Fallout 76 Review – It’s a Game

Fallout 76 came out a while ago, and I believe I should review it now. At the time I’m writing this review, I’m about level 24-ish. This review is an opinion, and you may not agree with it. If you don’t, that’s alright and I respect your viewpoint. However, I do have a general concept of how the game is after playing it for a good while.

Part 1: The Environment

Fallout 76 takes place in Appalachia, an area in West Virginia. The environment itself looks very nice, and there are six different areas of the game, all with a different feel. These areas range from the beautiful Forest to the Ash Heap, a mining-intensive area. The map itself is HUGE, as well. There are plenty of locations, and exploring the map is quite fun. Locations include places like sawmills, airports, lighthouses, museums, mines, places related to the Civil War, and even a few amusement parks.

Part 2: The Quests

I’ll be completely honest here and say that 76’s quests aren’t that amazing. The main quest (or at least that’s what it’s labeled) involves you going around and doing work for a group called the Responders, people that were trying to assist others after the bombs. You have to do a handful of stuff to help them out (although you never actually meet any of them) and your ultimate goal is to eventually create a cure for a thing called the Scorched virus. This quest is alright, but I don’t like the biggest side quest, which is following the Overseer of Vault 76 all over the place, picking up her logs and listening to the Overseer’s journey. It feels very tedious to have to go across the entire map going after these holotapes, and there’s very little motivation to do so. Most of the side quests you encounter while exploring, and they’re pretty enjoyable.

Part 3: The NPCs

One of the largest problems people have with Fallout 76 is the lack of human NPCs. As much as Todd Howard has a point when he says it’s a wasteland and not an amusement park, it still feels pretty empty. While most NPCs you interact with are robots, you can occasionally encounter a passive Super Mutant. It might be only a couple decades after the nuclear bombs dropped, but I wouldn’t mind meeting a few of the Responders or even Raiders. They easily could’ve put some time into hiring voice actors for the game to voice the male and female characters and let the players change elements of the voice (like pitch, volume, etc.) and have the player be able to speak to NPCs instead of just listening to them.

Part 4: The Enemies

Many enemies in Fallout 76 are from Fallout 4 and its various expansions. While most of the enemies are familiar, there are a handful of new ones. Many new creatures make their debut, including (but not limited to) the Tick, Honey Beast, Snallygaster, Wendigo, Radtoads, and Mole Miners. Many giant enemies are added, too, including the Grafton Monster, Mothman, Mega Sloth, and Scorchbeast. Speaking of Scorched, the Scorched are the replacement of Raiders in the game. They’re like Ghouls, but can use weapons and armor.

Part 5: The Weapons

Similarly to the enemies, Fallout 76 has several new weapons as well. 76 features such classics as the Combat Rifle and Shotgun, Laser and Plasma weapons, and the Fat Man, but has new toys like the Submachine Gun, Pump-Action Shotgun, and several others. However, you can’t use all weapons from the get-go: you have to be a certain level to use them. The higher level a weapon is, the more damage it does. Weapon durability makes its return in this game, too! You can’t use the same type of weapon to repair another, though. I like the process of unlocking weapon mods, as it really makes you feel accomplished to get them (and it makes you even pick up weapons for junk!) Also, ammo has weight – no more slugging around 100 Fusion Cores.

Part 6: The Armor

The armor shares several similarities to weapons. It has durability, level restrictions, and mods. You can even wear cosmetic clothing over your armor, if you like looking snazzy. As armor has less immediate effect on the gameplay, I do not find it as important as your weapons, but are useful nonetheless. Power Armor is a luxury for the higher-leveled folks and I barely own half a suit of Raider Power Armor. There is a new type of Power Armor, too – Excavator. Another interesting tidbit is that you can pick up a Power Armor Chassis, so it won’t vanish into the aether when you leave a server.

Part 7: Food and Drinks

Fallout 76 takes many aspects from the Survival Mode in its predecessor, and one of these aspects is food and drink. In this game, you need to eat and drink to survive – it’s almost like real life! Anyways, food and drinks are fairly common, so don’t worry about dying over hunger or thirst anytime soon. Some food/drinks have durability, which means they’ll eventually go rotten. Bummer! For this reason, I carry around food that doesn’t expire, as I don’t have to worry about expiration dates. Remember not to carry around too much, though.

Part 8: Holotapes and Notes

Not much in this section. This is where a lot of the story is, so lore nerds should use these a lot. Holotapes also now have their own section in the Pip-Boy menu. There are also holotape games. I have two, and they’re neat, I guess.

Part 9: Collectables

Bobbleheads and magazines have changed in this game. Instead of being permanent upgrades, bobbleheads and magazines both supply temporary bonuses (1 or 2 real hours). I’m not a fan of this change, as finding a collectable should be a huge accomplishment (like a reward for a “dungeon”) instead of something less valuable than Caps or aluminum. Speaking of Caps, they’re still used as the currency of choice. You can use them to fast travel (yes, it costs $ now), move your C.A.M.P., or buy things from robot merchants or other people. Atom Points are used in the Atom Shop for cosmetic items. A tad overpriced, but I don’t really care about them. The game gives you several for free, anyways.

Part 10: SPECIAL

The perk/SPECIAL system has also been changed! You start the game with every SPECIAL stat at 1. Each time you level up, you get to level up a SPECIAL stat and choose a perk in that category. If you have more than 1 of the same “perk card”, you can combine them to make a higher-leveled one. You can also only use a number of perks equal to that SPECIAL’s stat. I like this change, as it provides a new twist on the system but still keeps the complexity of prior systems.

Part 11: The C.A.M.P.

The C.A.M.P. was one of the flagship features of 76. You could make a settlement practically anywhere! It’s a pretty neat system, if I do say so myself. It provides a fast travel point for free, a safe space for you, and a little nice place to make stuff. You even have special things that can get you resources in real time, but I haven’t delved into that yet. The stash you get stores lots of your valuables. However, it has limited space, so use it wisely.

Part 12: Crafting and Building

Since I’m not that much of a builder, I’ll say it’s very similar to 4’s. It’s a fine system, with a little headache now and then. Now, I’ll go over the crafting, as that’s much more important to me. You can craft weapons and armor now, which is super neat. You can scrap your underleveled weapon/armor, then upgrade it into a stronger, higher-leveled version. You can also make mods and repair weapons/armor. Chemistry and cooking stations function almost identically to 4. The new crafting station, Tinkerer’s Workbench (or something like that), allows you to craft ammo. I haven’t used a Power Armor station yet.

Part 13: The Multiplayer

Multiplayer is a new feature in 76. This is one of the major selling points of this game, and the game does it decently. If you have a friend(s) that owns the game, you can play with them in the game. The loot system works so that each player gets their own loot, so that other players can’t take all of it. There’s no text chat (at the time of this being written), though, which kind of removes communication with a random person unless you have a microphone. Speaking of microphones, for the first month or so of the game’s release, mics were unmutable. I sure hope that you enjoyed the sound of that one guy eating chips, because I sure did.

Part 14: The Issues

The problem that most people have with Fallout 76 are the bugs. As someone who had the game in its first month of release, the game was INCREDIBLY buggy. It’s truly amazing how Bethesda thought it would be a good idea to release a game that’s so unpolished. From T-posing ghouls to teleporting Mirelurks, glitches were so common in the first few months of release it became normal to see them. People also complained about the lack of stash size, as they didn’t have enough room to store materials. In some patches of the game, Bethesda also sneaked in small changes that changed certain aspects of the game, and that was disliked by most fans. However, you can’t talk about problems with 76 without talking about the controversies at Bethesda, the two most famous being the canvas bags and Nuka-Cola Dark. When you bought a special edition of Fallout 76, Bethesda said that one of the goodies you would get would be a canvas bag. Popular Fallout-related YouTubers received the canvas bag, but other people received a nylon bag instead. Naturally, fans were outraged. But that isn’t it. Bethesda claimed that it was too expensive to make canvas bags, so for the people who bought them Bethesda issued a 500 Atom compensation. Personally, I think the “compensation” that they gave out worsened the situation, because nothing would make someone angrier than receiving $5 of virtual currency for such a large issue. Speaking of Atoms, Bethesda, as of May 2019, is beginning to add a pay-to-win element to the Atom Shop. It isn’t that much, but it’s still very, VERY concerning as for what they could do in the future. Anyways, back on track with the Nuka-Cola Dark controversy. Bethseda announced that they would make a product called “Nuka-Cola Dark”, which would be a bottle of rum in a Nuka-Cola themed bottle for $80. After the release date was delayed, it was announced that the Nuka-Cola part of the bottle would be plastic. While they never specified it to be plastic in the first place, many people expected it to be glass. When people got the bottle of $80 rum, they found out that the bottle itself was indeed plastic, but also that the plastic made it much, much harder to pour. Going back to 76, Bethesda has claimed that they will fix more bugs in the future, but for the time I played it I found it very buggy and full of issues.

Part 15: Overall Review

Fallout 76 had a chance of being good, but due to the large amount of bugs and overall lack of a primary objective makes the game pretty boring at times. The new enemies, weapons, and armor are pretty cool, though. I would think that 76 would have been a better game if it was a DLC to Fallout 4, and did not cost $60 on release. I do have some hope for the game though, as I have some belief that it may make a comeback like No Man’s Sky did.

Overall, I would give Fallout 76 a 5/10.

PROS:

Multiplayer with friends

You can build (practically) anywhere

New content’s pretty cool

The map is super well-sized

PVP exists, so I guess you could do that?

Ambient music’s good

The scenery is beautiful

You can carry around a Power Armor chassis now

CONS:

L A G

B U G S

Mics used to be unmutable

Ghouls can T-pose

Stash size is limited, preventing a lot of building

C.A.M.P system can be a little wonky at times