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Xbox360Achievements gives us a standard preview:
Other little tweaks come in the form of the new ability to create beneficial items, which is something of an extension to the workbench areas from the last game. As well as being able to make new weapons and helpful equipment, you can now mix up health draughts and statistic boosting elixirs. Obviously you will be required to scour the wasteland for suitable ingredients, but the results are well worth it. On another note, the skill books seem to have been subtly changed. Now they give you much more of a boost but will actually wear off after a certain amount of time. Whether of not you can still get permanent boosts remains to be seen, but this way may well stop the creation of practically invincible player characters.
It was impossible to see everything in such a short amount of time, but the major addition we did see is a pretty intriguing one. Welcome to Hardcore mode, where your equipment deteriorates faster, Stimpacks and Rad-X only heal over time rather than instantly and ammo now weighs you down. Not to mention the fact you will need to eat, drink and sleep regularly or risk exhaustion. These may seem like small changes but trust me when I say they make a big difference. Now your weapons will break down during combat with alarming regularity, not to mention the fact that if you take too much damage, then you can't rely on just a Stimpack to get you back on your feet, so you may have to flee or end up face down in the desert. It is also surprising how much you can take for granted the weightlessness of ammo once it starts to become a burden you really have to pick and choose your equipment with care as you cannot possibly carry it all. Gone are the days of being a one man tank. This mode will truly separate the men from the boys and is the perfect addition to those that blitzed through Fallout 3 and wanted a bit more of a challenge.
Something Awful takes a closer look at the game's hardcore mode, with exaggerated penalties to make people earning the bragging rights:
Conversations are much more involved and rewarding in the main game, with many more options to help you feel connected to the setting. In hardcore mode, your only response to every line of dialogue will be, "I am a child murderer. Here, take my weapons and armor before you kill me."
Upon entering a casino with the hopes of gambling, security will escort you into the back and crush your head in a vice. You don't want to know what happens when you get caught cheating.
Companions display different levels of affinity for you. The first is "Murderous Rage", followed by "Feeling A Little Guilty That I Killed That Dude", and finally "Now That I've Dug Him Up I Changed My Mind, I'll Just Set Him On Fire".
And Gossip Gamers complains about the game looking too much like its predecessor:
One problem remains with Fallout: New Vegas though and that problem is graphics. Maybe it is just me but the graphics looks the same like in Fallout 3. Sure, we have completely new storyline and location but graphics looks like it was copied from Fallout 3 into New Vegas. I understand that the two games are using the same engine, and this is the main reason why are we going to see another Fallout game so soon, but why does the game play looks the same? Everything seems familiar and already seen before with Fallout: New Vegas so it does not look like a new game, it feels more like an expansion pack. I will not call Fallout: New Vegas an official successor of Fallout 3 because it simply does not have enough fresh content and improvements to be called a successor. Fallout: New Vegas will be a great game that will have some improvements but in my opinion, it's just improved version of Fallout 3, and maybe it should be called Fallout 3: New Vegas.
If I were complaining, I'd start with that last article's broken English. But I'm not.