The Vault Door Is Open

Uncovering the disappointment in Fallout: 76

Aron Navarrete-Jimenez, Staff Writer

Following the hype behind the announcement of Fallout 76, everybody within the gaming industry was excited to see what Bethesda has been brewing after the mild success of Fallout 4. With many veterans of the franchise and new players alike becoming extremely interested behind the new Bethesda game that would become their first developed online experience, expectations were high and people were thrilled to see what Bethesda could do with such new idea. Unlike The Elders Scrolls Online, this title would be solely composed by the Bethesda studio, creating even more expectations as many were excited to see what new ideas the company can bring forward within the multiplayer realm. With Bethesda being known for providing authentic single-player games, there was no reason to why one would be against such a new game idea within the company, with many expecting Bethesda to blow the world away with its new take on the franchise. Although, as soon as different rumors and more presentations/discussions came out about the game, many began to question the integrity of the planned release as some of the information was concerning for many, showcasing a different game compared to the one announced at E3 2018. After a month of the game being released, have these concerns become the reality of the game or has everybody just been over-exaggerating about Fallout 76?

To tell the cold hard truth, Fallout 76 is a complete failure, both for the franchise and as a game in general. To start out, the whole game was released unfinished. From bugs and glitches that plague the wasteland to content provided within the game being desultory to the franchise, it is clear that Bethesda shipped an unfinished game to the world hoping that nobody would notice what they were trying to do. But of course, the demographic is not that stupid and noticed immediately what Bethesda has done, giving Fallout 76 the needed criticism to show other developers on what not to do when developing and releasing a game.

To start out, gameplay and general feel of the game is the same compared to the past title, Fallout 4, with many of the mechanics returning but in a somehow a less-polished manner than before. Much of the game-play issues within the predecessor still appear within the new title (like the building mechanic being all buggy), but with the other bugs being present as well, it gave a feeling of clunkiness similar to past games produced in 2011 but instead with no QA testers. The content itself within the game doesn’t live up to past titles as well. Due to the limiting power of the Creation Engine used to compose the game and the idea that players would create their own content, many corners were cut within the world of Fallout 76 like with the game having no sort of NPCs at all to interact with. Even though this sort of work/idea is doable, it takes a lot of time to implement correctly within a multiplayer game like this and through using an old engine like the Creation Engine, it is understandable why Bethesda didn’t do a very good job at implementing correctly, but it still very unacceptable as AAA games like this should never be sold at full price in its such a  state. With many of Bethesda’s titles being known for the vast amounts of stories given by these NPCs that influence these single-player experiences, cutting them completely out of the Fallout 76 was a huge mistake as the world feels completely empty without them. Although there are physical players that barely compensate for this lack of NPCs, much of the world feels vacant, making the whole experience feel really empty. Not only that, with NPCs being the main drive for stories and quests with these sort of games, having none of them around really brings nothing new or adventurous to explore and discover, with the only sense of a story being presented through recorded holotapes and quests that try to create meaning for the character but instead leaves a sour taste for the player. This then leaves only one incentive in progression/exploring within the game, one in which the player strives to obtain a new level and obtain better gear, instead of traditionally exploring the world to get indulged with its lore like past Bethesda games have done.

When it comes to the other content that the game offers, most of what you perform is expected from an online action role-playing game but feels very generic offering nothing new or well-produced like other past games. Most of what you do is exactly like what you do in any Fallout game; accept a quest, explore the quest area and finish the quest to further yourself within the story or progression system. Although with the story not being entirely there, the only thing left is to explore the world instead or progress to the end game. But since the progression system doesn’t offer much except give you better weapons and perks to try out and assist you within game-play, there is not much to look forward to when moving along. One quite literally has to create their own content within the game, but in a way that seems forced instead of the traditional way of handing players the environment/content needed to create that type of content if wanted. Although with exploring the different areas given to you within the wasteland being the best part of the game by far, it is still not much content when it comes to AAA games like the Fallout franchise. Due to this, many people find the game bland and uninteresting, boring you out of your mind as you try to find some sense in why you should keep playing this game.

This has lead to many players to quit in just a month of the game’s release as they are unhappy with the product given to them by Bethesda. With the core game-play being an unpolished version of the previous title, to the game offering little to no content for its players to stay indulged in, and to the amount of bugs/problems present with the game’s stability and structure, Fallout 76 is a complete mess that was clearly rushed out of the gate to compete with other titles being released at the same time, failing as a AAA game due the unfinished/bland nature of it all.