Hey everyone, back again with a review. I know Fallout 76 has been out for a little while, and, while I did play the Beta, I wanted to spend some time with the full game first before writing a review. I thought that was only fair. So, here it goes. I won’t be getting into spoilers, either, as per usual. Oh, and all the screenshots/pictures posted are my own.
For the record, and I don’t know if it makes a difference or not, I play this game on Xbox One. So my review and experience is based on that console and I can’t speak to or verify the experience of playing on PlayStation or PC. Thought I’d get that out of the way first thing. Also, this is my own experience playing, and just because I have or haven’t had a certain problem, or encountered something, doesn’t mean that’s across the board. I know and have heard plenty about others’ experiences, this is just mine.
So I’ve had an odd relationship with the Fallout series. I’ve always loved the world and the story, but in the case of the first games, I hate turn-based combat. It drives me nuts. Fallout 3 was a game I could finally play, but I had a hard time getting into the story, so I never got very far into it. It was not for lack of trying, either. The only thing I’ve tried harder to like is Amon Amarth (I tried…). But, Fallout 4 was bundled with our Xbox One when we bought it, and I was in love. I’ve put hundreds of hours into that game.
So I was pretty excited when a new trailer dropped after a couple of days of mystery. Less exciting was the prospect of an online, multiplayer game. But I pre-ordered it for Beta access and ended up buying the whole deal when it came out. And here’s what I thought.
This game has been getting a lot of hate. A lot. I haven’t been watching reviews for it, mostly because I want to get my own opinions out before checking out everyone else’s. But also, between this and the Diablo Immortal announcement (gasp! mobile! I'm not even gonna link that shit, because it's ugly), I am just way too tired of the negativity in the game franchises I enjoy to engage lately. Fandom is so negative sometimes. But, I digress. I’ve been having a lot of fun with Fallout 76. Honestly.
-It’s quiet. This won’t be a pro for everyone, and it is really weird to play a game like this and not have companions or any NPC’s of any kind. But it really grows on you. I logged back into 4 while waiting for 76 to update and I was instantly mobbed by NPCs and companions all talking to me at once and it was ‘aaah, I wanna go back to West Virginia where it’s quiet!’. I personally find it really atmospheric to come out of the Vault and there’s nobody around and all you find are the remnants of both the old world and people that tried to survive in the new one.
-It’s pretty. I keep seeing complaints about the ‘outdated engine’ and I guess I don’t know much about such things because I think the game looks gorgeous. I’m not a graphics snob, either. I’m here for the story, looking pretty is just a bonus.
-The story. Not only are we in a new location (West Virginia), but we are leaving the Vault into a world only twenty-five years after the Great War that destroyed everything. This makes it the earliest-set Fallout game to date, outside of the few minutes of the Fallout 4 prologue (of which, the main game takes places 185 years after Fallout 76 and 210 years after the War). This is a world where the Great War and the world before it is something some people still remember. I’m hoping as time progresses and if additional content becomes available, we can explore that more.
-Multiplayer is not essential and death is not the end. These things are both very good for me. I don’t want to play games to play with other people. I mean, I even played World of Warcraft mainly solo back in the day. So the fact that I don’t have to deal with other people is quite fine with me. I just do my thing and let others to theirs. I’ve only died once by the hand of another player, a wanted player who got me just after I logged in and was looking up a quest in my book. Which is fine, you don’t lose all your stuff when you die, just your junk gets put in a little paper bag for you to collect and it’s all an opponent can loot from you. All of that is great, I don’t have to worry about my equipment or loot getting stolen if I get ganked. So I mainly just do my thing and most others seem to as well, and it’s all good.
-Survival aspects. I never played the Survivial Mode in previous titles, as it didn’t really interest me. This game has some survival aspects, and it’s been pretty interesting so far. You have to eat and drink, and maintain that, as well as you can catch diseases and mutations through the environment, enemies, or food/water. Food will also spoil if it isn’t cooked or processed in some way. It’s taken some getting used to, but it really is just another bar to keep an eye on, and not a huge deal. It does bring some realism to your playing, though. Thankfully the one I’m bad at remembering, sleep, is not a requirement, as it is in the Survival and Hardcore modes of previous entries.
-Building is back, and there are claimable workshops. Yay, crafting! I spend so much time crafting and building, and it’s back again! I haven’t built anything too extravagant yet, but I’m still deciding where to set up my permanent C.A.M.P.
I claimed one workshop already, and you hold it as long as you’re online, but lose it once you log out. It was neat having a ‘settlement’ to defend again, and useful for getting resources, but again, not necessary.
-Big map. There is so much to explore! I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface and I’ve put in a lot of hours between the beta and the full game. Even though I retained my progress from said beta and was able to pick up where I left off in the full version, there is so much map left that I haven’t even touched yet.
-Photomode. Basically a camera mode with poses, frames, filters, and all kinds of fun stuff? Sign me up! You can get more stuff for it, as well as clothes, and other cosmetic things in the Atom Shop, where you spend Atoms you get for completing quests and challenges (or, you know, real money). Photomode has been super fun so far, and I’ve gotten some really great pictures from it.
-The game has run fine for me so far. I know there have been a lot of bugs and glitches, some even game-breaking ones. I’ve had them before, but nothing so far in Fallout 76 (my worst ones were actually in Mass Effect 2 and Portal 2). There have been the odd glitches and bugs, like the time I clipped through a wall, or frozen, floating Super Mutants, some lag, but nothing severe. Mostly, they’ve just been amusing, especially to the Elder Spawn. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky.
-No ‘safe zone’ adjusting for the HUD. There’s no way to adjust this, and I have the edges on things like the map cut off. It’s quite irritating, since I can only see the edge of the Menu and Social buttons, and it was only by button-mashing experiment I figured out which buttons they actually were.
-SPECIAL/Perk card system. I’m not sure I like having my Perks coming to me randomly when I get new cards. I’m finding it frustrating as I’m not allowed to pick from the ones I want, necessarily, but from whatever cards I have or get when I level. I don’t want cards that give me bonuses when in a team, I need the ones to increase carry weight or decrease item weight, dammit! I’m ending up with a lot of useless cards. Bobble-heads and magazine bonuses are only temporary as well, and that sucks also.
-Real-time VATS. Speaking of cards, I only just got one that lets me aim at limbs specifically in VATS. Real-time VATS is useful for finding enemies, or taking care of stupid flying things like bloodbugs that irritate me, but it’s not nearly as useful as it was in previous titles. I find I’ve switched to mainly melee weapons and mostly don’t use VATS except in the above situations.
-Updates. Okay, this is a big one for me. I expected patches, but these patches are huge! I’ve had I believe four, two each from beta and full game, patches of 45-50 gigs each. That includes the Day One patch that dwarfed the game install itself that came from the disc. I’ve realized that my Internet sucks and that I need a new provider, so thanks for that, but these updates are massive! This is not a ‘couple of hours’ thing for me, this is a couple of days! Ouch. If they can get that under control, I would be much happier.
So there it is, all my thoughts on Fallout 76. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I’m not getting the hate. Yeah, it’s online, but I’ve just been ignoring the other people and I’ve been doing fine. It’s not without issues, but it’s not the flaming dumpster fire I’m hearing people call it. Or maybe I’m just lucky? I don’t know, guys.