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; OK 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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Parent of a 15 year old Written bysushiman8 February 9, 2011

Great RPG for most mature teens

This is the sequel to Fallout 3 hailed as one of the best video games ever made. Fallout is an combat RPG in 1st person or 3rd person view where you scaver a wasteland after a 2hr nuclear war with china. This picks up in the Nevada desert which survived fairly good. The atmosphere reminds everyone with Cold War 50's nostalgia mixed in with Wild West themes ro bring a truly one of a kind game. The game lets players make there character from scratch and you are given the choice to be a savior of destructor of the wastland. The violence factor is strong but the game can teach you to work out problems without violence. Not all the violence is to humans as you engage in much combat against animal and robot. The drug use of the game plays a microscopic part of the game and are not based on real life drugs and you can become addicted to them and pay negative consequences. There is some salty language but is infrequent and the sexual content is very tame for an M rating
Parent of a 13 and 16 year old Written byTony236 January 7, 2011

Maturity matters

Many people would say that this game is much to gory and cam ruin our childrens minds but as long as your children are mature and understand that killing people in real life and stealing is completely wrong then this game is accept able for them to play. But because of the large amount of gore I wouldn't let anybody below the age of 10 to play this game. If you don't feel that your child is really 100% mature for this game then I would just let them know that you want them to not be super evil and just check up on them from time to time it worked for me when my yougest son who was 11 when fallout 3 came out I just told him not to be super evil and he went on playing the game and still have a lot of fun with it. Now that both of my sons are above or are 13 I let choice there on path in the game and that normally just naturally pick to be good or netrual I also did the same thing with the game mass effect. The 2 things that I think are over rated by commonsense is the nudity and sex because the only place there is sex is at the newvegas strip which just has to sounds from a female character and some darkness and there is no real nudity just when you take the armor from fallen enemies and even then the enemies body is still 90% or so covered. I would defiantly rate it on for ages 14+ and depending on maturity 11+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Educator Written byThe good father. August 7, 2011

Making moral decisions in a game. A life lesson.

I found this game to be a great way to bond with my son. This game showed how if you act like a bad person than more bad things will happen to you, but if you make the moral decision than good things happen. Not overly violent at all.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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