The developers have shown something new here unseen before in the series - a faster pace. If you have experience playing the lead-up title, Fallout III, you likely are aware that a slow, methodical journey through the sandbox wasteland is in order. Fortunately, this isn't so for New Vegas. The latest title features a map far more densely packed with interesting locations, non-player characters and immersive content, so you can't wander the desert for long before running into something to do.
The quests are interesting and engaging, forcing you to choose between shades of grey rather than the typical 'good vs evil' most often seen in RPG's. You have the choice to become a paragon of good, wandering the Mojave spreading good-natured cheer. On the other hand, if killing everything and anything in your way is more your style, there's always room for another Caesar (you'll see!).
The scenery is well done, and the enemies varied. Equipment is fun to test out on various creatures and beasties without feeling like repetitions on a common theme.
Gameplay keeps you moving along at a brisk pace without getting too bogged down with travel time. Even when you have to walk, a delicious retro-soundtrack will keep you entertained by using the radio function.
You've probably heard it before but I'll say it again: this game is just not ready for mainstream consumption. I don't mean that you'll have your current view of reality shattered and have to reexamine everything you once knew after playing - I mean that if you're one of the first to pick up this game, you're essentiall paying to be a beta-tester.
The game was obviously released in a relatively untested state compared to other titles available. Get used to saving often, because the game locks (at least on the 360 version) frequently, forcing a hard reset of the system, losing any progress you have made before the save. NPC's frequently disappear, and it has been said that certain quests are downright unfinishable.
While patches for the known problems are expected, there is a general feeling of familiarity - and not the pleasant nostalgic kind - present in both the story and the gameplay. Newcomers to the series may find it more engaging, but it seems to be a rehashing of the previous Fallout III packaged into a new environment.
Fallout: New Vegas is the most recent addition to the Fallout family of games by Bethesda / Obsidian Studios.
While as an avid fan of the series, you may be extremely inclined to throw all caution to the wind and pick up what you imagine to be another genre-breaking title, take the following into consideration first.
While the bugs and crashing can get rather annoying, if you learn to play Fallout: New Vegas with an open mind there is a high chance you will enjoy the post-apocalypic wasteland as much as others have. It may be worth waiting until some more of the known issues have indeed been resolved, but all in all a very pleasurable gaming experience.
A solid 4 / 5 rating, losing one mark only for the current state of affairs in relation to testing and development.