Is Fallout 76 Good Yet?
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Todd Howard and Bethesda have just announced that new content is coming to Fallout 76, called Nuclear Winter. To me, I feel like it’s too little too late for Fallout 76, and Bethesda will need to step it up if they want to break through the initial first impressions. First, let’s take a look at what went wrong in the first place. Players were promised an exciting new online game in the Fallout series, and although fans were sceptical of the online aspect, many were excited to get their hands on it and see what it was like.
On November 14th, 2018, Fallout 76 arguably had the worst launch day of any triple-A game ever. It was littered with game breaking bugs and graphical glitches that were almost comical. It lacked push-to-talk, which means that people trying to review the game were met with everyone else’s conversations and ramblings in the background. The enemies were constantly T-posing, and there were even the same glitches from the early version of Fallout 4. We will never know the true reason why Fallout 76 was pushed out in this state, but we do know that people were not happy. There began to be calls for refunds, which is fair considering the full retail price of 76 was £59.99. Bethesda responded to this by dropping the price drastically to its current price of £30.
After E3, Bethesda announced there would be one week of free play. I decided now was my chance to jump in to answer the question: Is Fallout 76 good yet?
Twenty hours of installation later, I was in. However, after only an hour of play, I was kicked out as the server crashed. From my research, I’ve seen that server crashes are very common in 76 and occur randomly and frequently. To not be able to play the game you paid money for and spent hours waiting for install in infuriating.
Character customisation was pretty much the same as Fallout 4’s. Basic characters are easily made, but to me, it lacks any real depth. After my character was made, I ventured out from the vault and into the wasteland. The first thing that struck me was that the graphics are not up to par. At all. Fallout 76 does not look like a game that came out in late 2018. The fact that Bethesda has very clearly copied the graphics from Fallout 4 shows the obvious time crunch or lack of interest in making this game remotely good. The poor rendering and abundance of god rays pulls the plug on immersion and is just unacceptable for a game originally retailing for £60.
The loading times verge on ridiculous, depending on how busy the area is. My record for longest loading screen was five minutes. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you are sitting staring at a black screen, it feels like forever. Overall, the gunplay in 76 is good. It is smooth and can get intense. The enemies in 76 are dynamic, but certain glitches and bugs cause them to T-pose or get stuck in a wall. Coming back to graphics, some enemies look fuzzy and broken, which takes the scare factor away from any combat situation. It is important to note that although there are still bugs present in 76, most of the big ones have been patched out.
Fallout 76 has a huge map that allows you to spend hours wandering about; there are lots of buildings and caves to explore. However, there isn’t much else to do apart from exploring or building a camp. Once you have spent a few hours running around the wasteland killing some enemies or completing one of the many fetch-quests, it gets boring.
Quests in Fallout 76 usually consists of lots of holotapes, objects you need to fetch, enemies that need to be killed. That’s pretty much it. The lack of NPC’s in this world means that quests are very limited. There are interesting stories littered about the map, but it would be better if there were actual NPC’s to talk to, rather than just listening to a tape. It makes the player feel like we were late to a party and are just hearing about all the cool things that happened, rather than seeing them. Bethesda have announced that NPC’s are coming to the wasteland in 2020, but is it just too late?
The entire marketing campaign of Fallout 76 was that we could play alone or with other people. Playing alone becomes tedious very quickly and makes you put the game down. Playing through quests with friends makes the experience much more interesting and fun. The whole concept of a ‘lone survivor’, as experienced in Fallout 4, is defunct. This is an important point as it is obvious Bethesda have forgotten what makes a Fallout game part of the series, 76 feels forced and disconnected from everything we have experienced before.
So, is it good yet?
In my opinion, Fallout 76 will never live down the massive failure of its launch. The internet never forgets, and the abundance of memes and video essays made about 76, made sure of this.
Most of the bugs have been ironed out, and there are enough quests to see you through hours of gameplay. Quests are boring to me and listening to hundreds of holotapes does not replace the experience of talking to an NPC. The graphics make it look like it was released in 2008 which makes the original £60 price-tag laughable. I think if you are determined to give this game a shot, then wait a few months until more content and patches have been released.