Review By David O’Flaherty
On the eve of Fallout 76 release, I was asked the question does Fallout work as a multiplayer game. The answer is surprisingly yes!
Introducing Fallout 76, the latest serving of the Fallout franchise since Bethesda took on the reigns of this iconic franchise. Set as a prequel to all other Fallout games Fallout 76 takes you on a journey around the West Virginia landscape 25 years after the bombs fell.
Let’s start with the bad or confusing points. Firstly the game runs on the same graphics engine used since fallout 3 so as you may expect from that knowledge the graphics do look dated but the game feels like a final hurrah and fond farewell for the engine as they’ve squeezed every last bit of graphical ability out of the engine although I could be wrong.
Gameplay is as you’d expect from fallout games. The SPECIAL stats are still there but instead of the normal perk system they now have perk cards so you can adjust your perks to the situation rather than being stuck into your choices. The game is also permanently in survival mode so water and food are necessary to be at full strength with high levels of thirst and hunger affecting various stats until you satisfy them. Also making a return are weapon and armour durability so you have to monitor them to make sure they don’t break just when you need them most.
The famous V.A.T.S system has returned but is now in real time due to being online so doesn’t slow time like in previous iterations. This brings us to the heart of the issue with this game. Does being constantly online and it being multiplayer stop it feeling like Fallout? In my opinion no it doesn’t, the map itself is absolutely huge so it’s quite easy to play an entire session and never see another player other than their marker on the map. The only issue is that if you have the chat system set to auto then you will hear every random cough and shout that other players on your server make because they’ve left out the push to talk option. Although switching that setting to either team only or off completely so you don’t hear them solves that problem.
The other aspect of online is PvP which is handled pretty well by the Fallout 76. To initiate a fight you have to attack another player which causes little damage unless the player attacks back which then initiates PvP so all attacks become full damage. You can also activate pacifist mode in options which prevents you activating PvP although it doesn’t stop other players attacking you until you die. On the plus side of someone kills you without you being in PVP mode they become a wanted murderer and appear on everyone’s map as a bounty.
The game does have bad points, for example, the only NPCs to interact with are mainly robots although I did find a random super mutant that appeared to be a merchant. There are no humans in the game other than the players so all story content and missions come from tapes, notes, robots, random encounters and terminals, this makes the whole game feel empty in a sense but at the same time it feels right for this period in the fallout timeline and the story is both well told and expansive even with the lack of NPCs.
Base building has made a return from Fallout 4 and it’s both well integrated and works well with the premise of the Fallout 76. I preordered the game to access the beta and even though I’ve read online that some players have been disappointed and cancelled their preorders I’m not disappointed at all and I’m looking forward to the games full release. As such the games a mixed bag but it’s well put together even with the current bugs and confusion surrounding the game.
Overall I give it a 7.5/10 in its current state but I hope that Bethesda really get behind this game because it works well and is a pleasant surprise