In short, the map is pretty, I find the stories interesting, the new V.A.T.S is an improvement over the Fallout 4 V.A.T.S, the map is leagues better but lacking function, the gun combat is more tolerable, the new weapons are a welcome addition, and I like the NPCs. This is based on 10-15 hours of gameplay.
The long version:
Section 1: The controls
This game needs a remapping of the controls for PS4 controllers. Pressing triangle to jump is ackward. The rest of the gaming world has used the X button for jumping. I propose the following button layout for Fallout 5. Using a PS4 controller for reference.
The Touch Bar= Your map, inventory, upgrade tree, settings, etc.
X button= Jump
Press Square= reload
Hold Square near an NPC= interact with NPC
Circle button= Crouch
Triangle button= bring up weapon wheel
R1= Dedicated grenade button
L1= Something other than V.A.T.S
Section 2: The Menu
The Pip Boy is an annoying interface, just like in Fallout 4. I am proposing this franchise use a Borderlands inspired menu with a perk section, an inventory section, a map, a quest tab. They can even make this in the ugly Pip Boy green if they want. I understand there's some lore about the universe not having invented the transistor, but the Pip Boy still looks ugly.
Section 3: The Story(ies)
The main story in Fallout 4 IMO was a steaming pile of horse shit. I was not interested in finding "my son" for a second. While I have not completed the main story, I am intrigued by this scorch plague and the reports of flying beasts. I want to know what happens next, unlike Fallout 4 where I only completed story missions by accident. The side missions, so far, seem to have more personality than the Fallout 4 side missions. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Section 4: The NPCs
There is a false narrative spreading that this game doesn't have NPCs. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Fallout 76 has some really interesting NPCS. So far my favorites are the drunk bartender from the Nukashine mission and Rose the robot Raider. IMO the NPCs in Fallout 76 are more expressive and interesting. I know people are mad there are no human NPCs, but to be honest none of the human NPCs from Fallout 4 has good lip synching. Until they fix that shit, I am content with robot NPCs.
Section 5: The survival mechanics
The hunger, thirst, decreased carry capacity somehow make this game more fun than Fallout 4. I can't describe why, but now all the consumables which were worthless in Fallout 4 become far more interesting in Fallout 76. Also these survival mechanics feel right for a world that's only 25 years after the apocalypse.
Section 6: The Perk Card system
I loath, hate, and despise the upgrade tree from Fallout 4. What a cluttered, uninteresting piece of shit. The perk card system, combined with the now functional V.A.T.S system, means there is better presentation of upgrades and the agility tree is worth a damn! Well done Bethesda, although I am worried they will make perk packs purchasable with atoms, but so far this is not the case.
Section 7: V.A.T.S
I hated V.A.T.S in Fallout 4. Was a clunky mess that slowed down combat in what should be a fast moving FPS experience. In Fallout 76 they have redesigned the system to be a simple aimbot. It's now functional, but uninspired. IMO Fallout 5 either needs to scrap the V.A.T.S system to focus on fast and fluid first person shooting, or they need a drastic redesign to make V.A.T.S work in a fast fluid FPS system. I'm imagining a Soldier 76 ultimate style V.A.T.S but that's just my opinion.
Section 8: The bad
There are a lot of serious problems with this game that keep it from being scored higher in my book. The microtransactions this game expects for simple cosmetic are shameful. I paid for a full retail game, I want all the damn cosmetics you imported from Fallout 4. Having to scrap weapons to gain weapon upgrades is a confusing system. Why not just scrap the guns for parts, but be able to build better weapons after building a certain quantity and quality of other gun parts. I hope they redesign this system. The map, while being pretty, can be unhelpful at times. I would appreciate specific instructions, not vague mission goals. I would like to be able to see on my map the locations of safes after I discover them, but can't unlock them. This would help me come back for them and force me to explore the map to map their location instead of the location being given to me like Rage 2. The weapon wheel needs work. This is the clunkiest weapon wheel I have used to date. Too many of the necessary building structures are locked behind high atom prices.
This is my review, let me know what you think.
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