I started on a draft about Fallout 76 back when it released in 2018 right around my birthday. It was actually a gift from my lady, who already knew how obsessed I was with the prior game, Fallout 4. The initial draft was intended to capture my first impressions of the game, which turned out to be less exciting than I had expected. Firstly, I wasn’t into the idea of having to download yet another launcher to play, but Bethesda released theirs alongside this game, also pulling many of their newer titles from Steam in order to support their lineup of games. It didn’t take long for Epic Games to also release their own store, and actually gain some ground on Steam with exclusivity deals. The community divided, Bethesda decided to return their titles along with future developed games to Steam, while also running their own launcher if you prefer. So one of the ticks on the box was checked for me there.
I didn’t end up releasing the draft I had been working on because I literally spent a handful of hours with the game before getting bored and running off to do something else. It looks and feels like a Fallout Game in the sense of environment and guns and NPCs, but that was probably the main issue, that there weren’t really NPCs aside from enemies. There was a sort of breadcrumb story trail that I followed around the map for a bit, and I also witnesses a nuclear bomb going off, as that was part of the packed in pvp experience. To be honest, there were so many more things I was finding wrong with the game than what I found right. Despite destroying the draft, I did upload some of those first screenshots so I’ll share them here and try to job my memory a bit.
The character creation was similar enough to Fallout 4, and honestly you could say it’s just the next iteration of the same game. I suppose that makes sense, but with the inclusion of other players, there’s other considerations that didn’t seem to be made. I understand its hard to shape a story around one person when there are others playing, but Borderlands has been doing this for years so it shouldn’t have been that difficult. The constantly open mics was a terrible decision, but it was nice that they added an option to turn them off. PvP sounds like it would be fun, but with the VATS system severely gimped, you wouldn’t be able to truly have epic fire fights with others. So then that leaves co-op, which sounds like where the core of the fun would be at, but it was distinctly lonely feeling while I was playing. I did see other people wandering around, but I didn’t group up or go on adventures, I mostly skulked around thinking they might try to fight. Whatever the case, I wasn’t overly thrilled with the game, but decided I would keep up on it regardless, because maybe one day it might morph into something more enjoyable.
Sometime after the release of the game, Bethesda released a roadmap of where they wanted to go with the title. The latest of these updates was slated to release in the fall of last year, but was delayed until this month. Wastelanders is the name of the update, and it promised to bring NPCs back to the game, which is ultimately what most Fallout fans wanted. If I can play the game solo but there are other people running around, that’s cool, but give me things to do. Also, make these things more fun to do with other people so we’re encouraged to group up and get things done together. Apparently Survival mode was added, and something called Nuclear Winter as well, but I don’t know exactly what those added to the game. As of yet, I haven’t played again, but I thought I should get some opinions down about my initial experience with the game before I do try it again so I have more comparison points. As a bonus, the game did release on Steam and owners got a free copy so I’m pretty stoked about not having to pay for it again and being able to play on Steam.
So with that, I’m going to try and dive into the game sometime in the near future and give it a fair shake again. I’m hoping that this ends up being another No Man’s Sky where it was a cool concept that under delivered at launch but redeems itself down the line.