Released in October 2010, Fallout: New Vegas is not a direct sequel to Fallout 3. Though the game offers a similar role-playing experience to Fallout 3 and a few events from the game are mentioned, no characters from Fallout 3 make an appearance.
Fallout: New Vegas can be played only with Steam, even if it's installed with the DVD version.
Fallout: New Vegas takes place during the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3, and 204 years after the Great War of 2077, making this installment chronologically the latest in the series thus far.The game is set in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Mojave Desert, which is known as the "Mojave Wasteland." The Mojave Wasteland is roughly the same size as the "Capital Wasteland" in Fallout 3, and is spread across parts of real-world Nevada, Arizona and California. Unlike other cities in the Fallout series, Las Vegas was not struck directly by a nuclear attack. Its buildings remain intact, and mutation of its inhabitants is minimal.
The game places the player in the role of a courier working for the Mojave Express, known simply as "the Courier." While delivering a package with a platinum poker chip to New Vegas, the courier is ambushed by Benny, the leader of one of the casinos in New Vegas, who steals the package, shoots the player in the head, and leaves the body in a shallow grave. A robot named Victor witnesses the shooting and brings the courier to Doctor Mitchell in Goodsprings. At this point, the player enters into character creation and defines the Courier's skills, attributes, name, gender, age and appearance. Afterwards the player begins his journey, following Benny to avenge the attack and recover the stolen package, all while exploring the Mojave wasteland.
An optional Hardcore mode delivers more realism and intensity into the gaming environment. Game director Josh Sawyer stated that the mode was inspired by several different Fallout 3 mods. As gameplay difficulty is increased, players are encouraged to implement effective strategies, make careful considerations in resource management and combat tactics, and pay high attention to the surrounding environment. Gameplay difficulty is increased in several ways: stimpaks and other healing items including food do not heal the player instantly, but work over a period of time; the healing of crippled limbs requires a "doctor's bag", a chem called hydra or a visit to a doctor; ammunition has weight; and the player character must eat, drink and sleep to avoid starvation, dehydration and exhaustion, respectively.