Fallout was one of the games that I was very eager to get my hands on, I love the series and when 76 was announced, though it was an interesting turn for it. While slightly apprehensive I was excited for the game, knowing that I would be able to team up with my buddies to explore the new wasteland of West Virginia.
The first thing that I am going to mention is about how the game looks, and the only way that I can describe Fallout 76 is like Marmite. There are times when the game looks stunning with the light rays pouring through the trees and then there are other times where the grass and leaves will wave in the wind and look like a wooden board just going back and forth. There is a complete lack of flexibility and to be honest, when you look at what other games have accomplished, this is a shame and we should be getting a lot better.
An issue I have with how the game looks is that it doesn’t look any different to Fallout 4, which was released 3-4 years ago, and the fact that some bugs have transpired from that game over to Fallout 76 is unacceptable. In the last 4 years we’ve seen games just looking better and better, so to give a game which looks the same as the last in the series which release those years ago just makes me feel that this should have been an add-on for Fallout 4 instead of a standalone. At least then people could play through 4 and have the online aspect for it, it would also have breathed life into that game while we waited for the next single player Fallout experience (if there is to be one).
Speaking of being a lot better, the general condition of the game should be a lot better. Now, I played the B.E.T.A and gave my thoughts on it, saying how I didn’t think that Bethesda was going to be able to clear up some of the major issues in just 2 or 3 weeks and guess what? I was right, there was a lot of issues from the B.E.T.A that hasn’t been cleared up.
The framerate drops are still prevalent, and at times downright annoying, especially when you’re trying to fight something, and the jittering happens, you’ve suddenly wasted a load of bullets and not hit a single shot, or you’re trying to melee and find out you’re nearly dead. While the game is playable, and the drops seem to happen within busy town areas or heavily active areas, but did notice that it happens when you try to run anywhere for any amount of time, the game just doesn’t seem to like having to process a lot at once, especially when trying to keep up with my character running.
One another of annoyance I have found is that when the framerate drops occur this can cause issues with aiming and shooting with enemies dotting around the place at times which can waste valuable ammo. The game also fails to recognise some button presses with aiming sometimes void and going to jump nonexistent. There was one time I went to clear a very clearable gap and when I pressed the jump button it didn’t register and I fell down the gap into the water which added a fair bit of radiation to my character, and without RadAway, I was a bit stuck, luckily I managed to find some.
This is just the cherry on top of the cake for me when it comes to Fallout 76, poor quest designs of go here or fetch this, find this person, oh wait, they’re dead, does get very tedious at times, and the fact that they’re no NPCs within the game, it makes for a very lonely wasteland, especially for me as I actually have no friends playing the game, so my experience is based solely on playing by myself. I did play with a friend in the B.E.T.A who I gave a code too to try, but as much as they liked it, the lack of things in the world, the poor performance has put them off purchasing it themselves, or at least at its current #50/$60 price tag. There are missions towards the start of the game where you try and find some people who were researching whether the water was good, how to cook the food etc, but these ended up being dead bodies with notes on them. This could have been so much better with NPCs in the game to speak to and do missions for, being able to start factions or groups to survive with would have been great.
Now I know what you’re saying: “But Joon, it’s multiplayer, surely there are other people in the game… Like real people” – Yes this is true, however, the map is so big that you’ll be lucky to come across anyone. At the start of the game, I met a fair few people running around, mainly because they were all at the same level as me, so we were completing the same tasks and missions, however when I had to leave a server and go back into another world, it was a different story, didn’t see a soul, played for a few hours and saw no one, I could see people on the map, but everyone seemed so spread out, it didn’t really matter. One good thing that I found was that people seem more inclined to keep themselves to themselves and just get on with the day job or doing quests and exploring.
This is where the game shines through for me with the exploration, the area of West Virginia is massive and there are so many different diverse places to see with Airports, Mines, Towns and more, exploration is one of the main things for this game and the quests do get you exploring the map, which I will admit was decent enough, but there were times I would prefer to discover things by myself as quests will take you to areas, but not show all the secrets it has. But, even then the areas feel very lonesome, even when playing with someone, the lack of any interaction with anything is pretty much a downer for the game, getting notes dotted around that reveal a location like a bunker it all very well and good, but I want someone to tell me about the bunker, like a person, not just find a note that someone has conveniently written…Which by the way, I haven’t spotted a single pen lying around…
In the settings of the game, there is a setting which is for ‘Passive Mode’ – Ooooh you think, being able to stroll around the wasteland with my buddies and not have to think about being attacked by anyone? No, Passive modes makes it so that you can’t shoot anyone but other players can still murder you… What’s the point? To stop me accidentally shooting someone? Fair enough, but if that’s the case, then why can’t people who have Passive mode enabled be placed in the same server together? Surely it can’t be that difficult a thing to accomplish? The server would recognise if you have passive mode enabled and then place you into a server with others with the setting enabled. But what about changing passive mode off when you get into the server? Easy, you’re removed from the said server and placed into an appropriate PvP server.
While roaming Appalachia, food and drink become a very big thing, you have to keep yourself topped up or suffer the effects of it, which means lower stamina and health deterioration. You can find or use your campsite to get a cooking station going to boil water and make all different kind of foods which can keep this at bay. My only issues with this were that the food and water always seemed to drop very quickly and as quick as I’m drinking, I’m finding that I’ve got to eat and drink again.
I will admit, that despite the technical issues with the game of which there are a lot, I am enjoying my time in West Virginia, roaming the lands and seeing what it has to offer, the issue is that the game is in such a state that it doesn’t feel complete, it doesn’t feel ready and having the B.E.T.A as close to launch as they did I feel was a mistake, it should have been a lot earlier where there would have been plenty of time to look at and work out the bigger issues with the game and get it ready and steady for launch.
In its current state though it is a bit of a mess, which I feel could have been easily avoided with better planning.
Avoid (In current state)