What happens in Vegas...
Let us get one thing straight here: I never played Fallout 1 or 2, although I've been told that this game is connected to them. While not getting alot of the references I probably missed due to this, I'm still enjoying New Vegas a great amount.
Fallout: New Vegas is a Post-Apocalyptic RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment (of Alpha Protocol fame) which is set in the mid-22nd century, with an alternate history where technology, politics and culture all followed different paths.
We find ourselves in and around New Vegas, where the enigmatic Mr. House rules from inside the Lucky 38 Casino, where no is allowed entry.
The story you are given is relatively simple: you are a courier with the Mojave Express, but the item you were carrying had the interest of others, and they saw no other way then to put a bullet in your head and drop you in your self-dug grave.
However you survive, and now you are set to get your package back, and get revenge on the people who did this you.
The character creation isn't mindblowing, you get 10 presets per gender to cycle through, complete with preset hairstyles and sliders to adjust various bits of your face. There's not a whole lot of point to it as the only bit of your head you will see afterwards is the back of your head, and even that will get covered up by a hat.
However Mr. House is not the only powerful force in the Mojave - as large chunks of the wasteland are primarily occupied by the soldiers of the New California Republic, and the grand tribe known as Caesar's Legion which are both preparing themselves for a grand battle over control of the Hoover Dam. Each faction you find in the world of New Vegas has a personality to them complete with tasks you can accomplish for them, which much to my pleasure usually have multiple ways to fulfill them.
In addition to the Karma system which makes a return from Fallout 3, there is now a reputation system in place so you can easily keep track of who likes you for your actions and who doesn't. And it should be said that doing good to others, will get them to be nicer to you as well.
Exploration is still a major part of the game as there are various settlements, and countless abandoned structures for you to go and explore in for profit and equipment, and the occasional hint to another sidequest. Just don't keep the radio on for too long or before you realize it, you're listening to the "cowboy who'se boots go jingle jangle jingle" for the 185th time and it just gets annoying.
Glitch-wise, Fallout and Oblivion are games which are infamous for their bugs, but I couldn't find this time around. There was only one occasion where I saw a couple of coyotes moonwalk their way towards me, and the Deathclaw who flew into the sky after V.A.T.S-ing his head off, which both made me chuckle more then anything else.
The weapons are reminiscent of Fallout 3, but there are loads of new weapons such as repeaters, an abundance of melee and fist weaponry, and Energy Weapons such as the Plasma Rifle, or the Recharger Rifle which makes its own ammo!
This time around, you have the ability to aim down your sights, but if your first instinct was to just use your quick trigger finger you're out of luck, because it'll quickly become apparent that this is still an RPG with an invisible dice-roll happening behind the scenes to calculate wether or not you actually did any damage.
What Fallout: New Vegas did for me was create an immersive open-world experience with plenty of things to do: the exploring of the wasteland, discovering why your package was so important to your assailants, meeting new allies and alot more.
In short I feel that New Vegas takes the groundwork of Fallout 3 and improves upon it significantly. Especially the companions who are alot more useful and easier to manage this time around.
This game's long replay value, along with the modding community out there will certainly keep this game interesting for a very long time. I can wholeheartedly recommend Fallout: New Vegas to most people I know, the exception being those who have a strong dislike for FUN.