I like to think I have my post-apocalyptic life planned out; the kind of location that I feel would be best suited; what survival items I would look for; how I would go about getting them. I think I’m good. Fallout 76 by Bethesda has come along and shown me that in reality I haven’t got a clue. The latest instalment of the Fallout franchise brings players together in its first ever MMO; something a vast majority of people, including myself, were extremely excited for.
Set in West Virginia, players will find themselves leaving a vault 25 years after the bombs fell and ended the Great War. After a night of excessive drinking, the same people who entered the vault 25 years ago are willingly walking out into what remains of the world, eager to meet the survivors and begin the long process of rebuilding America. As the vault door rolls open, it becomes apparent that the reality of it all is far greater than what was expected.
Due to a lack of human NPC’s, Fallout 76 can feel very lonely. Anyone who originally survived and was thriving in Appalachia has been killed off by a new virus introduced to the series. For people wanting to play by themselves, this can leave them feeling like the game is empty as most quests will have you looking for a survivor, only to find them dead next to a terminal or a holotape and having to start the process all over again. While I was initially taken back by this, I soon forgave Bethesda for the lack of interaction. Players are encouraged to trade with each other, group up to complete quests and work together to flourish and survive. A limited number of Protectron traders with grossly inflated prices will almost force you to approach other players in the hopes of expanding the items you can build or recipes you can create.
The good news is that players are able to create and farm most items required for survival. The base building feature from Fallout 4 that brought many hours of enjoyment to myself has been re-introduced in the form of a new “Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform,” also known as your C.A.M.P system. Players will be able to set up a single forward base almost anywhere on the map, set up farms for food and water, or build their own trading post to pull the hard earned caps from other players pockets – all while working through quests to unlock more powerful base defences, more useful weapon modifications and plans for base decorations. Players will also be able to set up workshops in a number of locations dotted around the map to farm the rarer materials these areas provide – but you’ll need to use your hard earned caps to unlock them, while protecting these areas from waves of enemy NPCs and other players who might decide they want the area a little bit more than you do.
In true Fallout fashion, the play area is a highly detailed variety of biomes, ranging from lush forests to cold and unforgiven barrens. You’ll find yourself travelling far and wide while completing your quests, all the while searching for safe locations to relocate your C.A.M.P. endlessly seeking out higher level weapons and armour. With graphics specifically tuned for Ultra High Definition, older consoles and lower performing computers will take a little longer to properly render in the amazing sights the game has to offer. The slight delay is well worth it as you take in amazing views and stunning weather effects from your mountain perch as you blast away at that pesky Deathclaw.
Given the multiplayer nature of Fallout 76, a number of things have needed to change. The staple that is V.A.T.S has undergone a huge change in that it now acts more like an automated targeting system. No longer does V.A.T.S slow the game down and allow you to pinpoint what body part you’ll be aiming for. Instead, your character will automatically turn towards your opponent while displaying your chance to hit. Quests have also undergone some minor changes, with the addition of daily and weekly side quests. You’ll also find new events that you can take part in whenever they pop up, offering you a quick way to get some bonus Stim Packs and a small handful of items required for survival. Fallout 76 also makes use of the survival mode introduced in Fallout 4. You’ll need to make sure you have food and water to survive – as the game says, dehydration and starvation will kill you just as sure as any Deathclaw.
Fallout 76 is far from the best in the series. A limited amount of time in BETA has unfortunately allowed a number of bugs to flow into the full release. Enemies will occasionally slide towards you as animations fail, defeated enemies will vanish and take your hard earned loot with them. I have even had a few occasions where my base has been deconstructed and items I had previously built were completely lost instead of stored. While I haven’t had too many issues with being removed from the game as the servers glitched, I have had a few people report not being able to play for any more than an hour before losing connection.
Having said that, after my initial frustrations, once I found some people to play with and after spending some time in the game, I am finding it very enjoyable. It is certainly a different experience when compared to any other Fallout game I have played before. But this is what Bethesda was aiming for and even with the issues I have described above they really have done an amazing job. If you’re new to the game, you just have to give it a bit of time and any expectations you may have, push them to the side and start fresh. You’ll enjoy the game a lot more if you think of it as something different to any other Fallout game.
- Unfortunately allowed a number of bugs to flow into the full release.