Hello and welcome to Jay’s game reviews! Today I will be reviewing Bethesda’s newest installment to the Fallout franchise, Fallout 76. It’s about to get messy, so buckle up!
I started playing Fallout 76 during the Beta testing for the game and while I didn’t necessarily jump on the hype train for the game, I did have high hopes that this would be another great addition to the history rich Fallout franchise. I have been playing Fallout games since the original game released way back in 1997, so to say that I enjoy the series is a pretty safe assumption. That being said, I found some good and some bad things in this game, but I’ll do my best to keep my opinion unbiased. Lets start with the Pros.
- The map is absolutely huge! That means you have tons of places that you can explore, and each location is filled with loot.
- That huge map is really pretty. Especially when you are out in the woods and the sun cuts through the bright orange and red fall foliage.
- There are quite a few new and unique creatures. By now I’m sure everyone is aware of the presence of the Mothman but what you may not know is that there are several versions of him! There is the cute Mothman who can be summoned by lighting a beacon with firefly guys and then there is the menacing Mothman who stalks
players through Appalachia. Then there is the Grafton Monster (kind of a rock or clay monster), the Wendigo (A cannibalistic creature who resembles Smeagol from “The Lord of the Rings”) and many others.
- You can play with friends or play solo and have just as much fun. While there are certain perks that give great returns when teamed up, there are just as many for a solo run, and if you are specked for group play, you can just be on a team with someone without ever interacting with them.
- Most in game locations have at least a small environmental story. I recently uploaded a video (see below) of one such find where you can see the tragedy of one family who did not survive the harsh environment of the Wasteland. These environmental stories are found EVERYWHERE!
- This game is filled with bugs. Entering Power Armor can cause the game to freeze forcing players to force exit the game and reload it. Monsters get frozen in place, or their AI gets confused and is unable to path to the player. Random Lag spikes. Weird graphic errors that cause monsters and players to be stretches and bent into odd monstrosities. Some players have reported not being able to respawn when over encumbered (more on that later), player bases unable to be placed and the list goes on.
- Lack of NPCs. This is a complaint that I have seen from people since the beta and I am in complete agreement! There are robots, terminals and Halo tapes that players get quests from. There is a story that you can follow. There is a story is the side quests that you can do. The lack of NPCs does not mean a lack of story, it is rather, a lack of motivation to follow the story. Allow me to explain. In every other Fallout game (except Fallout Shelter) when the player interacts with an NPC they are given choices. These choices, or branches in the dialog tree, can determine the outcome of encounters and effect whether certain factions like the player or not. This in turn allows the player to build alliances (or rivalries) with certain groups. The way that the story works with 76 is that you are given a task “Go here”, “Get this”, etc… you do that task and then you are given another. It is boring and monotonous.
- PvP is a complete joke! I’m not delving too far into this, but here’s the basics. If you want to do PvP you walk up to who you want to fight and attack. Very little damage is done. If the player wishes to “duel” you, they attack back, and that attack does full damage. This begins the PvP encounter! The issue is that the attacked player can take as long as they want to buff and prepare and then potentially one hit the attacker. There are other ways to do PvP such as taking over work shops and hunting “Wanted” players, but honestly, they are all just as lame and not worth talking about.
- Over encumberment. I can’t stress enough how irritating this is! Everything has a weight in this game, which isn’t terrible, however, when you have to much weight you can not fast travel and you cannot run. In past Fallout games it was the same, but you could take a perk (Long Haul) that would allow you to still fast travel. Not so in Fallout 76! So, you leave a bunch of stuff behind, fast travel to your base, unload, fast travel back grab stuff, back to base and so on, right? Nope, because your base also has a (very small) limit on storage space! This is being addressed in a patch on December 4th, but really there is no reason for it! When ten hairpins weigh a full POUND, there is a serious flaw in the entire weight system of the game. Players find themselves dropping valuable gear in order to be able to walk properly. I actually became over encumbered after picking up a single bobby pin, very unrealistic and frustrating beyond explanation.
- The leveling system. Oh, the leveling system of Fallout 76! At first, I thought “Cool, I can re-speck my character anytime I want!” Well, kind of. You get these random Perk Cards, and each level you can assign one point to a S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute (up to 15) and pick a Perk Card for that attribute. You can at any time swap a Perk Card out for a different card that you have unlocked. As of right now you are unable to move S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points, though that is supposed to change in ANOTHER update on December 11th when you will then be able to (at level 50 or higher) move one point per level OR unlock a perk card. A little silly that I can gender swap at any point in the game, but NOT change my skills at any point. Now back to the Perk Cards. You will find yourself putting a card into a skill that you don’t really want to because there aren’t any good alternatives unlocked yet. Sure, you can move the cards later, but if this caused you to add a point to one of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. skills that you didn’t want it in, you’ll need o wait until December 11th and level 50 to fix it.
- Bethesda’s complete lack of communication and customer care. This one, while I
have not experienced personally, is HUGE! From not addressing concerns over game breaking bugs to screwing over players who purchased the $199 collector’s edition Bethesda has repeatedly dropped the ball with their customer base. This terrible business practice is mind boggling! Bethesda is a really big company, they should definitely know better than this, and yet… Here we are! The false advertisement of the collector’s edition was a mega slap in the face to fans. Bethesda offered players a really nice canvas bag in the $199 package and after several delays players finally received their cheap, nylon trash bag! Bethesda’s response? Well, none at first, they basically said “Oh well!” Then they offered players 500 Atoms (the in-game currency for micro transactions) “WOW, 500!” You say? Well, that is about $5. For a $199 purchase. Like I said, a slap in the face!
So, what do I think of Bethesda’s Fallout 76? Well, I’m still playing it. I have well over 100 hours played and I still find it enjoyable. Like I said, I didn’t personally experience some of the bigger negative aspects of the game, so for me it isn’t as tainted. My biggest issues are with the weight limit and the leveling system, but who knows. Maybe Bethesda can turn things around. Maybe Fallout 76 can be the epic multiplayer RPG we had hoped for. Maybe the moon is made out of cheese. Who knows. Check out Fallout 76 yourself over on Bethesda’s site.
I score this one 67 out of 100.
Here is my first impressions video:
And a live stream replay: