I’m just gonna put down some of my thoughts and experiences of Fallout 76 while it’s still fresh in my mind and maybe it might convince some people who are apprehensive or sitting on the fence to give the game a shot.
I’ll go through the positives first.
Firstly, the big one: does it feel like a Fallout game? Absolutely. It has the atmosphere that every other Fallout has. The starting area is huge and I was constantly stumbling across ruins, towns, crash sites, etc. and finding miscellaneous quests to do. I don’t think I even made it into any other area because I kept getting distracted. Despite that, I never really felt overwhelmed as there was plenty of forrest areas with nothing there to space things out.
Briefly I’ll give you an example of an experience I had. I wandered into a group of cabins in the woods at night just as a storm rolled in and the ground started shaking. Thunder and lightning, rain bucketing down, the works. I cleared out a few feral ghouls with my pipe bolt action revolver and very limited supply of ammo. There were 4 run down cabins surrounded by overgrown foliage. It was silent bar the noise of the storm. Then, from the direction of an area marked “the mothman” on my map, I heard high-pitched screams. After darting into a cabin and removing the mess in my trousers I searched around and found a complaint letter written to the cabin’s owners by a previous inhabitant complaining about screaming in the woods and ground tremors. Great. Just wonderful. I ran like fu*k and got out of there. When the BETA is back on and I’ve got some better gear I’m gonna go back and see if there’s an underground cave which might give me some clues about what’s going on with the ground there…
Given that example I can confidently say that the delivery of lore and storytelling by “showing not telling” is great. Think back to Fallout 3, 4 or NV where you’ll stumble across an unnamed location and find a holotape or a note from a long-dead settler or trader telling you about their life or perhaps the location of some good loot. It’s that sort of thing but for every quest and I think it works really well.
As for the main questline, I’ve seen some complaints that they get repetitive fast. Honestly I can’t really comment because I only done maybe 2 or 3. I didn’t feel compelled or forced into doing them so – just like every other Fallout I’ve played – I went off and explored and only did the main quest if I was in the area. I imagine some people won’t like the way in which quests are delivered by already dead characters but for me personally I thought it added to the atmosphere as I like that kind of storytelling.
Next, the multiplayer component. Full disclosure: I’ve wanted a Fallout game with optional co-op for years. Initially I was worried that the game would feel like a survival game as opposed to a Fallout game with multiple people. I’m happy to report that’s not the case.
In my whole 4 hours playing time I ran across 5-6 players in 2 different servers who were all above level 5 (so not locked in pacifist mode) and not one of them attacked me, in fact we helped each other out clearing areas. Nothing they did felt intrusive to my experience and I think that’s gonna be key for a lot of people.
If you’re lacking in friends or they’re just not online then don’t worry. The multiplayer isn’t mandatory at all in the sense that I spent most of the time wandering myself and didn’t have trouble completing quests or killing similarly levelled enemies. Even the higher levelled enemies are fine if you’re experienced with previous games and their mechanics.
Now some negatives. Well, maybe not negatives per say, but areas that need improvement.
I’m running the game on the standard Xbox One so your experience may differ. For the most part the game ran smoothly. Visually it’s stunning though I did have a couple of issues with framerate. Nothing game breaking or persistent but it does stutter a bit every so often.
I think there also needs to be a slight tweak to the loot found early on. I got to, I think, level 6 or 7 and in that whole time I found 1 10mm pistol and a snubnosed .44 – the rest was pipe weapons or a few variations of melee weapons. For those who prefer to jump right into things they may feel like they’re not making a lot of progress in the early game.
Also, the perk system. I was led to believe that you could level up a SPECIAL stat but pick a perk from a different one. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Either I’m misinformed or it’s not very well signposted.
And lastly, the bug report!
Surprisingly I only encountered/noticed one in which enemies tied to an event would remain alive and unkillable but unable to move. This happened around the event where you need to reset the rogue gardening Mr Handies. It’s not a problem since they can’t attack you but still, it’s a bug.
I’ve already rambled on for quite a bit but if anyone’s got any questions or wants to discuss their experiences I’m happy to do so!
My tl;dr to those who aren’t sure about 76 is that it’s well worth a chance at the least. Whether with or without friends the game is still the same old fallout which you know and love. There’s been a lot of (sometimes justified) criticism here and across the internet but my experiences in the BETA have cleared them up.
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