When it comes to gaming, there are few things we love and look forward to more than a new Fallout game. We’ve been a fan of the franchise for more than 20 years, having played every iteration of the game since the original PC version debuted back in the 1990s. So it is with a heavy heart that we must say that Fallout 76, in its current state, is the worst game the franchise has ever seen.
Thanks to some poor story decision, unreliable servers, and a multitude of experience shattering bugs, Fallout 76 borders on being unplayable.
The latest versions of Fallout have been built into first-person exploration games, wrapped in dramatic worlds filled with incredible characters and dynamic stories. At first glance, Falllout 76 carries on the legacy. The Appalachian wasteland looks beautiful, draped in atmosphere and style. The game is built on the same engine as Fallout 4, but a new lighting model makes the game looks a lot nicer, and the green foliage and densely wooded areas are a nice change of scenery for the series.
76 also brings the introduction of new multiplayer mechanics, a revamped SPECIAL character progression system, and new player base camps that can be built anywhere on the map.
There is a lot of good bones and ideas here, but sadly this is where the good stuff stops.
We could spend 2000 words discussing all the problems that currently plague Fallout 76, but rather than force you to read all of that, we are going to cut it down to a few of our most egregious complaints.
Firstly, the world feels dead and lonely. In the move to multiplayer, Bethesda decided to cut out all non-player humans from the game. This means that there are not random characters out there to hand you quests, make discussions, or sell you items. All of these interactions have been replaced by computer terminals, robots and audio tapes. The eccentric and entertaining characters were the main flesh of the fallout universe. Having them all gone makes the game feel worse.
It also impacts the overall flow of the game.
Considering this is an on-line multiplayer game, with no pause function, having to sit and wait for your friends to stand still and read a computer for 6 minutes to get a mission is stupid and infuriating.
When you finally do have a mission, you have to hope it doesn’t break. Thanks to some sort of bug that appears to be related to the servers, occasionally your mission just disappear. No map marker, no way to complete them, and no way forward. All currently available missions just vanish. The only way we have found to fix this issue is to log out of the game and re-enter a new server.
This is but one of many major bugs. Enemies in the game can get stuck in geometry. Animations glitches happen constantly. Characters get stuck in T-poses, bounce around the map, or sometimes disappear. Server-side lag makes some enemies bounce and dart around when you are fighting them, making them nearly impossible to hit.
And more often than you would expect, the server will just fail and kick players out. Often times making these players lose progress and items in the process.
Finally, and at this point it feels just like a slap in the face, but the game does not play well on any hardware and will exhibit lots of bumps and stutters.
Bethesda has already promised that many fixes are incoming to help make Fallout 76 a more enjoyable experience. Even with all the bugs fixed, we still feel like Fallout 76 is little more than a failed experiment in game design. If you are a longtime fan of the Fallout franchise, we suggest holding off on a purchase. Bethesda could release new expansions later that add back NPC interactions, flesh out the world, and bring in new missions.
Give the game six months and see what Bethesda has turned it into and then maybe it would be worth a buy. But as the game stands, we don’t feel it would be worth more than paying $5 for.
Fallout 76 was reviewed on an Xbox One X console using a retail copy of the game. All materials were paid for by Analogy.tech staff.