Eurogamer has posted a preview of Fallout: New Vegas with new info they learned at a Bethesda press event. Here are the highlights of the new information:
A rapid character-creation process allows you a few more options - creating an older character, for example - and suggests the skills you might take according to your answers to the doctor's personality questionnaire and Rorschach test (you don't have to follow these suggestions, naturally).
It's at this point that you're offered a chance to play in New Vegas' new Hardcore mode for "veteran players". In Hardcore, healing from stim-packs only happens over time and cannot mend broken limbs, ammo has weight, and you'll need to drink regularly to stave off dehydration as you wander the wastes of the Mojave. If Hardcore proves too much for you you can revert to Normal at any time, but once you do that, you can't go back, and you won't get the special achievement for completing the game on Hardcore.
Appropriate to its location, New Vegas has a Wild West, frontiersman feel. Dust devils cross your path, an old prospector called Easy Pete rocks his chair on a porch, and Trudy, the down-home saloon-owner, wants help against the bounty hunter Joe Cobb and his gang who are holding the town to ransom. This is all after you go hunting for Geckos (one of many references to Fallout 2 Obsidian is folding into the game) to learn, or re-learn, your way around the real-time, first-person combat with optional tactical pauses via VATS.
The carefully-crafted prologue ensures there's a low-level weapon for every weapon skill in the area, and conversational options for all the possible powers of persuasion in the mission to defeat (or, of course, side with) Cobb's gang.
A new entry in the Pip-Boy gives you a perk for a particular location or faction if your reputation with a faction changes. Defeat Cobb and you earn "Accepted" with Good Springs - "folks have come to accept you for your helpful nature". Ultimately, this system plays into the game's principal narrative struggle between the New Californian Republic (NCR) militia, based at McCarran, and a group of slavers called Caesar's legion. If you know Vegas, you can probably guess where you'll find their HQ. Whichever you side with, the other will be your principal enemy in the game.
That texture is evident, above all, in the warped Americana of the locations: the distant threat, promise and perverted glamour of the Strip; its humble echo in Primm, with its seedy casino entangled in a rollercoaster; a roadside motel community calling itself Novac after a broken No Vanacies sign, with a sniper nest housed in the mouth of a cheesy dinosaur statue; the lonely, bald rocks of Black Mountain surveying it all. New Vegas will give you a chance to unfold your own story somewhere that's at once real and unreal, familiar and utterly fantastical and strange. And that, surely, is what role-playing games are all about.
Read the whole preview here.
Thanks for the tip Briosafreak!