PC Gamer magazine has taken an exclusive look into Obsidian’s Fallout 3 sequel, titled New Vegas, and has returned with some fresh details.

Players assume the role not of a vault dweller, but instead a courier who is dug up by a robot in the Mojave Desert. (Presumably that’s your hand we see in the game’s teaser trailer.) You are nursed back to health by a doctor was a former vault dweller, however, and it’s he who provides you with a Pip-Boy.

Once you’re back on your feet, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a war between the slavers called Caesar’s Legion, the Californian Republic and the citizens of New Vegas. America’s playground seems to have weathered the nuclear apocalypse better than most – many of its gaudy structures are largely intact.

The super mutants are back: One, apparently named Tabitha, sports a ‘50s-style bob haircut and appears to be of some importance. Obsidian also says that the super mutants will be more intelligent and varied than in previous Fallout games.

New Vegas features a reputation system in addition to the returning Karma system. Players will have a reputation rating with each settlement they visit – one of which is named Fremont.

The VATS aiming system will be reprised and Obsidian also mentions that it’ll be more melee-friendly. PC Gamer reports that you can wield a golf club and use VATS to target an enemy’s groin.

Skills will impact conversations with NPCs again, and Obsidian suggests that they now have a larger role to play here. Rather than simply unlocking dialogue options when the appropriate skill level is reached, the game will also tease these dialogue options. Should a player not have the requisite level, they’ll be verbally zinged. Bartering will not only lower prices but also unlock more items for purchase.

Players are able to recruit companions who will respond to basic commands such as stay, follow and attack.

Perhaps of most interest is the new Hardcore mode being introduced. In it, players will have to watch out for character dehydration, account for ammo weight and be prepared for non-instantaneous healing – all of that in conjunction with tougher enemies.

Fallout: New Vegas is expected to be released late this year on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Join our community's discussion on Fallout: New Vegas.