The very first preview of Fallout: New Vegas has shown up in the latest issue of PC Gamer magazine, and between the game's official forums, The Vault, and Duck and Cover, we pretty much know the entirety of its contents. A massive set of bullet points:
'¢ There is an optional hardcore mode, the character needs to drink water, ammo has weight, healing isn't instant etc. Normal mode is more similar to Fallout 3 gameplay. Great stuff. Sounds like they're really expanding on the role-playing elements from Fallout 3 (dialogue skills, a reputation system, etc.).
'¢ Vegas didn't get many nukes. More intact buildings, as well as desert vegetation. Vegas itself is mostly intact.
'¢ The storyline is focused on the New California Republic vs. Caesar's Legion vs. New Vegas residents.
'¢ You are not a vault dweller but are given a Pip-Boy by someone who is one. You are a courier, left for dead and saved by a friendly robot.
'¢ There is a screenshot of a vault suit as well.
'¢ There is an assault rifle looking like the M4, as well as a new machine gun that shoots grenades.
'¢ There are special moves for melee weapons in VATS - specifically a move for a golf club called "Fore!" which seems to be a groin shot.
'¢ The Hoover Dam is in the game and is supplying electricity to the city.
'¢ There is a quest to rescue a ghoul from some super mutants. The ghoul can then become your companion.
'¢ The Geckos are back.
'¢ There are both dumb and intelligent super mutants, including the elite Nightkin.
'¢ Some super mutants look similar to the ones in Fallout 3, while others are new. There is e.g. a female super mutant with a blonde 1950s style wig and heart-shaped glasses who apparently is one of their leaders.
'¢ Screenshots include a guy with a beard and straw hat, a ghoul an NCR Ranger.
'¢ The only picture of New Vegas itself is concept art and not a screenshot.
'¢ Some location screenshots include a huge model dinosaur advertising a hotel, some satellite dishes, an array of solar panels.
'¢ A character generation shot showing a "vigour machine" instead of the skill book.
'¢ NCR base is the McCarran Airport, Caesar's Legion is based in the Vegas Strip, while super mutants are based in a place called Black Mountain. There is also a town called Fremont and another called Primm. A topless reuve is mentioned as being in the latter. Area 51 also appears.
'¢ NCR Ranger armor is similar to a brown combat armor with sleeves, there are concept arts of a Ranger
'¢ Skills have a bigger effect on conversation choices. E.g. someone with a high Explosives skill may be able to have a coversation about explosives where appropriate.
'¢ Bartering is not just lower prices but negotiating for better rewards.
'¢ All dialogue options are shown to all players, regardless of whether you have the stats to succeed or not, though there's no punishment for failure.
'¢ There is a Reputation system for each settlement like in Fallout 2 in adition to Karma.
'¢ Followers can be managed through a context-sensitive menu, with orders like "follow", "stay" or "attack".