Having a week to review Fallout 76 is an amazing experience. Having just one huge game to focus on for the entire week is a luxury when you are used to having to juggle between multiple reviews at the same time. And having to review this game weeks after it initially release, with all the negative words and critics which has plagiarized the Fallout 76 name since it released it also gave me an entirely new feeling when i first started this review journey. Because reviewing Fallout 76 has been just that, a journey. Both good and bad..
I have been a Bethesda fan boy for as long as I can remember, now it is important to note that this doesn’t affect my reviews as I go into every review with an open mind looking for positives and yes negatives before I feel confident i have explored enough of a game to write my opinion on it. But it is no secret that Oblivion and Skyrim are two of my all time favourite games. So when I heard about the released of Fallout 76 I was excited but when the game rolled out and all the negative publicity came following I got confused and figured I had to try this out for myself and see how I felt about it.
Fallout, for those that don’t know already is a post-apocalyptic RPG created by Interplay Entertainment. The first Fallout game which released in 1997 was quickly followed up by the second release by the same company, Black Isle Studios a year later. Since then Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel was released in 2001 by Micro Forte and 14 Degrees Est. When Black Isle Studios was closed the teams continued working on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel which released on Playstation 2 and Xbox. However, in 2008, the Fallout name really got some heat behind it when the critically-acclaimed Fallout 3 was released by Bethesda Softworks and was quickly followed by the incredible Fallout: New Vegas which first saw light in 2010 developed by Obsidian Entertainment, which to this day is hailed as most fans favourite Fallout game even though it was developed on short notice. 2015 saw the release of the much anticipated numeral release in the series, Fallout 4 and here we are, the with the release of the latest addition to the series, Fallout 76 which originally released in late 2018 (so yes we are late to the party...)
So I wake up in vault 76, for some reason I overslept (the voice mail told me I partied too hard the day before) but I am the last person out of the vault, so after picking up a few things for my journey I pressed the buttoned and opened the vault. At this time I was bursting with anticipation of what was behind that vault as it would be where I would literally spend every gaming hour I had for the next week. The door opens and I am greeted with a huge open landscape that for some reason sound completely dead. It took me a few minutes before I remembered that the intro told me there was only a handful of us who actually did survive this attack on earth and we we’re the once locked into the vault. And then random people started showing up with name-tags attached to them, another few minutes pass before some random person starts hitting me with a baseball bat. And this is where it all dawned on me. It is online . I remember now, Fallout 76 draw is that it is basically a MMORPG. Luckily for me whenever a player initiates an attack on your character you take minimal damage until you fight back, that is where the PVP kicks in, which works perfectly for me as I am more interested in working together with people more than working against them.
The more time I spent with Fallout 76 the more it all turned into a MMORPG, with the side quests and main quests on the sidebar constantly telling you what you could be doing but never forcing you, and the random players you run into, most of them friendly and minding their own business, and then you walk into an event. The events are like with any MMORPGs, they are put together to have players work together for a common goal and most of them worked as they were supposed to but I had some where I was left alone and clearly not the right level to solo it so I had to take a page from Monty Python and “Run Away!”
Since this is a literal wasteland there are no NPC to talk to, there are robots which gives you little to no conversation but all the story, backstory and quests are given to you by audio and holotapes, and even though it sounds weird and it was weird at first it all makes sense thanks to the intro cut-scene which, quick and abruptly, tells you why you are alone. Well alone except for all the other people you play with.. So this is where I think most of the complaints come from, the feeling of total isolation and no characters to get attached to, but see that's the point. If you want that there are numerous other Fallout games which does exactly that, and they are still great. Fallout 76 is something different and I respect Bethesda for trying something new. It is a bold move and might not be something they keep pumping out but as a stand alone release it is its own thing.
And finally we get to the thing that everyone has talked about, the game bugs. And yes, Fallout 76 has numerous of these, you can easily just Google it yourself and watch numerous videos of them, so yes they do exist. My play-through however didn't give me any game-breaking bugs, I ran into bugs but nothing that hindered my play-through of the game. But the reason for this is a similar thing with the now famous Creation Engine, which is an in-house engine created by Bethesda Game Studios, which is basically a revamped version of the Gamebryo they used to create Morrowind and Oblivion. Now I say revamped but not in a negative way as it has been completely worked over, but this is the same engine that they used to Skyrim which was a forked version of the one used for Fallout 3. So yes, maybe it is time to scrap this engine and start over. However, this is what we got for this release and it worked just fine for me personally.
So what are my final thoughts on Fallout 76... Well, it is a mixed bag. There was times when I was having a blast with the game and there was other times where I felt like I was heading into the same path I usually do when I play MMORPGs and that is the feeling of repetition. Go to this place and collect this stuff and bring it back here, now go to this place and pick up that thing and deliver it to this place... That kind of repetitive. But there is also fun to be had here if you choose to play it how you want, not following a specific quest or story line if it starts to get tedious but just trail off and go do something else for awhile and then maybe come back to what you left off. It is like a MMORPG version of Fallout, and if you go into the game expecting this then there is fun to be had here for sure, however if you are looking at this like it is Fallout 5 then you will be disappointed.