There's a new two-page preview of Fallout: New Vegas up at GamesRadar, though it only appears to be an online version of the article that recently appeared in Xbox World 360 magazine. For those of us who didn't check out the magazine, though, there's some information to glean:
Set three years after the events of Fallout 3, New Vegas puts you in the shoes of an unnamed courier making a delivery to someone in the Mojave Wasteland. Along the way, you're intercepted by persons unknown, shot in the head, and left to die in a ditch. You're found by Victor, a kindly robot with a cowboy-monitor-head, and rushed to the surgery at nearby town, Goodsprings, where the local doctor patches you up. After several weeks of nursing, you wake up in Doc Mitchell's office, where he runs you through some basic personality and memory tests.
Anyone who played Fallout 3 will recognise where this is going. Through this first playable scene you essentially build your character, just like being born in Vault 101. Mitchell asks you if he managed to reconstruct your face correctly after the shooting, so you set your features. You're then marched to a Vigour testing machine to set your base stats, and put through a genuinely funny psyche exam (word association, Rorschach pictures) before being ushered out into the wasteland. Like the GOAT test from the last game, you are free to reject the results of the tests if you don't think they fit the way you'll play. The whole sequence takes about five minutes, after which you're free to go about your business. No sneaking around shooting radroaches with an air rifle for the first hour.
Attacks on specific factions will have much more subtle, believable consequences. In fact, everything you do will matter more thanks to a combined reputation and morality system. Our little atrocity will probably evoke retribution from the NCR, but because it was a significant attack on their rivals, Caesar's Legion might sit up and take notice. Morality is more than just good and evil here. There are many grey areas and because morality is tied into your reputation, it's possible to be hated in some parts of the world and revered in others. Even seemingly .oody-goody' choices will have bad consequences for some.