NMA's official review of Fallout 76, courtesy of AgentBJ09

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Hassknecht, May 20, 2020.

  1. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks to @AgentBJ09 for taking the time to actually play Fallout 76 and writing up this comprehensive review!

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    Kept you waiting, huh?

    Let's not waste any time with this. If you are reading this, then you know that Fallout 76 was a money sink, a bad idea, a glitch-fest, and many other negative things. It was a cavalcade of embarrassment of such proportions that only the launch of the Playstation 2 and the Red Ring of Death plague could match up to it.

    Well done, Bethesda. Well done.

    Even better, because this is an Always-Online game, the usual modding suspects -- you know who you are -- could not come to Bethesda’s rescue and spend their own unpaid time fixing the game, and in turn drive up sales without earning anything themselves.

    Seriously modders, stop fixing these busted as hell games for free. Your time and toil is more worthwhile than that and you are wasting it by giving it up to Bethesda/Zenimax. If that's too harsh a statement, then let me remind you that several who have tried to help fix this game by submitting bug reports or building tools like interactive maps got themselves banned for their efforts, while others are grinding for loads of caps and other items to sell on eBay for tens of dollars with impunity.

    Now, with that out of the way, Fallout 76. The base game for now. Wastelanders comes later, though I may reference changes Wastelanders made to the base game here and there.

    The reason we at No Mutants Allowed did not do a proper review of this back in 2018, well, was obvious. Every single person who has not drunk the Bethesda Kool-Aid for years and not rushed to their defense in the past could see the game for what it was, and knew where the problems stemmed from. We had a feeling this was coming with the release of Fallout 3 back in 2008, and more so with Fallout 4 back in 2015. It was obvious that not only was Bethesda's penchant for glitchy games going to worsen the issues Fallout games had starting with Fallout 2, their willingness to abandon canon at a moment's notice, track record of poor writing with Emil Pagliarulo at the helm, and their willingness to cut out game systems that have role-playing utility for the sake of audience expansion and the almighty dollar was also going to spell trouble for the series.

    One could say this is more Zenimax's thing than Bethesda's, but let us not forget that Zenimax only exists because Mr. Christopher Weaver, Bethesda's founder, co-founded it as a way to support Bethesda when the company was in financial trouble. I doubt he had any idea until it was too late that the man he chose to be CEO for Zenimax, like a modern-day leech, which is fitting for a lawyer, would help run him out of his own company, but that’s exactly what Robert Altman allowed, and even without Zenimax breathing down Bethesda's neck, the major gameplay changes from Daggerfall to Morrowind and then to Oblivion and Skyrim were enough of a sign of what would come.

    Remember, the publisher is not always to blame.

    Now, although we did not do a proper review back then, I participated in the BETA for ten hours and logged everything I saw and found.

    (https://nma-fallout.com/threads/fallout-76-my-impressions.216770/)

    Needless to say, it didn't take me long to realize that, after factoring in every bad aspect of the BETA and factoring out the things I tend to 'like' in Bethesda games, the game would suck. That fact that it did so exponentially harder and longer than I imagined still amazes me, and if I had to guess, that is more than likely why, with the release on Steam, so many between websites and players and content creators are running defense for it and being nice to it.

    We'll get to that. Trust me.

    So, what problems does this game have, aside from the obvious?

    Let's start with the presentation of the world, and to do that, let's start with what each game begins with: the video and voiceover that introduces you to the world ahead.

    In Fallout 1, the video begins with an ad related to Vault 13 and the classic 'Maybe' by The Ink Spots begins playing. As the camera draws out, you see the TV you were watching set in front of a blasted hellscape of a major city, dashing the nostalgic feeling you probably had before the TV at last shuts off.

    It's chilling, and possibly upsetting, to say the least, and then Ron Perlman speaks. He speaks on the subject of war, and goes over the details of the world leading up to the day the bombs fell. Then he gets to the subject of Vault 13, and says "Life in the Vault is about to change." Only when the Overseer speaks after creating your character do you then understand what the trouble is, and then Fallout 1 begins in earnest.



    Mmm-mah. It's perfect. It sets the mood, and gives you the information you need.

    Now, let's look at what Fallout 76 does.

    It begins with the speaker dropping the 'War. War never changes' line. Right away, wrong. That line was meant for a historical monologue, not a general speech to the public, and because it is used this way, it sounds cringey. That established, let’s move on. The presenter then goes over how in 1776, Americas knew armed conflict was the only way to secure the nation's future, and brings up the fight against the Red Menace, aka China -- how ironic -- and the celebration of the construction of Vault 76 on the tricentennial anniversary of USA independence. He then talks about how it will be staffed with the best and brightest, the people who once the vault door reopens will have to rebuild the outside world.

    Oh, if only.

    And then it fades to white and we get the character creation screen while the Overseer details a bit about Reclamation Day, aka the day when Vault 76 opens and everyone has to leave. You are then lead down a linear route to gather supplies and other things you will use outside of the vault to start your mission.



    At this point, you may not think there is very much wrong with this intro, and some might argue it's similar to the intro of Fallout 1. Those people would be dead wrong when considering the mood of these two videos, and I will explain why.

    With Fallout 1, players truly did not know what awaited them outside of the vault. The IP was new, and so were the surprises. This is not the case with Fallout 76. Not only did we know what would be outside of the vault thanks to 21 years of releases and story, Bethesda could not shut up about it and spoiled nearly everything about the story with their marketing and press releases, including the fact that you would be the one launching the nukes that flush out the Scorchbeast Queen. Not only that, but being able to bomb a location and then farm the nuked area for a while before everything reset was touted as an end-game activity, meant to provide you with the best stuff in typical MMO raids fashion.

    I doubt I have to explain why this runs so counter to Fallout's themes, and why its promotion before the game released is one among many showcases of how Bethesda never truly understood Fallout as an IP, but just in case...

    Regardless of the pseudo-MMO nature of Fallout 76, in universe and in lore, as well as IRL, we have examples of how dangerous and deadly these nukes are. In particular the end and post-game of Lonesome Road from Fallout: New Vegas. For those who have not completed the DLC, for one, what are you waiting for, and for second, if you decide to use the nukes, whatever area(s) you target will be completely destroyed and bathed in radiation back in the New Vegas game world map, and all related factions will love or hate you accordingly for your actions. Having the nukes and their aftereffects function as little more than switching on the end-game status of an area for a short while is rather pathetic and cheapens the thematic and literal power of such warheads.

    Speaking of the nukes, during the times that I have jumped back into 76 post-release to see how bad things are, it often isn't long before someone in the level 50+ range drops a nuke on the server's world. And yes, I was once in a server that got nuked multiple times in quick succession and was in turn kicked because the server stopped working. I also notice these nuke launching players mostly tend to target out of the way areas in the corners of the map, like the edge of Cranberry Bog. Points for that I suppose, but when I hear that distinctive beeping of the nuke codes on a ghoul commander, it only reminds me of what a mockery Bethesda has made of such powerful weapons.

    Next, let's talk gameplay and quests.

    Before release, Bethesda made clear that not only were there no NPCs, but that holotapes would be the only way to experience the story. There are two types of holotapes you will come across while playing Fallout 76: Mission-based and flavor-based. While these sometimes overlap, such as the Overseer's tapes, to whoever was in charge of the writers group related to these things, I have to tell you, you need to learn how to separate these two styles when the situation calls for it, especially when the game has no living NPCs of any kind and the game itself is designed more around the Explore-Kill-Gather-Return gameplay loop than the story.

    (This holds true even with Wastelanders in play because aside from new NPCs in some areas where a dead body with a holotape could be found, such as the Morgantown Airport, little has changed about the progression of these quests.)

    Think back to the holotapes you find early on when doing volunteer work for the…who were they…oh, The Responders. Think back to the holotapes you had to listen to when doing the resupply run mission, aka 'Safe for Work', at the airport. A few were written and directed as though it was dialogue from a living NPC who was traveling with you and giving you a personal once over as you did each step, a bit like Sunny Smiles during Goodsprings' 'Back In The Saddle' quest. From a narrative perspective, this makes the logs sound like the writers were trying to make up for the lack of NPCs instead of playing into that point. As we know from Bethesda's Fallout 76 presentation in 2018, the dev team no doubt knew the game would have no NPCs and therefore should have planned the dialogue and narrative of the tapes around that.



    And once again, I must fall back on Fallout: New Vegas to pull up a contrast.

    Starting as early as Doc Mitchel in Goodsprings, you can pry to learn a little more about certain NPCs you meet. In New Vegas, the majority of this is optional though can sometimes lead to things you can use later. In Fallout 76, optional details that players would have had the ability to skip over in other Fallout games are forced into necessary recordings, and either bloat the runtime of the recording or make the flavor parts feel forced.

    (Because of Bethesda’s penchant for stealing ideas people come up with for mods, among other things, I will not be sharing my ideas for how this would be done properly.)

    As for the gameplay, as I said before, this game has one major loop it thrusts you into from the word go, both because Bethesda is not well known for the kinds of multi-tiered/layered quests we have seen in other RPGs up to 2018, and because this game was designed from the ground up to play this way: Explore-Kill-Gather-Return.

    That said, let's get something out of the way early. I play the Bethesda Fallout/Elder Scrolls games, even New Vegas, as a hoarder. If it has good scrap/cap value or I think I've never collected it or it could be useful, I grab it and haul it to a place where I can pick through all of it, sell what I don't want/need, and repeat as necessary. And frankly, this feels like how the games are designed to be played given all the things you can loot, break down, sell, etc., so on that level the central loop of Fallout 76, and by extension Fallout 4, appealed to me.

    However, I cannot and will not ignore how crap the main quests of both games are, nor the abundance of quests that have no depth to them beyond killing things while searching for an item or location or person of some sort. So prevalent is this trend that anytime I play these games now, I tend to have a playlist of Mythbusters episodes or other videos running in the background just to add some flavor to what I'm doing. That and it bugs me when I hear music from Fallout 1 and 2 in 4, seeing as Bethesda had zero hand in developing those two games.

    (Speaking of music, I swear I noticed a similarity in style between a few songs in Fallout 76 and FarCry 5…)

    Contrast time again.

    Obsidian, before they lost their best talent to what they have now, and I do not say that lightly, showed exactly how to make this Search-Kill-Gather-Return loop work. They didn't simply throw places at the player and tell them 'Here, check these places out' like Bethesda tends to do with their sightseeing/theme park approach to open world design. They made a majority of the places worthwhile to visit, or put them in the player's way and give them the option to divert from the path and investigate these new areas.

    For example, the town of Primm. Like Shady Sands in Fallout 1, you can pass right by it if you choose and miss the handful of quests, stacks of loot, potential reputation gains and nuggets of information related to not only Benny but Ulysses as well. Curious players however will at least check the town out, and adventurous players will take a stab at some of what Primm offers, or clean the place up before moving on.

    With Fallout 76, while you will have the initial gut feeling of 'Oh, what's this place' when looking at the world map or you arrive at places like Flatwoods, in contrast to New Vegas and the trust Obsidian placed in players back then, Bethesda showers you with new goals or tidbits, either once in new places or as you approach, in hopes that you will stick around for them if nothing else. (The Grafton Tourism Trap quest comes to mind.) The end result is your quest log gets bloated and you will start resorting to the ‘Well it’s close. Might as well do this one’ mentality of getting quests done.

    'Now, hold on', some of you might be saying. 'How can you compare a single-player game to a multiplayer one?' Simple: Because with one exception, which we shall not name, Fallout has always been story and character driven. Even compared to the black sheep of the IP, Fallout: Tactics, 76 fares worse in the story and setting.

    Why? Because the story you do receive is narrated to you, like someone is reading you a book and to make them continue you have to 'play the game'. At no point are you weighing the outcomes of your actions against the needs of immediate, much less local, others. You simply follow a linear trail of holotapes and related quests starting from the inside of Vault 76, which I somewhat remember from my BETA days, through the hauntings of the Responders and other factions like the Brotherhood of Steel (WTF?) and the Enclave (Seriously?), and then end the 'official' story in the fields of Appalachia post nuke touchdown with a big fight against the Scorchbeast Queen. You then have the option of shooting more nukes into the world to get more high level supplies and gear, which you then build or enhance in order to do this same endgame gameplay loop again and again and again.

    (And lest we forget, Bethesda has been called a single-player MMO company for many years, mostly thanks to Skyrim and the Radiant Quest system that game introduced. Fallout 76 is the full circle point.)

    So, at best, you will play this game because you like the story/writing bits, to which I would say don't encourage this kind of storytelling as a standard because along with it comes low standards for everything else and Fallout doesn't need that, and at worst you play it because it's there and you want something to do for a few hours.

    At least until it crashes, freezes, glitches out, or any number of other things Bethesda games are known to do. It did each and every one of those things during my early and even recent time on the XBOX version, including locking up my console and forcing a hard reset to fix, and coupled with the Always-Online requirement as well as Bethesda's penchant for buggy games...

    Now, let's use this gameplay segment to discuss something that relates not only to your survival in-game but your IRL wallet: The Repair Kits and Scrap Kits. The presence of these things within the Atomic Shop means the game shop is no longer cosmetics only and now has Pay-To-Win options available; do not let Pete or any other Bethesda apologist tell you otherwise.

    I feel I should remind folks that the gaming industry has already crossed the line into operating parts of itself as casinos for all, the underage included, and lies about that on the regular to avoid legal and financial penalties. See also any game that lets you use bought currency to gamble on items of value like GTA V, NBA 2K20, etc.; the excuse of not being able to cash out is the typical defense said companies will use to justify these actions. However they slice it though, gambling is illegal if you are under 21 for a reason: it is habit forming and, person depending but especially for children, very addictive.

    https://www.oneangrygamer.net/2019/...oed-for-being-an-unabashed-gambling-ad/91891/

    Anyway, during the BETA, I did notice my weapons and armor broke down at faster rates than they have been during my most recent runs, so I suspect Bethesda is well aware that they're stepping on toes with their lies about these things and as such are trying to save face by dialing back how fast your equipment degrades. However, I seem to recall Bethesda making it a point within Fallout 4 that your stuff never breaks because, as they implied, it annoyed some players because it made them go get said things fixed before resuming their adventure. I therefore will contend that they only allowed this role-playing system back into full use in Fallout 76 because they had plans from day 1 to introduce these kits and scrape some more money off impatient players.

    Hell, we know by now they were planning on selling lunchboxes with prizes and buffs in them, as well as the option to buy Perk Cards directly, so these kits, and the fridge that keeps your food good for longer and the scrap collecting Protectron, are more or less permanent test-the-waters items.

    And I doubt, although I hope, that the Steam player base has learned from this last year and a half of embarrassment and rejects buying these things if they cannot resist buying 76.

    (My doubts were confirmed, and how; Bethesda Stockholm Syndrome is worse than I thought. Not only are websites like RPS (http://archive.is/UeUuW) and Polygon (http://archive.is/GFDj3) shilling for Bethesda and against open criticism of a faulty game, reviewers on Steam are doing the same like willing lapdogs. The rating reached Mostly Positive on the backs of those reviewers as of the 17th of April; Steam restricting the ratings allowed to count towards that score to only those who bought the game on Steam seems to be part of the reason, so Bethesda.net buyers will not have their voices counted. How fucking pathetic.)

    Speaking of those Perk Cards, let's discuss those for a moment. Aside from being a further dumbing down of the Perks system the OG Fallouts used to define one's character outside of SPECIAL, Skills, and Traits, the fact that, like your character's appearance, they can be changed out at a moment's notice and also allow things like picking higher level locks, means players have little reason beyond desire to create a new character. This is not how Fallout works, but as I mentioned before, Bethesda had plans to sell Perk Card packs for Atoms, which one can buy with real money, so there is that to consider.

    Lastly, let's go back to Fallout 4 for a minute. Fallout 4, from my time spent with it, was the moment when operant conditioning, or in laymen's terms The Skinner Box, was put in front of most other reasons for playing the game. Why do I say this? Because that is the end goal of the game outside of the main quest, itself a railroaded and forgettable journey that only exists in the state it does because Bethesda's writing team is collectively awful.

    (If you want proof of this, go to Fort Hagen before you find Valentine or get Dogmeat to follow the scent trails and you will find the elevator leading down to where Kellogg is has been hidden from the game. No finding your spouse’s killer by accident for you.)

    And if you follow the main quest of Fallout 4 as Bethesda wanted you to do, you have no choice but to let Preston and his people move into Sanctuary Hills, starting off the settlement building loop if you had not started doing that in other places yourself. Bethesda likes to claim that system is optional, but with this fact in mind, as well as 4 of 6 Fallout 4 DLCs with it as a focus, and a requirement that you have to use it if you want the Minutemen as your allies against The Institute…I hear that 'Tell Me Lies' tune winding up again.

    But as bad as the operant conditioning in Fallout 4 was, 76 is noticeably worse. Explore-Kill-Loot-Return is the whole point of the game, because that's how you get the things you need to build your CAMP, your weapons, etc.

    Now, with all of that established, let's change gears to the other half of this review: the Wastelanders content.

    A few points to go over before I begin:

    - If you had the game already installed, the old game client gets fully patched over before you can play the Wastelanders content, so that means a few hours to download another 55 GB 'patch'. (For shit sake Bethesda, not this again.)

    - The new dialogue checks are almost completely dependent on your SPECIAL stats, which is to be expected with how the game is designed, and with the story segments restricted to instances, once things happen you can't save scum to get the result you want. (Personally, this is a nice change over what we got with the quicksave-quickload method of doing things in Fallout 4, but it still means a butchering of the SPECIAL system and no way to specialize your character beyond percentage increase and ability-to-do-this perks.)

    - Some early SPECIAL checks require hyper-focus on one stat via at least 7 levels to achieve, though my first instance of this was not affected by the fact that my character was wearing a Vault 76 suit, and one I found later, which you can see below, depended on an 8 in PER, even though anyone with two brain cells to rub together could come to this decision. (Invest in INT if you must play this game. Not only does it have the most useful perks, many SPECIAL checks ask for a high INT number, usually 8.)



    - The game still runs as badly as I remember from the early days, though on PC it runs considerably worse, with constant lag spikes that will get you killed or cause issues with shots or melee attacks. (For reference, my CPU, which is a stock quad-core 3.7 GHz AMD Athlon, a little over 4 years old, was running at 92% load regularly with 76 running, which I never have happen outside of doing video rendering/DVD ripping. Not even Fallout 4 with almost 100 mods loaded into it, or HITMAN 2 from that same year, demanded that much from my CPU.) The XBOX One/PS4 don't seem to have this issue, so along with the PC version being an unoptimized mess, it must be something on Bethesda's end with their servers.

    - The base Fallout 76 content has not been removed, so the Responders and other major factions that you investigated the first time around will still be gone. (The achievements have already spoiled that you will find the Overseer, and it happens relatively quickly.) And as mentioned earlier, there are new NPCs in some quest locations where there weren't before, but they are unimportant and do not affect anything once your business with them, if any, is done.



    - If you know about the NewDialogue Interface mod on Nexus, which has eclipsed 4 million downloads on the same service, you'll be 'happy' to hear Bethesda, more or less, swiped it for Wastelanders. So be sure to give Cirosan and shadwar some love. God knows Bethesda won't.



    - The faction reputation system in Wastelanders is similar to the one from Splinter Cell: Double Agent on the XBOX 360, I.E. two binary meters representing two groups that rises and falls as you do things for or against either side. It also starts with the Raiders already hostile towards you, which compared to the Legion and NCR in New Vegas is a change that signals a bias towards the Settlers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyutdwjL6Jg

    - I'm detecting a whiff of 'wahmen power' with the ratio of important/friendly/in-power female NPCs you can have long talks with versus men. I noticed this in the base game as well with many of the audio logs, and thus I wonder if this is an early warning sign for wokeness in future entries of Fallout, and by extension Elder Scrolls.

    Now, let's begin.

    Wastelanders begins with a retcon to the Fallout 76 'story': The Overseer left the vault a year, not hours, before you do. The first NPC you can talk to, a Mr. Handy named Crutchley, says so, and the recording you hear over the intercom is followed by new bits of dialogue mentioning the message repeating every 24 hours before the system makes a corrupted playback noise. (This might have something to do with the life support systems in Vault 76 shutting off completely once the All-Clear signal was received, so either it never came or the Overseer sabotaged the Vault's systems before leaving.)

    When you leave the vault, or start playing again with an existing character, you will be pointed in the direction of two women accosting anyone coming out of the vault. They are asking about the location of some kind of treasure and implying the vault had one. And here is another instance of Bethesda spoiling the details of their newest content by blowing their load in the trailers and pre-release articles. The Wastelanders DLC involves a treasure in one of the vaults in the area, Vault 79, and whichever group you side with will eventually break into said vault and get the riches inside, which is the huge stockpile of gold bullion that was once housed in Fort Knox. Think GTA V's main quest, but with less interesting characters and the story about halfway along by the time you exit Vault 76.

    At the first location you visit, there's a holdup going on and you will be introduced to the first SPECIAL checks, one PER, one CHA, and one LUC, all 2+. If any of those are high enough, you can get an easier outcome to the situation, which is Mort stealth killing the raider. If you see a (-) next to the number, as you will during a later phase of the conversation, you have to have that stat or lower to get the result. Since it was a CHA check in this case, it was no doubt the 'Dumb' option, or knowing Bethesda, the 'Sarcastic' option. (I did not see another since then.)

    One thing I was disappointed to see was even though you have these options, you cannot select the ones you will fail due to low stats just because. This was something New Vegas allowed, which was funny in its own way, and not only that, you were given different dialogues for not meeting the base level of Skill or SPECIAL. In 76, no matter your SPECIAL level, you will always see what your character means to say.

    (Thank you, Cirosan and shadwar.)

    However, I did notice a blatant call-back to New Vegas' 'Ghost Town Gunfight' quest. After you finish finding out where the leader of the gang responsible for the holdup in the bar is, you can ask the bar owner, point blank, 'What if I chose to help this gang instead of you?' Since the answer in both games was obvious, I did not ask this question, though another aspect taken from the New Vegas quest was a choice of how to proceed with resolving the quest -- guns blazing or diplomacy -- and a few optional objectives that can be pursued before going in. Because the world of Fallout 76 is much larger than that of New Vegas, these optional objectives are much more spread out, though all of them are also on the way to the ultimate objective.

    Of course, even if you do the optional objectives, which get you a passcode to enter the compound without being shot and three Stealth Boys, you can easily sneak into the compound, into the area where the boss is, and run right for him and talk to him even if you've been spotted. As soon as you convince him of a deal, the guards go non-hostile until you shoot them. Fair enough.

    (I noticed a slight, yet colored, smoky aura around the lead Raider and his second-hand at this time. As if we needed Fallout to be any more gamey.)

    From there, you're sent to hunt down Dutchess' missing bodyguards before she helps you any further, and at this point I'm getting the feeling that this new content is being padded to stretch out its runtime. More so when once you return one of the two guards, who is just the head of an Assaultron and like the others in Fallout 4 sounds like the VO was a lisping drag queen, you have to find a new Assaultron body for it, or whatever you choose to settle with, before you get any more progress.

    (While we're on this subject, a point we brought up with our Fallout 4 review that still stands today was that General Atomics robots like the Mr. Handy were not built like ZAX, I.E., they do not have sophisticated AI systems that can mimic human emotions or speech/learning patterns. In the world of Fallout, machines like those were the size of ZAX for a reason, I.E. a call back to the vacuum tubed, room sized computers we had in the ‘40s and ‘50s.)

    What follows this is a trip back into Gauley Mine after dealing with Crane, who was in the position I thought he was after Dutchess hinted at such, then to a RobCo demo area where you can get a free two star legendary before hoofing it back to the bar. If you chose to spare the raiders and made a deal with them, as I did, they'll be there demanding what you found. If you tell them the truth and show the weapon, they'll accept it after another SPECIAL check, in this case STR -3, INT +4, or CHA +4. Going this route earns you some recognition with the Free Radicals, one of the raider gangs and the one I assume you will be helping in the end.

    (It remains to be seen, though from my time playing I highly doubt, if Bethesda will flesh this group out in any major way since at least two Raider gangs -- Blood Eagles and Mothman Cultists -- are always hostile.)

    After this, you can find the Overseer at her home, but then you get Wastelanders biggest roadblock: you must get far enough in the original quest line to be immune to the Scorched plague, I.E. you must finish at least the Ounce of Prevention quest, which at least gives that quest some value, and you must be at or higher than level 20. Usually, I don't mind level caps in RPGs, but this cap also means you must traipse around Appalachia and find things to do to get you to that level before you can resume the missions and until then, you cannot gain or lose any clout with the Raiders or Settlers.



    Aside from that, if like me you found the general feel of Fallout 76 to be boring and a waste of time back before Wastelanders was a thing, you likely walked away from this game within the first week or month and then watched in awe as Bethesda shit its pants over and over again trying to justify this game and fix their own IRL blunders. So, if you’re coming back now just for Wastelanders, by the time you hit level 20 you may be just as willing to say screw it and walk away again.

    And I was getting the feeling in waves upon seeing that by level 11, my stash at my CAMP was going past 550 of the allowed 800. On that note, Fuck You Zenimax/Bethesda. I may play as a hoarder, but I'm not coughing up 13 bucks to get that limit removed when I can stash thousands of pounds of stuff in all of your past games.

    (If you paid for Fallout 1st in any way, congratulations on being one of the many reasons why Bethesda and Zenimax treat their player bases the way they do. You are part of the problem, and will continue to be because you enable this to continue to be a thing. And lest we forget, they couldn’t even get that Fallout 1st stash box to work right on Day 1 as it ate items that got put into it, so why are you wasting your money?)

    (This will never not be hilarious though: https://falloutfirst.com/)

    This is also where how huge yet empty Fallout 76 still is starts to bite it in the ass. If you're a new blood to this game, to which I again will ask why you wasted your money, at best you'll be between level 8 and 11 by the time you reach this roadblock and if you bought Fallout 76 for the Wastelanders content, surprise. It’s back to the rest of the game, and the grind, for you.

    At the time of this review, I have passed this roadblock and gotten a few quests into Wastelanders, but at this point, it's clear to me there is no reason to keep playing. I know what the story is, and I know what will follow the breaking into of Vault 79. More endgame grind for scrip and gold bullion, just for weapons to do the same grind again and again. Dead Money/GTA V this is not, so I see no reason to further waste my time with this tripe.

    (Vault 79 also introduces T-65 Power Armor meant for the Secret Service...seriously? What next? X-80a Power Armor that was designed for astronauts? T-10p armor designed for sewage workers?)

    As far as I am concerned, and I'm certain many on this site would agree with me, this new content with Wastelanders, free or not, does not justify the $40 cost of a copy of this game, the 18+ months of frustrations and stupidity on the part of Bethesda players had to live through if they wanted to play the game, or the headaches and frustrations you will encounter to this day while playing a typical Bethesda game saddled with an Always-Online requirement.

    (By the way Bethesda, what is it with you and mistaking left-handed weapon construction/holding for the universal/right-handed? You made this mistake with the Bolt-Action/Hunting Rifle in Fallout 4, and now you're doing it again in 76 with the bows.)



    So, no. There is no recommendation for this game, much less any positive things to say about it. Not only does it continue, if not worsen, the trends present in Fallout 4, from the reasons to play to the low quality of writing, I will borrow an analogy that I keep seeing on Steam and elsewhere to sum up what Wastelanders is in relation to the base game of Fallout 76: If you have been abused by another for 18 months, and then they give you a box of cookies, does that excuse the previous months of abuse?

    I would hope not, but as is becoming clearer by the day, there are more clueless/sympathetic normies and sycophantic Stockholm cases than actual critics of this game. It’s the only reason I can see as to why it is getting its current positive reception despite what we saw happen since November 2018. That and, as I mentioned a while back, Steam limiting the reviews being allowed to count towards the now Mostly Positive score to copies brought on Steam, so the ones who got free copies thanks to having a copy on Bethesda.net and are still rightly angry at being sold a broken game 18 months ago and having thing after thing happen to them get nothing besides scorn and mockery from the gaming press and the people mentioned above.

    Keep that in mind when you hear positive things about Fallout 76 going forward. The truth hurts, and that is the truth.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 14
  2. Norzan

    Norzan Vault Fossil

    Apr 7, 2017
    They attached around 5 to 7 hours of passable content to this corpse of a game and the Bethesda drones are praising it like the second coming of Jesus Christ. Never ever i have seen such a chronic case of battered wife syndrome.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 8
  3. AgentBJ09

    AgentBJ09 Vault Dweller

    722
    Jul 9, 2015
    It's been that way for years. 76 just proved how sunk in the issue was.
     
  4. Proletären

    Proletären A Smooth-Skin

    690
    Mar 15, 2012
    Thank you AgentBJ09 for a great read! I won't be playing Fallout 76 anytime soon.




    How come big gaming sites are most often shilling for big developers and publishers?
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  5. AgentBJ09

    AgentBJ09 Vault Dweller

    722
    Jul 9, 2015
    Glad you liked it, and that I could save you some hours/money. When those new changes go live however, I'll be sure to add to this as needed.

    Otherwise, it's either because they're friendly with them, or tend to favor their attempts to damage gaming culture.
     
  6. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    There are aspects of 76's DNA which show improvement over 4. Appalachia is probably the best "world" that has appeared in East Coast Fallout, but it is obviously more devoid of content. That being said, stuff like Cranberry Bog, the rope-vine forest (cant' remember what it's called) where buildings and vehicles are all tangled up, and being able to see weather form in the distance is very very cool. As I've said before, give Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer or John Gonzalez the Applachian Wasteland map as a blank canvas and you've got a good recipe cooking. Similarly, the visual design of weapons and armor is a minor improvement. I noticed various weapons (notably the pump-action shotgun) moved away from the visually homogenuous duplo guns of 4 to more "realistic" designs. Of course, even though it's done shittily and still a step backward even from Fallout 3, the usage of SPECIAL and voice-free PC dialogue is an improvement too.

    But yeah as someone who clocked too many hours (Like 25) in this game. It's beyond shit.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  7. AgentBJ09

    AgentBJ09 Vault Dweller

    722
    Jul 9, 2015
    I noticed a lot of that as well, and it's mostly why I was quick to grab a shotgun early on. That and ammo now has weight and can't be sold to NPC vendors, plus 1,000+ shells aren't going to expend themselves.

    But after New Vegas, I can't see Bethesda willingly hiring the men who trounced their attempt at Fallout in the story/writing department, even if it meant a better product produced by their studio.
     
  8. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    The only way I could see it happening is that if Bethesda decides Fallout needs a brand repair and a new game, but BGS proper is occupied with Starfield and TES VI, so they outsource it to a third-party studio (that would never, and hopefully not be, Obsidian) who hire the now free-lance Chris Avellone.

    It's unlikely, but it's possible.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  9. Proletären

    Proletären A Smooth-Skin

    690
    Mar 15, 2012
    Maybe it's time for a revival of the Fallout Tactics franshicse since nu-xcom games are so popular now adays?
     
  10. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Bethesda would ruin that too.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  11. AgentBJ09

    AgentBJ09 Vault Dweller

    722
    Jul 9, 2015
    Plus who among their stable of companies has made a turn-based tactical RPG? New engine = loads more problems.
     
  12. Proletären

    Proletären A Smooth-Skin

    690
    Mar 15, 2012
    Fallout Tactics 2 you read it here first
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  13. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Gender Fluid Skeleton Man Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    I would be totally fine with Tactics 2 assuming it was good. So I won't wait for that to happen.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  14. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I remember many years ago that I had this idea for an expansion, this was before Black Isle's Fallout 3 was announced or perhaps around the same time, back when I was still rather obsessed with the Enclave from Fallout 2.

    This expansion would have been set not long after the ending of Tactics with the player creating a new character and having to investigate a series of events that would put him on the trail of an Enclave expedition force that had come to the Midwest (this took place before Fallout 2) to determine why they had lost contact with the Calculator.
    And on finding out that Vault 0 had been taken over by the BOS the Enclave were working towards reclaiming it.

    I had some random ideas for it which I by now consider pretty stupid.
    -The amount of intelligent Deathclaws would be explained by that they came from a research complex were the Enclave was creating new FEV. (basically what Bethesda has been doing ever since in every new Fallout entry)
    -There would be a raider gang that used a fleet of vehicles.
    -The Enclave were working on getting an ICBM base fixed up so that they could launch a missile at Vault 0 or fixing up a bomber capable of carrying a bomb with a nuclear warhead.

    During the game of course the player would be able to get their hands on various new equipment including of course the Enclave's advanced power armor.

    At the end it would be explained that this is why the Enclave decided to gas the US mainland with modified FEV as Vault 0 was their original plan of reclaiming the mainland from the mutants.
    They would just wait on their rig for the Calculator to wake up and send out its robots to eliminate all mutants and restore infrastructure such as roads, water pump stations, power plants, which the Enclave would then take control of.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  15. Steamroll

    Steamroll First time out of the vault

    4
    May 23, 2020
    The more reviews and reactions I read/see about this trainwreck of a game confirm to me it was never meant to be an MMO from the offset. The story would have been better set as a single player or 2-player coop with the original year one story and then progressing into whatever the hell this Wastelanders story would end up being after you kill the Scorchedbeast Queen.

    It's like they had all this work laid out and decided at all costs they needed to make the game online only.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  16. AgentBJ09

    AgentBJ09 Vault Dweller

    722
    Jul 9, 2015
    It was all about that whale meat. Nothing else.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  17. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I think even as a single player or co-op game this would have been a very poor game, a mostly empty sandbox because there are no NPCs to interact with other than robots and holodisc quest givers with most of the "entertainment" being collecting stuff and building your camps (but games like Minecraft probably do that better)
    Not much of a storyline, well you still have to defeat the Scorchbeasts and Scorchbeast Queen because the holodiscs of the Vault Overseer make clear that that is a goal, but as there are no NPCs to be invested in that could be killed or turned in Scorched there is not much of a rush to do that unless you want some ending screen.
    Mostly generic combat but that is pretty much the same as in Fallout 4 (and I guess also Fallout 3 and NV, that is probably NV's weakest point) that makes up most of the game. (and quests in which you probably have to recover various items or bring something to something)

    Now had there been NPCs like the Responders, BOS, those various settlements, etc... had it been more like Fallout 4 but with multiple players?
    Well there would definitely not be any permanent decisions or conclusions that would affect the gameplay of others. So no player who decides to kill all the Responders or becomes Elder of the BOS, because the deaths of the Responders would close of their missions to the other players and in Bethesda's power fantasy either everyone can become Elder of the BOS or no one as everyone would fight each other over the title and complain to Bethesda that it is not fair that only one of them can be Elder of the BOS.

    Likewise defeating the Scorchbeasts and ending their threat would be impossible, because again every player should be able to defeat the Scorchbeast Queen according to Bethesda's design philosophy.

    Players turning against each other. Other than some arena Bethesda would probably make sure that in the main game players can not sabotage each other (stealing the stuff from others or dismantling their camp) or let alone kill each other.
    Or on the other hand perhaps they would do that so that game length can be extended.
    I do not really know what their stance on this one is.


    Had this been a pure single player game with NPCs, a spin off like Fallout New Vegas but made by a team that handles the lore of the universe as Bethesda's main studio does I am pretty sure that the Fallout 4 fans would have dug it.
    Basically it would be more of the same with only a handful of changes such as switchable perks because you can only have a couple at any given moment (though people would probably create mods to change that or Bethesda would sell some extension in their shop), the shop I just mention in which you can trade in collected atoms or real money for ingame stuff, and probably a couple of other things I am forgetting about.

    Would it be better?
    Depends on if you like Fallout 4 I think.
    I would probably rate it on the same level as Fallout 3 and 4, Bethesda recycling a lot of content yet again, making more alterations to the lore, and in general giving you theme park post apocalyptic wasteland their customers enjoy.


    I am rambling on here a little bit, I apologize for that because it seems that I am not heading anywhere with this post.

    As a single player game (a spin off) with factions, NPCs, companions, etc. it would just be more what you would find in Fallout 4.
    As I do not care for that game I do not care for this game either and I think it would not be talked that much about here on NMA after we have followed its development and some people played it for themselves.

    So I really do not think that as a Single Player game or a co-op game this game could have been that much better.
    A lot of the basic design philosophy itself is already flawed to begin with, a lot of it being so generic and a copy and paste job of previous Fallout games, not to mentioning Bethesda copying from other games and other media and in a blunt way too (some is not so much "inspired" as just duplicated), the inclusion of nonsensical elements such as cryptids and the supernatural which other than as an easter egg reference has no place in the Fallout universe).
    Most likely very boring factions and NPCs such as yet another "heroic" BOS and nefarious scheming Enclave, and a lot of creatures that only exist to be shot at.
    And a plotline that could come from a Resident Evil game followed up by an expansion which plotline is a copy of that of Dead Money.

    It is just more generic Bethesda Fallout.


    Oh I almost forgot, the whole ICBM missile code collecting and missile launching with only temporary effects would probably be topic of annoyance here on the forum as it already does now in a way, Bethesda cheapening the concept of a nuclear attack yet again.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  18. ResetRPG

    ResetRPG In Jazz, the wrong notes are the SPICY notes!

    127
    Dec 16, 2018
    Seriously, the fact that this game was release speaks volumes about Bethesda as a company, just another AAA racket swallowed up by the Late Capitalist Industry
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1