The New Vegas Strip in the upcoming follow-up to Fallout 3 is a lot like the real Vegas--full of false hope and desperate people. For a world decimated by a nuclear war, New Vegas is about as glitzy as it can get. And that ain't very glitzy. The four major casinos on the Strip offer a quiet oasis from the desolation outside and a brief respite from the war brewing in the expansive desert beyond.
There's a little something for everyone on the Strip. You can see a comic insult show or catch a dance revue, play some casino games (even unique games custom-made for New Vegas), or chat up one of the hookers with a great personality roaming outside. There's The Tops, the Ultra Lux, the Lucky 38, and everyone's favorite sex casino, Gomorrah. Spend big in a casino and you'll get a room comped for being a high roller. But win too much and the pit boss will think you're a cheat and throw you out.
Of course, it's not all fun and games. There are plenty of folks to talk to on the Strip, a number of missions to acquire, which all seem to fall in line with what was experienced in Fallout 3. Rather than detail every conversation or go step-by-step through the various missions I played once I was out in the Vegas desert, I want to tell you about the awesome stuff I saw in my 20-minute jaunt through Obsidian's upcoming RPG. If you want more details on the story and some of the gameplay tweaks, check out our initial Fallout: New Vegas preview.
Now, onto the awesome.
Melee combat in Fallout 3 was decent, but pretty basic. Pick up a bat, swing and hope to connect. Fun for a bit, but not very satisfying. In comes one of my favorite new additions to Fallout--special melee attacks.
Every melee weapon comes with at least one special attack, which adds no strategy to the combat, but likely hours more fun to the mix. Would you kindly strike my face with a golf club? How about selecting the "Fore" option in the VATS combat system for added kick. This move can knock enemies to the ground, where you can then follow up with some serious brutality to their kidneys. Put on the spiked gauntlets and you can deliver an uppercut or a low blow. Yes, that's right, a low blow with spike gauntlets--yowch!
Melee combat never looked that hot in Fallout 3 unless you used the unappealing third-person view. Fortunately, Obsidian has fixed the camera so that playing in third-person isn't just possible, it's preferable. The camera is now tight on the hip of the character instead of showing their poorly animated legs. This is a more traditional camera for a third-person action game and it makes a big difference in terms of playability. Obsidian is throwing in tons of wild and crazy looks and outfits that you will want to see in the third-person view.
One of my favorite new weapons is the throwing spear. This rare ranged weapon factors in your strength score, so it's actually a perfect long-range tool for someone who is normally a brawler. Target an enemy's head in VATS and give the spear a toss. With enough strength (and a bit of luck) you can decapitate an enemy and pin their head to a nearby wall. I tried pinning a rabid dog's tail with a spear, but lady luck wasn't with me on this one.
Another fun weapon is the incendiary grenade. These are like normal grenades but set your enemy ablaze. The fun thing is that they can often knock enemies into the air. So with a fortunate throw, you can blast an enemy up ten or even fifteen feet in a trail of flames. And the best part? You can juggle them in the air with a second grenade explosion. If you can get a couple of grenades to juggle an enemy over the edge of a hillside, you may just have time to switch to your spear and take off their flaming head mid-air.
Told you, this was all about the awesome stuff in Fallout: New Vegas.
Obsidian has the benefit of being handed a game engine and game world already crafted by Bethesda. So they can devote some of development time to making all of it a little bit cooler than before. Ultimately, New Vegas feels almost identical to Fallout 3, but in a new location, with new wacky characters in the mix, and a ton of fun new weapons.
Works for me.
©2010-06-15, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved