Given that I have barely played any installation of Fallout since Fallout 3, my memories of this gaming franchise have been blurry to say the least. Nonetheless, I wholly enjoyed my short gameplay experience of Fallout 76, albeit I wasn’t very good at it. Set as a prequel to the other games of the timeline, the new game provided an alternative format to its predecessors. Designed strictly for multiplayer use, Bethesda’s intention of maximizing the open-world free roaming aspect of this game was evident. Much of the ‘plot’ is intertwined with the multiplayer mode, and you are then let loose on the world filled with other gamers after you design your avatar. The choice to team up or to go individually about one’s business adds a refreshing touch to the series. The map is expansive, providing all gamers the experience of navigating their way through the different areas and terrains of ‘Appalachia’, designed to resemble West Virginia.
The visuals are stunning, and not shockingly the best out of all the Fallout games. As your avatar moves across the map and tests its multiple features, you can notice the details placed into the nooks and crannies of the game. From the intricate design of the weapons provided to the enemies you engage with e.g. radioactive animals, mutants or scorchbeasts, you can tell a significant amount of effort has been put into Fallout 76’s overall design. If you don’t like any of that, just wander around and take in all the scenery because it’s equally as thrilling.
Many features of the game are still fundamentally Fallout. The dystopic wasteland you are located in is directly offset by the satirical takes on patriotism, hope and revival that run throughout most of the game. This in turn adds to the sense of desolation people have grown to be associated with, but it also motivates you to explore the mysteries of the story. The gameplay itself was difficult and the beginning was extremely slow. A few hours in and I still found myself wandering not far from Vault 76 performing mundane tasks with no end. This can be redeemed as the game has no shortage of surprises. At any moment you can be attacked by a new enemy, die of malnutrition or catch radiation poisoning.
Simulating the process of survival in such a setting demands the user to cover all bases to ensure continued progress. By doing so, despite often feeling like you are moving at snail-pace, the game is highly immersive and rewarding once you’ve accomplished a greater task. In summary, Fallout 76 is similar while also distinct to other games in the Fallout Universe, which can be baffling for some but stimulating for its fans. When you manage to get through all the boring bits and are given the chance to do as you please, the options you have in this massive world are essentially endless.