A quick review of Fallout 76: is it right for you?
Ok, so basically, if you’re a big fan of the Fallout franchise, you’ll probably like it.
Some quick background: My biggest fear about Fallout 76, honestly, was that it would be like ESO. I’m not a huge fan of ESO, but I absolutely LOVE Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind. Playing ESO, it felt like just a typical MMORPG with a Elder Scrolls skin… Mostly, the main difference that was a negative for me in ESO, was the skill and combat systems which are significantly different than the other ES games. So I was very concerned Fallout 76 would end up with the same issue. BUTTT it didn’t!
My initial thoughts first, the game is BEAUTIFUL. I might (unfortunately because Fallout 3 is my favorite) have to admit it might be the best looking Fallout game so far. The environment is absolutely breathtaking in some areas, with lush forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. Also, the LOD looks great, the way they set it up looks better than any LOD in their previous games. The textures and models look great. I didn’t notice any weird flickering LOD or oddly discolored distant textures (like in Fallout 4).
It basically feels like ‘Fallout 4: Online’ with some minor gameplay changes.
So the main topics of issue I've seen around the internet:
V.A.T.S: no longer pauses or slows down game. I really didn’t find it as a big deal, but then again, I rarely use V.A.T.S. in Fallout 4, so I may not be the best person to ask about it. In previous Fallout games, the fps combat was pretty wonky and V.A.T.S. was almost a necessity for it’s superior accuracy. In Fallout 4, the fps mechanics were spot on and V.A.T.S. wasn’t needed as much, probably more suited for casual gamers who aren’t as familiar with fps games? For me, V.A.T.S. is more of a game mechanic I always used in a clutch moment where I might have been taken by surprise or overwhelmed by enemies… and that’s exactly how I used it in Fallout 76, and it functions perfectly as that, if not better and more efficiently as it no longer pulls me out of the gameplay by changing the camera and slowing combat to a cheatable level. I mean, really, V.A.T.S. to me was practically a cheating device only used when worst case scenarios occurred in Fallout 4. Otherwise, my own hand-eye coordination and combat tactics/strategy was more than enough to handle most situations. In Fallout 76, that’s how I used it, and it worked great, not sure what the big fuss is about.
No NPC’s: how can quests be fun? Memories of ESO come to mind immediately, with my friend impatiently hopping around nearby while I listen to extensive NPC dialogue during a quest. Really, in an online game, NPC’s handing out loads of background dialogue, is super annoying when your friends are waiting on you. It always ended up with me having to either try to read ahead or skip it all together and just try to piece the story together on my own as I go. Now, when you think about it, an NPC giving you a quest is really just your character, standing in front of another character, while an audio track plays of the NPC’s voice narrating the text you see on the screen. So what does Fallout 76 do? The same audio track is played, BUT instead it is after picking up a holotape… so guess what that means? I can listen to the story WHILE I am playing. Quests can also be obtained in the form of notes which still require my friends to wait a sec, but I usually make that a fun thing and read it aloud.
Other players?! How can it feel like Fallout if you’re not alone and it’s not all about you? Ummm… maybe you should see ESO, because it’s perfectly fine to play an online game with other people and still feel like a hero. But what about the immersion breaking when you see another character called “Turd Ferguson” running around? Well… let it go and don’t be so closed minded? It is an online game after all. If you are looking for the traditional solo Fallout experience… go play the previous 5 or so Fallouts. This is an online game, so there are trade-offs. Seriously though, in my 4-hour play time with my sis, we only really ran into other players in that initial tutorial area surrounding Vault 76. After we left that area, we only actually encountered 1 other player in what was about 3 hours. Me and my sis were at a radio tower, shooting some robots. I actually became overrun, and was attacked by a Protectron… then, out of nowhere, some guy, in what looks like a Boy Scout’s uniform, comes out of the trees and takes out the robots with a rifle. We sort of acknowledge each other, wave, loot the area, then go our separate ways… that was it.
Hunger/thirst: annoying hassle? Umm… yeah, no. It’s a gameplay mechanic, it keeps you from just looting the same areas and camping. You have to keep moving and going to new locations for food and water, or work to build your own resources at your CAMP, basically it helps push you to explore the game. Keep exploring new areas, and it won’t be an issue.
CAMP settlement system: actually I can’t even imagine a complaint here. Maybe that many items are locked, but I think that’s a fun mechanic to keep you exploring to uncover new ‘plans’ to build more items. Really, it’s an overhauled version of Fallout 4. It functions basically the same, yet it’s more practical, efficient, smooth, AND your friends can contribute/add to your settlement! I thought that was super kool. At one point, I wanted to test out the CAMP system, so I laid down some foundation and placed a couple chairs. My sister then laid down her own chairs, added a clock and like 4 stairs lol. It was fun, and then the bonus was being able to basically ‘select all’ and save my entire CAMP as a ‘plan’ that I can use later. In the recent additional 2 hours we had of beta on Sunday, we had managed to build our CAMP up to a 2 story building, with a turret, a small farm, and a generator… that's only about maybe 2 hours of actual material searching and building to make.
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