Even Wasteland 2 (a fantastic turned based game by Obsidian btw) was like Fallout 2 v3.0 in that yes the world was gone but it wasn't devoid of human life.
At first I didn't really notice it very much because I was too busy trying to find screws and springs but now at almost level 80 and many holotapes later I feel the emptiness. Not of the map or game itself, but the true loss of civilization, life, people. I thought it was a genius move to remove human human NPCs from the game and make actual people the only normal human interaction you have. What I didn't anticipate is how deeply sad Appalachia becomes when you never see another person, never see humanity rebuilding or clinging onto what's left and your only memory of them becomes their corpses you find laying about.
In Fallout 3 you spend most of your time moving from settlement to settlement. In NV you wake up in a kindly stranger's house. In FO4 you literally rebuild Bawston and fill your settlements with a network of survivors banding together, protecting them, arming them, creating a small empire out of the rubble. In all of the games there's people everywhere. Dirty, sick, opportunistic people but plenty of average people trying to eek out a life as best they can. In Appalachia the closest thing you get to a friendly face is a vendor bot with a full cap stash or Graham.
Some of the quests (no spoilers) I was profoundly sad at the end of because usually you get to affect those kinds of things, join up with a band of people working towards a goal and help/hinder them at your discretion. Here the stories were being told while you were safe in a vault and the best and brightest of us were outside dying off one by one. Can't say another Fallout cultivated the sense of loss quite as well as this one.
That's why I generally try to be helpful when I run into people. 3/3 times has a nooblet sent me a friend request when they found my high powered, rocket protected bunker. I usually don't accept friend requests on PS4 (I don't like randos seeing my online status/trophies and whatnot) but I make an exception for 76. I invite them inside my keypad protected door to show them my dazzling C.A.M.P., drop a Nuka Cola, canned goods and purified water to make them feel welcome. It's genuinely nice to see another person in the wasteland.
On a final note this is also probably why it's so enjoyable to be able to play with friends. Not only do they get to see my kick ass set up but having C.A.M.P.s scattered around the map, multiple workshops under your joint control, sharing perk cards and bringing along backup are genuine, tangible advantages.
If you run into a guy dressed like Knightmare Batfleck that invites you into his house and slaps the upright bass for you, it's probably just me. Ad victoriam fratres sororesque!
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