Fallout 76 Review
Fallout 76 will mark the first time Fallout goes multiplayer. Will this element help the game succeed, or is it just another building simulator? Check out our review and find out what we thought.
Fallout 76 Review
When Fallout 76 begins, you will create your character and learn about its basic systems as you exit Vault 76. Players begin by following in the footsteps of your previous overseer. Through this, they learn about crafting and base building. Once that is all under your belt, you will be free to explore the West Virginian wasteland to your heart’s content. The main story is a decent length, but honestly, it is very dull. Nearly every mission consists of going somewhere, collecting something, and returning it. Outside of that, players will be tasked with going out and killing something, followed by killing something else. The whole thing feels like it was just put together because the development team thought this title needed a story.
That isn’t even the worst part of the story missions. Rather, the worst part is the characters (or lack of) that give you these quests. There are no living humans in the world, outside of other players. That means in order to get quests, you have to read terminals, interact with annoying robots, or listen to holo tapes. Presentation in this manner doesn’t put any real urgency on the quests or give you a desire to complete them. Top that off with quest givers being behind loading doors, and players will quickly realize that they are burning a lot of time doing things they do not want to do. Thankfully the story missions can be avoided if you just want to explore or build.
Exploration is where Fallout 76 excels. There are plenty of areas to rummage and see in West Virginia. Each area isn’t going to be exciting or have great loot, but it is always worth stopping to get the fast travel route. Even though there is a lot to see, it can sometimes feel underwhelming on the loot end. You will easily score junk and other crafting materials, but interesting weapons or armor are a rarity. The worst is when the reward is some world lore that you don’t care about. Side quests and events can also be picked up through exploration.
Side quests will generally pop up when you enter a new area or building. These literally just pop up on your screen, whether you want them or not. The side quests aren’t nearly as tedious as the main quests for the most part, and the rewards come quickly. Events are similar, but they involve every player in the area. Just being in the area will put you in the event, and if you participate when it completes, you will be rewarded. Having a group doing the events is actually quite fun when they work. Sadly, some of the events are buggy and can be impossible to complete, even if you have been on them for 15 minutes or so. A good instance of this can be seen when enemies spawn, and you have to clear out the waves of bad guys. In some cases, if you kill them too fast, the next wave won’t spawn and you have to fail. Again, this doesn’t happen every time, but it happens more than it should.
Combat in Fallout 76 very much like Fallout 4, from the gunplay to the melee hits. The gun aim is stiff, and a headshot doesn’t always mean a one-shot kill. Melee feels like you are just spamming the attack button, occasionally blocking. Fallout 4’s combat was not its strong suit, and neither is Fallout 76’s. To rectify this, you can use VATS. VATS is basically an auto-aim that gives you a certain percent to hit the enemy. VATS used to slow down time, but since you are online, it doesn’t work that way anymore. Now it is just designed to give you a sure hit and let you build up a critical meter. The problem is that the enemies’ movements are often janky, making the VATS go from 95% to 0% in an instant.
Building returns, and it works just like it did in Fallout 4. However, now you can move your base around the world with a couple of buttons. This sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t work that well. You are extremely restricted on where you can build, and finding flat ground to make your base look nice is very rare. You cannot build in towns or around any other buildings. You also have a limited amount of buildings you can put down and a small radius to do so. When you are playing with another person, they can build in your camp too. What they can’t do is place their camp down and build their own stuff in your area. It feels like the development team couldn’t decide what they wanted to do with this game, so the building doesn’t work as intended as of this writing.
A couple of more of the problems come in the form of weight limits and workshops. There is so much stuff to pick up, but you can hardly carry anything in the beginning. That makes you build a stash, which can hold an additional 400 pounds. That sounds like a lot, but you can only create one if you build a second, which has the same loot as the first. This means you are expected to make it with just 400 pounds of materials, equipment, food, and other supplies in your base forever. This proves to be very restrictive. In a game where you are expected to build a base, you need room for all your base materials and one stash box is never going to be enough.
Also new to Fallout 76 are workshops, which serve as little bases you can claim on the map for caps. When you do this, it will be attacked, and you have to defend it. While you have it claimed, other players can come and steal it from you for caps as well. These workshops net you rarer resources every hour. The trick is that you have to go back to claim the loot and you have to defend it when NPCs attack, which is pretty often. You can build on these workshops and protect them with turrets if you have enough materials. Often times though, the human touch is required to keep it under your control, which means more loading screens.
Fallout 76 is a very buggy game. Frame drops are common all over the map. Hard crashes happen far more often than they should. Enemies glitch through walls and ceilings, and quests bug out from time to time. Enemies will also shoot you while not even looking your way. The whole game just felt rushed, and has suffered greatly for that. Unfortunately, there is also a microtransaction store. So far it is all cosmetic items, and you can earn currency in the game at a decent rate, so no complaints about it here.
Fallout 76 feels like an early access title and should have been labeled as such. The game was not ready for launch, and even hardcore Fallout fans will have a hard time ignoring its problems.
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