Despite juggling several projects this week, I managed to finish up my E3-based preview of Fallout: New Vegas this morning. Keep in mind that I tried my damndest to bring you information about the game's new perks, reputation titles, "inconvenient" save/load routines when gambling, and more, but Bethesda would have no part of it. Hopefully you'll find a few new morsels inside, though:
Gambling consists of four mini-games (slots, roullette, blackjack, and a Caravan card game that Avellone describes as being created by caravan wastelanders), all of which were headed up by Obsidian designer Jonathan Burke whose prior development experience includes gambling-style video games. As a result, they play just as you'd expect them to, and are seamlessly integrated into the game (there are no immersion-breaking loading screens, as we saw with Fable II's Pub Games). I spent a good 10 minutes trying out the first three gambling minigames, during which time I was comped some vodka, food items, and even a "High Roller's Suite Key" by one of the casino's staffers. Winning consecutive bets prompts you with a "You are lucky..." message, and Chris explained that your character's luck attribute slightly affects the outcome of your gambling. I can't say that I noticed any favoritism despite having a higher-than-average luck score, though I definitely won more money than I lost. You won't be able to earn an infinite amount of caps gambling, however, as Chris tells me that you can actually "break the bank" at each of the casinos if you're able to win enough.
At this point, I had a quick look at Obsidian's new "Companion Commands" control wheel. From this interface, you can now order a companion to take an aggressive or passive stance, use ranged or melee weapons, show you their inventory, keep their distance from your position, back up (if you need them to reposition themselves), indulge you in dialogue, wait where they're at until you give them further orders, or heal up with a stimpak. After making sure Boone was well-equipped, I had a look at my own inventory (the interface of which is nearly identical to Fallout 3). Some of the new weapons at my disposal were an Anti-Material Rifle, a Lever-Action Shotgun, some C-4 Plastic Explosives with Detonator, a 9 Iron golf club, a Bladed Gauntlet, a Multiplas Rifle, a Plasma Caster, a Trail Carbine, a Light Machine Gun, and the infamous Grenade Launcher. Chris also tells me that "named" weapons will be making a return in New Vegas, though they won't accept modifications like standard weapons will. Additionally, when you highlight each weapon, you're not only shown their damage and quality scores, but you're also provided with a rating for the weapon's damage per second (DPS). This made it an easy decision for me to equip the Plasma Caster for maximum carnage.