Fallout 76: My Take

Someone asked me my take on Fallout ’76, so here it is…

I’ve been considering posting about it, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

The game, in and of itself, is just fine. Those bitching about the actual gameplay are the same ones who bitched about Fallout 4, New Vegas, etc., and then played the game every day for five years. Everyone bitches about the games when they first come out and then it becomes their favorite.

The graphics are good. The gameplay is good. There are challenges of running into characters and monsters at significantly higher levels than you (more so than any other Fallout series games). I also love that unlike other exploring/open map games where no matter where you go the characters and monsters tend to match your current level or are just a few levels higher, wandering or exploring too far from your missions can mean you’re a level 10 running into a level 62 Angler that kicks your ass in two seconds.

Survival mode is default. You have to eat and drink or you’ll die. Your weapons and armor degrade and you have to constantly repair them (luckily weapons/armor/tinker workbenches are common, but you can only carry so much junk with you). You can catch diseases from sleeping in the wrong place, getting attacked by monsters can give you diseases like blood worms, bleeding sores, etc. So you have to make sure you have a stock of food, water, disease cures, etc. I enjoyed playing survivor mode in Fallout 4, and while 76 is a bit watered down from full blown survivor mode in Fallout 4, it still creates a bigger challenge than just running around carefree.

That being said, there are legitimate gripes and bitches about this game. These are mine:

1. Forcing me to buy PS Plus is bullshit. I had to spend money for PS Plus beyond the price of the game. There’s no reason for PS Plus at all. Other online multiplayer games didn’t need PS Plus and this one didn’t need it, either. This was purely a money-making scheme and it’s bullshit.

2. There is no single player mode at all: it’s 100% online and there’s no reason for that, either. The forced online doesn’t affect the experience of gameplay at all and has zero bearing on missions, exploration, etc. I personally don’t connect with anyone on the servers, don’t play with friends or join random stranger’s teams. I play by myself. There are Lone Wanderer cards that give you bonuses for being alone. The only time I even interact with, as in play next to, other players is at “events,” which are scattered throughout the map. I get that not interacting and wanting to play alone is a personal choice, but I think the forced online is a problem, especially when you consider that…

3. There is no way to pause the game. The only way to save is to setup your camp and rest. You can only setup camp outside of areas. That’s if you want to move and rebuild your camp all the time, which a lot of players aren’t doing because they’re building elaborate camps. My camp is nothing more than a bed, my stash, a cooking station (to boil water and cook food before it spoils – that survival mode again). So you have to make sure that when you play you have time set aside for no work, no calls, no girlfriend asking you to come help her get something off the fridge, no bathroom break, nothing at all that pulls you away from the game. If you’re stationary too long the game seems to intentionally send something to attack you (I admit this may be correlation and not causation, but it has happened ever time, which lends me to believe it is intentional). The three times I found a “safe place” to hide while I took care of something I ended up being attacked and had to run back into the room. One of those times it was a mole rat on the roof of a seven-story building that had no mole rats in it while I was exploring the building itself. It took me so long to get back to my office that I was at 10% health and about to die before I killed the mole rat and had to use three Stimpaks to get back to full health and had to cure a disease the damn thing gave me. The fact that I can’t pause it when my girlfriend needs my help drives both of us bonkers. I’ve just had to die a few times because relationships are more important than games. Which, by the way, if you die, you lose all your junk and have to go back to your “grave site” to collect your brown bag of junk (did they get that idea from No Man’s Sky?). Or you can just leave it there and find new junk.

4. A lot of players truly enjoyed the aspect of building settlements, keeping the settlers going and happy, and experimenting with building. The game teases you with finding “workbenches,” but they’re useless and can be taken over by other players if you’re not there to defend them, which unless you’re not sleeping, not eating, not taking a bath, etc., then you’re going to lose that workbench as soon as you sign off. I don’t think Settlements are necessary for this game, but I think having them would have significantly helped tone down some of the anger, allowed for more junk storage, and would have kept with the entire Vault 76 mission.

I enjoy playing the game, but I don’t play it as much as I did Fallout4 (which I still play) or New Vegas because I rarely can allot several hours of uninterrupted time that allows me to play. I’ve spent significantly more time playing Red Dead Redemption 2.

Doing the online only was a bad move in my opinion. Making online an option would have made this game much better in many ways.