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Fallout 76 has been an anticipated release of this year as it seems to be releasing not to long after Fallout 4 and the fact that it is an online only Fallout experience, especially when the studio making this game is so well known for its single player games. I have now played this game for a couple of days racking in around 10-15 hours into the game and am ready to share my first impressions of Fallout 76. On a side note I didn’t play the beta of Fallout 76 so all my opinions and experiences whilst playing this game have come from the full release of the game and also I have been playing this game on PC.
Unlike previous Fallout games this game really lacks any sort of story, and instead substitutes any human NPCs for minute(s) long holotapes to listen to, notes and terminal entries. To progress this game is anyway is to follow around what seems like endless amounts of quest markers to find a dead body with a holotape to progress the “story” or maybe find a note to read through. This for me is Fallout 76 biggest downfall, I have no motivation to progress through these quest lines because I know whatever it is I am working towards just will not be worth the time that I put into it. From what I have played so far on the main story is chasing down the personal logs of the Overseer from Vault 76 and learning more about her and figuring out where she may be going next but never actually meeting her, it’s seriously infuriating because I do not care for this character yet or haven’t been told why I’m hunting down these logs in the first place and because of that I don’t have any intrigue to travel half of the map to get to the next log just to be told to find another.
The graphical side of Fallout 76 is one of the better elements as the world of Allpachia is quite stunning when you look past some graphical bugs and glitches. But unfortunately that is where it ends. The world may look good but unfortunately it’s empty and boring, like any RPG game you do come across landmarks in which you can explore and loot to progress your character but none of it feels original at all and so far hasn’t rewarded me anything half decent for taking time to explore these landmarks. I have been finding that a lot of the assets used in Fallout 4 are being reused in Fallout 76 and because I have played Fallout 4 a lot everything just seems boring and uninspired. Same can be said with the enemies you will find in the world. Fallout 76 has introduced a new enemy type called “The Scourged”, and they seem to be an in between of a human and ghoul. The problem I have with The Scourged is that they are everywhere! No matter where you are in the world you go into a landmark and 90% of the time the enemy type for that landmark will be the scourged. This could be made to work but I am killing these enemies with 1-2 shots so there is no challenge included throughout most of the exploration of the world. Now I cannot talk about enemies without talking about AI, the AI of enemies is one of the worst if the not THE worst thing about this game. Enemies will teleport, re spawn 2 seconds after killing them, take stupid paths to reach you, run in unpredictable and unrealistic patterns, whole buildings of enemies will all ambush you at once at the slightest sound made by the player, get stuck on nothing, take cover behind nothing and you can never tell where the enemies are because of the poor sound in this game.
With Fallout 76 being an multiplayer only game this comes with its own separate problems. I am first going to talk about PvP (Player vs Player). In Fallout 76 you are going to run into other players in the world and like some MMORPG one of the best parts is you can play how you want and make your own path through the game so I thought it may be fun to be a Bounty Hunter, collecting a few extra caps off wanted players, fun right? Wrong. The way PvP works in Fallout 76 is with a dueling system in which one player will shoot another at highly reduced damage and if the other player shoots back damage reduction will be removed and you can then slaughter each other. For some players and in certain situations this can be fine because you may just want to explore the world or certain areas without being disturbed but this also takes away my ability to be hiding in the trees see someone with some valuables and be able to shoot them and kill them by surprise because they won’t shoot back and will be able to heal the small amount of damage dealt to them with my big ass sniper rifle. Another issue that probably can’t be helped but it seems to me that most players want to play through this game, no-one is wanting to team up or start active conversation and this almost makes the whole online element redundant .
Talking about gameplay is a tough one because there isn’t anything that we haven’t seen in previous Fallout entries, which in some ways is a big issue. There are a few things in the Fallout games that do not work well in an online environment, one of the big ones is the inventory system through the pit-boy. The pit-boy menu system works well in a single player game because when you open it up it pauses the game and allows you to take your time to get what you need without issue, online though is a whole other story. Because the way the inventory menu is designed it takes time to be able to get to different tabs or quest data, and without the game pausing when bringing up the pit-boy causes serious issues, such as running low or out of ammo of the gun you’re using you need to change gun but if you have rabid dogs or scourged running at you at 100Mph you’re going to get hit a couple of times during the process of changing guns and then healing yourself which is nothing short of aggravating.
Though at the moment this game has massive, glaring issues mentioned above, with content updates (hopefully free) and extensive bug fixes this game could be special. The thing that annoyed me most about Fallout 76 is that you can see the potential greatness in this game but the issues just cover it all up and make it a not so great game to playthrough. I know they are doing some big updates before years end so hopefully that’ll bring me and more players back into the world to hopefully enjoy it more. I will be keeping a close eye on the future of this game and what updated are made but unfortunately for now I won’t be playing much more of Fallout 76 until these big issues are ironed out.