Bethesda studio has a certain reputation among gamers, which is not very favorable. Basically, in order to meet deadlines, they are making half-baked games and then they let the combined efforts of their programmers and modding scene to patch up and finish the work on them. And the public in most cases tolerates that kind of business model, mostly because the games made by Bethesda were usually high quality, save from lack of polish. But, with the newest iteration of Fallout series, Bethesda hit the wall.
To be honest, it wouldn’t be fair to call Fallout 76 an unfinished product or early access game. Technically, the game is completely finished and playable, it’s the content that’s the problematic part. The events are unimaginative, almost chore-like and they feel unwanted on the players. The storyline is totally bland, with characters that are almost impossible to sympathize with because they have the personality of a living corpse. This will make players think about what this game should have been and how the heck everything went so wrong.
The biggest of the most noticeable flaw of this game is discarding of the major elements which made Fallout so successful, like the dialogue system or branching quests which allows you to test your morality. In 76, all that is replaced by a boring and generic journey that feels like doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. Another problem with this game is that it presumes that the premise of a multiplayer Fallout game is automatically a good thing. Instead, we got a totally incompatible system of Fallout with its multiplayer elements. Even worse, both of those aspects managed to emphasize the worst things in each other. The typical elements in Fallout games, which are present in 76 too, simply aren’t cut for the multiplayer experience. Most of the players will deny the possibility of playing together in favor of the activities that will contribute their character’s level-up. Which turns Fallout 76 into a single player game with other people serving as NPCs.
On the other hand, there are true multiplayer events in Fallout 76, but they are undoubtedly the worst part of the game. Not only they have an uninspiring design, but they also mess with your schedule if you barge within the area of the activation, which is infuriating, especially if you’re doing some important quest. Similar to the Fallout 4, everyone has their own personal base, which is now called CAMP, and it works in a similar way as a workshop in the previous Fallout game. The problem is that sometimes the location of CAMPs is within the triggering area for the aforementioned multiplayer events, which are something the most players are trying to avoid.
The combat system was never something Fallout games were good at, but it has always been cushioned by other features which emphasized the role-playing aspect of the game. Being the multiplayer game, and as that not having a pause, the players are left with the FPS elements only, which are to say least substandard. To add to the frustration, this game has more bugs than the entire Starship Troopers trilogy, which greatly degrades the gaming experience from tolerable to agonizing. The interfaces also underwhelming, mostly because it’s too sensitive and thus completely useless. In a combination with random acting up of sounds, you will spend hours looking for the monsters that aren’t there but you heard them creeping outside of the house. Bethesda decided not to use human NPCs, and we guess the reasons for that is they try to make an even more desolate environment than New Vegas or the Capital Wasteland. That would work, if not for plenty of other people running around, which effectively ruined the feeling of isolation.
However, there is still a speck of hope that Fallout 76 will be saved. That wouldn’t be the first time a Bethesda game is redeemed from the initial pile of trash into a half-decent, if not good, game. Some of you remember how Elder Scrolls Online was panned both by critics and gamers, and how Bethesda managed to fix it up, patch by patch, making it into one of the better and better-supported MMO games in the market. Maybe the similar thing will happen to this post-apocalyptic MMO. But we are really doubting the gaming community is interested in digging out a good game from this pile of incoherence that is Fallout 76.