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'Fallout 76': More Bad than Good (a Review)

Definitely More Ills than Thrills

You know how much I love waiting for games to download and install? Almost as much as I love waiting for day-one patches. I swear to Beelzebub, if Fallout 76 requires an immediate update after so much bullshit Beta nonsense, I am taking a bus straight to Bethesda Studios and shitting in their mailbox.

In hindsight, I could have bought a physical copy, but even then it would probably have to install to the hard-drive to avoid freezing errors which is par for the course of most Bethesda RPGs. I remember the Xbox360 version of Skyrim inevitably crashing after a few hours gameplay and clearing the cache and saves didn’t do a damn thing to stop it. Of course, the PC versions allow for script mod fixes, which Sony abhors like they're being sprinkled with holy water. This brings up a valid point: If unpaid modders can take valuable time out of their busy schedules to make your games work better than your programming team, I think you should hire the modders. But no, why do that when you can get it done for free? Sometimes, I think you bastards fuck up the coding on purpose to annoy modders enough to fix your mistakes. I’m onto you, Bethesda Studios!

Downloaded 20GB of 51GB now. I’m tempted to drink every time my shitty Internet cuts out. Can’t even watch American Horror Story to pass the time, my PS4 has to be selfish and hog the bandwidth like an only child forced to play with its cousins. I heard that the Early Access of this game had a major glitch and forced players to reinstall the 51GB all over again. I wouldn’t honestly blame people that ask for refunds and pirate the game on launch day, because that’s ridiculous. Players should not have to pay for your mistakes just to get some form of a demo. I thought Electronic Arts held the Douchebag Award for legal extortion.

Finally installed and as I suspected, the loading times are ass on grass. The character creation is a complete copy-paste from Fallout 4, not even any new hairstyles. But I guess Fallout: New Vegas also copied its character creator from Fallout 3, so I will hold back my pettiest criticisms for now. We get control of our character and explore the Vault which is mysteriously vacant of all life except us. You don’t expect us to believe everybody left the Vault like goddamn heroes, do you? If I had the option, I’d be staying put and making friends with puppets.

Vault 76 is themed around preserving American patriotism and taking back the Wasteland. Ultimately, our goal is to survive, learn about the Wasteland, and I’m guessing rebuild infrastructure without getting disemboweled by radioactive iguanas. Knowing Vault-Tec’s history of treating Vault Dwellers as lab-rats, there’s almost definitely something sinister in the works. The idea presented by Todd Howard at E3 is that we, the players, are the Vault Dwellers leaving to re-colonize the Wasteland through camaraderie and friendship hugs and multiplayer snuggle parties. So, basically, this is a goddamn school group project. Well, fuck you and your socialization agenda, Bethesda. I’m gonna go on my own SOLITARY mission to make America okay again. There’s even a mini-tutorial that tells you to meet strangers and join groups. What do you take me for, someone likes other people?!

So, we leave the vault, given supplies yet no weapon. There’s a new Vault-Tec technology, the C.A.M.P. system that seems to replace settlements from Fallout 4. There might still be settlements, haven’t gotten too far in the game yet to tell. The main quest now is to hunt down the Overseer who seems to just fuck off before we arrive at checkpoints. She leaves behind items so I can’t fault her that much. The crafting system is nearly carbon-copied from Fallout 4. Also, a few nitpicks, because what’s a proper review without throwing darts a photo of Todd Howard’s face. One, the repair and weapon degradation mechanic from Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas is back, which is very inconsistent since Fallout 4 didn’t have it. This is only 25 years after the nuclear holocaust and these weapons degrade but 200-year-old weapons don’t? Two, I could believe that a dense forest might have padded the lands beyond it against nuclear blast, but this is astonishingly more vegetated than Fallout 4. Three, fucking real-time inventories can fuck right off. None of the previous games had this horseshit, how dare you?!

Why the hell did this need to be multiplayer? There should be an option to play like its single-player. Sick and tired of this “friend-making” malarkey, games industry. I play games so I can escape socialization. If I see a goddamn story quest that requires interacting with other players, I’m taking you down.

Had my first game crash trying to analyze a quest item. Superior programming as always. Also, if you need to go do something in real life like take a five-hour shit because you can’t seem to get into your head that gas station sauerkraut is a bad idea, you might as well just shut the game down. There is no pausing and this poses a huge problem when you need to go idle, especially when there’s a food and drink mechanic from the get-go. What the hell, Bethesda? Food and drink monitors were optional in the previous games, usually only integrated in Hardcore or Survival mode play-throughs! You can’t add food and drink meters in a game where you can’t pause!

So far I’m finding more reasons to hate the game than like it. I obviously like the concept of the game since I bought it. Maybe it’s a form of denial or my extreme need for self-abuse. Speaking of self-abuse, PvP in the game cannot be turned off. You can activate Pacifist mode, but it literally says on the options screen, “players can still murder you.” You know, I expect games like Dark Souls to fuck me over like that since it’s the spirit of the game, but allowing other players to kill you regardless of your PvP status is inviting a death-squad of hapless 12-year-old dickswabs to harass you. By the way, why don’t I get a middle-finger emote?

Further into the game, I am getting increasingly vexed at the real-time inventory management. You know why pausing was a GOOD thing in the previous games? Because guns tend to run out of ammo and in a game where the weapons degrade over time, I need to be able to switch weapons without Bacon Ghouls chewing me a third earlobe! “Oh, but it’s more realistic,” I hear the driveling survival fetishists moan about. Yes, in a game where you can battle an elephant-sized sloth beast and can heal a broken arm in an instant by stabbing yourself in the heart with uber-healing drugs, realism is key. You know what’s also realistic? Shooting yourself every time your character is shot. You should try it.

Do I recommend the game? I honestly don’t know. I know it doesn’t need to be 60 dollars. If you look at as merely being a multiplayer Fallout game kind of like Elder Scrolls Online was a multiplayer Elder Scrolls game, then maybe you’ll get more mileage out of the experience. Maybe I’m trying to compare it to the previous games too much, but that’s kind of hard to avoid when several mechanics have been more or less copied from Fallout 4. I like the new songs added to the radio, including “Country Roads.” The combat is pretty solid seeing as it’s also just Fallout 4 with a new skin. You’ll enjoy the lore if nothing else which is why I keep playing it. Overall, I’m giving my experience a solid 6 out of 10.

Apparently, at time of writing this conclusion, players have launched three nukes and crashed the servers. I mean, in game, of course. Though if Bethesda Studios were nuked, they’d probably be more productive. Ooooooooh.

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