If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably heard of the Fallout franchise. It’s fair to say Bethesda’s open world baby is responsible for some of the most innovative gaming experiences of recent years. So, how on earth did the studio get it so wrong with latest release Fallout 76? Let’s just say things are bad, very bad.
At the moment, Fallout 76 has similar ratings to Duke Nukem Forever, one of the worst rated games of the last decade. It has joined No Man’s Sky, Destiny and Mass Effect Andromeda to become another highly anticipated, highly disappointing flop. It’s time to take a closer look at the game and find out if Fallout 76 is worth buying.
The Bugs, Oh the Bugs!
There’s nothing surprising about a Fallout game with bugs. In many ways, they’ve become part and parcel of playing these releases. And for the most part, fans are willing to tolerate them. When you’re being gifted an impossibly vast and detailed open world, you might expect a few hiccups. It’s almost an in joke now, something Fallout fans can bond over.
Fallout 76, on the other hand, is a different beast. To call it buggy is an understatement. The glitches are abundant and they constantly take players out of the game. Technical problems range from absurd explosions after a head shot (pretty funny actually) to frame rate dips, freezes and, sometimes, full on crashes. Yes, it’s really that bad.
The game is infested with bugs, to the point some missions are entirely unplayable. Bethesda has responded to the issue with a raft of post release patches, but it isn’t enough. Some quests remain inaccessible. Plus, who wants to invest hours of time in a game that might crash and burn all progress at any instant?
We’re talking game ruining glitches here: mission targets turning up dead before you make it to the right location, whole sections of the ‘checkpoint’ camp just vanishing and looping, looping, endlessly looping loading screens. It feels mean to refer to Fallout 76 as hideous, but play it and you’ll understand. The biggest mystery, then, is how Bethesda could ever think it was ready for console roll out.
A Little Bit of Multiplayer Magic
So, we’ve gotten the elephant out of the way – the bugs are the biggest controversy surrounding this release. What about the multiplayer game play? The big difference (and biggest selling point) for Fallout 76 is that it’s played online. Think of it as cooperative PvE game, in which players can wander a vast map and encounter one another.
Sounds exciting, right? Roaming the lawless plains, wondering what’ll happen when you stumble across another thrill seeking traveller. Well, not much it turns out. The game prevents players from engaging in any kind of free conflict. For this reason, it’s closer to turn based gameplay than anything else. No stealth attacks. No sense of danger.
Players can’t do any serious damage until both parties have had a chance to attack, so forget sneaking up on your enemies. With that being said, it does work as a friendly cooperative. It’s not going to make your heart race, but there are a few cool features. Instead of wandering alone, you can now strategies, build and share resources with friends.
Again though, frustrating UI components take some of the shine away from Fallout 76’s stronger features. It’s annoying to realise team members don’t get XP points for a kill unless they tag it before the fight ends. Yes, it’s a ploy to stop people power levelling. However, it leads to scenarios in which teams are more concerned about everybody getting off at least one shot than actually engaging with the game play.
The Final Verdict
There’s a lot to say about Fallout 76. This newest instalment of the post apocalypse wasteland is filled with fierce beasts, innovative stories and so much potential. Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk about the game’s narrative features in any depth. The bugs are just too rampant. There’s no safety, no sense of stability.
You’re just as likely to find your base camp gone as you are your legs, your dog, sections of the sky or your team mate’s face. If you didn’t know better (or anything about Bethesda’s reputation for buggy release), you’d swear it was launched by accident. It’s doesn’t feel finished in any meaningful way and it’s a huge problem.
At the moment, Fallout 76 is absolutely not worth buying. Hopefully, this changes in the future. Bethesda has not responded to the terrible critical and public responses, but it is hastily pushing out patches. Clearly, it wants to build a better game but, in order to do so, it needs to listen to fans. And that starts with acknowledging the serious problems they’re currently flagging.