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Gamescom: Fallout: New Vegas – Heading South

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Gamescom: Fallout: New Vegas – Heading South

Post by Yaznee! L4DS on Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:10 am

This close to the game's October release, it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise but Fallout: New Vegas has been polished and fattened up and is very nearly ready for show time. At this year's Gamescom event in Cologne, we were given the chance to sit down with a near final version of the game – and we had a full hour from the opening credits onwards to get as far into the sucker as possible. Naturally, we abused this privilege as much as we possibly could.

How so? Well, first of all, by ignoring the quest completely. Instead, after awakening in Goodsprings and choosing a foxy femme fatale (and going through the necessary motions to create a solid temporary character with a few strong skills to see us through), we simply walked out of town, due south.

There was no time to lose – such was our determination to get as far south as possible in our time limit that we forewent the core quest completely. Before long, things began to get very interesting.

The first thing we noticed was simply the leap in graphical quality that Fallout: New Vegas has made over Fallout 3. This is a lovingly textured, colourful and razor-sharp game. The world has been crafted with an increased attention to natural textures; stone surfaces, dirt paths, cement causeways and character faces and clothes have all been retooled and the quality really stands out. The same can be said for the colour palate which, while still muted, lays on dabs of colour – particularly the pinky-purple of the sunset and the alien-green hues of the oversized praying mantises we later encountered and the neon-yellow of the ominous radioactive tumbleweeds too. Seriously.

"The Burned Man Walks!" read some ominous graffiti we encountered on the back of a billboard for 50s-era cars. A portend of things to come? Here's hoping. Regardless, we spied the town of Primm, set due south of Goodsprings. As we made our way through the fortified fencing that surrounded the small commune, we learned from a well-armed New Californian Republic guardsman that inmates had overrun a nearby prison and the local area was now crawling with goons and escapees.

Naturally, the first thing we should've done was stock up on guns and ammunition. Instead, we hopped into the Pip-boy and equipped our paltry default pistol. No time for proper arms – there'd be plenty to gather after popping a couple of fools on the way south.

Indeed. Swarms of goons – angry escaped skinheads – now dotted the map. Thankfully, even the most basic pistol makes short work of heads in VATS mode (the automated targeting system that allows for limb and body-part selection, for those unfamiliar). Before long, escapees dotted the landscape; not even some chump lobbing sticks of dynamite could lay a dent in our Amazonian wonder woman.

Eventually, after looting a new jumpsuit (nothing flashy, just a Merc Charmer getup) we hit upon the Nevada State Highway Patrol Office. Again, a couple more inmates had set up residency. However, these posed more of a threat, since the sidearm had run out of ammo – and the single-shot shotgun (requiring a reload after every round) was proving, erm, ineffective against the knife-wielding foes. So – thinking quickly, we broke out a baseball bat, pilfered off the ground in the Patrol Office and began beating everything with a pulse into a fine red mist.

Success. Level up. At this point, we were able to choose a neat female-specific perk, 'Cherchez La Femme', granting us an additional 10% damage against female targets. Incidentally, there's also a version called 'Black Widow' that does the same against male targets.

After pilfering the office clean of caps, food and ammo, it was back on the road again with our leading lady.

We noticed a service station probably a good half a mile down the road; it seemed as good a landmark as any to pursue. As it turned out, it was a riskier proposition that it superficially appeared, since a swarm of five Radscorpions had decided to call that joint home. That wasn't going to stop our progress though. Hell no.

Using five sticks of ill-gotten dynamite and some crafty timing, we began pelting the sting-happy monstrosities with high explosives. Then, as they chased us around the petrol pumps and wrecked autos, we began popping off the single-shot rifle until it was out of ammo. Then, as things began to get a little bit dire, we broke out the hunting knife from the Patrol Office and started making Radscorpion-carpaccio.

RUN AWAY. RUN AWAAAAAY.

After clearing out the den, we entered the Nipton Road Service Station and ransacked the place, making off with an array of foodstuff – some old favourites, some new items – and, sadly, couldn't access the real prize – a locked gun cabinet at the far end of the room. There was a special diary in here, marked 2/2 – and it revealed a fairly lucrative sounding mission. The author? One 'Super-Mayor Joseph B. Steyn III Esq.' Impressive. We'd keep an eye out for this on our next play through. Alas, our skills simply weren't high enough at this stage. We headed back outside, knife in hand.

Onwards! Time was running out. On the horizon, sitting atop a large hill, two towering figures loomed. That, friends – with out time running out – would be our target destination; a fitting vantage point to survey the landscape – and maybe get a taste of more side-missions.

As it happened, this appeared to be as far south as we could go at this stage anyway; the two towering figures marked the Mojave Outpost – an NCR Ranger outpost placed to help protect the transportation of good and people through the south. As we learned from the head ranger on the roof of the complex, there's been some woes with Powder Gangers – hoodlums – and the roads are blocked. Naturally they need your help, and accepting this mission kickstars the 'Keep Your Eyes on the Prize' quest. Perhaps finishing this would unlock the gate to the remainder of the south land.

Sadly, as the sun began to set, our time with Fallout: New Vegas drew to a close. There's no question that fans of the series will sink right into this new version – and even an hours' play already has us salivating for more. We can't wait.

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Yaznee! L4DS
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