I will admit I am biased, I love all the Fallout games and even have own pip boy. I have spent hours over the divested radioactive remnants of the United States, listening to events long past and talking to those still living and populating the new world. Being a Bethesda game, there was a lot of story and a lot of glitches. Downloading the DLC for Fallout three was an art. The glitching was legendary and the restarts were annoying, but we did it because the game was so much fun. There were numerous complaints at the time, but it was before the era of the Mass Effect Ending outcry. Bethesda was notorious for not patching and everything was basically as is. Sure we complained and forums were filled with gifs and venting, however it didn’t have an impact. Let’s fast forward to now and times have changed and companies have to respond to the avalanche of social media and the every lofty goal of the perfect sandbox.
No Mans Sky was the first to hit that wall. Its premiere did not live up to the hype and the company listened to players tear the game apart, in detail, all over the internet. But through the chaff, there were some very salient points and the developers have made multiple improvements that pleased their audience and took the game closer to that sandbox multiplayer world where a player could make their own story. Part of the success of this was that were not loaded with a baggage of lore and history and they emerged on the scene dress and new allowing players to tell play their own stories without being influenced by a franchise.
Fallout 76’s Burden
It’s what holds it back as a sandbox and not delivering the world the fans are accustomed to. For those who haven’t played any of the games, the best features of the games were the evolved NPC’s and story lines. You could explore and met folks in passing, help or loot them. There were towns, stories and drama you could get tangled in, or not. With the release of Fallout4 they introduced a better building system.A popular feature that became one of the games most beloved. I can attest to myself and friends spending hours just building towns rather than shooting mutants. With the onset of mods and then creative club, we could build more! Its been incorporated as your campsite Fallout76, which as Bethesda is the champ of bugs, it may take multiple tries to place because a stray weed is in the way.
By its nature as a giant battlefield for players to survive, the logistics they set up makes everything transient. When you sign back in, everything you made, your mark your presence as a community, is gone. As you wander, you listen and read journals left by people, but the people themselves are gone. So what attaches you to the game? Get to the highest level, kill the strongest beast, kill other players, and then what? This is Fallout, it carries with it the weight of its predecessors, but now Its just a shooter survival game where you are no longer the lone wanderer, but can have a team, to kill monsters and other players. It’s beautiful and killing things is a great part of video games. But thats all thats left. It truly is a wasteland. One where if you’re a PvE kinda player, you don’t have a choice, players will come and kill you, and withe he survival aspect of the game where you lose some gear when you die, it’s a huge turn off. The addition of micro-transaction for skins and such is so aggravating and infuriating and a sad sign of things to come.
I can recognize what Bethesda was trying to accomplish with this game. It’s made to play like the current multiplayer battle field games. And it does, and it does it well when its not glitching. What it is not, is a Fallout experience we expect or are used to, it is not Fallout 5. This is what burdens it and this is what the fan-base is complaining about. It’s actually unfair that it is criticized for being a game it was never meant to be, except for the advertising that led us to believe it kinda was. The fans have called foul.
Leigh-Alexandra Jacob is a visual effects artist and creative director. She’s the founder of Atomic Dumpling. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.