If you are here and are getting ready to read this article, there are a few things about myself that you need to know. I thoroughly enjoy playing survival games. I’ve spent countless hours standing on a roof in 7 Days to Die, waiting for a horde of zombies to come to my position and potentially destroy everything I’ve built. I have, quite literally, sunk hundreds of hours into Boundless, which is a game similar to Minecraft that is completely online, but is built upon false promises and smashed dreams. My point is this: I knew what to expect when I purchased Fallout 76; it seems that a lot of other people did not. These are the games I live for. So, as you go into this review, know that I have spent thousands of hours playing various survival games; I can appreciate a games beauty and intricacies, despite apparent flaws.
I am so sick of the insanely critical bashing of Fallout 76. I have seen a ridiculous amount of reviews dissecting the game, with things like “It isn’t really Fallout”, “Where is the story?”, “Oh, you have to drink AND eat to survive a post-apocalyptic world?”
What the hell did you expect? It is an online, multiplayer SURVIVAL game; similar to Rust or 7 Days To Die. You can’t compare this game to World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 and you can’t even compare this to other installments of the series, it is completely different. Your goal is, quite literally, to survive. To be more specific to Fallout 76, your goal as a member of this highly important vault is to survive and rebuild civilization.
Now I imagine if we actually lived in a post-apocalyptic state, we would also have to scavenge for supplies to satiate our hunger and thirst and even hunt for items to protect ourselves and defend what little we have, items like weapons and ammo. Don’t forget about constant worry we would have when it comes to contracting diseases and parasites from the dirty, irradiated food and water we would need to consume to survive. So why is it surprising that you have to do these things in Fallout 76? Is it because things aren’t handed to you? Is the game too difficult? Were you expecting a different type of game? Then that is your fault, NOT Bethesda’s.
People have been complaining about the lack of story and lack of NPC’s– This is a joke. There is a ton of story if you look, and you should be looking. There are terminals to be hacked that are filled with information about the various areas throughout Appalachia, tons of handwritten notes and holotapes to find. If you choose not to read or listen to what is on those notes and tapes, then, of course, the story is going to be lacking. Again, this is not Bethesda’s fault, this is your fault.
Yes, there aren’t any human NPC’s in Fallout 76, THEY ARE ALL DEAD. Let’s use our brains, together. Fallout 76 takes place in the year 2102, only 25 years after the nuclear war. Fallout 3 takes place in the year 2277. This is 200 years after the nuclear war. Why is this important? Because in Fallout 76 you, the vault dweller, are the survivor. As are the other members of Vault 76, AKA the other real people playing on the same map as you. The various dead bodies you find around Appalachia all survived the nuclear war but died trying to survive. We can assume they died of radiation poisoning, parasites, diseases, dehydration, starvation or maybe they were killed by raiders or the mutated creatures that roam Appalachia. These poor souls laid the groundwork for the vault dwellers to thrive– they left things like water testing kits, recipes for preparing radiated food and drink, and handwritten warnings about surrounding areas; all of this, to make your life a little bit easier.
What about the gameplay? If you’ve taken the time to read any reviews, surely you’ve found nothing but terrible, terrible things. Things like the mechanics being “clunky” and “slow”, AI being garbage, server stability is awful, not enough players on a map at any given point… you get the idea. I haven’t found any of these issues to be game breaking. There is no reason you need to pull up your Pipboy mid-combat as you can hotkey everything. If for some reason, you find yourself struggling by scrolling through all of your items trying to find what you need then utilize your stash. There is no reason for you to carry around 20 different weapons, 50 various first aid items, scrap your junk and toss it into your stash. Having fewer items in your inventory makes finding what you need more manageable, who knew!?
The fighting mechanics are the same as before. If you weren’t a fan of those mechanics in Fallout 4 you won’t be a fan in Fallout 76. I don’t find these mechanics particularly jarring, I am still able to play the game perfectly well. Bethesda has completely re-worked the VATS system for its online play, which I feel was done pretty well. In previous installments of the game, entering the VATS system would pause the game and allow you to select a body part to shoot and each part is given a percentage of how likely you are to hit each part. When you enter the VATS system in Fallout 76 the game doesn’t pause and your screen, but it does slow it down. While you are in the VATS system, you don’t have to aim and you are given a single percentage of how likely you are to hit whatever you’re fighting. This works well. Unless you have perfect aim at all times (I’m guessing you don’t), this is extremely useful when fighting wild dogs or other quick-moving enemies.
I am not saying Fallout 76 is perfect– far from it, but the amount of hate it has received is unnecessary. I have experienced drops in FPS, minor issues when using my C.A.M.P. to build a base, floating objects or getting stuck somewhere, I’ve even crashed a couple of times, the player cap per server is a little bit ridiculous; 24 is quite low for how big the map and private servers weren’t implemented on release. However, these are all things that Bethesda has talked about implementing or could implement if they continue to listen to player feedback.
There are a few other things I have issues with: Robot NPC’s giving barely any caps for your hard earned items, no push-to-talk for in-game chat, no text chat and yeah, the graphics aren’t great if you stare at a freaking wall, but seriously, get over yourself. Appalachia is gorgeous and is super fun to explore.
Fallout 76 is extremely entertaining and is enjoyable as a solo player. It should be noted that playing alone doesn’t have to be alone. There are tons of group events that happen all of the time within Appalachia and you’re even able to fast travel to them, for a small number of caps that is. However, the game is definitely much more enjoyable when playing with friends. The game is challenging; your hand isn’t held and it requires work and to me, that is satisfying. The fact that there is a chance you can be murdered at any moment and lose all of your items is thrilling. I look forward to discovering more about Fallout 76 and hope to see some of you in Appalachia.