That's the question Destructoid asked themselves after realizing that Fallout: New Vegas' hardcore mode is nothing more than "a slight inconvenience". In this article, one of their editors explains how he forced himself to abide by an additional set of challenges in order to make the experience far more ruthless:
Ignoring these nagging concerns to my sanity, I tossed together a new character, named him, selected a properly grizzled beard, and then sent him off to the most remote corner of the game, at the scenic Mojave Outpost. I dropped all my equipment save for a vault jumpsuit, a simple pistol with a single clip, and one bottle of clean drinking water. Then, finally, I set myself up with the following insane list of (hardcore) changes:
- Difficulty increased to its maximum
- Food consumption increased
- Water consumption increased
- HUD display turned completely off
- No VATS mode whatsoever
- Perma-death rules
If anyone ever doubted the quantity of my nerd cred, I would tell them about the ridiculous charts I made for myself which, along with a little stopwatch, kept me on a regular schedule of food and water consumption. I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say it made me use up a much more realistic amount of supplies for the energy I was expending trudging through a terrible wasteland.
As the journey commenced, the terror of each encounter near rivaled any intentionally-built horror game I've previously played. Fully aware of the danger each enemy represented combined with an inability to actively see my current health left me feeling outrageously helpless. When bullets started flying, I clung to cover like I was playing Gears of War. Perpetually low on ammo and simultaneously unable to see a concise number telling me what was left in my clip, I silently counted shots. Without a compass, I was unable to see oncoming enemies or even easily discern if I was walking in the right direction. Panicked runs from Cazadors frequently left me off-track, desolate, and lost.