I mean that in a number of ways. Obviously there's the game play perspective (lack of meaningful end-game content), but there's also perhaps an even more significant flaw – the total mismatch between its stated themes and what it actually does.
More specifically, the overarching theme of rebuilding America, and the total inability to actually do so in game (and in fact, being essentially forced to do the opposite). The main message of the main quest, as well as the way the game was advertised, was the importance of rebuilding after the War. It's a driving force in what narrative we have, and it clearly was the intent. However, we have literally no way of doing that, and the entire game seems to be designed at cross purposes with that theme. For example:
- We can't build our bases near those of other players, making small player-made towns impossible.
- Related, we have no player hub, and no server permanence, so we have no way to build in-game communities.
- Similarly, player interactions are severely limited, further hindering any sense of teaming up to rebuild society, and some design choices – such as the decision to not include text chat – seem specifically intended to hinder those efforts.
- We're severely limited in the amount we can actually build, ensuring our settlements will, at most, be cozy outposts that are significantly smaller in scope than even Fallout 4's settlements were.
- We can't build near most of the in-game landmarks, making "rebuilding" impossible.
- From a narrative standpoint, the only real endgame content – launching nukes – is directly at odds with not only the core themes of this game, but Fallout as a whole, as the point since Fallout 1 has been to underscore the horrors of nuclear war, not to glorify it as a game mechanic. (This is something Bethesda has never really seemed to get – Megaton, I'm looking at you – but they even mention it by way of the Overseer in this game, and yet… it's the only endgame option we have.)
I think this is biggest issue the game currently has. Not the bugs, which can eventually be patched, not the lack of mechanical balance, not the lacking QoL options, not even the poor selection of endgame content or significant issues with pacing. All of those things can be fixed. No, the biggest problem, at least to me, is the fact that there seems to be absolutely zero larger narrative point to this game. It's just a solitary or small coop exploration game with mild crafting elements. That's it. And while I actually enjoy those elements, I don't think that they come anywhere close to what's required to sustain a game of this nature for any amount of time, much less a Fallout title.
Here's hoping that some of this can be addressed. But at the same time, I have a sinking feeling that these are structural flaws inherent to the game at this point. Anyway, just my $0.02.
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