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Fallout 76 Review

4 posts in this topic

First off to clear out misunderstandings...
Here's my understanding of the rating system:
10: (almost) perfect
9: outstanding
8: very good
7: good
6: okay
5: average/mediocre/playable
4: bad
3: very bad
2: terrible
1: unacceptable/unplayable
0: malware


I will mainly focus on the problems, since you've probably already heard everything about the "good" things about it from trailers and presentations.


Fallout 76 is full of bugs that affect your gameplay.
Enemies just spawn around you, teleport around, move at ridiculous speeds, ...
Players are being severely punished for unstable servers.
The game's networking system allegedly opens the floodgates for cheaters and hackers and is therefore potentially harming.


The Story:
There is no proper story, human NPCs are completely missing without explanation.
The story contradicts the plot.
The start of the game is uninspired and has no logic at all.
The most common enemy, the scorched, have a very contradicting backstory.


Gameplay Design:
When starting the game, it sometimes spawns you in the middle of a nuclear explosion, surrounded by enemies, in the middle of an irradiated river or in other problematic positions.
It also very often just removes your house from the game, apparently because "something" was in the same spot on that particular server.

You can't place buildings where they were before, because placement by building parts and placement by blueprint have different placement constraints.
The two stairs with their own platform at the top have the problem that the platform doesn't count as surfaces when it comes to placing doors on walls next to them.
There is no power connector that allows players to connect through walls (outside of abusing the physics boxes of windows and roof parts, or tricking the system through other means)
Personal player housing is very limited, you have a very small object budget. There is a way to build something bigger, but that is temporary since it is server-specific and limited to specific locations.

In certain areas enemies just respawn within seconds.
Sometimes enemies' corpses just disappear within seconds before anyone can loot them, despite the game having a mechanic that preserves corpses for looting.

Playing together (which is the base idea of the game) is made difficult when player's levels differ.
If you have 2 lvl20 players in your party and 1 lvl40 player, the game will spawn tons of lvl40 enemies on events and quests, which lvl20 players will have a hard time fighting against and won't be rewarded appropriately either.

PvP is made hard to pull off, usually puts attackers on a disadvantage, serves no purpose and raises the question if it would even benefit the game if it was patched to actually work.
Except for a bunch of voice recordings and a variety of mostly very common MMO quests, the world has no substantial reason to be visited.

The leveling system, espcially the perk cards, is very bad:
Through the franchise it went from "design a very special/specific person, and then keep them alive as they develop as a character" to "shuffle cards to find out what you're able to do" with a severe disconnect between the character's abilities from who they are - since the player character themselves has no personality.

There is no proper storage or transportation mechanic, which leads to players being permanently overburdened and not being able to fast-travel or move at normal speeds (and due to the instability of the servers, it's very dangerous to leave stuff behind to pick it up later).

Molerats don't "dig", they just teleport.


Game Controls:
There is an issue with scopes and bolt-action rifles that forces the player to wait for the entire bolt-action animation to complete before they can leave ads view.
You cannot switch weapons while repeating your weapon.
When using a revolver, sometimes the game forces you to play an animation where you roll the cylinder of your revolver, which takes very long and can get the player in a disadvantageous situation.


Level/Map Design:
The world map was clearly rushed out, since there are quite a lot of random objects floating high in the sky which were probably not cleaned up properly (which usually happens when the creator is in a hurry).


Alpha-textures flicker for a while occasionally.
Godrays sometimes come out of the ground.
Shadows sometimes follow the player's point of view, instead of actual light sources.
Depth of field can't be turned off, sometimes causes unsharpness to occur in the middle of the screen and occasionally misses out a mode-switch which causes you to see the world in the blurry DoF, that you see at the borders of your scope, while not using your scope.
The game sometimes destabilizes and loads low-LOD objects instead of high-LOD objects.



There is an in-game store that is heavily overpriced.
The perk-card system seems like a to-become pay2win mechanic. Knowing game development processes, it is very likely that it was either ditched during the development and wasn't replaced properly, or is still planned to be implemented.


Recommendation for the developer:
I highly recommend to put this game into re-development.
It is riddled with bugs, has a contradicting uninteresting story and suffers from very poor gameplay design decisions.
Comparing this game with the rest of the installments of the franchise a purely Co-Op based Online functionality would have been better to bring players together, while not breaking the immersion too much. PvP could still happen through a separate optional system (such as: players signing up for it at an arena).
The start of the game could have been staged as a dire struggle for survival of the (actually alive and mostly computer controlled) population of Vault 76 as they open the doors (together!) for the first time with story/quest initiators like missile silos or the nuclear power plants.
Co-Op players could for example take control over an NPC they created themselves, who is one of the vault dwellers.

Knowing that this game is probably too big of a failure and the old storytelling method is just that: old, I recommend a reboot of the franchise with said changes, that puts effort into proper dramaturgy.

In case the developer is actually releasing their games as unpolished as they are known for, I highly recommend to adapt to more modern project management methods.
I cannot recommend any other possible reason to release products in such a state since it damages both the reputation of the developer and the franchise.


Summary:   0 / 10  (revised from 3)

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Since the game keeps getting worse, I have to warn everyone to think twice about buying or playing this game!

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I can't believe Bethesda actually make this game worse over time. I thought this game will be like Elder Scrolls Online, or the other MMO games with a barebone content at first and then gets more stuff & get even better. I still believe they can turn things around in the future, but COME ON! You're not even trying with this Bethesda!


On the plus side, I'm now looking forward to RAGE 2 and Doom Eternal because those 2 are not going to suck......... fingers crossed anyway. As long as it's not online with game breaking bugs, I welcome it!

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