Fallout 76 is something entirely new. It’s an almost unprecedented attempt by Bethesda to shake up everything fans know about the beloved Fallout series. The BETA is upon us and as a fan of Fallout myself, I was itching to get in and see what the fuss is all about. My initial impressions are surprisingly positive but at the same time there are some things about it that will take some getting used to.
I loaded up the Fallout 76 BETA fully expecting the game to crash a couple of times. I expected to encounter a few bugs that forced me out of the game only to have to load back in, but I was wrong. If I’m being honest, I was skeptical that Fallout 76 would make it on to store shelves in 2018 but after spending some time with it, I can see that this game is basically finished and ready to go. The BETA is the full game so no limitations here. I experienced a few frame rate drops and a couple of pop ins here and there but nothing that isn’t to be expected from a pre-release game. My only issues with Fallout 76 are associated with its multiplayer concept and how it is going to change a series that I’ve always known to be quite lonely and personal.
There’s a question I asked myself before jumping into Fallout 76 and the answer is likely different for everyone. Why do we play multiplayer games? To spend time with friends, to meet new people interested in the same games we are, or even break away from a lonely single player experience.
Whatever that reason may be, Fallout 76 doesn’t feel like a traditional multiplayer experience. During my time with the BETA I encountered a few real people, but I have noticed that there are areas of the map that are much more dense and populated with other players than others. Mission hubs are where many of the other “real players” can be found but I found myself venturing off to just really explore this new world and what it has to offer. The new setting features a map that is very large and open with a ton to explore. Bethesda has its fair share of secrets and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they incorporate these into the multiplayer aspects of the game.
The environments are much brighter and alive in Fallout 76. This game is busting with Fallout lore from the moment you take control, walking through Vault 76. As I was walking through the vault I wouldn’t have been able to differentiate this game from any other installment in the franchise. It’s when you climb out of the vault that things start to feel so very different.
There’s something about this world that just feels new. Fallout 4 to me was just a more refined Fallout 3 featuring a few new mechanics, but the whole concept behind Fallout 76 is different. Sometimes when I was exploring alone I felt like I was truly in a new traditional Fallout experience, but at other times I felt the opposite. I’ve spent a very limited time with the game but after it was all said and done, I put down the controller and the next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It had its hooks in me.
The graphics aren’t heavily upgraded this time around but I appreciate the level of detail put into this new setting. I’m used to a limited color palette, death everywhere and danger around every turn. While there is still a ton of danger here it doesn’t feel as threatening. I imagine this changes once I reach the level that enables PVP, but for now I feel free to explore to my hearts content. There’s a lot to love here, I tend to gravitate toward multiplayer experiences that unleash my friends and I in an open world to wreak havoc and tell our own story. GTA V was one of our favorites and Fallout 76 is feeling like it could be my next go to multiplayer game.
When I jump into a Fallout game I tend to take my time, and explore every nook and cranny. I might run off on a side quest that takes me through hours of story not otherwise associated with the mainline game. Fallout 76 has me jumping in with an entirely different approach. If I’m playing with a friend, we set some goals and objectives we want to get accomplished from the start. There’s very little improvising and for better or worse it’s something entirely different from a traditional Fallout experience. It’s a very new take on the Fallout formula and I have to give Bethesda credit for taking a risk here. Hopefully it pays off. I came away enjoying my time with it and I’m excited to play more when the game launches.