Fallout 76 Review – An Underrated Return to the Wasteland

Chase Gamwell 2018-11-29

Art by Empanada

Fallout 76 has been a hot topic since Bethesda announced it at E3 in June. While many people love the idea of a multiplayer Fallout game, just as many hate it, and the court of public opinion is ablaze with negative feedback now that it is out.

The bottom line is that Bethesda has delivered a game with all of the bugs and shortcomings players have come to expect from Bethesda’s single player titles, wrapped in a fresh, new, multiplayer take on a blockbuster franchise. While it’s easy to criticize (and I’ll be doing plenty of that later), Bethesda managed to get a whole lot right.

Fallout 76 is polarizing, and it definitely isn’t for everyone, but there is more than enough going on in the wildlands of West Virginia to keep players engaged for a long time.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Outside Vault 76

In previous Fallout games, emerging from the vault is somewhat of an ordeal. The act thrusts the player into an entirely new world.

Fallout 76 is different.

Once finished creating a character, the player is ushered through a winding vault, that feels very much like a rushed tutorial, to the waiting world. The area just outside of Vault 76 is marked with welcome signs and a stepped walkway that meanders down the side of a mountain. In the distance, a mix of autumn hues paint the treetops. It’s a beautiful sight, but far different than any other “wasteland” fans of the series have come to know and love. If anything, it looks normal in comparison.

Fallout 76 features far more color than any of the other games in the series, and the Creation Engine has been updated to include some of the fancy graphical improvements Bethesda added to Skyrim: Special Edition, but the visuals are still a far cry from “Next Gen.” Add to that some glaring graphical glitches – like the occasional tree that floats a few inches above the ground, god rays that shine through mountains, and general performance issues – and the engine is really starting to show its age.

Even so, I’m enamored with the beautiful countryside of the starting area and the higher-level areas featuring well-crafted locales that, in many cases, make up for some of the flagging engine’s drawbacks.

A Whole New World

It’s a good thing too, because the world of Fallout 76 is MASSIVE (four times larger than Skyrim according to Bethesda). And each of the world’s six regions is packed with things to do.

The Lone Wanderer

As expected, there is the typical mix of main, side, and miscellaneous quests, identical to offerings from Fallout 4 and Skyrim, but since there are no human NPCs in Fallout 76, quests are discovered in computer terminals and notes scattered around the world or doled out by robots.

The result is a uneven quest system.

Some are mundane and don’t feel worth finishing, while others are far more compelling than I would have expected, considering the lack of traditional quest givers. That being said, it’s often easy to gauge which quests are worth completing before getting too far into the meat, but that means players will spend more time than they should managing the sheer number of activities they pick up during their wandering. If left unchecked, quest details will stretch all the way to, and over, the AP bar on the right side of the screen.

Overall, however, veterans of Bethesda games should know what to expect.

Better Together

For players more interested in the multiplayer aspect of Fallout 76 – basically, the entire reason the game exists – there is plenty of PvE quest content available in the form of Daily Quests and Events.

Daily quests are what the name implies – a daily offering that rewards the player for completing it. I appreciate Bethesda giving me the opportunity to farm missions for rewards, but so far, I haven’t had the need to complete a Daily Quest more than once, because general exploration has provided me with more than enough resources to make do.

Events, on the other hand, are a bit more interesting. While still farmable, they’re designed to draw players from all over the map to a single place, usually to protect a robot NPC or an area from waves of enemies. Alone, these events aren’t worth the challenge, because the cost is far higher than the reward. With a large group, however, Events can be a blast, especially on a crowded server.

Of the two, I prefer Events, but both are a welcome addition and ensure that I have more than enough questing activities to keep me busy if I’m not wandering from one undiscovered location to another.

Into the Wilderness

Of all the other things in Fallout 76, exploration is the most recognizable. With such a large map, and such a rich world, the wasteland of West Virginia offers more than enough locales to keep the traditional Fallout player occupied for countless hours.

There are plenty of marked locations to explore, but even in between, Bethesda has crafted secrets and easter eggs hidden in plain sight. Many of these are just as well-crafted as the marked locations, with enough charm that I found myself laughing out loud or sighing in wonder on more than one occasion.

Even without the presence of human NPCs, there are enough other creatures filling the wasteland to make it feel alive.

A New Challenger . . .

But what happens when you run into others out in the wasteland? After all, human interaction was the impetus behind why there are no NPCs.

From the moment Fallout 76 was announced, PvP was a huge concern, but I’m surprised, and pleased, with how well it works. Mostly.

PvP exists, but it’s designed to discourage griefing. If a player is shot, it applies a tiny amount of damage and notifies the defending party that someone wants to initiate PvP. Firing back starts the battle. The winner is awarded a small number of caps and all of the loser’s junk.

But . . . I’ve never seen this type of PvP engagement in this game (on purpose, anyway).

Because of the way PvP is set up, and due to the abundance of loot, there’s no reason to partake in PvP battles. On the surface, it’s a bit disappointing, because it takes any kind of danger away from running into another player out in the wasteland, but I understand why Bethesda decided to go with such a hamstrung version of PvP – it’s nearly impossible to kill someone who has no desire to participate in open PvP.

Honestly, I think Bethesda knew most people wouldn’t be interested in PvP, which is why they made so many other options available.

Different Ways to Play

Hunter/Hunted and The Battle that Never Was (Versus) are two modes that pit players against one another in head-to-head battles. The former is Bethesda’s take on battle royale, where players hunt one another with the goal of being the last man standing. The latter is an event that has players reenact a civil war battle. Both are about what you would expect.

Workshops: The Hidden Gem of PvP

Workshops are the most underrated aspect of PvP in Fallout 76 and are becoming my favorite activity outside of base building.

Scattered around the world, Workshops are claimable areas that contain resource nodes that players can harvest for raw resources – and they’re the only real areas of open PvP in the world.

At any point during the process of claiming or defending a Workshop, another player can come along with an aim to change that. If they decide to take the Workshop, a king-of-the-hill event begins, ending when one of the players is dead. Sneakier players can simply walk into the Workshop and attempt to harvest the resources being gathered. Either way, the onus is on the defending player to adequately protect their investment. Smart turret placement and installing locks on resource extractors are a must to hold a Workshop on a busy server.

While some haven’t gotten the hang of effectively defending Workshops – I’ve done my fair share of looting unlocked containers – others are formidable foes. It’s possible to steal from these individuals, but be prepared to receive a bounty for the act, and in the process become wanted.

Wanted players can be engaged by anyone, and killing a wanted player rewards a small number of caps for the deed. It’s a fun diversion, if a little one-sided (though, to be fair, getting hunted down is punishment for misbehaving).

The Best of the Rest

Much of the rest of Fallout 76 is familiar (crafting, building, inventory management, etc.), but Bethesda Austin went out of their way to add a few quality of life improvements.

The map is no longer constrained to the Pip-Boy. Now, it takes up the entire screen, in full color. It’s easier to read and navigate, and even includes a few clues as to what might be in store out in the West Virginia Wasteland.

Junk, the game’s ubiquitous building material and other inventory items, can now follow the player around via a shared storage, accessible from any stash box in the game world. This means that it’s possible for players to store items as they explore.

Aside from finding stash boxes in the world, players can pay a few caps to place a Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform (C.A.M.P.). This claims a small area of land and allows players to build a la Fallout 4 settlements. Each player has a budget that limits how many objects they can place, but there’s more than enough options available to set up a decent sized crafting workshop. And with the refinement of the building system, it’s more fun than ever before!

Finally, there’s been an improvement to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. Points are distributed as usual, but perks have now taken the form of cards. These cards contain many of the same bonuses veterans of the Fallout series have come to expect, but they can now be equipped on top of each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute. As players level and increase each attribute, they gain more cards to equip. In practice, it’s an interesting system that allows on-the-fly customization, meaning a player’s build can change as needed.  

It’s Definitely a Bethesda Game . . .

So, from a high level, Fallout 76 plays just like its predecessor, with the foil of multiplayer layered on top of some already fantastic gameplay – squint just right and the game looks perfect. The drawback, however, is that all of the issues present in previous Bethesda games are still present here, with some new problems added into the mix.

Time For An Upgrade

The Creation Engine has been showing its age for years, and in addition to the cracks mentioned above, it’s fair to say that the adaption to multiplayer hasn’t been perfect. During the beta, and the week after release, performance of the engine was terrible, with regular frame rate hiccups and poor performance on high-end rigs.

A 15 Gb patch pushed on November 19th did a lot to improve the stability of the game, and it runs more smoothly on a wider range of hardware than it did at release. That being said, occasional jitters, menu hangs, and frame rate drops are still present every once in a while, so there is still a ways to go before performance is perfect.   

It is also worth mentioning that one of the more vexing limitations of the game engine, present in Skyrim and Fallout 4, still hasn’t been resolved. The physics engine is still tied to the frame rate, so Fallout 76 is limited to 60 fps (for players with 144Hz monitor, it’s limited to half the refresh rate, so 72 fps). At the time of writing, FOV is still limited to a default value, but Bethesda has noted that it’s something they’re looking into changing in a future update.

Mixed Signals

Personally, I find issues with questing to be the most frustrating aspect of Fallout 76.

While Daily quests and Events work just fine, single player quests are a total mess.

When in a group, each member has to complete every step of the active quest. The end result is that players with slower computers (read: longer load times) wind up well behind other party members. Often, when questing with friends, it turns out that we either have to wait for one party member to catch up, or risk leaving them in the dust.

It makes me wonder why Bethesda didn’t choose to put the party lead in charge of quests (like in MANY other multiplayer games). It’s a design decision that doesn’t make sense and changing it to mirror other multiplayer games would be a significant improvement to questing in groups.

Then, there are the bugs.

On more than one occasion, I’ve had quests refuse to advance from one stage to the next. Instead of fixing the problem, logging out resets the quest to a previous checkpoint, forcing me to repeat a portion of the quest I’ve already completed, and usually, the quest is still bugged.

In every case where this has happened, luck seems to be the driving force behind whether the quest will advance.

This has happened often enough that it is become a defining characteristic of the quest system in Fallout 76 and is one of the main reasons I spend more time exploring than questing. Because I never know when I’ll hit a proverbial brick wall.

Party Foul

During the Beta, the “Social” aspect of Fallout 76 was broken. It has gotten better since release, and the 15 Gb patch definitely helped smooth out some of the bigger issues, but Bethesda still needs to work on smoothing out multiplayer so it works flawlessly – a must in a predominantly multiplayer game.

There are a few issues still lingering in the “Social” aspect of the game – like friends disappearing from the friends list (which the November 19th patch was supposed to fix) and players being unable to accept a team invite – but these bugs are few and far between. The friends list issue usually resolves itself in a few minutes, but the inability to accept an invite is a bug that only relogging into the game will fix. Further, depending on who the bug is affecting, it might require the entire team to relog.

However rare, it’s a huge issue that derails fun whenever it crops up. And Bethesda needs to resolve it ASAP.

Fixing the Fight Club

Above, I mentioned all the ways players can partake in PvP, but I still think it needs a rework. The Events, and Workshop locations, are nice to have, but I still don’t understand why Bethesda decided to include general PvP – it’s a move that is more confusing than disappointing.

As it stands, general PvP is far more punishing to the initiating player, as it gives the defending player a few moments to take buffs, equip the proper weapon, and consider optimal placement for a response. In that situation, I don’t understand why anyone would decide to participate in PvP. Of course, Bethesda wants to ensure that griefing isn’t possible, but I’m not sure this is the best way to go about doing it while still calling the system in place PvP.

A better idea might be to divide the game into PvE and PvP servers, giving players the option to choose between whether PvP is fully open, or restricted to areas in the world where it is allowed. Personally, I’d very much like to have this option, because it would give me the ability to choose what kind of Fallout experience I’d like to have.

We’ll see what, if anything, Bethesda decides to do down the line.

Addressing Release Woes

Critics and gamers have deadpanned Fallout 76 as terrible. At the time of writing, the aggregate Metacritic score (for PC, Xbox, and PS4) stands at 51 out of 100, with an average user rating of 2.67 out of 5.

Those are abysmal numbers, but I’m not sure they’re completely fair.

I can admit that Fallout 76 has its share of drawbacks and that Bethesda has some work to do to get the game to a perfect state, but I don’t believe the game is so broken that it deserves all the hate it’s getting. In fact, if NPCs were added and the game were released as a single player offering in the Fallout franchise, I’d expect it to get pretty decent reviews across the board.

So, why all the hate?

Honestly, I think Fallout 76 is reviled because of what it isn’t instead of what it is.

Bethesda has developed a reputation for producing high-quality single player games that, though rough around the edges, are crafted with love for a rabid, international fanbase. I think many of those fans were taken aback when Bethesda announced a multiplayer Fallout title instead of Fallout 5. And I think the pain intensified when it was made clear that another single player Fallout title likely won’t happen until after Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6. Realistically, that puts Fallout 5 somewhere near 2030 if Bethesda sticks to its usual development cycle. That’s a long time to wait for another single player entry in a beloved series, but that’s no excuse for hating a game for failure to live up to a certain set of expectations.

I’m belaboring this fact because I’ve seen reviews criticizing Fallout 76 because it is a multiplayer title. I’ve seen reviews bemoaning the fact that the game doesn’t have a single player mode. And I’ve seen reviews that gave the game a low score, despite saying it’s fun. This isn’t to say that gripes with the game aren’t valid – very many of them are – but in the case of Fallout 76, the critical response feels more like a backlash than a fair evaluation.

The fact is that, even with all of its bugs, Fallout 76 is just as good as Fallout 4. With the addition of multiplayer, it’s even better.

Almost Heaven

Fallout 76’s reception makes me worried about Bethesda’s future.

If the fans are so bent out of shape about this small step towards something different, I cringe to think about how they’ll react to Starfield if it doesn’t live up to expectations (especially since Bethesda worked on it in lieu of TES VI).

The bottom line is that Todd Howard has been saying – for years – that they want to try something new. Fallout 76 is the first step in that direction; one that’s been a long time coming. And one that, despite its flaws, will get better over time, because they’re actively supporting it.

Of all the criticism I hear about Fallout 76, this seems to be a point that every critic conveniently leaves out. That’s not meant to be an excuse for the more egregious bugs the game released with, but it does point to the fact that Bethesda wants Fallout 76 to succeed and will do what it takes to get the game to a place where players will be happy.

Already, a 15 Gb patch has quashed a lot of the game’s release issues, and there are plans to add in things like an FOV slider, push to talk, text chat for PC, a larger stash box, and more. If that isn’t a promise to the community to make the game better, I don’t know what is. And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that Bethesda Austin plans to develop more content for the game . . . free of charge.

In my opinion, Fallout 76 strikes a perfect balance between a single player and multiplayer Fallout experience. It’s not perfect, by any means, but there is more than enough content to appease even the most discerning of Fallout fans.

If you have been on the fence about picking it up, now is the time, because $39.99 for a full-fledged Fallout title – with multiplayer – is an absolute steal regardless of what the critics say.

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Comments

  • chimpy

    I’m glad you are enjoying the game you paid for. I do however see your review as a giant excuse for the failings of the game. Rather than annoyingly dissecting the whole review I’m just going to give one single example that I think illustrates this perfectly.
    In the PvP section you write “PvP was a huge concern, but I’m surprised, and pleased, with how well it works. Mostly.” a tad later you write “But . . . I’ve never seen this type of PvP engagement in this game (on purpose, anyway).
    Because of the way PvP is set up, and due to the abundance of loot, there’s no reason to partake in PvP battles. On the surface, it’s a bit disappointing, because it takes any kind of danger away from running into another player out in the wasteland, but I understand why Bethesda decided to go with such a hamstrung version of PvP – it’s nearly impossible to kill someone who has no desire to participate in open PvP.”
    So PvP works,- but no one engages in it, PvP is badly hamstrung, and any emotional fear that might be induced in the player over fear of loss whilst exploring the wilds is removed from the get go.
    I see a lot of irony in you posting this on a Eve fansite, Eve a game known for PvP, and the harsh PvP penalties the unweary can pay to other players at any time anywhere in the game. I don’t understand you can say PvP works, when by your own admission it’s hamstrung and no one engages in it. The implication being your ideal PvP is “none”.
    I hope you do enjoy the game but many critics out there as well as insulting the game by calling it garbage, have long detailed reasons why they are so critical of the game. Skill Up, Giantbomb refusing to review it because none of their staff is prepared to play the game, Angry Joe, Jim Sterling, the list is long. Even some elements of the gaming press who hate gamers are for once in agreement with gamers that it’s shit.
    Enjoy the game, enjoy the shit out of it, enjoy it until you can’t wipe the grin off your face, but realise that if you reward and praise Bethseda for shit that it will never get better. As much as you are enjoying it now, just imagine how much more you would enjoy it if the systems worked. Imagine if combat was good, imagine if it was a lot less buggy, imagine if it had the story and charm of the Fallout games of the past, imagine if the PC version had a proper UI, imagine if it had a modern engine that worked, imagine if the textures didn’t look like they were out of the 80s. How cool a game would that be eh?
    If you praise this garbage and choose to ignore it’s many overwhelming faults, then you are telling Bethseda that’ you don’t mind them turning out garbage, have no desire for them to improve, and they will take you at your word. Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 will be just as shit as Fallout 76. Stop considering a bug ridden mess as a charming quirk of Bethseda games, stop considering relying on unpaid modders fixing games as a good software development cycle process. Start asking for value in exchange for your money. Stop praising the chef that just took a dump on your plate and wants to charge you for a fine dining experience.

    November 29, 2018 at 9:04 am
    • elaqure chimpy

      Responses like this are the entire reason I decided to write the review. It’s fine if you’ve played the game and have legitimate concerns, but if you haven’t (and it seems like you haven’t) this is another example of jumping on the hate train and riding it well past the station.

      As far as PvP goes, it was clear from the outset that the way Bethesda set it up won’t appeal to everyone. It obviously doesn’t. But to make up for shortcomings, they packed a lot of different options into the game and will likely add more – or tweak how it works – over time.

      And it bears reiterating that Bethesda plans to continue supporting the game, and they’ve said so over the past few days.

      I appreciate your criticisms, but I simply don’t agree. I think Fallout 76 has many redeeming qualities, and I think your evaluation of it as “garbage” is inaccurate.

      But, thank you for taking the time to read and respond!

      November 29, 2018 at 1:35 pm
      • chimpy elaqure

        Thank you for writing it. I always appreciate free content even when I don’t agree. I don’t really care that Fallout 76 is crap, but I do care if Bethseda thinks “ok, we can get away with this”. They’ve always had that attitude with bugs, and are happy to leave it to modders to fix bugs. To the point where one criticism of the game is that bugs in previous games that modders have fixed but the bugs have been copied and pasted into this game. It gives the repeated impression Bethseda don’t care. When the game has lots to offer this can be overlooked, but I think with 76 and the dysmal failings of all the other 76 game systems it’s a lot harder to be forgiving of this, and people are now being critical of failings that previously were overlooked.
        I am glad that Bethsaeda decided to support this one. FoV and push to talk will improve the game, but these are defaults at release in other games. It looks like the game is still in Beta despite being full AAA price, and that’s being generous calling it a beta. Mind you they did have a “beta” but it was more of a pre order money grab incentive than an actual beta it terms of feedback and bug fix period.
        The games companies will treat us customers as shittily as the customers let them get away with. It’s up to us to let them know, no this is not acceptable. This is not unique to Bethseda.
        I worry that 76 might be indicative of how they treat Starfild and Elder Scrolls 6. I really hope that Bethseda realises just how badly it let down customers with 76. If they repeat this shitshow with Starfield I doubt Bethseda will survive long enough to even make ES6.

        November 29, 2018 at 2:09 pm
        • elaqure chimpy

          I can agree with you on this. There are definitely bugs and shortcomings from previous games that made it into Fallout 76. My hope is that these bugs made it in simply because the studio Bethesda bought in Austin wasn’t made aware of all of the issues with the engine (there’s actually a really good documentary on the making of Fallout 76 where they explain just how jumbled the internals of the Creation Engine are…it’s worth a watch).

          I really hope that Bethesda treats Starfield and TES VI better, but I do think how 76 develops over the next few years will inform how Journalists and fans receive both of those games. Fingers crossed, I guess.

          November 29, 2018 at 2:20 pm
          • chimpy elaqure

            A game can be improved over time, but it gets judged on the day of release, example No Man’s Sky. Apparently it’s a good game now a few years after release. It did quite well in the Steam sale that just finished, but its name will be forever tarnished. For any game when the shit hits the fan on release day it’s incredibly difficult to overcome that initial mass negative sentiment. Maybe a year from now 76 will have been redeemed, but the tarnish will linger for much longer. Indicatiors like the 76 sale price a few weeks after release point to poor sales numbers. 76 may become good, but by then it will be too late, and the potential audience may have shrunk. After this some people may refuse to consider 76 no matter how good it gets in the future.
            If game companies want income whilst they develop then early access is the way to go, at an early access price. It looks to me like 76 is an early access game, and if it had been released as such for $30, there probably wouldn’t have been any fuss at all about it. The enthusiasm for what it could become would still be there. As it is, it looks like yet another cash grab driven train wreck from an industry where those are notoriously common. Bethseda cashed in their name and reputaion to charge $60 for 76. Their name and reputation has now been spent, they have no more credit there with gamers. They will have to earn that back from scratch if they want a name that means something again.
            I would have pre ordered Starfield and ES6 without a second thought. Now I won’t even consider it, there is no fukking way I will buy either before a good number of reviews are in. That’s what cashing in their name cost Bethseda, and I doubt I’m the only one. That’s going to cost them tens of millions of dollars.

            November 29, 2018 at 2:43 pm
          • Carvj94 chimpy

            No Man’s Sky was actually a decent game on release. It just didn’t have all the hype features that were teased. Nowadays it’s a good game. Fallout 76 is about as buggy as fallout 4, Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 were on release and people are just joining the hate bandwagon. The gameplay of course is meh compared to Fallout proper single player but it’s more than people truly expected. Overall people are just being stupid and placing the bar super high because of its predecessors for no reason rather than calling Fallout 76 what it is. An OK game.

            November 30, 2018 at 2:26 am
          • chimpy Carvj94

            I disagree. NMS was interesting for the first hour or two as you got to grips with it and your imagination was still excited about what was to come. Once you realised how barren the core gameplay loop was that popped your imagination bubble. Fighting a very limited inventory is not a fun experience. Poor UI is not a fun experience. The procedurally generated gimmick fuelled people’s imaginations, but the reality was boring. The mobs, the vendors, the spaceships, a billion different combinations, but all exactly the same. NMS wasn’t a bug ridden mess like 76, but the central gameplay was missing. There was very little “game”.
            I don’t see how you can say that 76 is more than people expected, it’s even more buggy than other Fallouts, and the single player gameplay that normally propped the franchise up has been mostly removed. It’s the bad with none of the good to balance out the bad.
            About the only thing I think people are missing is that 76 does have NPCs, only the NPCs are the computer terminals, scraps of papers, and recordings, they just aren’t human shaped, and they aren’t very engaging.

            November 30, 2018 at 9:25 am
  • Super Duper

    Finally one who sees the game for what it is and is not jumping on the “hate train”.

    I’ve been playing this game for about 50+ hours (restarted multiple times as i made a few mistakes in point placement) and i’m still enjoying it.
    Playing with a friend or multiple is really fun.

    And yes there are bugs, we lost 12 fusion cores due to a disappearing item container while i was placing them in said container.
    Sometimes a collected power armor will remain visible but non intractable.

    But still we haven’t lost our fun in playing the game, and with the hours already spent in-game it was worth every penny.

    November 29, 2018 at 2:24 pm
    • Carvj94 Super Duper

      Like every Fallout and Elder Scrolls before it it’s a buggy mess at launch yet 100+ hours of fun once they iron out the bad bugs

      November 30, 2018 at 5:13 am
    • Roger Strange-Burlong Super Duper

      I totally agree with you.

      December 1, 2018 at 2:08 pm
  • Alot

    Not sure why people get upset when studios make bad games. It’s their financial loss, not a personal betrayal towards the audience. Unless they discontinue the main franchise and continue on with a cellphone version. Then you’ve been replaced.

    Somewhat disillusioned with the situation of access media on the one side and a piranha fest of shock/outrage specialists on the other. Im pretty sure that fallout 76 is below par based on the feedback, doubt it’s anything as bad as the hype suggests though.

    Personally the only part i find disconcerting is that elder scrolls 6 is going to be built on such an outdated engine. Looking forward to that game in a few years, the idea it’s being built on an endless heap of patchups instead of a fresh engine is a bit outputting:/

    November 29, 2018 at 2:31 pm
  • General Thade

    I think the lack of intelligent NPC’s and a actual story is the main problem. Fallout 76 seems lonely, and with only a few players on a massive map, player interaction can be rare.

    November 29, 2018 at 2:36 pm
  • Gray Doc

    I believe one reason fans of previous Bethesda games (Fallout and Elder Scrolls) games are so upset is that the LOVE the franchise and start to feel ownership of it. Then, something like this happens. I remember when Elder Scrolls online came out and the outcry then was even worse than over Fallout 76. That game, upon release, was not good in any way. As I recall, they even took a hiatus on the servers, completely redid stuff, then re-released the game NOT as a pay-by-the-month but as a stand alone game with DLC. That version of the game was pretty good, worth the price, and provided a lot of hours of fun both playing alone and playing in groups (the PVP was some of the most fun I’ve had playing games). Game makers, it seems, are now more interested in profit than in making good games–and that’s unacceptable to game consumers. It sounds like Fallout 76 is kind of a rehash of some concepts from ESO and Fallout 4 stuff. Bethesda hoped to cash in and maybe it didn’t cost nearly as much to produce as a stand alone, single-player game. So profitability can be increased by either selling a ton of games or by cutting up-front costs or with loot boxes and pay-to-win concepts. Sure, players can “vote” with their wallets and not buy the game, but we are GAMERS! We want to game and Bethesda fans want Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6 and had Bethesda released one of those instead of 76, the sales would put even Skyrim to shame. So, I appreciated this review because I WILL buy the game, but I’m waiting about three months, until some of the bugs are worked out–and they will be, just as Bethesda did with ESO.

    November 29, 2018 at 3:58 pm
  • Pew Pew

    It’s odd to me that you say the quest system is uneven and needs NPC’s. Then you say the PvP system is broken and no one engages in it. But then you conclude “In my opinion, Fallout 76 strikes a perfect balance between a single player and multiplayer Fallout experience.”

    How does broken + broken = perfect?

    Wouldn’t it be hugely preferable to have a fully fleshed out Fallout 5 with drop in multiplayer, like Dark Souls, where you can either be a travelling companion of someone or an extra difficult enemy (only when this is enabled)? I would imagine that would clearly be a better option for balancing single and multiplayer in a way that would only add to the strengths of the franchise.

    While playing Fallout 3 or Skyrim it would be amazing if a friend could drop in and join you.

    November 29, 2018 at 7:31 pm
    • elaqure Pew Pew

      I don’t think the quest system needs NPCs, I just think that without them, more mundane quests aren’t nearly as fun as they would be otherwise. And as I said, the PvP would work better either all the way on or all the way off.

      I’d agree, however that Skyrim with co-op or Fallout with co-op would have been preferred, but I feel like Bethesda did things this way to sate those interested in a multiplayer title. They just wound up making all the people who want a single player game angry in the process.

      November 29, 2018 at 10:51 pm
      • Pew Pew elaqure

        “They just wound up making all the people who want a single player game angry in the process.”

        I agree this may be one of the main things that has happened. Good writeup, certainly got some good discussion going 🙂

        December 1, 2018 at 9:18 am
      • Roger Strange-Burlong elaqure

        I think you have nailed the point.

        People wanted co-op, but got multiplayer.

        Personally I have having a blast playing this with my friends.

        December 1, 2018 at 2:06 pm
  • Carvj94

    “and the engine is really starting to show its age.” I really really really hate it when people say stuff like this. The creation engine in its current form is maybe two years old technology wise. They update it and improve it quite a bit between games. Just cause they don’t rename it to Creation 2 doesn’t mean it’s even close to what was used in the original Skyrim. Really the only thing left over as far as I can see is the AI tool, physics and the world building tools.

    What many people see as an engine problem in game is really just a programming problem cause by the developer. Like every example you stated other than the physics.

    November 29, 2018 at 8:46 pm
  • Carvj94

    I’m blown away by all the hate 76 is getting. It’s at worst a “meh pass” level game considering it’s essentially an empty fallout 4 with coop. Of fucking course it’s buggy at launch and anyone who thinks it wouldn’t be needs specialized care. It’s also Bethesda’s first multi-player game in almost a decade so give em a damm break and stop acting like every future project is gonna be a failure now cause of this one meh game.

    November 29, 2018 at 8:57 pm
    • Garreth Vlox Carvj94

      “It’s at worst a “meh pass” level game considering it’s essentially an empty fallout 4 with coop” That’s a pretty valid reason to hate a 60$ game.

      December 2, 2018 at 2:13 am
      • Carvj94 Garreth Vlox

        I mean the yearly Call of Duty releases charge 60$ for essentially just slightly updated graphics and slight variations on weapons. Yet they are somehow criticly acclaimed even though they aren’t even good FPS games anymore. Even Fallout 76 has more story and gameplay than them yet its getting shit on cause it’s popular to hate on it right now regardless of quality.

        December 2, 2018 at 7:21 am
        • Garreth Vlox Carvj94

          But call of duty usually works as intended within days of launch and they do tend to at least attempt to fix issues from previous games even if only by making previous glitches game features like scopes that see through walls and jump jets to let you fly. Bethesda just keeps releasing the same bugs over and over without any real attempt to clean them up instead depending on modders to do the job free of charge for them after the fact.

          December 2, 2018 at 7:45 pm
  • Mick

    Your entire very well written review is pointless.

    All Bethesda games should be boycotted on principle until we get ES6. Start, middle, end of discussion. ESO is crap and Fallout is tired, even its fans mostly can’t stomach the new one – that I haven’t purchased and will never play.

    ES6. Now.

    November 30, 2018 at 6:11 am
    • Garreth Vlox Mick

      Yeah after looking over the material and watching more gameplay videos than I wanted too I have no interest in ever picking up 76, there’s way to many of the exact same issues from previous games they can be bothered to resolve and way to many issues with the new content that they didn’t fix before “release”.

      December 2, 2018 at 2:13 am
  • Guilford Australis

    What were they thinking? They’re killing the franchise. Zelda will never survive 3D. We must boycott Nintendo forever over this monstrous betrayal.

    (The Fallout 76 debate, 20 years ago)

    November 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm