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.

Fallout 4 DLC: Automatron

With all of the E3 2018 hype surrounding Fallout 76, I decided that it was time to revisit Boston and finish up the DLC for the game. I hadn’t played since I beat the base game back at the end of 2015, while the DLC came out slowly over the following year I had at that time decided that I would wait until it was all released before diving in. Well, it’s been a couple years since then but I’m finally making good on this so that when Fallout 76 releases later this year I’ll be ready to move onto the new title. The first DLC that released for Fallout 4 was Automatron, an expansion that adds robotic friends that you can build and customize to use as your followers. Doing so requires you to complete a short and sweet questline which I was able to complete last night.

When I first logged into the game I was greeted by several new quests that were associated with the various DLCs. Each requires you to listen to a radio frequency on your Pip Boy, at which point you’ll then be shown where to go to get the quest started. The radio frequency for this particular quest sent me off in the direction of a distress signal, and once there I found a swarm of robots duking it out in the wasteland. After the fighting stops, we meet “Ada,” a robot that seems a bit more sentient than others we’ve seen in the commonwealth. She tells us about “The Mechanist” who is a villain of sorts for this particular questline. A person who has created robo-brains and other dastardly robots that seem intent on killing off any threats to humanity, including humans themselves. They seem to have killed off Ada’s friends, and she wants to join you in taking The Mechanist down.

We track down a radar beacon which Ada tells me that we need to locate The Mechanist. After doing so we create the new work bench for robo pals in Sanctuary, and I set about installing the beacon into Ada. At this point I took the liberty of beefing her up a bit as well, because if I’m going to have a companion follow me around they better pull their weight. Afterwards, she says we need to find a couple more. One of which is hiding inside a raider base, so that took some effort to get to.

The third and final beacon is installed in Jezebel, a robo brain that doesn’t have a body and has been “poked and prodded” by these raider scum. She pleads with me that if we take her from that place she will give us the beacon, but that there will be more necessary to confront The Mechanist. She wants me to build a body for her, and from there she will provide us with access codes that can be installed in Ada so we can proceed. I did so, and she kept her word despite Ada’s warnings about robo brains. We learn that The Mechanist is hiding in a Robco Sales & Service building, so we head there.

This dungeon of sorts was crawling with bandits and robots alike, and took some time to get through but eventually we were facing off against the Mechanist. There were a ton of robots to kill during this fight and I died several times, but eventually we had won. The Mechanist turned out to be a woman named Isabel Cruz, and she didn’t really seem to be malicious, only trying to use her robot creations to create a better world. She ended up leaving peacefully, and I ended up getting her suit which was a bit of an upgrade over the gear I had been using prior. Over the course of the DLC I gained a couple of levels, from 33-35, so I’m now ready to head into the Far Harbor DLC.

After that point, there’s Nuka World, as the other DLCs are only workshops and don’t include new quest content. I’m not as interested in the building aspects of the game so I’ll be moving on after I complete these new areas. Look for more on this soon as I intend to finish fairly quickly.