Fallout 76 Review – Read Before You Buy

Fallout 76 Review
An honest review of Fallout 76.

Read this Fallout 76 review and decide if you should play it

Have you encountered something that just made your skin crawl, like fighting an ant infestation inside your home, making you paranoid of it spreading days later? 

This was the feeling I got after battling through over two hundred hours, with the game breaking, bug filled wasteland known as Fallout 76, I was left with more questions than anything.

Scavenging through a majority of the map of West Virginia, both with groups and solo, left many vault dwellers wondering what is next? Or for others asking what was the point of anything they just did? Most importantly who exactly was this game meant for? One thing is clear about this game, and that it suffers from a clear identity crisis.

From a developer standpoint, you can see that certain parameters and goals were set to accomplish within this game, that were accomplished, like seeing if Bethesda Studios using their creation engine, could even run a multiplayer game of this scale. But as an overall gameplay experience the game fell short on so many levels, making players feel like they were left abandoned in a walking simulator fighting against broken unresponsive AI, while using guns that hardly worked in a buggy untextured, and uninspired environment, that looks copy and pasted from previous games.

About Fallout 76

Fallout 76 Bugs

Fallout 76 Bugs

The Multiplayer open world RPG Shooter/Survival

  • Released November 14, 2018
  • Developed by Bethesda Studios and Published by Bethesda Softworks

On release the game was an unfinished train wreck, that many have given mixed reviews on, comparing it to the bad release of No Mans Sky. Where the developers essentially fed lies to the public, just to build hype for their title, only to leave the public almost completely disappointed with the final product on release.

Bethesda didn’t help their games sales with only informing the public about the game release, a couple of months before its release with very limited information and offering a B.E.T.A. that many viewed as a early release, only 2 weeks before the games launch. Bethesda hasn’t released any official sales numbers, but after some digging it was reported that the games sales were down over 80% its opening week compared to Fallout 4 even though it was placed 3rd on the charts according to vgchartz.com.

Fallout 76 Storyline

Fallout 76 Storyline

Fallout 76's Main Storyline

Allow me the paint the picture for you, starting off like many other Fallout games, their iconic intro saying, “War War never Changes.” Bringing you into the Prequel of the other Fallout games, where you are the first Vault to open 25 years after the Nuclear War, that wiped out all known civilization.

You wake up in Vault 76, that was once filled with the best and the brightest, with the mission to start the re-colonization of West Virginia, called “Reclamation Day” leading up to the blandest vault opening scene to date. After this point you and your friends, or any other online players in your current server, are free to wander the massive map of West Virginia. You are then sent on a wild goose chase, trying to track down the Overseer, who conveniently leaves behind pre-recorded holotapes around the world, leading you to go look for the next one as the games main storyline. The objective was to give the players hope of finding her, only to be one step behind her every time.

This left for an overall unsatisfying gaming experience, since following the main storyline only leaves you with an empty feeling and wondering why you even bothered. With the lack of any human interaction played by NPC’s, you quicky realize you are mostly finishing a dead persons last wishes. The game if filled with boring quest lines that amount to nothing and make no impact on your personal gaming experience or the world in any way. There are even public events like the one called “feed the people,” that amounts to getting a couple of items upon completion, but after fighting a 3-wave horde mode, it changes nothing in the long run, especially because there is no one alive to even feed. Players only end up seeing it pop up on the map again in a couple of hours.

 Fallout 76 Gameplay

Vault Door Opening

Fallout 76 Vault Door Opening

This game left many people questioning just who the game was made for and why? It is a mix of a multiplayer survival shooter, with elements of their Fallout RPG, which on paper sounds like a decent idea, unless it was developed half-assed like this. None of the aspects of the game were made without running into frequent glitches and game breaking bugs. Whether you experienced damage not registering, when being swarmed by a pack of ghouls, or not being able to place down a blueprint of a base you were proud to build, or not even being able to finish quests, because the objective was bugged out of the game, leaving you to server hop. Each of these left players like myself wanting to turn off the game and move on to something else.

Fallout 76 almost forces you to start off playing it as a shooter, which can be complicated when you are facing enemies, that glide across the map in super speed, while experiencing frequent FPS drops if you ever encountered multiple at a time. Or the total opposite where AI is unresponsive at all. Good thing Fallout is known for having VATS in these situations, except in Fallout 76 they butchered the VATS system making it essentially useless, since it doesn’t slow down time for assisted aim. Instead it just fluctuates from 0% to a higher one, depending on the enemy’s position at the time, which can constantly shift at any given notice, costing more ammo and ability points wasted than anything. Surviving the wasteland now requires you to eat and drink constantly or suffer from starvation, or dehydration, which becomes more of a chore especially with having a limited carry weight and stash limit. Players are forced to constantly shuffle through their pip boy, to drop items, just to have the right mix of food, weapons, and junk without becoming over-encumbered.

Fallout 76 Quests/Missions

Then the RPG aspect of the game was mostly killed off completely, along with all the NPC’s in this game. In Fallout 4 players would get immersed in the world with interesting characters and events, that impacted the world along with their questlines. In Fallout 76 you are sent on missions that amount to nothing in the world for malfunctioning robots, just to be handed a piece of loot and supplies and sent on your way to the next meaningless badly designed side quest, to collect beer bottles. Even if players made the attempt to RP as fill in NPC’s to trade, like the developers were hoping for, the game has so many unfixed exploits currently, where other players can just steal items from others in forced trades, getting themselves what they want for 0 caps.

Fallout 76 Multiplayer

The only time-consuming activities worthwhile in the game were adventuring to new locations on the map with friends, and base building, if you wanted to be creative. The drawbacks on those were the lack of content in most of the locations, making it feel as dead as the NPC’s, that should be populating them. The bases you built could be taken down without warning, if you get disconnected, which can happen multiple times a day, like a majority of players experienced and forced to log into a random server every time.

This made taking over workshops meaningless, since the intended encounter was supposed to promote PvP in their game, but players are able to just walk up to a claimed workshop, and ignore all the current defenses, then claim it as their own and simply scrap all of the previous owner’s stuff, to build their own base with free supplies. Even if you decided to build up a workshop and set up the best possible defense system around it, you were at constant risk of disconnecting and losing everything you set up there, only to have to claim it again from whatever mobs they had spawned there.

The crafting system in Fallout 76 is probably the most redeemable factor about the game, since you can get plans to craft just about any weapon or armor and have to scrap the same kind of weapon to unlock mods to upgrade your weapons or armor.

All of this leads you to the endgame content which is launching a nuke and adventuring around in a nuked zone in the map fighting high level enemies and possibly fighting a Scorched Queen, if the area was over the great fissure. Then after the event is over players are then sent to wander the wasteland for the hunt of legendary weapons because that’s it. You basically beat the game after that point.

Factions

There are several factions within Fallout 76 that you end up joining or fighting. These include

The Brotherhood of Steel

Brotherhood of Steel

November 2077 army Captain Roger Maxson formed the Brotherhood of Steel, who used a functioning satellite to extend their reach across America, which started the faction built in Appalachia. The Brotherhood had a couple of bases setup in Appalachia that are now all overrun by super mutants or ghouls by the time you find them.

The Raiders

Raiders

The raider faction is run by a leader named Rose, who turns out to be another robot that orders you around since all of their raiders are now scorched or dead. They will send you on several missions to be able to broadcast to you anywhere in Appalachia if you decide to join their faction.

The Responders

The Responders

The Responders are a new faction formed in Appalachia after the Great War. Made up of mostly Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics. They banded together to rush out to help fellow survivors. This is likely the first faction you will run into following the main storyline. Upon recruitment you learn about their encounters with the scorched and how it led to their demise.

The Free States

Free States'

The Free States faction are the Doomsday preppers who survived the Great War because of their paranoia saving them. They became a group of anarchists that seceded from the United States and were viewed as political agitators or traitors. You can run into their small settlement factions or bunkers throughout Appalachia.

The Enclave

Enclave

The Enclave is a faction that claims to be the legally-sanctioned successors of the United States. Prior to the Great War the organization was home to top-ranking officials, scientists, and political figureheads including the president before the Great War. By the time you run into the Enclave it is run primarily by an AI named MODUS who tells you it is a collection of the greatest minds and leaders formed together for their collective objective giving you a early feeling of Skynet.

Then there are the enemy factions which consist of Super Mutants, Ghouls, Mutated Wasteland Wildlife, Molemen, then enter the main Protagonist of the game the Scorched.

The Scorched

Scorched

 Most of the scorched you encounter will be former West Virginian residents, who became infected and mutated into the hive mind, known as the scorched. They have the ability to work firearms and melee weapons, separating them from your typical ghoul, but you will run into these guys just about everywhere you would hope to find an NPC. The scorched originated from the Scorched Plague that was created by Arktos Pharma before the war. It is spread by fungus found underground in Appalachia and was spread to the surface by the Scorchebeasts (skyrim dragon reskinned). The Scorchbeasts are giant mutated draconic bat creatures colonizing beneath the entirety or Appalachia and are overpopulating, causing them to dig up to the surface creating large fissures and then the Sorchbeasts fly off to destroy settlements and devour humans while infecting the rest.

Scorchbeast

Reskinned Skyrim Dragons called Sorchbeasts

The only way to close the fissures is to launch a nuke on top of the fissure sparking the endgame battle with the Scorch Queen. (Skyrim Alduin reskinned) Then leaving you with an anticlimactic ending, if your Queen didn’t bug out or glitch out. Sometimes not even leaving legendary loot of any kind for her killers.

The perk system is probably the only new implemented system in the game, but it left players unable to change their special points off launch, which caused several issues forcing Bethesda to patch it a month later to fix. You now have perk cards with different abilities that can be upgraded and combined with other cards to create different builds for different situations.

Fallout 76 Graphics

Map Glitches

The graphics of Fallout 76 are sometimes beautiful when looking at them from a distance, but when you get up close the textures resemble the same copy and pasted graphics from previous fallout titles. Many companies have made the change to upgrading their engine or revamping their graphics entirely, but Bethesda stuck with their creation engine used on Fallout 4 and Skyrim, leaving many to be disappointed. 

Rendering bugs

They bragged about their new rendering, lighting, and landscape technology implemented in the game, which clearly does not work well with the system, since everything seems to look off or doesn’t make sense like blinding lights coming from rocks and cliffs or doesn’t even render in properly if at all.

Rays of light in mountains

Fallout 76 Price

The game released at:

  • $59.99 for its standard edition
  • $79.99 for its deluxe Edition
  • $199.99 for its Collector’s Edition.

A week after launch dropping the price for the game itself down to $35.00 due to the negative feedback and reviews it was receiving.

Final Verdict

My Final verdict of this game is that it felt like a rushed pieced together remnant of Fallout 4, so much that it literally brought over the same unfixed issues from Fallout 4. Leaving Fallout 76 a game breaking bug infested cesspool of a mess, that is being overrun with frustrated fans that are already so bored with the game they would rather spend their time trying to exploit as much as possible, due to the lack of endgame content. Players today are actually using item duping glitches, to sell items to other players for RMT, (Real Money Transfers) which is completely killing any basis of an economy within the game and going unfixed, for over a month later. The whole experience felt lazily put together and in return gave a boring gaming experience for everyone who got their hands on it already. If this were called an early release, or still in the BETA phase, then maybe they could have a pass for releasing this in its current state. But they passed this on as a full release Triple A title that is supposed to have 16x the detail of previous titles. 

Unstable Rendering

Unstable rendering and Graphics

They literally could have taken a page out of borderlands to make a 4-player co-op game, to make a stable game and included NPC’s. I would have rather played Fallout 4 as Preston, to someone else’s campaign, than have to do another playthrough for Fallout 76 in its current state. The game has potential in a few months to become a decent experience, with added DLC, once they figure out how to actually fix their game, instead of implementing more issues with every new patch. But as it stands now, it offers a boring and broken single player experience, forcing you to have to enjoy it with friends to get the most out of the game.

Ultimately giving this game a 4 out of 10 in its current state.

Pros:

  1. Large open world map to explore
  2. Base Building and Crafting
  3. It has potential to be decent later on
  4. Multiplayer

Cons:

  1. Infested with game breaking bugs
  2. Lack of Storyline or well written quests
  3. You have zero impact on the world
  4. Griefing, and exploits aren’t solved
  5. You can’t build settlements together
  6. Lack of NPC’s
  7. Out of date Graphics and Engine

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An aspiring super villain, hailing from the hellish scorching swamp lands of Florida. I have gone on countless conquests, across multiple worlds, to introduce them to a true evil villain.
Gamer Since: 1993
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Fallout 76, Sea of Thieves, ESO, RDR2,
Top 3 Favorite Games:Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine , Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
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