Travis gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Travis gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
I said in one episode of Cheerful Ghost Radio, that Fallout 76 is probably the best game I've ever played that I can't easily recommend people buy. I think that still holds true. Fallout 76 is problematic, but depending on what you're looking for there's a lot of fun there as well.

I'm not playing it nearly as much as I used to but I still pop in a few hours a week. I ran out of fresh content a long time ago. In fact that's my biggest complaint as the game stands now. Once you've launched a nuke there's not much left for you to do that you haven't done before. So you wander nuke zones and fight the scorchbeast queen to get better gear and level up to refine your build. That's basically what I'm doing now, in hopes of having some new content to work toward.

There are many aspects of the game that don't work, but many that do, and they work very effectively. If you're into Bethesda games for their environments, world-building, and exploration, Fallout 76 may be the best title yet for that. And when I see people say that Fallout 76 is just a quick cash grab that they clearly didn't care about making well, I can't help but think that those folks don't care about those aspects. The world is just beautifully done, and so much care has been put into the design of this massive world. The Whitespring resort is the centerpiece for this: a very faithful reproduction of the Greenbrier (you'll be coming to Whitespring a lot, because like its inspiration, The Whitespring also houses a government bunker that plays an important role in the game).

Aside from the design, I think the quests work well until they dry up. I said in my first impressions post on this game that the gameplay loop I fell into was getting quests, getting distracted from those quests by all the neat stuff you come across, make frequent trips to camp because you're carrying too much, and eventually completing quests and getting new ones. It was really satisfying. The quests themselves were essentially just vehicles to get you from point A to point B in a lot of ways; the depth previous games' quests is missing entirely from this entry due to the lack of any interactive dialogue. You'll run into robot NPCs and one friendly super mutant but while they can talk to you, you can't talk to them, so there are no narrative choices here and the quests are a bit shallow. Each quest will play out the same way every time (for the most part).

So no, this is not a typical Fallout game. How does it play as a survival game? Well, I don't know. I don't like hardcore survival games. It seems people who do *loved* Fallout 4's survival mode and dislike Fallout 76's survival aspects. I'm the opposite: Survival-lite is fine with me. Essentially what survival means in Fallout 76 is that you have to eat, drink, and watch out for diseases, and other players can come wreck your stuff. You don't lose anything meaningful when you die, just junk items (though if you've been farming for screws and you lose them all, that hurts).

Like I said before, the endgame kinda dries up. Nuke zones were supposed to be the endgame but they're ultimately a little lackluster. It seemed like we were sold on drastic changes to the environment in nuke zones, but the changes are minor. Functionally, the flora that grows in the area changes to nuked flora that you can use to make crafting materials for advanced items, and the enemies are higher level and give more loot, and you get a ton of rads that you have to manage. But aside from that it's just a yellow haze over everything. It's still fun to run in because generally about 3/4 of the 24-player servers show up to participate and wreck a bunch of glowing ghouls. It's mayhem and it's glorious, but even that can get boring if you do it enough.

Before I bought Fallout 76, other players were my biggest concern, but I have yet to meet a jerk in-game. I've read some horror stories, and it seems like as the content dries up, some high-level players get a kick out of destroying camps. The anti-griefing measures aren't up to snuff, really. Thankfully it's nearly impossible to grief with nukes (you get a 3 minute warning when a nuke is launched) and it would be a stupid waste of a nuke anyway. But the other big anti-griefing measure is bounties. If you attack a player enough without them attacking back, or if you break items at another player's camp, you get a bounty. However, all you need is a teammate to kill you. You lose your bounty, they collect some caps, and can give them right back to you. There's a minor cap loss because it isn't 1:1 for caps lost:caps gained, but caps are fairly easy to come by, so essentially there's no penalty for being a dick. There's currently no way to fully turn off PvP. A new unrestricted PvP server option is coming "soon" so hopefully they'll go there instead, but if they enjoy messing with other players it may be more fun for them to stay on the normal servers because they aren't changing how PvP works in normal servers. At least, if they are planning to, they haven't said so.

As it stands now, the game is less buggy than it ever has been but there are still some doozies. Scorchbeasts are supposed to be the big, bad, fun enemy to take down (like dragons in Skyrim) but it seems like their sonic energy wave (or whatever it is) is bugged more often than not, so whenever one sees you, your screen is just filled with blue and nothing else until you blindly run away. When they work properly, they still aren't great fun but they're manageable.

In addition, item duplication is rampant, and the most recent methods used involve doing something that tanks the server stability. Every time one is patched out, it seems like a new method is discovered. They're starting to do ban waves, but to add to the troubles this game is facing, it seems like some legit players are getting caught in that (but it's worth noting that plenty of dupers would claim to be legit, so take that with a grain of salt).

But even after the issues, I'm still going back in for more because the good stuff outweighs the bad for me. It may not do the same for you. It's hard to rate this game. I want to give it a Must Play for the fun I'm having, and Skip It because of the issues, so I think I'm going to average it out to a low Rad, but don't take that as an endorsement.

Travis   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 02/11/2019 at 11:17pm

Yeah I think it's a little disingenuous for Polygon to call it content cut before launch, it seems like this stuff is their future content. There are three vaults aside from 76, and people have managed to clip into the others, but I don't think anyone had gotten into 63 yet.

While I'm here I should also comment on the fact that a patch a couple weeks back was a doozy. They managed to not notice a merge failure, so a ton of bugs from older versions cropped up and nobody caught that before the update was released. They patched up a few but I think right now it's buggier than it's been since early December.

This game is a bit of a mess. I just hope they can clean it up because I DO love it, despite its numerous flaws, some glaring.

jdodson   Admin   Member wrote on 02/12/2019 at 09:01pm

> Yeah I think it's a little disingenuous for Polygon to call it content cut before launch, it seems like this stuff is their future content. There are three vaults aside from 76, and people have managed to clip into the others, but I don't think anyone had gotten into 63 yet.

I didn't read that. I agree, it's not easy to know what was planned, cut, etc. Unless they have some source saying so, it's just a guess. As an Engineer who likes releasing stuff, it's a good thing to cut scope to meet a deadline.

> They patched up a few but I think right now it's buggier than it's been since early December.

Yowza. F76 didn't land in spot where most people thought it was high quality from go so it's hard to hear they are still dealing with that sort of thing. Hopefully they can end that narrative and deliver something everyone enjoys.

> This game is a bit of a mess. I just hope they can clean it up because I DO love it, despite its numerous flaws, some glaring.

Me too.

jdodson   Admin   Member wrote on 02/12/2019 at 09:02pm

My point in sharing that was really a tip that more stuff might be coming later, but it seems you know about this Vault, which makes sense.

Travis   Admin   Member   Post Author wrote on 02/13/2019 at 03:04am

Oh yeah definitely, I got that. I didn't think you came here to trash it, or take any stance at all really :D

But yeah they have a new, more dangerous PVP mode coming out in the spring (if it isn't delayed due to focusing on the bugs at hand... which it should be) and then they're opening the vaults as group raids.

Something *everyone* enjoys won't happen but they have a sizeable group of people who want to love it. They just have to drive it home.

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