Fallout 76: Should you buy the game at launch?
I'm gonna be completely honest here. I'm a HUGE Bethesda Game Studios fan and love everything they have been doing so far. They create games that I actually get lost into, that being said, I was pretty disappointed when they announced that Fallout 76 is going to be an always online multiplayer game.
I was so shocked and angry and disappointed and heartbroken that I actually was on the verge of boycotting the game.
Fast forward to now, when the final BETA session is over and we wait for the game's release date of 14th November, there's only one question in everybody's mind. Should we buy the game at launch? To answer that I'll divide this article into two parts - the good and the bad.
What pops into one's head when they think of Bethesda Game Studio's game? Let's accept the fact that playing their games make us feel like going off on an adventure. That's what I realised after spending 1000+ hours in Skyrim and about 500 hours in Fallout 4.
Their games tend to draw us into its world, with its locations, ambience soundtrack, mysteries to uncover, etc. It's because their worlds are the main elements of their games unlike the player you craft or the NPCs you meet. That's what I feel at least, and I believe many of you would be able to relate.
Now Fallout 76's Appalachia is a ghostly depiction of West Virginia.
You're the only one left in the entire world, and it's up to you and your real life buddies in the game to find out what actually happened.
Now instead of everyone complaining that not having any NPCs in the game sucks, and is a lazy way to portrait a story, did anyone actually ever thought how cool it is to be all alone in a beautifully crafted world?
Yes, Fallout 76's Appalachia is beautiful and diversified. Yes, I meant that graphically.
I have always adored Bethesda Game Studios' handcrafted environments with jaw-dropping draw distances and Fallout 76 is a stunner when it comes to these things. The only thing I never liked in their games (graphically speaking) were the doll-like characters, which to my relief are absent in this game. (If you can't fix them, remove them)
So since there are no NPCs how does the story work?
Well, you get contracts via holotapes or notes scattered across the map and you gotta explore different places to find out what happened there.
This is where the game shines.I was so worried that making this a multiplayer game would strip away Bethesda's magic of making you feel like an adventure but this doesn't happen here.
In fact, this is actually far better. There are some seriously spooky locations and incredible environment story tellings hidden away in plain sight just begging for you to discover in the game. This is an adventure like none other.
What else Bethesda does really well? You guessed it, the soundtrack.
I believe my adventures in Skyrim and Fallout 4 wouldn't actually have been adventures if not for their beautifully crafted ambience soundtrack and in case of Fallout 4 - it's handpicked collection of classic country songs.
Inon Zur returns for the score of Fallout 76 and honestly, it's everything you have known to love and live with, in fact, it sounds even better, more original than Fallout 4 which sounded more or less like Fallout 3.
Now I'm someone who loved Fallout 4's combat and its perk system. I was astounded with the wide variety of options I had in choosing the right skill for my character, which is actually always the case in Bethesda's games.
That's actually the case here too. Fallout 76 features perk cards which sounded creepy at first but is actually not a bad thing. A lot of creative power has been dedicated to making them as is witnessed if you have played the BETA. You can also share the perk cards abilities with your friends. Cool, right?
Talking about friends, To be honest, Fallout 76 neither feels like a proper single player game nor a multiplayer game, it's actually a hybrid of both.
The thing I like about this on a broader term is that the game doesn't feel dead like most of the multiplayer games; it has the colour of a proper single player game and it's also a part "Games as a service" model, which is good because the game would never die.
As Bethesda already confirmed that the game will be supported "forever", it will be interesting to see how they release the future content daily, weekly or monthly after you have explored every nook and cranny of this huge game after launch.
One thing's for sure, Bethesda will try their best to keep players coming back to their game no matter what, and honestly, I love this.
Never before have I felt so excited about a multiplayer service game.
After praising all the good stuff about the game, I probably would have made an impression that the game is near perfect but that's not the case.
You see Fallout 76 is a fun game, but since it's a hybrid of two genres, it doesn't excel completely anywhere. First and foremost, the game has a striking amount of bugs and glitches, frame rate issues and a lot more.
People won't forgive BGS this time given that they are a huge AAA company with lots of money. If one thing they can do is make the game stable and playable which by the looks of the game as of now, is not the case.
Now since Fallout 76 has the heart of a single player game, it severely lacks in the multiplayer department. The random events that occur throughout the game have absolutely no creativity. All you get is a load of enemies coming after you wave after wave and you gotta shoot them with your friends, if you are alone you will probably wind up dead sooner than expected.
This is not what a co-op gaming is all about. There have to be strategies to be made, co-operation to be done, proper tactics to be applied if you want to survive together. This is severely lacking in Fallout 76 as of now. All of the group activities in the game feels bland and empty as of now and Bethesda needs to focus on this, especially for the end game content.
It feels as if Bethesda didn't entirely think it all out before making it a multiplayer game. It's like "Oh! we should make a Fallout multiplayer game with no NPCs" and boom! That's it.
There's no text chat option in the game so if you have no microphone then good luck trying to have a conversation with your mates. Although Bethesda has confirmed this feature will be added later, it's easy to see how they never thought about these things, it's like they were not thinking straight about this game.
Even the boss battles in the game feel like they weren't designed for a group of people, rather the difficulty was scaled up when they realised that they are making a multiplayer game
Just like these major issues, there are smaller issues too in the game, such as when you're into a story segment and trying to listen to a holotype or read a note, your friend might be blabbering in his/her mic and break your immersion. Now if he/she is your friend you might just ask them not to, but what if it's a stranger? How awkward would that be?
Bethesda needs to work on these things otherwise the game won't grab the attention of either the single player fans or the multiplayer ones in the end.
So the final question, should you buy the game at launch? No, personally I think it's better to wait at least 2-3 months before diving in the game. Of course, if you want to avoid the glitches and game breaking bugs of the game.
By the end of first two-three months, Bethesda probably would have fixed the major issues of the game on all the platforms and you would probably have gotten the feel of what type of events and endgame contents Bethesda has planned for the game.
Of course, this is just my personal opinion and it could vary from person to person. All I can say is I love Fallout 76 for what it is now, all I want them to do is the fix the minor issues that make the game well polished and smooth and I'm in.