Fallout 76 Review: The most boring apocalyptic creation made by Bethesda
Played on: PlayStation 4 (Original)
Bethesda’s games have always been a little hit or miss for me. While I can appreciate their kind of humor, especially in the Fallout series, and the expansive worlds that they build, I have never really been interested in the overall plots or factions Bethesda builds into their open-world games. However, Bethesda has decided to stray away from typically single-player experiences to deliver a fresh new multiplayer experience in the Fallout universe. Even with its attachments to the Fallout name, though, Fallout 76 feels about as far from a Bethesda project and a Fallout game in all of the worst ways.
From a first glance, Fallout 76 looks like your typical Fallout game with players being one of the lone survivors of nuclear war with only a Vault-Tec suit and Pip-Boy in hand. However, something happens that has never happened before: you can actually meet other players on the massive map. Fallout 76 allows players work with or against between 24 and 32 other players across the enormous apocalyptic map. It’s actually kind of nice to have squad to build together so bigger camps can be built, enemy types found in the wasteland and on missions will be taken down easier, and the world, set in West Virginia, can be rebuilt.
Playing with friends is also pretty solid as you can explore the entire West Virginian wasteland together in squads of up to four players. However, the biggest struggle with these moments came from choosing missions as the menu system feels a little confusing and I constantly kept being confused with what missions were in what direction, especially with only one person controlling the groups mission. It’s also tough to pay attention to the direction and story that comes from the very few robotic non-playable characters (NPC) with everything going on with your group.
This is also where the game’s biggest problems begin, though, as the ability to play with other players replaces the usually amazing characters and dialogue that the series is known for. The game feels incredibly hollow and as a whole it lacks personality, which is odd to say about a Fallout game. It kind of makes sense to not have them, considering that you’re playing as one of the first survivors to rebuild the world, but comparatively to the rest of the series Fallout 76 lacks the same kind of fun spirit.
There’s not even many fun narratives to follow in the open-world environment and most of the quests are filled with exposition that makes them boring and unmemorable. Completing quests in Fallout 76 feels so much like a completing a checklist rather than a sense of progression through the Wasteland. It almost feels like work in the worst way and there is little attachment to be had to anything that is happening in the missions.
The gameplay is pretty much what many would expect to see going into a Fallout game with both the ability to switch between both third and first-person perspectives as well as the ability to customize your own control scheme. Players can also start their own settlements and cook food to keep them alive, collect and craft new weapons and items, and decimate mutated enemies in order to survive. To upgrade these gameplay mechanics, though, Fallout 76 has a card system where players use points and cards to upgrade their S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats.
The cards can feel a little overwhelming and after seeing a good chunk of them and putting them into play, it’s tough to say if I really ever felt their effects. These upgrades never felt like they change my gameplay experience and often times when dealing with a bunch of cards or even progressing through missions my game would freeze.
Look, Fallout 76 has already been beaten to death by the gaming community, for the rightful reasons, but this is clearly a case of trying to do something different and attaching the Fallout name to sell copies. There can be some fun to be had with friends and some solid ideas, but it’s far from being worth sixty dollars and feels like it only has enough content worth twenty dollars.