IGN is the first website to offer up a preview of Fallout: New Vegas based on the demonstration that was given at Bethesda's recent press event in Las Vegas. They cover quite a bit of ground, so here are a couple of generous excerpts:
New Vegas is still an open world role-playing game and the combination of real-time shooting and VATS (a targeting system that pauses the game and allows for a more classically RPG style of combat) has not changed. Newly added is the ability to find and equip weapon mods and specialty ammo, further tweaking and improving an arsenal that already contains twice as many weapons as Fallout 3. If that Grenade Machine Gun isn't good enough, you can always add an extra mod on it to make its rate of fire even faster. Scopes, extra clips, special ammo and more can be found for most weapons, and every change you make to the gun is reflected in its look in the game.
Some additions have been made to the flow of combat as well, making New Vegas a much more flexible and fluid looking experience. During real-time combat, new camera options have been added and the mechanics have been tweaked. You can now aim down the sights like most standard first-person shooters, and the game options can be tweaked to add in the cinematic, slow-mo kill cam previously only available through VATS. If you do bring up VATS, you'll find new options for melee targeting including special moves. No matter your battle preferences, prepare for a similar gore fest to Fallout 3. During the demo I watched as the player took an uppercut swing with a 9 Iron golf club to the face of an enemy. His head flew off in a stream of blood.
The most interesting part of the watching the quests play out came in the explanation of the extended system of notoriety and karma. Once again, you're free to be as nice or nasty as you please and your overall karma level will reflect it. At the same time, each faction or town you come across will react to your reputation you have with it. Help out the Brotherhood of the Steel and they might give you some protection or let you inside a locked down training camp. Piss off Caesar's Legion and they might send a hitman your way. Smaller towns might simply give you discounts.or tribute. With this system you're free to be both good and evil, shaping the way the world reacts to you along the way and ultimately affecting the outcome of your game.
I'm quite impressed with all that has been added and tweaked Obsidian clearly did its homework and thought long and hard about what aspects of Fallout 3 could be improved upon without changing the formula too drastically. I've listed a lot of the new features here, but still haven't even gotten to all of them. Even the conversation system has been tweaked to better integrate all skills and better let you know the odds of succeeding in a persuasion option. And I didn't get to see the main strip in New Vegas at all a place promised to hold surprises for those that can survive the treacherous road in.