Fallout: New Vegas

Common Sense Media says

Mature action RPG with gore, sex, profanity, and drug use.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Not unlike the lawlessness of the "Old West," this futuristic game set in Nevada has plenty of violence, gambling, and prostitution. 


Positive role models

The main character can make decisions that can change his reputation. That means in some cases you can choose a more moral or ethical way out of a situation. However, the character isn't that nice to begin with. When he meets a robot who saved his life, for example, there isn't a dialogue option for being grateful, but instead only snarky answers.

Ease of play

Unless you've played Fallout 3, this game could be a bit tricky to master. The control scheme for movement, combat, inventory, maps, and so on is logical but highly complex.


This is a violent action game filled with blood and gore. The player can shoot, bludgeon, blow up, and cut up humans, animals, humanoid creatures, and robots from either a third- or first-person perspective. Most enemies spray blood when killed. Gorier aspects of combat such as limb dismemberment are highlighted by dramatic, slow-motion sequences. 


There are some suggested sexual situations but no nudity. Players can interact with male and female prostitutes and one scene suggests sexual intercourse with a robot ("Something's wrong with someone if they got to "f--k" a machine"). Players might also hear an off-screen character say "please assume the position."


This game contains some harsh dialogue, including the occasional "f--k" and "s--t."  Other words include "hell," "damn," "ass," and "bitch." Some characters swear more than others, and not all players will encounter the same characters in the game.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Expect visual and verbal references to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The player can enter saloons where patrons can be seen drinking alcohol. Characters can purchase and consume fictional drugs called "chems." Depending on how much is taken and the situation the screen might become blurred to mimic the real life effect. References to drugs are contained within the dialogue, as when characters reference "junkies" and "drug addicts." The player's character can become addicted to drugs and need to seek treatment.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fallout: New Vegas contains scenes of bloody combat -- many dramatized with a slow-motion effect -- as well as the option to use blunt weapons, chainsaws and knives to wound or murder enemies, which may be human, mutants, or robots. The game also has prostitutes, gambling, and alcohol and drug consumption. Players have some ability to control the morality of the main character, and some of the characters he meets are genuinely nice and altruistic, but the world he inhabits is filled with gangs, racism, and hatred.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

From the opening sequence -- where you'll find yourself kneeling in front of a freshly dug grave and with a gun pointed to your head -- to an "explosive" climax much later on in the game, Fallout: New Vegas is a thrilling single-player adventure that doesn't mess much with the formula used for its acclaimed 2008 predecessor, Fallout 3. The game takes place in the year 2281, a few years after the events of Fallout 3, and 200-odd years following a nuclear war that destroyed much of the earth's civilization. While unraveling what got you in the deadly predicament at the start of the game, you'll learn about your role as a courier, the power struggle between local feuding factions, and how to best navigate treacherous Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert (collectively referred to as the "Mojave Wasteland").

Is it any good?


It's good game, though very similar to Fallout 3. Played from a first- or third-person perspective (it's up to you), you'll take on many dozens of missions, pick locks, charm characters, play mini-games (including casino games), and, most importantly, use a variety of weapons to engage in combat against enemies, such as mutant creatures and robots. As with Fallout 3, you can attack baddies in real-time or press the right shoulder button on the controller to enter the V.A.T.S. targeting system for a turn-based approach.

More so than in its predecessor, the choices you make come with consequences and can shape the direction of the story. Along with new weapons, characters, and locations, Fallout: New Vegas"also includes an optional "hardcore mode," which adds an even greater challenge for skilled players. This game is a great pick for fans of the franchise.

Online interaction: The game doesn't support multiplayer matches but players will be able to download additional content over time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether adult themes are more tolerable in games with a futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting than in those set in contemporary times, such as the Grand Theft Auto series. Does this fictional setting make a difference in terms of age suitability? Or is blood and gore always disturbing, no matter how it is dressed up?

  • Families can also discuss the depiction of sexuality in games. How do you feel about frank discussions of sex and nudity as opposed to its visual depiction? Should this distinction make a difference in terms of how games are rated?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Bethesda Softworks
Release date:October 19, 2010
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Fallout: New Vegas was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byjumphop March 15, 2011

Fallout NV, a few concerns

First let me start off by saying this is a very good game. I am a big Bethesda fan mind you and probably won't give one of their games a bad review. But some things are inappropriate. First there is a good amount of violence is involved, if you can handle that then I will tell the other things you must know. First there is some sexual content. Now, this is avoidable based on the choices you make in the game. But there is one thing you will have a hard time avoiding the prostitutes. They're dressed only partially, (they are dressed in sexualized clothing and some are topless with only xs over breasts.) And there is a mission to find a man some during the campaign. But the quest mentioned is optional. But this too can mainly be avoided if you don't go in Gomorrah's basement or look at the ceiling there. Every other faction in the game does not believe in prostitution, so you will not need to worry about it elsewhere. The last thing is language, there is a good amount but not even half as much as most games. The F word is said some (mostly if you provoke mobsters and such,) and you will hear A and D. The one you will hear the most is the A word. But if you can get past all this, then you are guarantee you will like NV. And you will be playing for hours.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byslimshady24 January 2, 2011

Fun RPG, yet extremely graphic

This is a pretty good game but it is filled with glitches. However, it is really not for kids I was playing and someone shot me with some flame bomb gun and it blew my head off in slow motion and my corpse was sitting there splurting blood and my head was rolling around on the floor. It was DISGUSTING!

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old Written byGhost Rider Sky January 20, 2011
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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