A Month Later
It’s been almost a month since Bethesda officially launched Fallout 76. Although that isn’t much time, there has already been a lot of controversy surrounding the game.
Riddled with bugs and glitches it certainly is not a perfect game. When you add in the fact that the collector’s edition came with a vinyl bag instead of the promised canvas one (not to mention the breach of security when some players’ information leaked) you can’t blame fans for starting to lose faith in Bethesda.
Even with these issues there are a number of gamers, myself included, who continue to play waiting for the promised fixes. Some of the issues have already been fixed, including an increase to the size of our stash, but still others remain, like quests that get reset to the very beginning. Bethesda has rolled out a few patches already, with more on the way, and they did finally agree to send a replacement bag to those that bought the collector’s edition.
No Man’s Sky 2?
The way things are going with Fallout 76 can be compared to Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky. It was hyped up to be an amazing new game taking a whole new direction that got players truly excited. However, when it came out in 2016 it was not what was promised. The developers continued to work on it, and after almost 2 years and a few patches it finally starting living up to expectations. Unfortunately, most players had moved on, and the game has not brought in the numbers originally hoped for.
The biggest difference between Fallout 76 and No Man’s Sky is that for the most part, we were told what Fallout 76 would be. One of the big complaints by critics of the game is that there are no human NPCs, which is something Bethesda told us when the game was announced. They even told us there would probably be multiple bugs in the game at first, but they would fix them as quickly as possible. I’m not giving Bethesda a free pass, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I don’t feel it deserves the hate it’s getting.
Even if Bethesda fixes every single issue with Fallout 76 it will still not be a game for everyone. Even those that love the Fallout series might not enjoy this one. As I mentioned, there are no living human NPCs. This leads to little dialogue options, which can feel a bit boring at times. However, if you actually listen to the numerous holotapes, read the notes left behind and follow the journal entries left on the different terminals, you will find some of the most intriguing storylines of all the series.
The combat is very similar to Fallout 4, and at least most of the issues with it seem to be fixed. The VATS system is definitely different (can’t slow down time due to multiplayer), but the more I’ve worked with it the better it has become. I’m not using it as much as I did in the past titles, but in certain situations it has helped me get through some tough spots.
Issues, Glitches, and Bugs, Oh My!
There are a couple aspects of Fallout 76 that limit its enjoyability for me. The first is inventory management. Because of the crafting system you need to collect a ton of junk, which will quickly fill up your space. This makes it very difficult to decide what you can or can’t carry with you. You do have a stash that you can access in many locations, but even that’s limited. Thankfully the last patch increased the stash size from 400 to 600 lbs. This helped a lot, but even that gets filled easily. I tend to spend close to half my play time dealing with my inventory, and trying to sell stuff. Of course the vendors have very few caps, so you have to travel between multiple locations to be able to sell much at all.
The other big issue I have is that you pretty much have to be in a team to take on some of the harder enemies. That or be decked out in the best power armor and weapons, and you better have a LOT of ammo! I struggle with some random encounters sometimes because I typically like to go solo so I can go at my own pace. I tend to get distrac..squirrel!
Seriously, though, this game has so much to do and explore that you could spend hundreds of hours just going through random houses, factories or caves without doing any of the main quests. Once you do decide to start going through the different quest lines you’ll find there’s a lot more to this game then just “go fetch this” or “kill 10 of these”. With only a few small distractions it took me over ten hours to complete a single quest line that had me reeling from the surprise twist ending. If I had not taken the time to read through multiple journal entries though, I would’ve not understood what made it so good.
What is probably the most annoying thing in Fallout 76 is other players. It’s pretty rare, but every so often you run into some immature player who won’t stop attacking you trying to start PvP. Bethesda has actually done a great job of limiting the amount of grief this causes as you receive very little damage from them unless you attack them back. You can also fast travel away, or log into a different server to completely get away. So even though it is annoying, it barely causes any issues. And if you want to get into PvP, it’s actually a lot of fun.
On the other side of PvP you have co-op. Probably one of the best parts of the game is being able to team up with some friends to take down hordes of Scorchbeasts, or just help a buddy get through some tough missions.
In some ways I would prefer Fallout 4 with co-op, but overall I really do enjoy it. It isn’t for everyone, and for those that are on the fence about it I would suggest waiting a little longer for more of the issues to get fixed. But if you have some friends already playing it, and you don’t mind reading to figure out the story, this might just be the game for you.