The answer is probably yes. However, WHO this game is actually for is definitely up for debate. I played the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A for the first time today and wanted to get my initial thoughts down!
I love the Fallout series. In each game I entered in to an amazingly detailed post apocalyptic world. I would spend hours wandering the wasteland, desperately trying to avoid the main story-line as that path, well, that path meant that my time playing the game was at an end. I examined as many terminals, Holotapes and torn up messages and learnt about what happened in each vault and building.
Of course, what was so powerful is that I was following a story, developing a character and interacting with and helping out the townsfolk along the way. (Yes, i’m a White Hat)
So, when I heard that Fallout 76 was going to be an PvP Multiplayer experience. I was immediately concerned. I don’t play MMORPG’s, I don’t really play PvP games either. A friend once bought me World of Warcraft, two months subscription and EVERY expansion as a birthday present. I played it once, cringed and uninstalled it.
Playing the B.E.T.A
So, I wake up, get my hair, face, jawline and gender done (Character Creation) then venture off. The game wastes NO time in giving me my PipBoy, it’s just sitting there. So, I slap that bad-boy on my arm and start exploring.
This starting area is a little weird. It’s very apparent Bethesda wanted you to start in a Vault whilst at the same time absolutely not wanting you to stay there long. You can’t pick anything up and are literally guided to the exit by pointing hands. It felt a bit jarring.
In previous titles the start of a Fallout game would introduce you to the important characters and spend timing building the motivations and goals that would ultimately drive you towards a singular major goal. Then it hit me. There is no ultimate goal, there is no complex story arc.
There is just the wasteland.
I’m freaking out, man.
So, I collect my starting equipment and head out, after finding out that I need to track down the Overseer. Oooh, maybe a real-life NPC I can speak to!
The landscape outside is rich and vast. I take a deep breath. This is starting to feel more like the games I’ve played in the past. I wander downstairs pick up a melee weapon off a dead waste-lander and take down some new enemies called Scorched which appear to be heavily burnt, mentally unstable enemies affected by the bombs, it was cool to come across new enemies in the wasteland. I’m starting to enjoy myself.
Then of course Fallout 76 “Fallout 76’s” all over the place
All of a sudden I hear heavy breathing. A ferocious enemy!? I reload my recently purloined gun and start looking around. The breathing continues, then I hear typing.
Oh, shit, that’s right. This is a multiplayer game. I had completely forgotten. I was playing FALLOUT not some online game, right?
Another Vault Dweller approaches me, we are both below Level 5 so we can’t attack each other, thankfully.
I say “hello?”
He says “I don’t speak English” (In English)
I say “But you just did”
He laughs and then just follows me around me for a while without speaking another word ever again.
At this point my immersion in the game was completely broken.
I’m having fun, yes, but it’s a different kind of fun. When playing through Fallout 4 I would be enjoying the radio, or kicking butt in an abandoned Vault with one of my companions making snarky quips about something that just happened. Hell, I even helped the radio station’s presenter to get his confidence back. Because he was in the game!
This feels different. It feels more like Rust, Minecraft or any number of those sorts of games. It’s NOT BAD. It’s just also not the Fallout i’m used to.
So, what do you DO in Fallout 76?
So, I take a nap (in real-time, of course, it’s multiplayer, no time skipping here!) and get back up determined to find the “Fallout” that has to be present in this game. I come across a town, Flatwoods. It’s presented beautifully. I take down some mongrel dogs on the way in and there’s even a Mr Handy that’s gone haywire that I put out of it’s misery.
Sweet, feeling familiar!
As i’m going through each house methodically, searching for junk to improve my weapons and armour and lore about the town I keep finding dead characters, each with a conveniently recorded Holotape about their lives and how they thought living in the wasteland would be versus how it was. I mean, sure, cool.
Would have been better if some of them where still there to tell me themselves in person though, right?
Oh, what’s this now?
As i’m wondering around listening to so many Holotapes that they are
literally interrupting each other as I would find the next before the previous had finished playing an “Event” started. I let out an audible groan. Gotcha, “Destiny 76”.
Actually, in reality this is when I stopped trying to play Fallout 4 and started to really play Fallout 76.
Clearing out the event was a lot of fun and felt pretty rewarding. Other players eventually joined in near the end of the battle and it was pretty cool to be playing a Fallout themed multiplayer game. Shit, that’s right, that IS what this is.
The prospect of players working TOGETHER against the Wasteland is really appealing to me. Once I started to let go of wanting it be Fallout 4, I really started to enjoy the game.
Whilst I can’t wait to try the final version of Fallout 76 with my closest mates and of course play it on our weekly stream for our Stormers… *signal interrupted*
I feel like to enjoy this game you really have to abandon the idea that this is Fallout 5, it isn’t. It’s biggest letdown is it’s biggest draw card; it FEELS like Fallout 5.
If you are happy enough to play a detailed, fun, well crafted game in the Fallout universe that you can share with your friends and that ISN’T a Single-player true Fallout game, you will love Fallout 76, there is definitely something there.
The jury is still out for me, I think i’ll have to spend 500 hours playing it just to be safe.