I had barely registered my one-hundred-and-fiftieth hour of gameplay on Fallout 3 when I first saw the posters for New Vegas lighting up the London Underground. Nothing resonates with me more than seeing a gun-toting CGI human, wearing power-armour and a sheriff's duster coat, each morning on the daily commute. I couldn't wait to play it.
If you enjoyed Fallout 3 then you will more than likely enjoy New Vegas just as much. The one undeniable fact about this game is that it is almost exactly the same as its predecessor in every way. New Vegas could quite easily be classed as an expansion to Fallout 3, it is that similar. If you're looking for new additions to the gameplay, there are practically none. You have a few more guns, the ability to craft ammunition from scraps of junk and of course, the play-at-your-peril survival mode, which forces you to constantly seek food and water, as well as transforming how you take and repair damage. The only major difference is that this time you're in the ruins of Las Vegas instead of the DC wastes.
You don't need to have played any other Fallout game to slip straight into New Vegas, though there are numerous references to the events and powers of former Fallout games for veterans of the franchise littered throughout. The Mojave Wasteland is just as expansive and impressive as the DC Wasteland, and despite being set in an actual desert, actually feels much more lively and populated than DC.
Despite being someone who loves the recent Fallout games, I haven't rated either of them as 10 out of 10 classics. Whereas I love the look and feel, and general gameplay of strolling effortlessly across vast expanses of treacherous hinterland, the games are not without their faults. Much was made of how many more Quests New Vegas contained compared to Fallout 3, yet many of these Quests really are as simple as walking from one side of a town to the other, relaying messages to wastelanders who really ought to be sorting out their problems for themselves! Furthermore, I feel it's only because I love the games so much that I can accept almost identical releases coming out in such quick succession.
You begin the game as a courier, dug out from a shallow grave with a bullet lodged in your head, and your initial mission is to roll out and get revenge on the guys who put you there. The Karma system is back again and you have the option to parade through the game as a saintly do-gooder, or tear things up as history's greatest monster. The way people speak and react to you will alter depending on your allegiance. The VATS targeting system also returns, ensuring there are plenty of slow motion replays on hand to document your surgical skills with a shotgun at close quarters.
You can also recruit companions to join you on your travels, and a welcome change from Fallout 3 is that they cannot die, only repeatedly get knocked unconscious when they charge a Deathclaw with just a Power Fist for protection. And of course, being set in Vegas, it wouldn't be right to ignore the proud history of the city of sin, so feel free to gamble your heart out at the numerous casino's dotted about the map.
Other than that, it's the same old Fallout. I'm not complaining. Yet.