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Fallout 76: A First Impression | Video Game Review

November 19, 2018

 

 

Fallout 76 is a role-playing action game created by Bethesda Game Studios that was released on November 14, 2018.  Fallout 76 is currently available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

 

The difference between Fallout 76 and the other Fallout games (Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 3, and Fallout 4), is Fallout 76 is an online multiplayer game, while the other games have been single player games.  

 

How Does Fallout 76 Look Compared to the Other Fallout Games?

 

I have played Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 3, and Fallout 4, with Fallout 4 being the game I have played the most.  In comparison to Fallout 4, the game does not look that different to me as far as how detailed the environment, items, and enemies look.  I think if you liked the way Fallout 4 looked, you will probably like the way Fallout 76 looks.  

 

The biggest difference to me is that the layout of Fallout 76 is more wide-open than Fallout 4.  In Fallout 4, I explored Boston and there were a lot of buildings to explore, items to find, and the stories of what happened before, during, and after the war were plentiful and varied.  Fallout 76 is lot more spread out, so I felt a lot of my time was spent walking in the woods or scorched environment without seeing much except the environment and a few enemies.

 

The difference in environments could be put down to the fact that Boston is a city, so of course there would be more buildings to explore, etc., while West Virginia is not densely populated, so there would be fewer buildings to explore. 

 

Take Me Home West Virginia Versus Bahhhston

 

I have to wonder why the team behind Fallout 76 would choose West Virginia if they knew the layout would cause the players to have to walk long distances between towns and points of interest.  One of my guesses is that this game was not planned out very well and it was put together fairly quickly with the intention of adding content as time went on. 


It is possible that this was the intention all along and if that is the case, I am not a fan of how few points of interest there are to explore. Maybe Bethesda Game Studios thought players would want to have open areas in which to build their own homes, etc., so more open areas were needed.  I can see pros and cons for the way the game is set up, but I prefer more points of interest in general in the Fallout universe.

 

Overall, I prefer to have a very large environment in which to explore.  I think that Fallout 4 was chock full of interesting places to discover and I was rarely bored while exploring and I have found myself frequently bored in Fallout 76 while exploring.  With Bethesda Game Studios stating that they will continue to update Fallout 76 (forever!), time will tell if the game will continue to improve.

 

The Pain of Fast Travel Versus The Longest Walk of Your Life

 

In Fallout 76, I have a lot of time between points of interest and it gets extremely tedious and boring after a few minutes of seeing nothing interesting.  There is an option to fast travel, yet fast traveling to locations has a caps fee unless you are traveling to your camp or Vault 76. 

 

Every location has a different caps cost, so the further you want to travel, the more caps you have to cough up.  The cost of caps adds up over time, so you either have the option of scrounging the environment for caps to be able to get somewhere quickly, or walk for quite a while until you reach your destination.

 

Inventory Slots, Carry Weight, and Stash Boxes: Three Things That Might Push You Over the Edge

 

When you start out in Fallout 76, you have an maximum inventory carry weight of 160 lbs.  I found that since I loot items frequently, I was becoming encumbered by being overweight almost all the time.  My AP ran out very quickly, so it became very difficult to fight enemies or travel for long distances.  When you are over your carry weight, you cannot fast travel, so I was taking a lot of time checking my inventory, finding items to scrap and choosing items to put in my stash box.

 

The stash box only allows a player to store 400 pounds of items (which is supposed to be increased by Bethesda Game Studios in the future).  I found that I had to frequently scrap items and pick and choose which items I could part with and which items were more important enough to stash, which became quite annoying after a while.

 

I did not think that the carry weight and stash maximum added to the game.  I thought that it just made the game more aggravating for me because one of the things I like best about the Fallout series is the ability to loot a lot of items and not be punished for it. 

 

With Fallout 76, I think that they are trying to push the purpose of the game to be centered around interacting with other players and enemies rather than looting and discovering points of interest.  I have to note that I usually do not play online games, so this may be a common theme in online multiplayer games, but if you like looting and discovering points of interest more than interacting with other players, you might prefer Fallout 4 over Fallout 76.

 

The Online Multiplayer Environment: Is It For You?

 

My first negative experience in the game is when I was reading Vault 76 Overseer's computer log.  While I was reading the computer files, some jackass player came over to me and punched me in the back of the head until I was pushed off of the computer.  I was pretty mad, so I punched him in the back of the head so he could not read it either.  Even though we could not really hurt each other, we proceeded to punch each other until he ran away. 

 

I have never played an online game before, so I did not really expect anyone to be such a jerk, especially only a few minutes into the game, but for at least a little while, I was wary of reading anything without my husband watching over my character.  However, since that experience, I have only had good experiences with other players.  I have encountered players who have kindly given me items from their stash and have had a lot of fun playing on a team with my husband, killing enemies and working together to find items and solve quests. 

 

So, is the online multiplayer environment for you?  It could be; I think it just depends what you are looking for in a game.  I think if you like to play on a team with others, solving quests together, defeating enemies together, having someone around to watch your back, and the excitement of a changing environment, then you would like the online environment of Fallout 76. 

 

If you prefer to play alone without a team, would like to learn more of the Fallout background story, and like to explore more of the Fallout universe, then you might like this game, but just be aware that playing alone is risky because there are a lot of enemies to defeat by yourself. 

 

Another point to note, If you die alone, you will have to respawn to a nearby fast travel location because you do not have a partner or team to revive you.  When you die, you do not respawn next to your body and you drop your junk loot.  Anyone can retrieve your loot, so without a partner to watch over your things, you could lose a great deal of important loot to a random player.  

 

 

The Stories of the Wasteland

 

There is a lot of information to gather when playing Fallout 76.  Just like in Fallout 4, some of the information seems like filler, while others give very important context to how the people in the Fallout universe strove to improve the world after devastating loss and destruction.  You can find information in the form of computer files, holotapes, journals, notes, and postcards (those are all the forms of communication I have found so far).  

 

I have found I prefer reading computer files and listening to holotapes rather than journals, notes, and postcards because the handwritten forms of communication have different script than in Fallout 4, and it is a lot more difficult for me to read the new type of writing.  The letters seem to be closer together and almost overlap at times.  Many of the journals and notes are rather lengthy as well, and I do not always think that I have time to read them safely.  

 

One of the things in Fallout 76 I wish they would change is to make a notation next to unread journals and notes (like a star or something similar), so you would know which journals and notes were unread.  I also wish they would list the journals and notes in the order you have obtained them, so you could go back and find them easily if you forgot the name of them.  

 

There are so many bits of information that it becomes overwhelming after a while.  I love discovering information in the Fallout universe, but I think that there is an overwhelming amount in Fallout 76. With the amount of information I have found, I find I have often put it in my inventory without reading it fully because I do not have time to read the entire document.

 

I do wish that there was a way to access the backstories outside of the game, so you could read and think about what you have read without the threat of being attacked by enemies or risking your partner getting bored because you are reading so much and not doing anything else.  I do not know if this is a change Bethesda Game Studios will make in the future, but it would be really great if they did.

 

Crappy Guns, Decent Melee Weapons, and Crusty Power Armor

 

When you first start out in Fallout 76, you find some of the poorest selection of guns in the game.  Pipe weapons are aplenty, but if you have played the other Fallout games, you know they are not really the best weapons to use when fighting some of the higher level enemies.  

 

Decent Melee Weapons

 

I found that for the lower level enemies, melee weapons worked a lot better than the pipe guns.  I used axes, batons, machetes, and swords, and they all worked pretty well against enemies like Scorched, Mutts, Mole Rats, Cockroaches, Rat Pups, Opossums, and Mutant Hounds. 

 

Crappy Guns and Not So Crappy Guns

 

Guns worked against Scorched from a distance, but the reload rate up close was so atrocious that it was not worth getting half my life taken by them while using a gun.  After exploring for a while and leveling up, I found 10mm guns, submachine guns, and shotguns, which were all decent guns against enemies like Scorched, Radstags (I do not usually kill these, but one chased me down and tried to murder me in cold blood), Mutants, Radscorpions, and smaller enemies.  It was when I was killing some of the larger enemies that I really missed my favorite weapon from Fallout 4: the Spray N' Pray... Cricket, where are you?  

 

I am assuming I will find better weapons as I play the game, because I have already found better weapons, but it is kind of a pain to not just be able to obtain good weapons from sellers like in Fallout 4.  The struggle is real.

 

Crusty Power Armor and.. Where the Hell are all the Fusion Cores?

 

As far as Power Armor, my husband found a Power Armor Chassis outside of a penitentiary without armor pieces, and I found a Power Armor Chassis and a couple of 51b attachments in a area near the water park, but that is all we have found so far.  I saw one random player with a full suit, but he was level 15 and I was only level eight at the time.  I was not super impressed with the chassis by itself, although it did increase my carry weight. 

 

I did not like that there are only a few minor pieces at a time.  Perhaps I will find more pieces, but it is disappointing to only find a little bit of power at a time and have to put it away until I can find more.  

 

To date, I have only found two fusion cores (you can make them, but I have not found the components to make them yet).  I really miss how plentiful they are in Fallout 4.  To find them in Fallout 76 is like finding gold, so wearing them right now seems like a waste unless I am trying to fight a really difficult enemy.  Hopefully I discover the ingredients to make them (I mean, I could look them up, but I want to find them organically) and can make more or find more in the environment.  

 

Final Thoughts

 

Overall, I like Fallout 76 as a multiplayer game.  I am not sure how much I would play this game alone because I would be afraid of getting mutilated beyond recognition by a Radscorpion while trying to read someone's nearly illegible journal, but I do like playing it with a partner.  It is a lot of fun deciding which quest to complete and working with a partner to clear out an area and solve quests.  

 

Have you played this game?  Do you like it?  If not, what do you think needs improvement?  Are you a fan of the Fallout universe?  What is your favorite game?  Do you miss the Spray N' Pray too?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Thanks,

A

 

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