"War...war is constantly getting dumber."
I am a huge Fallout fan. I was brought into the series by Fallout 3 and mesmerized by its dark as well as haunting vision of a post-apocalypse Washington D.C. This led me to check out the original isometric games, which I also loved. Later, I would enjoy Fallout: New Vegas and it would become my 3rd favorite video game of all time after Skyrim and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. Unfortunately, my opinion of Fallout 4 was more mixed. I felt like the game was dumbed down with large story holes, too much focus on settlements, and a change to gunplay over a mix of it with skill use.
|Fallout 76 is a very pretty game.|
So, how is the game? Well, it's terrible. It's extremely difficult to screw up a game that is already a tried and tested formula but they somehow managed to do it. I'm actually going to include some positives about the game because everyone else has gone into the negatives of the game. However, it needs to be spelled out this game is BROKEN. It is worse than Skyrim and Fallout 4 by far and I have encountered more bugs playing it (after 3 massive patches) than I have in the entirety of my gaming experience combined.
Here's a short list of the ones I've had through my first six hours of gaming:
* Quests not starting until reloads.
* Frozen indestructible enemies.
* Invisible enemies.
* Restarting in different places than I where I left the character in the game.
* The game not saving itself where I left it.
* Free-floating characters.
* Characters not uploading as they should (sometimes missing beards before they pop on).
* Characters not having any clothes or equipment.
* The highlight option for the main menu not working for half of the commands.
It's ironic that this isn't the worst mess of a game I've played this week because at least Fallout 76 plays. My Assassins Creed: Odyssey DLC was purchased, uploaded, and bought but doesn't ever show the option to play it. I'm disgusted with the gaming industry whenever they turn out something that hasn't been properly playtested or (in this game's case) I dare say not even finished. I mean Skyrim and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines were both buggy but this is a whole new level.
|The West Virginia landmarks are often places I know.|
So, really an entire portion of this game is completely pointless and hard as hell to do. PVP is also not well-designed since you have to challenge them to a duel by shooting them and have them shoot you back (with minimal damage) like you're slapping gloves. So all PVP is one-on-one duels and have no option for ambushes or battles. That doesn't even get into the biggest flaws of the game which are the lack of NPCs and the combat.
The lack of NPCs is the craziest element of this game and I wonder who drank the Rad-infested water to come up with this idea. For whatever reason, there's only robot and terminal quest-givers in the game. It massively cuts down on the enjoyment of the game since I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be rebuilding the United States FOR given there's no people inhabiting this Wasteland. Quests lose whatever urgency they might have had without people depending on you even in a fictional context.
|I'm annoyed Vault 76 isn't a hub.|
Combat is iffy as due to being a multiplayer always online game, you can't pause it for V.A.T.S that more or less means that shooting is completely different for people like myself. It's more like auto-aiming now and not nearly as effective. This has led me to do something I've never done before and pursue a melee build. My Resident has been moving across the Wasteland, slaughtering Scorched with a multi-purpose ax like Jason Voorhees rather than using guns. I'm not sure if that's a feature or not given it's because I didn't trust the gunplay.
The enemy variety is a mixed bag. On one hand, there's too many Scorched in the game and they're a poor substitute for Raiders. Scorched are basically Feral Ghouls who use guns and melee weapons so they're not anything new to the franchise. The fact they're zombies created by radiation dragons (due to reusing Skyrim assets) gives them a awesome origin, though. The fact is I'd much prefer actual Raider clans to the group. Zombies are the most overused enemy in fiction and giving them guns doesn't make them less overused since we already had the undead in Fallout. On the plus side, we do have a lot more animals that included things like giant toads as well as the Molemen. The thing is, when there's no other humans alive, I'm confused why I'm shooting at the industrial miners.
The main quest is decent, if underdeveloped, and the fact I wanted to complete it and devote the hours to it means that they must have been doing something right. The radiation dragons and their zombie plague have to be wiped out. Fine, that makes sense. The fact the Overseer is directing you to do it is also a decent-enough quest even if you never meet with her directly. I like the dramatic irony of the Overseer, who never gets a name, being fanatically devoted to Vault-Tec while being
fundamentally a good person (as well as blind to how evil they are).
I'm kind of iffy about the fact you can launch nuclear weapons in this game. Much of the Fallout series is about the horrors of nuclear war even if it's in a silly coating. The fact you can and are encouraged to use nuclear weapons against the Scorched feels like it's missing the point. On the other hand, Liberty Prime uses nukes and I had this same objection with blowing up the Institute. War, I suppose, never changes.
In conclusion, I am torn about my rating for this game because I keep wanting to play it and have a lot of fun with it but feel like it has removed so very much about what I do love about the game. The game is doubly frustrating because if they had just put NPCs in the game and copied the elements of other mutliplayer games then it'd probably be one of my favorites this year. As such, it doesn't feel like a good Fallout hame or a good Destiny clone (which it was clearly trying to be). This game is salvageable, though, and I hope Bethesda doesn't just abandon it. Give it The Taken King treatment and make it the game it deserves to be.