Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Fallout 76 - Richee Review

Fallout 76 came out to overtly negative reviews. It was a game I was always going to buy, as I love the Bethesda Fallout games, but, having never played the original two games, I feel I can't say I'm a Fallout fan until I play through, them which I aim to to do one day soon. Until then though, I'm a Bethesda Fallout fan. Created from the assets of Fallout 4 this latest takes the franchise in an unusual direction, delving into the survival online multiplayer games, in the vein of 7 Days to Die, Ark, Conan and more closely Rust (apparently, I've never actually played Rust).

So the game's story unfolds through holotapes, notes and computer terminal entries. Having left your vault twenty-five years after the bombs fell, you're charged with tracking down your Overseer who left before you and become part of the group known as the Responders. You can also find some really interesting back stories through out the world of West Virginia while on your journey. The game has caught a lot of flack for having no non-playable characters to hand out the quests. I dismissed this as, there's robots and terminals who we can get quests from, but I must admit I do miss having them in the game. Ultimately, you feel like you have no impact on this world, no chance to make it better, or, conversely, no chance to make it worse, which all the previous Fallout games capitalised on immensely.

Most of the fun I get from Fallout is exploring the world and finding all the secret locations hidden though out the map. Fallout 76 has cool and strange locations, but there is rarely any pay off; you never find a boss enemy waiting at the end of a dungeon or anything worth while as a whole in the end. Some of the quests can feel repetitive the back and fourth, with missions at Morgantown Airport being the best example of this. Multiple quests are bugged and can't be completed, with the "Bureau of Tourism" quest having a broken ticket dispenser you can't interact with. [Edit: since writing this Bethesda have unleashed another massive patch which had fixed this quest, but this issue only adds to the frustration of the game, as they have had to send down two 50gb patches for a game in it's first week of release.]

The graphics have also copped a lot of flack because of Bethesda's ageing engine, which I don't have a problem with myself; the world itself looks beautiful, but every now and again there's some pop up issues and some of the textures can look poor on closer looks, but the game looks fine. I also don't see an issue with the way the V.A.T.S. has been modified, as you can't pause the entire world every time you use it. They've also kept the critical hit meter in the game, which I didn't notice during the beta.

My biggest issue with the game is the crafting. In every survival game you can build any number of bases where and when you want. With 76, not only are you limited to one base, but also to where you can place that base down, and how big you can make it, having a really small camp size especially if you try to build it onto another in game existing camp which will take up most of your building capacity. The armor and weapon modding is done by breaking down other weapons or finding plans or recipes to be able to build extra bits, which is fine.

I had a massive issue with carry weight and how much you can store in your camp, because why make it so people can make multiple chests like in any other survival game, when you can stick them with one stash box that links to all the other stash boxes in the game, which pop up randomly now and again. This was a terrible idea in my opinion, as I love to collect legendary weapons to upgrade which I just sell now, or multiple outfits to choose from, but now I now just stick with my ritual garb, having broken down everything else. 

I love the new card base level up system and the mutations you can get through exposed radiation exposure are brilliant and add a fun way to get some interesting power ups. Taking in game photos has also been a great addition to the game, and I love finding weird things to take a picture with it. All the new monsters that have been introduced are interesting, from the slimy Grafton Monster to the absolutely terrifying Wendigo. Plus, all the old enemies are here to make life hell, from the horrible Anglers to the gargantuan Mirelurk Queen and to the absolutely horrible Assaultron (god I hate Assaultrons).

This game is a great idea done wrong, or not wrong, but sloppy. The world is interesting and the monsters are great, but the storytelling is less gripping. Again, the base building is all round poor, which in a survival game is disappointing. There's plenty to do, from daily events to larger workshops you can take over, but the world can feel empty at times. This is a tough one; I want to rate it high because of my love for who Bethesda are, plus I can't put it down, and I haven't played Red Dead Redemption 2 since I brought Fallout 76. If only they would have got the base building and storage down. I honestly can't rate this game properly: it's a 4/10, being a below average survival and Fallout game, but at the same time I'm really enjoying it and want to give it a 7/10 with it having plenty of potential to get so much better. I think this is one of those games you need to play for yourself I can see all the issues, but I can't stop playing it. Richee

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