Game Reviews

Fallout 76 Review: Is this an out of season April Fools joke?

I’ve played some bad games, I mean, I played League of Legends for years, but not many releases have gotten under my skins as much as Fallout 76 has.

I would be lying to say that I was looking forward to Fallout 76’s launch. I’m not a huge fan of the Fallout series already, and it was hard to go a day without hearing all of the negativity surrounding the games release, but I tried my best to go in to the game hoping that I was going to play a game that blew everyone’s low expectations out of the water.

Honestly, I would never hope for a game to be bad. As someone who loves video games, I want all games to be great.

Too bad this one isn’t.

At all.

Not even close.

First few hours

Starting out Fallout 76 felt like ripping off a bandaid, except the ripping never stopped so the more time that passed the more it hurt.

PC options are shit. There isn’t any 21:9 resolution support, and an abundance of options are missing.

The game has some of the worst depth of field I’ve ever seen.

As a person that normally wears glasses I can say that this game does an excellent job at simulating what it’s like to forget them at home. Everything more than 10 feet away is blurry, but give me a few seconds of staring into the distance and I’ll be able to make it out.

But that’s okay because you’ll be able to turn off the depth of… oh wait you can’t turn that off.

There’s also a complete lack of VSync options.

You also won’t be able to change your field of view because Bethesda still thinks that it’s not worth their time to try and make their game more stomachable for people who get motion sickness easily.

Well atleast changing the settings that are there is easy enough. Wait a second, I have to do a full restart for basically any setting changes at all? Nice.

Once you actually get into the game you’re met with a blurry, aliased, world with extremely short draw distance and a ton of pop in. Oh, and REALLY bad performance.

The game chugs every so often when, what I think at least, it’s loading up a new part of the map. That isn’t really the nicest first experience though considering all the map is new when you’re just playing for the first time.

Turning a blind eye to beauty

Like I said earlier, the aliasing is pretty bad here, and the horrible depth of field makes things really hard to stomach at times. Draw distance is often times terrible and it doesn’t get much better from there.

While the world you’re exploring is really cool and diverse for the most part, the grandest of landscapes feel muddy, washed out, and downright ugly. To be fair, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Fallout’s graphical style, but here it just seems like they aren’t doing the environment justice.

It’s Appalachia, and as someone whose grown up in East Tennessee their entire life it feels like they really missed out on the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, especially since it looks like the trees have a little bit of those Fall colors going on. Nothing’s more beautiful than a Appalachian Fall, and that beauty isn’t here at all.

The screenshots you’ll see of the game are nothing like what’s here. What you end up seeing is some brown leaves, grey soil, and when you finally get to a ridge to overlook the hilly West Virginia you’ll feel like you’re looking through a giant smudge on your screen because of the poor draw distance and field of view.

Another issue I have with Fallout 76’s style is that it never feels bright outside. Even during peak hours something just doesn’t feel quite right outdoors.

I think what it is that bothers me is how there aren’t any vibrant colors in the world. Everything feels like it was mixed with a little bit of brown and grey, and a lot of people may really like that style, but for me it makes even the most interesting places in the game feel just a little more drab and boring.

Where’s the fun?

If you’ve ever played an early access survival game on Steam you know what you’re getting into here. You’re definitely not getting a Fallout game that’s for sure.

The best thing I can compare it to is Rust. Where as Rust is more PvP based, Fallout 76 is far more interested in quests and missions.

I do feel bad about comparing it to Rust though because I actually had fun playing Rust.

During my time with Fallout 76 I grew to hate the quests. For the first few hours every quest is, “go into a building, find a tape, and listen to it.” I get that they’re trying to make me care about the story, but this isn’t the way to do it.

Seeing the effects on the world was a much better storytelling device. Every now and again I would walk up to what was a more populated area and the remains of the people who once inhabited the area were scattered across the streets.

They were basically vaporized by the bombs and all that was left were radioactive shells of their last moments.

I got a lot more from what happened to the area seeing these places than I did listening to a ton of cheesy sounding recordings.

Fallout 76’s problem is it never really lets you off the leash. Every time I finished a quest I got told to go to a new area to do a new quest. If it wasn’t that, I would accidentally walk into a group event quest.

These were especially annoying moments. Much of the time I was just trying to take in what is actually an interesting world, but I would end up being cut off by screaming into my radio signal followed by an onslaught of gun shots because I happened to step into an event area.

These aren’t marked on your map either, so there’s no avoiding them.

Maybe you get set free a little further, but I’ve played a lot of the game and I’m not going to play more to find out.

You shouldn’t have to grind through annoying quests just to not have to do them.

And you might think that you can just not do the quests, and you’re right that’s technically an option.

If you do that though, get ready to deal with MMO levels of screen clutter as missions fill up the right side of your screen.

And plus, there’s the aforementioned group quests scattered into the world that you can’t avoid easily.

Another key issue in Fallout 76 is the building. In most survival games like Rust, your home is your fortress. It’s where you go for safety, where you plan your next move, and where you store your belongings. In Fallout 76, your home doesn’t feel all that important.

PvP isn’t a big part of the game so it doesn’t serve as much of a safe place, so it ends up being just a glorified backpack.

It’s not like you could build anything that cool as many of the cosmetic building options are behind pay walls. Plus, the building mechanics suck. Building in Rust is quick and easy if you have the materials. Fallout 76 locks off the ability to open the doors when you’re in build mode. And if that’s not frustrating enough, you don’t know for sure if you’re picking up the materials you need while you scavenging in the world.

Wood isn’t labeled as wood and metal isn’t labeled as metal. You just have to make the assumption that what you’re picking up is made out of what you need.

Games like rust also do scavenging a lot better. Cutting down a tree in Rust, well, cuts down the tree. In Fallout 76 you have to get wood from pre-designated trees on the ground. When you get the wood from them they don’t disappear or anything, they just start a timer for when you’ll be able to get more wood from them later.

Loading…

If you’re a fan of loading screens you’ll love Fallout 76. There’s plenty to go around. Thanks to Bethesda’s ingenious choice to use its elderly Creation Engine again, loading screens are frequent and long. The initial loading screen to get into the game apparently isn’t enough because every major building interior requires a loading screen to get into and out of.

Grand Theft Auto V came out in 2013. It had no loading screens after the initial one to get into the world.

Losing control

Let’s imagine that Fallout 76 is gorgeous, has all its PC settings in tact, runs well, and doesn’t have terrible loading screens. It’s still not going to be fun to play.

Fallout 76 has some of the strangest decisions in its controls I’ve ever seen.

They somehow made navigating menus hard.

Sometimes you press Tab to back out of a menu, sometimes it’s Escape, and other times its Space.

Why?

Not only this, but the weapon wheel is horrible.

To switch weapons you can use your number row like normal or you can use a weapon wheel. The weapon wheel is pulled up by scrolling the mouse wheel, and as someone who generally uses the mouse wheel to switch weapons I opted for this initially.

Too bad it’s a pain to use. The weapon wheel opens up and you move your mouse and click on the weapon you want to pull out. Sounds simple enough, but your mouse isn’t auto-centered when you open up the wheel. This means every time you want to switch weapons this way you’ll spend a moment trying to find your mouse on the screen before you actually pick a weapon.

Aiming down sights also never felt right to me.

Actually, sensitivity in general never felt right.

I spent so much time adjusting the DPS on my mouse and playing in the settings menu just to try and get it right, and the conclusion I came up with is that ADS speed is too slow and vertical look speed is too fast.

These aren’t individually addressable in the settings menu so I just had to deal with it.

Animations are also bad. Enemies in the distance are just standing around having miniature seizures. Once you get close enough to them they’ll figure out how to function, somewhat, and start fighting you, sometimes.

Often times the enemies won’t even notice you or they’ll just run around in circles.

If they do work properly though, it looks like they used Pivot to animate them.

Conclusion

Don’t buy this game. It’s a joke, a scam, a ripoff, and a waste of money. If i were you, I wouldn’t buy another Bethesda game until they fix their shit because they’ve already said they’ll be using the same engine on Starfield and Elder Scrolls IV.

Watch out though, you might be labeled an “entitled gamer” if you don’t suck it up and stomach this dog shit game.

But hey, the Appalachia radio station is kind of cool I guess.

 


Video coming soon…

 

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