After waiting three years since the launch of Fallout 4, the release of Fallout 76 has left many customers angry.
The first misstep by game developer Bethesda was their surprising decision to design Fallout 76 with no human non-playable characters (NPCs) in the game. This means that players can often run around the map without encountering any characters at all. Usually, in a Fallout game, NPCs provide life to the surrounding environment by creating conflict. When there is conflict, there is a choice. In previous Fallout games, players have a choice to cause conflict or prevent and solve the problems. For instance, after killing an NPC, there are consequences such as losing access to any unique item the NPC had or upsetting a certain Faction. In comparison, actions in Fallout 76 don’t have an impact in the world around the player, which makes this game very boring. Furthermore, having no NPCs removes dialogue from the game completely. In the predecessors of Fallout 76, dialogue choices give the player options to lie or say something that will cause the NPC to react. Also having no NPC removes the potential for any characters from previous Fallout games to appear again which is unfortunate because seeing well-known characters can add a lot of story and lore to the Fallout franchise as a whole.
Another problem with Fallout 76 is that if you try to play on your own, without teaming up with friends or other players, the game can be very hard. You are quickly outnumbered in fights against other players or creatures, and without a teammate to revive you when you get knocked out, you are at a big disadvantage. On the other hand, when you do have friends who play the game with you, bosses are much easier to fight–you can have one guy who distracts the enemy while the rest of your squad members shoot him down.
While Fallout 76 may have fatal flaws, there are some positives to the game. For example, the cooperative play aspect can be great. There are many things groups of players can do, from launching a nuke on an unsuspecting low-level player to taking part in massive battles and community quests. Some players also really get into role playing, taking on a character in their interactions with other players.
After spending many hours playing Bethesda’s $79.99 Cdn game, I would recommend steering clear of it. Instead, buy any of its predecessors. Those games have a lot of content that will keep players busy and the choices the player can make will change the world the player is in many interesting ways. Fallout 76 is simply missing many key components such as NPCs and permanent consequences to every choice the players can make in every quest.
And in case you are thinking about buying it just to test it out and return it, you can’t due to Bethesda’s return policy.