My friend Viper told me today that he hadn’t received the “Leaving Vault 76” achievement. He was lvl 86.
It was at that moment that I decided it was time to give the full review. With no clear picture of when any new content will come in, now seems appropriate to give Fallout 76 it’s final score.
In my Review in Progress, I said that I was enjoying the game, that the times I had spent at the 30 hour mark were of enough quality and interest to warrant a 4 out of 5 from me. A solid 4, too. If this game was a single player with that much time solely devoted to story, it would have have kept that score.
Fallout 76 is your standard loot and builder RPG from Bethesda studios. If you’ve played any of the Fallouts since number 3, you’ll know what to expect. At least, you’ll think you’d know what to expect.
We know Bethesda games have the bugs and they can be humorous and glaring in their previous outings, but this… This game is the buggiest full release by a major developer/studio I have ever seen, and I played Mass Effect: Andromeda. The shear amount of times enemies floated, sank, or just pop in, made the Stockholm syndrome set in until I was just okay with it.
I still have this suspicion that the game at release was actually the beta, replaced by that 53 gb “update” a week later. No update is larger than the initial release, I don’t care what kind of bullshit Bethesda says. The fact that Early-Access Beta players got to keep their experience and progress only reinforces this theory.
The forced implement of the VATS system in Fallout 76 is just the worst. I get limitations of spacetime in an online game, but make the tool useful or at least look cool in execution. Shooting something from one corner of the screen to the other just looks like shit, and it looks even shittier when that something is highlighted in scanline puke green.
Most of the fun in combat is had just hitting things in your power armor, which is fun in any game really. And that’s the only way it seems to play Fallout 76, spending it all in your precious power armor, eating away heavy-ass power cores, and hoping the next enemy drops those power screws you really need.
The crafting from Fallout 4 is here, though it’s much more limited in Fallout 76. You can still build just about anything, but you can only build so much of it now, and that’ll probably be destroyed by the first errant Mirelurk Queen.
The grind element comes into play for this part, often going to specific location to find rare or even common materials. The occasional plan reward or recipe find is nice, giving some element of progression to your character and the world. But like a recipe for a kiddy pool, it’s shallow.
It’s about the only stuff that makes this game kinda MMO-ish. It’s just too bad that to make most of the good stuff requires hours of search, grinding, along with copious amounts of good luck.
I did enjoy the setting, I just wish there was more than a sharted story on top of it. With so much colon to explore, I didn’t come here just to wait for more shit to flow down.
The “stories” are doing faction quests left by audio recordings, or log entries, or robots, which I guess count as NPC’s. No other living person inhabits West Virginia, excluding your friends and maybe about 15 other online randos. While the game does try to explain the absence of humans, it never shakes the lack of purpose and hollow feeling behind your actions.. It raises many questions. For example: How are we supposed to reproduce? I can’t fuck my friends, at least not in the make-a-baby way.
And there can be only two reasons why locations like the mystery buttons and Vaults that can’t be opened: One, Bethesda released an incomplete game, or Two, Bethesda honestly thought players would take their time and there would be no need to add any more story content for at least three months. If this was a five year-old game, that might be acceptable for an expansion. But with a game that was supposed to be this big, being bored before hour 76 is just shit. I shouldn’t be bored with any Online RPG content until at least hour 100. But remember, this isn’t an MMORPG, it’s an abortion.
The only thing that saves this game and what made my gametime so much more enjoyable was the multiplayer aspect. Viper Bae, Helix, and other pros made this fun, watching nukes that we set off, exploring caves and bunkers, fighting scorch beasts together, or even just helping with materials, quests, and posing for those precious pictures were moments that stick out as engaging and fun. But playing solo shows the ugly nature of this Bethesda beast,
Getting dropped from a server after a nuke strike. Quests glitching because a team member has already completed it. Only seeing a teammate’s floating nameplate, or occasionally two nameplates at different locations. Those are just a few of the glitches that break the immersion and make Fallout 76 an exercise in anger management rather than an enjoyable night smashing glowing ghouls with yo buds.
The soundtrack is just repurposed Starcraft music. The additional licensed music is nice, like the greatest hits of Fallout, plus a few new tunes. But it gets repeated so much that you won’t listen to it soon after starting. Surprisingly, the classical station contained the most songs, most of which are instantly recognizable.
The music is kinda like a sneak preview of the game; An exciting start followed by the repetition of gameplay anyone could’ve done.
Final Score: 2 out of 5. Niche is the nicest thing to say about Fallout 76. I can’t recommend this game to much more than most hardcore and patient of fans. While I enjoyed the approaches it takes to gameplay that prey on my more baser Oblivion instincts of fight, loot, and explore, most gamers won’t like Fallout 76.
There really is no excuse for a supposedly grand story that wallows at hour 35, giving new meaning to lack of content in an online game. Bethesda should’ve rolled out story content in the first month, instead of just a 50% increase in base storage capacity.
I can see why Todd Howard was so quick to dismiss the MMO staple this game was catching during the first reveal. See, competent MMO’s have months worth of content upon release. Fallout 76 has maybe two weeks’ worth of playability for the hardcore crowd. Anyone beyond hour 50 is probably just going for specific armor sets and complete map exploration.
I like this game, that’s why it hurts me to give it this low of a score. Yet fans and other hopefuls deserved more than this. I know Bethesda likes to announce and release in the same year, but maybe they should knock that shit off. A delay is okay so long as the final product isn’t Fallout 76.
Like the other under-performing online game released this year, Sea of Thieves, it’ll take some time before Fallout 76 finds its footing, but I have faith in this title. I know it’ll be something special someday, just not right now. Dang nab-it.