Hands On with Fallout: New Vegas at E3 2010

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Without question, Fallout: New Vegas was a game I was longing to get my hands on. Luckily, I got the chance to do just that at E3 last week. While visiting Bethesda’s booth (pictured above), I got the chance to spend some quality time with the next chapter in the post-apocalyptic world.

The first thing that will jump out at you about Fallout: New Vegas is that it looks a lot like Fallout 3. While Obsidian is using the same engine for this installment, it has been updated since Fallout 3 was released. You can see that the graphics have improved a bit, and some of the animations seem a bit smoother.

In the section we got to play, we were able to check out the New Vegas strip, which reveals the first differences from Fallout 3: everything is pretty much intact. The casinos are still standing, and no nukes have landed too near the city. So, since we’re in Vegas…time to hit the blackjack table!

We tried our hand at blackjack (see the photo below), roulette, and slots in the demo. All the games pay out in chips, which can be cashed in at the cashier for bottle caps, one of the three currencies in New Vegas. You can also expect to have NCR Dollars (the official currency of the New California Republic) and Caesar’s Legion’s coins. When dealing with the respective faction, you’ll need to have the proper money, and exchange rates will vary from place to place, meaning you could even play currency games to increase your personal wealth.

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Once we cashed in our winnings, we were given an expedited quest that took us right into the desert. Here we saw another new feature: the companion wheel. The companion wheel allows you to quickly give orders to your companion, such as stay, follow, etc…

Combat feels very similar, with the V.A.T.S. system returning. The slight zoom on weapons in Fallout 3 has been replaced with iron sights, but outside of that minor change, there’s really not a lot that feels new about taking down your enemies.

That’s all we got to try out in the E3 demo, but it was enough to make me ready to head out West. Fallout: New Vegas is slated to hit stores here in the States on October 19. It may look like a Fallout 3 expansion, but it also looks like an absolute ton of fun.

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