On Fallout 76

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.

E3 2019: Most Anticipated

The 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo has wound down to a close and just like years prior, I thought I should give some commentary based on what we saw. This is the first year in a while that I didn’t actually watch the live streams, so I don’t have any commentary on the show itself, the presenters, any of that. Instead, I have a list of games that interest me the most, and some commentary along with a video for those curious to learn more. This has become an annual affair, and as such I thought I should probably collate all of the past years’ posts in one place so we can see how things line up.

E3 2014

E3 2015 (Podcast Episode)

E3 2015 (Written Post)

E3 2016 (Podcast Episode)

E3 2016 (Written Post)

E3 2017

E3 2018

Looking back through these lists, there are a couple of things I can glean. First, this is the only year from this selection that doesn’t have Sony present at the conference. They have started doing their own thing for the last few years at a later juncture in the year, but this is the first time I can remember them not being at the show. It also appears that I have played/own all of the games on these lists outside of the ones that haven’t released yet. Some of those games are coming down the pipeline sooner than later, finally. I suspect Sony is saving their big PS5 announcements for their own conference, as rumor already has it that we’ll see the console’s release in 2020. Now I just have to decide if I should grab a PS4 Pro this holiday season when the deals come around, or just say fuck it and wait for the new machine. Whatever the case, despite Sony’s absence there were still quite a few games and bigger updates that were worth taking a look at, so let’s dive into the list!

CD Projekt Red has a pretty decent reputation due to the success of their The Witcher series. I hadn’t played it, but grabbed the GOTY edition of the third entry in the series — I couldn’t get over the wonky combat mechanics and uninstalled it. Initially hearing about Cyberpunk 2077, I assumed it would be a similar type of game in a different setting, and so I didn’t have any excitement for the title. However, after seeing some gameplay footage and seeing that it’s an FPS in a cool setting, I became more interested. Seeing Keanu Reeves’ involvement doesn’t really sway me one way or the other, but I like most of his movies so that’s a plus I guess? Whatever the case it looks like it’s going to be a fun game so it makes the list.

I mentioned this title in prior E3 posts, as we were teased with information about it in years past. It’s finally coming out next month, and it looks to hold true to the standard the recent Wolfenstein games have set. I loved both The New Order and The New Colossus and to a lesser extent The Old Blood. Adding co-op is cool but I’ll likely play through it solo. Still, I’m ready and will be picking this one up day one if I can help it.

My girlfriend actually bought me a copy of Fallout 76 for my birthday last year. I played it for just a couple of short sessions before putting it down. One of my chief complaints would be the lack of a cohesive story and NPCs. It felt like a typical sandbox game with very little direction and I was disappointed after being hyped for the game since it was announced at last year’s E3. Apparently there have been a succession of good and bad patches/changes in the time since, and like No Man’s Sky before it, this is a game that is likely better after a year or more of development compared to the release product. Apparently they are changing up the story and adding NPCs, along with adding a Battle Royale mode (yawn). I’m hopeful that it can eventually be called a “good” game, but whatever the case we always have The Elder Scrolls VI (which was missing from this year’s show) to look forward to.

This is probably the game I’m looking forward to the most. The DOOM reboot was fantastic and made me fall in love with the series all over again. This being the sequel to that reboot, I think we’re in for a treat. I can already tell that it’s more of the same but the graphics and animations look kicked up a notch and I already know I’ll be paying $60 for this on day one.

Star Wars games tend to be pretty awful. Apparently Knights of the Old Republic was good but I never played it. Battlefront was fun for a minute, but it’s not story driven and thereby you don’t really care. I didn’t care for the MMO despite being a Bioware fan. This game looks pretty good, all things considered. I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll see when it releases what the kids are saying about it.

I’ve talked about this one before, and holy hell does it meet and/or exceed my expectations! Finally being able to see combat and more of what this game will look like, I’m sold. Final Fantasy VII was my first game in the series, and as such has a special place in my heart. The only confusing part is that apparently it’s being released episodically, so I’m hoping that they split up the game into thirds, and just use the original break points between discs (the Playstation version had 3 discs). Anything more than that might ruin the experience, but it looks pretty sweet at this point.

The only game I probably won’t ever play unless they port it to PC, but still a game I remember with a mixture of fondness and hate. The original Battletoads on NES was a painfully difficult game that was a childhood rite of passage. This game doesn’t look like it will be remotely as difficult, but still hits me in the nostalgia feels. As of now I believe it’s only slated to release on Xbox, hence why I’ll probably not end up playing it.

Another title I talked about before, I enjoyed playing the original and think this one looks familiar but intriguing nonetheless.

Panzer Dragoon was one of my favorite games on my Sega Saturn, which was the system I backed during those console wars in the 90’s. Sony was the new kid on the block but they ended up causing the demise of the Saturn, and as a result a bunch of unique and cool games never saw the widespread fame they deserved. This one being remade is interesting because it was such an unusual title. I might get a Switch someday, but I’d hope this gets ported elsewhere.

Borderlands 3 is another hotly anticipated game for me. It’s been a long time since Borderlands 2, and The Pre-Sequel didn’t hold my attention in the same way the original two did. There isn’t much to say here, as it’s not really anything new but it’s a great looter shooter and something I co-op through with friends, so I’m in!

Strangely enough, a new DLC for Borderlands 2 was announced as well, and this time we’ll be getting a story bridge between 2 and 3. Coincidentally (or maybe not?) the PS4 version of the game, The Handsome Collection was just given away for free via Playstation Plus, so we should all be able to try out this new DLC before the new game drops.

A new game by From Software? Typically that’s an automatic win. Demons’ Souls, Dark Souls and Bloodborne were all excellent games, and though I’ve heard mixed reviews with Sekiro, I can’t imagine it’s bad, just misunderstood. The only difference here is apparently George R R Martin has something to do with the story telling, so perhaps it will be something completely different. I imagine Souls gameplay will still be present, and I look forward to hearing more.

So there you have it. These are the games that I’m looking forward to most from this year’s conference. What are you looking forward to most?

Most Anticipated: E3 2018

The Electronics Entertainment Expo for 2018 is over, and with it I’m left with a sense of excitement for the coming years. Games are releasing at such a rapid pace these days that it’s hard to find excitement for many, considering you could literally spend every waking moment playing video games and not complete every one that’s out there. This means many of us find our niche titles or genres that really speak to us and look forward the most to them. Some people are out to write about everything that was discussed during E3, while others (like myself) are going to cherry pick what they’re looking forward to and talk about that only.

Generally speaking, I feel like for the last few years Sony has taken the crown when it comes to their E3 presentation. This year things were skewed a bit differently. I only had the time to watch the Bethesda conference, and in my opinion they “won” this year. However, I did hear good things about Microsoft’s presentation along with Nintendo and the PC Gaming Show being decent. Overall it doesn’t matter who “wins” but it was odd to see that Sony was kinda meh this year. At the end of the day, I still only cherry picked titles I was interested in, and I’ll share those with you now!

Devil May Cry 5

I’ve been a fan of this series since #2. I remember one of my good friends picked it up on his PS2 and we played the hell out of it. I played the 3rd entry as well, but never did play number 4. I did finish the DMC reboot a few years back and that was a good time, and it’s hard to tell by this trailer if DMC 5 is keeping with the original Dante or moving forward with the rebooted version. Honestly he looks more like the new version, but still different. Either way it’s the same sort of action oriented combat game that fans of the series will know and love. I look forward to some mindless button mashing.

Dying Light 2

Still working my way through the first game with my best friend, as we are playing strictly co-op and don’t play it otherwise, but we should be able to complete it before this one comes out. It looks like more of the same, but the graphics look better. I assume the trailer is running on a high end PC though, so mileage may vary.

Anthem

We heard about Anthem last year and didn’t see much but teaser information. This time there’s a nice trailer with combat and it’s definitely a co-op game. I really want to play this one! Bioware games will always have a special place in my heart and this one looks like no exception.

Wolfenstein Youngblood

I’m not really hyped for this game, I played The New Colossus, but have yet to play Wolf2. I never played the little spinoff called The Old Blood, and this appears to be that same sort of thing. Perhaps I’ll get through those other titles before this one comes out, and in that case I’ll jump on it, particularly if it has a lower price point like The Old Blood did.

Starfield

This is a teaser and nothing more. Still, a Bethesda game in space? Sign me up!

The Elder Scrolls VI

Speaking of teasers, we finally got the one we’ve been waiting around for. TES6 is coming, but it’s probably a couple of years off at least. I cannot wait.

The Last of Us 2

We’ve known about this one for a while now too, but it’s looking gorgeous as ever. Naughty Dog has been producing amazing games for a long time now, and TLOU2 looks incredible. Just watch the trailer and be in awe like the rest of us.

Beyond Good & Evil 2

Another long awaited sequel that became a meme. It’s real now, but we still haven’t seen much in the way of gameplay. I’ll jump on board even more once that day comes, but the hype is still real!

RAGE 2

RAGE came and went before I really noticed. I’m a fan of id Software games, but this was already sort of old news by the time I heard of it. As a result I never played it, and now seeing the sequel I’m intrigued. I’ll pick this one up on sale and it looks like a blast.

DOOM Eternal

DOOM’s reboot from a couple of years ago was flat out the best FPS I had played in years. The visuals, the speed of the game, everything coalesced into a near perfect experience. It was also refreshing to go back to level maps that weren’t so damn linear and required some thought to navigate (and also backtrack). This is the sequel to that reboot and it’s going to be great, I can practically guarantee that.

Fallout 76

Last but certainly not least, we have the main event from the Bethesda conference, Fallout 76. So rumor had it before the show that this was going to be a Battle Royale, then people said it was a Survival Sandbox. At this point the devs themselves have called it “Softcore Survival.” What I have gathered from watching and reading about the game, it seems to be a traditional Fallout game with the same sorts of RPG elements and progression, but there is some co-op functionality and some pvp functionality. Apparently there are areas on the map where you can grab nukes and blow shit up, you can build bases, etc. etc. It sounds like Fallout 4 with co-op and I’m all about that. It was said that even if you die you don’t lose progression, so that would make the pvp less painful for people who don’t want it. It was also said you can play the game solo, so I assume then it would play like a normal Fallout. Hard to say at this point really, but I still look forward to a Bethesda RPG world that has some multiplayer in it.