Starting with Gamespot:
Our updated tour of the game started with the very beginning–how you create your character by being born to your mother, Katherine, and your scientist father, James (voiced by actor Liam Neeson). Through a hazy first-person cinematic sequence from the perspective of the operating table, you can choose your character’s gender and name, as well as preview your character’s adult appearance by way of the vault’s computer system…then become dimly aware that something has gone terribly wrong with your mother during the childbirth.
You then jump forward a year later to the age of a toddler, where you use a basic movement tutorial to crawl out of your playpen and access the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. book–a book that lets you choose your character’s abilities by way of the classic attribute system from the Fallout games (strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck). You then jump ahead nine years to your 10th birthday, at which point you gain the ability to speak with other characters (such as the other children at your birthday party) and use the PipBoy 3000 portable wrist computer, which is given to you by the vault’s “overseer,” or head administrator. The PipBoy acts as a journal, status indicator, and quest log that will help you keep track of any tasks you need to perform. You’ll even get to take on a few rudimentary quests at your party or just watch the many-armed robot of the future, Mr. Handy, mangle your birthday cake with one of its buzz saw-arm extensions. Later, you’ll be whisked away to additional tutorial areas, such as a target range, where you can practice the game’s real-time first-person shooter combat.[…]
We then jumped ahead to a different sequence where we were explored a ruined tenement infested by feral ghouls. Those familiar with Fallout lore will remember that “ghoul” is just a term used to describe any human that has been exposed to such severe amounts of radiation as to become severely deformed physically, but feral ghouls have actually lost their minds and have become aggressive animals. Their deadlier brethren, “glowing feral ghouls,” have an unhealthy fluorescent green glow that sets off your PipBoy’s Geiger counter and eventually make your character extremely ill if you let them zap you with their radiation-based attacks.[…]
In fact, the Xbox 360 version of the game (and the PC version of the game, which is being planned to include Games for Windows Live Functionality) will have achievement points that will require you to play through more than once. Like in the previous games, you’ll have a karma statistic that goes up when you perform good deeds and goes down when you perform evil ones. Achievements will be given for completing the game with both a high karma and a low karma.
And now for GameShark:
Morality plays an important role in the game, influencing the missions that become available to you in your journeys across the wastelands. Whether you aspire to benevolence, remain neutral, or descend into deviance, unique avenues open up specific to your behavior. A roving gang leader may not talk to you if your karma classifies you as a goodie-two-shoes; acquire a bad reputation as a murderer and thief, however, and perhaps that ruffian may hit you up for a shady mission or two. What quests you complete and the decisions you make come together to determine the game’s ending, of which Bethesda claims there are hundreds.
Finally IGN XBox 360:
It’s during your toddler phase where dad also introduces you to a quote that will apparently play an important role in the game (We won’t print it here for spoiler reasons, but if you’re curious and don’t mind a spoiler, it’s taken from the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Look for Chapter 21, Verse 6). And, keeping up with the fun, jamming the A button when you’re a toddler makes you utter the word “Daddah.”
Once this is done, you’ll jump ahead in time again, to your 10th birthday party. This is a coming of age of sorts in Vault 101, as the administrator himself gives you your Pip-Boy 3000, a wrist computer that handles everything from inventory system to quest log to character management and more. You’ll finally get a chance to talk to people instead of making gurgling noises, and this is your introduction to the conversation system. You’ll also get a BB gun for your birthday, which is your first encounter with the combat system in the game, but we’ll cover that a bit later.
That was our taste of the character development system, and we didn’t get to see what happens when you get older and take the GOAT (Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test), basically an SAT for post-nuclear war survivors. But next up was something that all Fallout fans can get giddy about: Dogmeat.
More to come.