10mm pistol to give you a head start against the Mojave wasteland hordes and, best of all, a water canteen that never needs refilling, to ward off the threat of dehydration.
A gamblin' man
Fallout: New Vegas is an enormous patchwork of exploration, missions and odd jobs which will test your wandering spirit and skill to the limit. Just as in Fallout 3, the driving force is your character's experience level, which defines your abilities and how powerful you are when called to arms.
As you discover new corners of the map, complete quests and beat enemies into the dust, you gain experience points which eventually turn The Courier into a super enhanced survival expert. You must then decide how to specialise. For instance, an increased lock-picking ability makes it easier to access weapon stashes, but that might mean you have less skill points to spend on the handgun speciality, computer hacking expertise or any one of dozens of traits. Effectively it means you could play through the game many times and evolve a completely different character on each occasion.
The Karma system also returns, which influences how the world responds to you. Rob a farmer blind and your Karma takes a hit, making it less likely that people will help you in the future. Help that farmer out, by running errands or defending him from attackers, and your Karma is raised. It's another example of the juggling act Fallout: New Vegas inspires you to perform, and it often pays to veer between the good and bad ends of the Karma spectrum.
New to the Fallout series is the Reputation system, which works alongside the Karma system to determine how you are viewed by people in the game. New Vegas is teeming with gangs, and your loyalties will be tested by the missions you choose to take part in. One such quest has you teaming up with a local militia group to storm a rival gang's heavily defended compound, which endears you to the militia but makes you a marked man should the gang ever spot you again. Thankfully, friendly and hostile settlements are marked on your trusty PIP-Boy (your personal information tool), so you'll know when to bed down and when to hightail it.
All this takes place in a world full of the spoils of nuclear war. Rocket launchers, napalm throwers, lasers, mini-nukes and much more are scattered throughout the Mojave wasteland. Exploration, an unparalleled endurance test, the ability to customise weapons and a world crawling with possibilities: Fallout: New Vegas has it all. Fallout: New Vegas is a game full of choices, the biggest of which decides whether you live or die. The question is, do you feel lucky enough to venture into every corner of a land which could kill you in an instant?