‘Fallout 76’ Falls Flat

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Vault 76 on reclamation day is where players start out in ‘Fallout 76’.

“Fallout 76” is the new online-only “Fallout” game from Bethesda.

It launches Nov. 14, so the following information is based on the beta, which was pretty much the complete “Fallout 76” experience.

When “Fallout 76” was announced the internet was skeptical and angry. Skeptical in that no one knew if an online Fallout would work and angry because Bethesda has been known for only single-player games, even supporting the #Saveplayerone movement, which saw people banding together to support single-player only games.

Some people decided to give it a chance and see what the game would be like. It works under certain circumstances, but overall “Fallout 76” falls flat.

“Fallout 76” takes place in 2102, the earliest in the timeline of Fallout, just 25 years after the nuclear war that devastated Earth.

Players start off in Vault 76, a control vault where the brightest and best people were chosen to live and not cruelly tested on by the Vault-Tec Corporation.

After you create your character, you head out of the vault on the glorious “Reclamation Day,” where it is time to reclaim the United States after a nuclear war.

The trees and plants are bright with colors, and many of the buildings are still in one piece with minimal deterioration. “Fallout 76″ has the most colorful world of the Fallout games, but that is where the spectacle ends.

As players traverse through West Virginia, they receive quests via recordings or protectrons. There are no nonplayer characters (NPCs) in the game unlike in every other Fallout installment. That means no wacky characters to meet, intriguing enemies to kill or dark plots to uncover.

The formula of Fallout just isn’t there. The items and the world look like a Fallout game, but the rest of what makes Fallout special just isn’t.

Bethesda wanted all the characters in the game world to be real players, but when it comes to Fallout, it sort of needs wacky characters to interact with, and many of the players either run away or shoot on sight.

Speaking of shooting on sight, a big part of Fallout has always been the combat. There is no shortage of strange creatures to kill, and the gunplay feels like it did in “Fallout 4.”

However, the largest part of Fallout combat system, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VATS) system, which slows down time and lets you select different parts of a creature to shoot at, does not work in “Fallout 76.” Instead of slowing down time, it just lets you select body parts as the creatures run or shoot at you in real time, defeating the entire purpose of VATS.

Player versus player (PvP) is another thing that “Fallout 76” fails at. In the post-apocalypse with limited resources, you should be able to kill each other and compete for those resources, but sadly you cannot.

The penalties for engaging in PvP are high. You can only start fighting other players at level five, which makes sense because it allows players some time to get acquainted with the game. You can stand there and shoot someone for hours after level five, but they will only take damage if they return fire and they will do more damage to you because they are just defending themselves.

Once one of you dies that person then drops their junk, but nothing useful.

If the attacking player kills the other, then a bounty is placed on them and every player knows. That can make it a little fun as you try and defend yourself from people trying to take your bounty, but that fun runs out quickly as they seem to be able to do more damage to you and everyone knows where you are.

That is another thing that can get annoying. With the map, you can see where every player is at every second. That can pull someone straight out of the immersion, as they see little white balls with names attached to them running around the map.

They also have a system in place for everyone’s favorite thing — microtransactions. It is called the ATOM shop, and it sells lots of different cosmetic stuff for a new currency called ATOM that you can get from completing different tasks.

These cosmetics range from clothes to skins for various pieces of your base. It’s worrying as it may limit the amount of findable clothes in the game, which may lead to people feeling forced to buy them.

The Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform system (CAMP) is another big feature in the game. It expands upon the settlement building of “Fallout 4” while also making it smaller.

Now players can build almost anywhere and create large fortresses if they have enough material. However, it only serves one purpose and that’s a place to store your junk. No settlers will come to live there, most people will try to destroy it and if you don’t pick a safe spot, it will be attacked constantly by creatures.

At its current state, “Fallout 76” just feels empty and soulless. It feels like many other survival games, but with a Fallout skin.

For this game to be great, and it deserves to be, it will need some considerably great post-launch support and some system changes. If Bethesda can listen to their fans and can support the game, then it could be great, but right now it just feels empty.

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