Fallout: New Vegas

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Fallout: New Vegas Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Mature action RPG with gore, sex, profanity, and drug use.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 80 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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 & Representations

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.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byjane43 February 14, 2015

Know your child.

This game has 3 main concerns. Violence, sex references and swearing. First the violence is strong and in some ways impracticable, with heads flying off unreali... Continue reading
Adult Written byQuinnocent March 23, 2019

Common Sense doesn't do this game Justice

My 14 year old recently came begging to me and my wife to let him play New Vegas. We're a religious family with some moderate rules, so we went exploring o... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAndro K. December 29, 2018

Ave, true to Caesar

So basically you can choose between nailing degenerates and profligates to a cross and making people pay taxes. Or... Or eliminating all competition and claimin... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBookerDeWitt123 March 27, 2016

Common Sense Media is wrong again!

Wow. Just wow. "Mature action RPG with gore, sex, profanity, and drug use". Are you serious! Gore, sex, profanity, and drug use! There making it sound... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • 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
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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