As I find myself waiting for the huge 48gb patch to get done, I feel like maybe it is time to open my voice and share my experience with the newest addition to the wonderful Fallout universe. For less than a week now, I've been jumping unto the game daily and even before that... I enjoyed the B.E.T.A. experience.
Before I begin, it should probably also be noted that I got aboard this Doomsday Train with the gloomy (but quite excellent) Fallout 3 and have played the crap out of both New Vegas and Fallout 4, even though it doesn't show from my achievements.
Anyways, enough of that, let's dive into Vault 76!
You are an inhabitant of Vault 76, one of the first vaults to open... if not THE first. Also, your vault experience have been quite good, meaning... no weird experiments or depressing problems along the way. You basically turned out great and is not looking forward to exiting Vault 76, to make a new life for yourself in the hilly countryside of West Virginia.
You do wake up a little late though, after a long celebratory night - finding that you are the only one left. Instead of going all Home Alone - Vault Style - you pull on the ol' vault suit and make your way towards the exit, picking up a few things along the way.
The sun is shining and from the looks of it, West Virginia weathered the storm and is doing fine. It doesn't take long before you realize that it really isn't fine... not even for your dear Overseer lady, who left early. As you make your way towards her first C.A.M.P. site, you realize that there might not be many people out here... except your fellow vault 76 companions.
It is time to man up and figure out how to rebuild the world!
If you have played 3, 4 and New Vegas - you should be very familiar with this gameplay. You are presented with a huge world to explore, but instead of NPC's to guide you along... the game itself hold your hand and offer you meaningful quests along the way. Some will open up as you visit a certain area, finding a holotape or simply by being part of the world. You can choose to follow the path presented to you, or... as I do most of the time... simply make your own path. There are no rules really and you'll become as much part of the Fallout universe as anyone else.
And before you rip off my head for forgetting the most obvious point. This is a multiplayer game, but nothing like what I had imagined or (let's be honest) feared! You can only play the game online and whenever you enter the Fallout 76 world... you drop into a new server. Everything you own or have created using your (very handy) C.A.M.P. is still there, though, and you won't feel anything is missing. Just invite your friends, and they will appear on your server as well.
Being a multiplayer game, there is pvp, but it is optional. I don't play Fallout 76 for the pvp, so yeah, this was one of my fears, but I am happy to report, that I have not had any issues with other players. In fact, it is fun running into others occasionally and helping each other in small quests. It seems to me that Fallout 76 players are very mature and all agree on how to experience this game - which is quite frankly... awesome!
At the heart, any Fallout game is a Scrounger's game, meaning... loot is plentiful. This is very one minor issue comes into play. You don't have a lot of storage for all that loot, and since there aren't many ways of selling loot either (for caps!) you'll quickly find yourself managing your loot, instead of just cleaning out every location you go to. This is not as bad as it sounds. One of my favorite survival games is The Long Dark, and that game is much more brutal. You'll also soon find that scraping weapons and armor will yield lovely mods for future use.
There is a lot more gameplay to cover, honestly, but I don't want to write a review that takes days to read, so... moving on!
Sounds and graphics
Fallout 76 is... Fallout 4(.5). It looks exactly the same, which is not a bad thing in my book., For me a good Fallout game is a very dirty and gritty world, and that's exactly what this is... with exceptions. Like the beautiful hillsides. I didn't like these to begin with, honestly, but they are growing on me... it is a very nice contrast from the brokendown cities to this calm and serene countryside. You won't even find many monsters out here, which is a shame if you ask me. But... I can totally see the reasoning behind this, to keep entities in the world to a minimum (probably for fear of lag).
The soundscape in 76 is even better than all the other Fallout games combined, and I often find myself stopping and listening to the music. Great job, Bethesda!
My Worst Fears and... the Future of 76?
I had imagined the worst, as many probably had. Other players... griefing... pointless killing... nuclear bombs dropping left and right. However, I have experience none of this. There was this one person... who tested out his gun on me, but only for a minute... then he left for more meaningful endeavours and we were both better off.
I had also feared the lack of NPC's. Would the world seem empty? Would it be meaningful for me to go exploring for hundreds of hours? Yes. I have not once missed an npc, and honestly... there are npcs, but in the form of robots and super mutants. And there are lots of human stories, much like in any other Fallout game I've played... in fact... maybe I enjoy them even more now, because I find myself reading every little note I come across and listening to all the holotapes! And then there are the other players... I really hope that the will make specific roleplaying servers some day, because I would love taking on an actual role in the Fallout world and serving a purpose to the other players.
In conclusion... I am hopeful for the future and I hope that they integrate multiplayer aspects in all upcoming Fallout games. Small servers with 20-30 players are just perfect for a world of this size. I could do without the yellow dots around the world, but that's just personal preference. If given the option of not having them, I'd take it in a second.
This game has so much potential... like imagine making factions in the world, which allows for much bigger bases, if not actual cities! And trading... how cool would it be if you could set up your own trading posts at your base? And the customization of the bases... the options are infinite. Going in search of plans and recipes is actually among my favorite things to do in 76... because I want that cool looking base!
If you don't agree with me, that's absolutely fine. You can probably find another game to enjoy and they did promise us that another ("proper") Fallout game was in the works... I personally couldn't care less about FOV sliders, base sizes, stash limits (which would be nice, but is not at all essential for a good experience) and of course... Push-to-talk. First-world problems, honestly. This game is well worth the money for me and I can't wait to spend an entire lifetime exploring every nook and cranny of Fallout 76.
Hoping to see you all there...!