WARNING: This preview contains no images as we couldn't find any assets that were dull enough to fully portray our hands-on experience and nothing on the day that warranted a photo.
This preview could be summed up in a shrug. So excited was I to get hands-on with Fallout: New Vegas that, upon learning that there was absolutely no queue to speak of, I sprinted from one side of Koelnmesse to the other. I'm a fairly big guy, I rarely sprint, this was a statement of intent.
We'd heard about the incredible roster of guest talent lending their voices to the project, we'd read about and witnessed the drip-fed, carefully released additions to the burgeoning narrative, marvelling at the possibilities of what relocating to Vegas might mean for the series, we'd drooled over the new features, the factions, the companion wheel, the hardcore mode and context sensitive VATS.
We saw absolutely none of that.
After carefully sidestepping several borked preview stations, I managed to leap into the game and for a moment I thought something had gone terribly wrong. For a moment I thought I was back in the Capital Wasteland. The preview took place in a rundown part of town that seemed more sparse than the air in between Katie Price's ears. All of the skills were minimal, the opportunities for missions bland and, as Jon found out when his quest giver mysteriously vanished off of the face of the planet, or when my character suddenly developed the ability to walk halfway into the wall of a building and get stuck, somewhat buggy.
There were a bunch of empty streets, a whorehouse looking for employees and a garishly lit passage of interest leading to The Strip guarded by a robot that required some kind of passport or an exorbitant 2000 caps. It was, by far and away, possibly the least remarkable demo of the convention so far.
Now I don't expect every game to astound or wow me, I don't expect the merits of a 20-30 hour title to be squished completely into the space of half an hour but a little bit of effort would have been nice. Something tangible to highlight something different would have been nice. That's not too much to ask is it?
There may well have been a difference depending on which stand you were at. As it was we found ourselves in the consumer area, the display that the public will be hitting in droves come 9am tomorrow. This raises another issue: what if your average consumer hasn't been keeping up to speed on this one? If you have then chances are that you know already if you're going to buy New Vegas or not. If not, this certainly won't tell show you anything spectacular.
As it is, the tagline is simple. If you liked the last one, you'll be right at home with this game. There'll be differences, of course, but by not making The Strip available at least for the public to come back and rave about I can't help but feel a trick was missed here. Don't get me wrong, I'll still play it, but to the uninitiated this would have felt as flat as a pancake.