TL;DR: It is a fun game as long as you do not expect it to be like your typical Fallout game and that you do not rush right to the end. Update: Everything I said here still applies however this game, at least to me, now only works well as a stand-alone one time play with no replayability or sight of future content. Buy on Amazon.
If there is one game series I have had a 180-degree turn on with my opinion is the Fallout series. series but before I get onto my review there are a few things I have to say about Fallout itself as this ultimately changes my review and these opinions about Fallout are how I see it – not always how others see it.
The first is Fallout is an RPG game which allows you to decide what your character does with each interaction. Secondly, the same RPG setting allows you to design your character in such a way that for one gameplay you could rely purely on speech, another you can be a person that uses brute force, another where you just sneak and so on. Thirdly what you do in the game has an overall effect on how NPCs and the world react towards you.
Now I got that out of the way lets discuss what Fallout 76 is and the plot about it. In Fallout 76 you play as a Vault Dweller who has now left Vault 76 after everyone else have left to rebuild America after the Great Blackout. Instead of helping to rebuild America your character decides to follow the Vault Overseer’s path in order to see what her mission was all about and on the way you learn about what happened post-war with the Responders forming up, how the Brotherhood of Steel came to be, the Enclave lost regional powers and how raiders did their things
… but you never learn these things by speaking to a Brother of Steel Paladin, or speaking to a raider (okay, you kinda do), head of the responders and instead you learn all this by listening to tapes or reading computer terminals and honestly I’m okay with this to a degree – as long as the same is NOT used to progress the story further in future. Sadly as you may have figured you do not “really” get to join any faction in the game. Sure you sign up for the responders, Brotherhood and even the Enclave but you never really feel apart of them and I do not know about you but a good RPG TAKES choices away from you so you can not experience everything at once.
With the above in mind, the quests in-game are typically given to you by robots or just randomly appear on your list. These quests are what you expect from a Fallout game or at least a “modern” one and that is you go somewhere, do something such as craft power armour and such but to me, the world never “feels alive” with these quests as nothing seems to happen in the long run – even the final quest itself have no real impact which if you see what happens you would be surprised.
The combat itself in the game is mostly the same from Fallout 4 and works as a pretty decent first person shooter with the option to melee but here lies another problem with Fallout 76 so far – weapons are so out of balance that you may as well go melee as you do not need to repair your weapon so often nor do you need to find ammo that for some reason you can not sell to a vendor at all. Energy weapons are so pointless they may as well be removed from the game at this point which is a shame as in Fallout I love using energy weapons.
The C.A.M.P. system in the game is okay as you can build some interesting things (I currently have a small tent set up that is portable that I move around as I am exploring) but it is quite limited with the budget in-game you can use. This one is quite likely to be changed in time just like the storage was.
Another thing worth speaking about is the in-game store that you use Atoms for and secondly the vendors in-game. First, the Atom store is stupidly priced as some items in-game comes close to £10. I can understand money is needed to keep the servers up and to make a profit but I can not see how they are making any profit with the price it is right now. On a positive note, you DO get to earn Atoms in the game by doing stuff. Secondly, the vendors in-game have a weird shared cap poll where all vendors from the responders seem to contact each other saying you already got 200 caps from them – make sure to not buy anything from them. Oddly enough you are also not able to “semi-trade” by selecting a few items, then selecting a few items of your own and then either pay over the leftover caps or gain caps which is annoying when you are trying to make caps in order to buy a plan to make something (which also appears randomly at vendors – I didn’t get Heavy Leather armour until level 45!)
So overall what do I think about the game? Firstly the game itself is pretty enjoyable as I love exploring the world and finding out what has happened to the world but this only last for so long. The game currently has no real end-game beyond farming for legendary weapons … that you use to farm other legendary weapons. This is done via the end-game quest which I am not going to say here but what happens is it is commonly repeated on the same place over and over where people farm ghouls for the hope of legendary weapons. At no point do you really use these against the final boss nor is there anything like raids to use those weapons against.
The overall lore of the game is pretty interesting to see how humanity comes together and how they fail and it enjoyable to be able to see just exactly how the world felt right at the end (although it feels very lazy when it just reuses Fallout 4 buildings and such). In future I would love to see Fallout 76 have NPCs that was either hiding, comes out of no-where or whatever that rebuilds the factions and allow players to actually join them and to carry out their mission goals while using the stats of players to be able to use speech and the likes against said NPCs to be able to push the story forward.
The main important question is should you buy the game? If you enjoy exploring, a bit of crafting and a minor survival game I would pick this up. It is pretty fun in that regards as long as you are not expecting this to be Fallout 5. If you are looking for an interactive multiplayer Fallout game this is not for you – yet. In the future we may see tougher content, we may see actual NPCs and so much more as we rebuild America … or this is all we got.
On a final note it is worth saying I did not include speaking about bugs and glitches. The reason for this is other than the odd server disconnections I have not yet really seen any although I do know they exist although the stealing weapon glitch is false in case you are about to make a comment about it.