Thursday 29 November 2018

Fallout 76 ★★★☆☆

In case you’ve somehow missed the hype (and fan fury), ‘Fallout 76’ is now out, Bethesda’s latest game that serves as a spin-off rather than a mainline game (despite people seeming to forget this). Unlike the other games in the series, ‘Fallout 76’ is the first to be multiplayer and online, with up to 24 players on the map at any one time. Now you can interact with your team, trade items, kill others and so on, with the online play making higher level areas and the end game play easier once you have nuclear resources.

The rest of the game is fairly similar to previous games, apart from one thing – there are no human NPCs. Instead, there are just enemies and robots, with the majority of your quests coming from them as well as books and holotapes. This can make the world feel lonely at times but it’s still a strong story, just a different way of executing it which may discourage some people from playing.

The map of Appalachia is four times as big as in the ‘Fallout 4’ universe, packed with loads of different locations which can contain quests, loot, or an event (quests in a certain area that can be undertaken by everyone in the area, similar to ‘Destiny’ world events). It takes lots of cues from other MMOs with its world design which has both pros and cons – as it’s not your own world enemies and items respawn very quickly which, although it means it’s possible to restock your stuff quicker, it also makes exploring the world tiresome when you keep having to fight enemies in the same area. Fast travel costs caps so exploring is encouraged.

The settlement mechanic returns this time round as C.A.M.P.S, a mobile base be packed up, including inventory management and crafting tools whenever you need them. The stashbox, which is always safe from others, is your storage and can hold 400 items, although this can’t be upgraded and it fills up pretty quickly. Once you’ve built something you can save it and then store it away, ready to be opened exactly as you designed it next time you need it, which is actually quite a good idea.

Unfortunately, building is one of many mechanics within the game that should have been worked on before release – it’s very buggy, and even more so than a standard Bethesda game. Some bugs that have been encountered are ending up with negative weight, losing items when logging off, enemies with giant extended necks, and even one player who can’t take any damage whilst playing. A lot of the bugs affect gameplay and performance so hopefully, this will be sorted out. 

If you’ve played ‘Fallout 4’ on Survival Mode then you’ll notice lots of similarities, such as hunger, thirst, and disease. Food now goes off (and very fast, at that) so you have to be strategic in how you use it. Under level 50 you get S.P.E.C.I.A.L points each time you level up and a perk card that you can assign to the category – once level 50 and over you just get a selection of perk cards every five levels, meaning there is almost uncapped character progression.

Another new feature is the concept of challenges, which come as daily, weekly, and standard. These reward you with atomic points which can then be spent in the store to buy cosmetic items. Some of the items cost a lot of atomic points though, meaning that (yep, you guessed it) you can also buy these points with your own real money. Bethesda have said that they have a roadmap of updates and improvements and will update regularly with new events and content – this is the first real online game for Bethesda Game Softworks so it will be interesting to see what they have learnt from Zenimax, the sister studio that does ‘Elder Scrolls Online’.

I can’t completely recommend the game as there are so many glitches in its current state, but hopefully, future updates will improve this. From exploring unopened vaults to fighting the new, quite creepy range of enemies, there’s something in ‘Fallout 4’ to please every fan. Just remember – it may be part of the ‘Fallout’ franchise but it’s really its own game. Lose the expectation of it being one of the ‘Fallout’ games you know and love, and you’ve got hours of fun to enjoy. 

Sam Love

Fallout 76 at CeX

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