Players who grew accustomed to the Capitol Wasteland of Fallout 3 will feel right at home in the Mojave Wasteland, and there's plenty to explore.
Your character is a courier sent to deliver a package in New Vegas, and he's shot and left for dead in a shallow grave. You wake in the town of Goodsprings to a doctor who patches you up, helps you customize your look and strengths, and sends you out into the unfriendly world to face raiders, death claws and geckos.
You're once again equipped with a Pip-Boy 3000, so you can manage your inventory, repair weapons and check maps to plan the next quest; navigation, attacks and character dialogue are exactly the same.
It's been a couple of hundred years since nukes destroyed most of the world, but they apparently spared New Vegas, a renamed city powered by the nearby Hoover Dam that looks like a throwback to the days when hotels like the Sands ruled the Strip.
Your character can still gain or lose karma with certain actions, but New Vegas introduces a more localized reputation feature, which really adds to the complexity of the characters. Killing a member of a particular group could put you on the outs in one area, but it could also win you favor with a rival faction.
Fallout: New Vegas
RATING M for Mature
PLOT You trudge around a post-nuclear-war desert
DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, $50
BOTTOM LINE A blast