An Honest Review from a Long Time Fallout Fanboy
Developers: Bethesda Software
Our Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Review by: Dad, additional comments by Papa
Editor’s note: This is a very long review. Put your phone on silent, close Facebook, get some popcorn, and settle in. We’re going to be here a while.
I suppose it’s easier to explain my feelings about this game if I start with a little story.
I’ve been a huge fallout fan since the original top-down isometric view turn based games of Fallout one and two. Fallout 3 was a huge leap forward in that universe for a lot of us fans. Its storytelling, choices, and combat were all great. The bugs in the game were amusing at best, and as long as you were careful with saves, they were rarely game breaking.
Since that time, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a lot of Bethesda’s titles, not just the Fallout games. Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Skyrim, and the new Doom and Wolfenstein titles have all been fun and I’ve enjoyed them all to various extents. I’m not just a Fallout fan, I’m a Bethesda fan, and I have been for a long time. Unfortunately, with Fallout 76, I don’t know if I can honestly say that anymore.
Fallout 76 was released on November 14th 2018 and is an online multiplayer version of Fallout 4 on a huge map. The map is set in the hills of Appalachia in West Virginia. Players can scavenge the wasteland and complete quests together or solo.
You experience the story through leftover holo tapes and notes as there are no real NPCs in Fallout 76, save for a couple of robots that you return to for quest lines. There’s some great storytelling in Fallout 76, but it’s hard to find and is often interrupted by random attacks and many, many game breaking bugs. So many bugs, it would be hard to list them all here.
As of the writing of this review, it’s been over three months since Fallout 76 released, and despite Bethesda’s updates, is still a broken mess with rampant cheating, severe server stability issues, broken animations, quests with broken markers, and a boring, somewhat lifeless world.
I wanted to love Fallout 76. I would have settled for being mildly content.
I bought Fallout 76 with my Dad so we could Fallout together. It was something we had both had really wanted for a long time. We jumped online the second the game went live, ready to experience the new world side-by-side.
Shortly after launch, the friends list in the game bugged and auto blocked us from each other, making it so we couldn’t play the game together. The glitch kept us blocked from each other for several weeks before a patch finally fixed the issue. Eventually, we found each other again through a mutual friend that was also playing Fallout 76.
That one bug alone was frustrating for us. We persevered, and when we finally could play together again, we had problems staying on the same server. It sometimes took up to an hour to get on the same server, meet up and start playing. Even then, we would only get an hour or two to play before the server would disconnect or one of our clients would crash.
When we were successful at questing and exploring together, I found the majority of quests I took on to be forgettable and uninspiring.
The grind to maintain your weapons and equipment and gather ammo and materials can be downright depressing at times, and ends up feeling very unrewarding. Bethesda has continued to Nerf this grind, making it longer and longer while not fixing the basic issues many players have with the game.
It seems like whenever Bethesda releases a new patch, the game is broken in new and frustrating ways. But hey, that Atomic Shop seems to have some great new skins every week for sale.
How Bethesda thought their aging creation engine would be able to stand up to massive online play is beyond me. I was really hoping Fallout 4 would have been their last title built in the creation engine, but quality of their product is something that seems to be much less important to Bethesda these days and that is really unfortunate.
The worst part of it all is that I pre-ordered and paid full price for Fallout 76. Two weeks after release, it was half price.
Now, retailers are dumping copies as fast and as cheaply as they can. There are many people who believe the game will soon go free to play. I can’t get a refund because I actually played the game and gave it a shot. How am I supposed to feel like a valued customer after this experience? The answer is, I don’t.
I’m going to have a hard time supporting Bethesda in the future. Bethesda gets to keep my money for Fallout 76, but it was such a bad experience all the way around.
If you are looking for a fantastic RPG experience, check out some of my favorites like:
Papa Steve’s Views on Fallout 76
I have logged over 4500 total hours on just Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Skyrim V (The Elder Scrolls), all titles from Bethesda, so when I say I enjoy PC games, I’m not kidding. I pre-ordered Fallout 76 and paid full price for a game that was soon available for half price. Guess I won’t be buying any Bethesda titles at full price ever again.
Most of the games I enjoy have an element of inventory management. Fallout 76 takes this to a new and extremely frustrating level. My title for this broken game is “What am I out of now?” You have to spend way too much time looking for junk material so you can eat, drink and maintain your physical body, weapons, and armor. This is so tedious as to detract from the fun parts of the game.
The scenery and light shading are spectacular. But wait. What am I out of now?
You start the game emerging from Vault 76 and begin you quest following the vault overseer’s trail. Looking for that next holo tape to explain what you need to do next. There are the game main missions and a separate list of side missions that changes as you complete quests and obtain new one.
I have played Vault 76 an hour or two daily since launch, and have achieved level 58 as of this writing. I’m still trying to get my monies worth out of this game, and have a friend who still plays. Playing co-opt is fun and the only way I can move forward is to find like minded players to team up with. I have had random encounters that showed the power of team work that this game requires if you are to succeed.
The bugs in this game are numerous and frustrating. My pet peeve is I lose the 100 pound carry bonus I’m supposed to have when I’m wearing my hard earned set of excavator power armor if i exit the armor during game play. It doesn’t come back until I exit the game and restart again, already in my armor. What a bunch of crap. Too bad the armor exit key is right next to the move forward key. Watch where that finger goes! Oops, too late.
Might as well shut down and go get a snack.
To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. How do I compete in this world when there are level 200 plus players out there? I don’t like “Player Killers” and will leave the game if I end up on a map with a high level “WANTED” close by. I have had my base attacked with mini nukes by a group of other players conducting raids. I didn’t enjoy these gaming sessions.
In the end, I’ve had fun exploring the map solo and trying not to get killed by the dangers of the game. I guess I’ll wait it out to see what is added when the other vaults become available as DLC’s.
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