Fallout 76 is a spin-off multiplayer open-world action role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks on November 14, 2018. It serves as a "narrative prequel" to the entire Fallout franchise, taking place 25 years after the nuclear war that almost destroyed civilization.
Why It Sucks
- The game was built using Bethesda's severely outdated Creation Engine (which is based on the already obsolete Gamebryo engine), which caused many of the problems mentioned below.
- The game not only suffered from a heavily rushed development but was also being handled by Bethesda's less experienced Austin division instead of the more established and experienced Dallas division. This was likely because they know how to make fully functional but okay multiplayer games (they were even in the process of making a new multiplayer game under the first same name under their old name BattleCry Studios LLC prior to becoming another new Bethesda studio division, along with the game itself being shelved), but didn't have the same pace of development as other divisions have.
- Bethesda has handled the game very poorly post-launch, and introduced more problems than they have fixed.
- A ton of assets from Fallout 4 were copy-pasted into this game, including bugs and glitches which had been known about for years.
- Horribly unpolished and outdated graphics that look almost identical to Fallout 4, but worse. To make matters worse, even Fallout 3 looked better than this, even without graphical mods, and that came out 10 years earlier before this game.
- The game's pre-release early access stage (known as the B.E.T.A. despite fulfilling none of the normal functions of a beta), was obviously just a publicity stunt, as it was far too close to the launch date for any issues that turned up in it to be fixed. Sure enough, the game launched in a state identical to the B.E.T.A. release, bugs and all.
- Because progress from the B.E.T.A. is transferred directly to the actual game, those players who paid enough to get into it (which was only available on more expensive preorder packages) had an automatic leg-up on regular players. This wouldn't have been a huge problem if the PvP wasn't hopelessly broken, as covered later.
- The first few patches were ridiculously large: each was bigger than the base game, and in total were over 100 gigabytes.
- No physical copies of the PC version have a proper disc. Instead, they have a piece of cardboard with a game code printed on it.
- The game is full of bugs and glitches, including some like the "damage bug" that has been known about since AGW.
- Adding literal insult to injury, during a presentation at E3 2018, director Todd Howard openly mocked people who claim that Skyrim and Fallout 4 are buggy, even though there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of videos on YouTube demonstrating game-breaking glitches from both of those games.
- Another is enemies failing to load their animations and just floating around in the default pose, as seen here.
- Due to the glitchiness of the game, one player got permanent god mode, which may seem fun at first, but it basically made the game even easier than it already is. He was practically begging for death. This is because the player had negative health points, and characters only die when it's at zero.
- Some players were even reporting logging into other player's accounts. Most notably, a player by the name of "Fattypatty" logged in one day to find that his level 78 character had been magically deleted and replaced with a level 8 character. He contacted Bethesda's help service, but they blatantly said that they couldn't do anything about it. He hasn't played the game since.
- Once January 1, 2019, rolled around, the nukes had initially stopped working. This meant that the game was impossible to beat as none of the players could launch the nukes.
- For some weird reason, sometimes when your AP meter reaches zero, you'll lose a small chunk of your health.
- To make matters worse, one player had his AP meter depleting by itself without any reason.
- A glitch in Bethesda's official website has leaked out the personal information of players' support tickets for the game, which includes names, addresses and, in the case of the canvas bag incident, credit card numbers.
- The game's netcode is atrocious and anything too heavy will cause server-side problems that will at very least randomly boot players. One group of players set off three nukes at once and actually crashed the server they were on.
- The netcode is also very insecure, with one Reddit user finding out that editing the game's .ini file can result in you being able to phase through walls or find the IP address of every other player currently on the server.
- Obviously, the one thing that did work just fine on launch was the "Atomic Store" with overpriced microtransactions for extra atoms. While it is possible to earn the currency, "atoms", in-game, the rate is pathetically slow once all standard quests that give atoms are completed (working out at about 40 atoms or more a week if the player completes all possible challenges) and the items are things that modders would have made for free in Fallout 4.
- Many weapons and armour pieces in the game are locked behind a level cap (as per games like AGW), meaning you cannot use them unless you reach a high enough level. Given what a joyless slog leveling up in Fallout 76 is, this was not a good idea. At release, bosses could drop items thirty or more levels above the player's, though this was later patched to have a more reasonable level range. It is still not uncommon to encounter a suit of power armour and have to throw away most or all of its components (the frame is the only part not level-restricted) before the player can actually wear it.
- To add insult to injury, if you get booted from the game for any reason, your progress will not be saved, and you will have to redo any quests completed or re-obtain any items gathered since the last save.
- Some of the new creatures like the Wendigo, the Mothman and the Grafton Monster act very too much like fantasy and mythical creatures described by their real-life folklore counterparts and don't quite fit the franchise, which always had a realistic setting.
- The Scorchbeasts in this game is literally just re-skinned Skyrim dragons, and some of the code for them is just copy-pasted from that game.
- The Scorchbeasts, in general, are way too easy to defeat as you can just go to any fissure site in the Cranberry Bog and run to the nearest site that has an automated SAM battery just to take it down.
- V.A.T.S. makes a return, but, unlike its previous counterparts, it runs in real-time instead of slowing down or freezing time. Besides, you can no longer target a specific part of an enemy's body while using it without unlocking a perk.
- The game can get repetitive and boring very quickly.
- Some of the daily and event quests you'll get are nothing but repetition.
- The enemy balancing is an absolute joke, as higher-level enemies can take forever to die, even if you're at a higher level. The super mutants, however, are even worse with the balancing, due to them being just bullet sponges.
- Prior to E3 2019 with the Wastelanders DLC announcement, there was absolutely no living passive humanoid NPCs (humans, civilized ghouls, and more super mutants) to interact with or receive mission quests from. Instead, all quests were given by robots or computer terminals.
- Some locations aren't noteworthy to visit despite having a map four times bigger than Fallout 4.
- The game's story is an absurd mess. You and your friends are doing nothing but cleaning up the mess left behind by the nuclear war, hence the large amounts of object collecting missions. Much like with Destiny, Anthem and Sea of Thieves, the developers tried to explain away the near-total lack of storyline or player goals by claiming that the idea was for players to create their own stories for their characters and "make their own fun", excuses commonly used by "service" games nowadays to justify the lack of content.
- The series' satirical take on American nationalism has been seemingly ditched in this game in favour of making American nationalism as the main plot device.
- The concept of the "Scorched Plague" feels like an afterthought to justify the lack of NPCs, despite paying voice actors to voice all the deceased and unseen characters in the final game by audio logs. This made it look like a lazy excuse to not make hundreds of workable passive NPCs for a multiplayer online game prior to the Wastelanders DLC's announcement to seemly proving this point.
- Nobody seems to be that bothered by the fact that a nuclear war just happened, despite the sole reason why the player character(s) was/were in Vault 76 was due to him/her/them "successfully" surviving the Great War 25 years ago.
- The only story or lore, for that matter, you'll get is from audio logs found scattered throughout the game or bits and pieces of text from terminals scattered about in the game.
- The backstory for most of the locations is only about how the characters there died or became Scorched victims, most of which are generic. While there are few that don't end fatally, they're mediocre at best, like the mysterious "magical" piano that plays by itself in an abandoned church named "Haven Church", located The Mire region.
- There's no ending scene unlike almost all of the other Fallout games. The game continues on as if the final battle never happened.
- For some strange reason, The Brotherhood of Steel is mentioned here as the "first" attempted local chapter for the faction, despite the older games stating that the first chapter was located in Lost Hills, California. This makes the claim that this game is a prequel to the Fallout franchise feel kinda artificial. They tried to explain this by claiming that the region belonged to some former US soldiers who survived the Great War, and the leader of that group just so happened to be friends with the BoS founder, Roger Maxson. They used a somehow functional unnamed radio broadcasting station to contact Roger Maxson, even though he was located thousands of miles away. In reality, this is just because Bethesda is obsessed with the superficial aspects of the Fallout franchise (the Brotherhood, super mutants, ghouls, etc), to the point that they can't make a game without them.
- On the subject of super mutants, they appear again, with another nonsensical excuse for the Forced Evolution Virus to be around so they can exist.
- The feral ghouls also appear again with predominantly no justifiable reason as to their appearance 25 years after the Great War happened. As the process of ghoulification and later eventually becoming feral (depending on each case, as seen in all the games until this point) takes longer spans of time as canonical lore implies. Here, they just instantly (even within a 25 year period, makes mostly no sense) turned into feral ghouls for no reason, but like the problems above to force the lack of passive NPCs narrative Bethesda is pushing for.
- The game uses a card system in order to get perks, unique skills, and weapons. While this doesn't actually require microtransactions, it's a fair bet that they were meant to while the game was in development.
- There is also no way to re-spec a character, ever, meaning that the player can end up completely screwing themselves over if they fail to spec up certain stats before reaching the point where no further perks can be assigned.
- Most of the enemies you'll find are Scorched humans who turned into what are essentially semi-intelligent zombies (like feral ghouls but with lobotomites' remaining skills from the Old World Blues DLC in AGW) with green crystal shards because of the Scorched Plague.
- Speaking of enemies, they have terrible AI, as they often do not attack the player, or even acknowledge their presence.
- At release, the voice chat lacked a basic push-to-talk option. This meant that having a microphone plugged in resulted in all speech and background noise automatically being transmitted to nearby players, and the only way to disable it was to disable the microphone manually or unplug it. Push-to-talk was eventually patched a month or so after release.
- The multiplayer aspect is heavily flawed.
- There's little to no reason for players to play together since the difficulty is really low and there are no bonus rewards for playing with other players.
- The game has a 24-player limit per server because it wants to feel post-apocalyptic and having lots of players in a map would ruin it. However, past games had lots of NPCs in smaller maps without harming this atmosphere, so there's no excuse for not having a bigger player limit.
- There were no singleplayer servers at launch. This was going to change in 2020, but unfortunately the private server mode is only available through the infamous Fallout 1st subscription feature, along with a co-op mode.
- Griefing (trolling/harassing of other players) is incredibly easy:
- Since the level of monsters that spawn is determined by the highest-level player in the area, high-level players will often follow low-level players around, generating monsters at levels much too high for them to fight until they die so they can loot the corpse. Since this is not a PvP kill, it does not result in the high-level player becoming wanted.
- Following a nuclear explosion, an irradiated area is formed where extremely high-level monsters spawn, which is supposed to allow high-level players to raid the area for legendary equipment drops. Unfortunately, at launch, there was nothing to stop players nuking areas near Vault 76 and force new players to deal with endgame-level monsters until it was changed later so no nukes can drop near Vault 76.
- Prior to the addition of the PvP-focused Survival mode in the Wild Appalachia DLC, the main game's basic PvP system was broken for many reasons:
- The PvP system is not "open" (i.e you can just start fights with players who have enabled PvP): instead, after you attack another player, they have to attack you back to commence the "duel". This could be seen as something that one's mother or a stereotypical "Karen" would come up with to make sure everyone was having fun, thus robbing the game of any sense of threat.
- It's worth mentioning that the game doesn't penalize disconnections in between duels.
- It favours the latter person too much since the PvP modifier doesn't wear off until they attack back. Firstly, if they don't attack back, they almost won't get harmed if they run away. Secondly, they have all the time in the world to look at your gear and put on all of their gear (including a super-armour and their best weapon), since they will receive almost no damage from the attacker, and hit them back with all of the gear. Needless to say, the combat has little to no balance.
- The rewards are poor, so there's no real reason to PvP.
- Fall damage isn't affected by the modifier, so you can build a high place, invite someone there, break the floor beneath them so they fall to their death and finish them off.
- If a player somehow kills another player without entering PvP or does something not really evil like accidentally melee the door of another player's toilet, they will become "wanted" on the server. This generally results in having a bunch of level 100+ players wearing power armour and dosed up to the eyeballs on chems fast-travelling to the player's position and murdering the hell of out them to collect the bounty. This is apparently supposed to prevent griefing, but since it actually doesn't as noted above, all it really means is you can accidentally summon a roving death squad.
- While the game's faction names are somewhat improving from Fallout 4's, however, the other faction names are still lazy or even badly named like the Cutthroats, Free States, Order of Mysteries, and Responders. Given that almost all of their founders did live before the Great War and are not low-intellectual first-generation survivors, they should know how to give the factions that they founded after their styles better names than that.
- When you get to an area, you have the chance to get an event in which other players can help if they want to and have similar levels as you. However, the events are as uninteresting as the quests, and very rarely someone else will help, since almost everyone is a lone wolf.
- Clunky building system without mods. Plus, when you log out, other players will almost certainly dismantle anything you've built by the time you get back.
- The weapon customization feature is more limited than Fallout 4, since you don't get all the mods at the start of the game, and instead have to scrap a lot of the enemy's weapons to get the mods or buy them from vendors.
- The nuclear launch codes are not randomized as one might expect. Instead, they are fixed for one-week periods. This means players could simply look them up online and launch nukes at will, which they gleefully did.
- During E3 2019, a trailer was revealed for the new piece of free DLC titled "Wastelanders", in which while it finally included things that fans were requesting such as NPCs, it also introduced a completely unnecessary battle royale mode which was also teased at the event to launch at a later date.
- The battle royale mode (titled "Nuclear Winter") was also given a "B.E.T.A" trial for a week, meant to test the game and draw up community support. This, however, appears to have backfired, as the trial was rampant with cheaters, servers were unreliable, many weapons and armours were overpowered (especially Power Armour, which essentially means you will automatically win the match way too easily if you find it), and gameplay did not have much variety beyond the base game, other than make the open-world map small.
- Clunky UI which has seen no improvements, and is now not only tedious but actually dangerous to navigate as the game does not pause when a player is looking at their inventory. A mod came out three days after the game's release that provided a far better UI sorted into categories.
- Extremely low carry limit and storage limits, meaning the player has to simply discard a lot of their loot. However, materials can stack almost infinitely, meaning that it is quite common to encounter player stashes containing tens or even hundreds of thousands of units of material.
- On the other hand, when carrying power armour, only the 10kg frame is counted as weighing anything, even if it has a full set of armour mounted on it. This means a player can wear a suit of power armour while having another entire suit in their inventory.
- On the subject of power armours, with the exception of the Excavator Power Armor and the Ultracite Power Armor, it is everywhere in the wasteland, even in places where it makes absolutely no sense like in a farm outbuilding.
- The music, like previous Fallout games, is nice to listen to, thanks to being composed by the well-known composer himself, Inon Zur. There's also a good selection of licensed songs from the 1950's and earlier to listen to, like previous installments.
- Copilot's cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is also nice to listen to.
- The actual selection of enemies is varied, even if some are horribly overused.
- The armour system has improved over Fallout 4, so now it allows you to both wear your armour and your under-armour under every outfit.
- The item durability feature from AGW & Fallout: New Vegas has returned since the feature's absence in Fallout 4.
- Their update DLCs are free to download as promised, without horridly paying them.
- As mentioned in WIS #18, This was the ever first truly vocal appearance of the Brotherhood of Steel founder, Roger Maxson, as mentioned throughout the series, alongside using him as a background character for a few audio-logs. This is despite him being regardlessly misused to justified the Appalachian Brotherhood of Steel's existence in the game.
- While mentioned in WIS #18, unlike the bad explanations of the appearances of the franchise's iconic elements like the Brotherhood of Steel, the Enclave's (or a technically breakaway faction of it) reason to appear in this game actually makes a lot of sense due to real-world connections like their headquarters, which are based on The Greenbrier hotel and its bunker. It's too bad that they were the main background antagonist due to their previous leader and only human, Thomas Eckhart, who was a reactionary narcissistic moron that led his group to collapse, leaving their AI MODUS as an artificial sole member and new leader all within 3-4 years in it livespan, and the main indirect (not deliberately like previous games) reason why the Scorched Plague exist.
- They have some subtle nods to other Fallout games without being too bastardized from the lore like the rest of the game did. For example, the Pip-Boy 2000 Mark VI is a nod to Fallout 1 and AGW that other regions are using rather than the East Coast variants using the 2.0 version.
- Despite the unnecessary Battle Royale mode, that mode was surprisingly functional and mostly playable for a short time during the E3 2019 conference.
- Depending on an optimistic view, human NPCs will be finally added in the Wastelanders DLC in 1Q 2020.
- Along the way, AGW's dialogue style system will be used in the same near-future DLC, likely due to fan service and, since the playable characters are voiceless (again, in a multiplayer game), making both gameplay and plot have some sense.
- They decided to delay their "biggest" DLC update to the first quarter of 2020 to strongly focus on bug fixes, which is a strange and ironic way of delaying a DLC-size update that's bigger than the whole game.
Fallout 76 got mixed to negative reception from critics, but an overwhelmingly negative reception from both the players and fans alike, and is widely considered to be the final nail in the coffin (for non-toxic loyal long-time fans or new fans for the company and its games) for Bethesda's reputation. It was also a huge flop, selling less than previous Fallout games.
On Metacritic, the Xbox One version has a critic rating of 49/100 ("generally unfavourable reviews"), the PS4 version has a 53/100 ("mixed or average reviews"), and the PC version has a 52/100 (also "mixed or average reviews"). The user scores were much lower, with the PC and PS4 versions having a user score of 2.8/10, while the Xbox One version has a user score of 3.3/10.
Angry Joe gave the game a 3/10 for the PC version, and a 2/10 for console versions because the performance is worse on them. During the review, Joe called out Todd Howard for his blatant lies about the game. He would later list this game as number 1 in his top 10 most disappointing games of 2018 video, and number 2 (behind only The Quiet Man) in his top 10 worst games of 2018 video, making it the first time in years he ever put a game on two lists the same year. Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb has gone on record in saying that "no one on staff wants to play any more of this video game", and that the site would not be publishing a full review of the game due to the internal team not wanting to play enough of the game to justify making a review.
This game has even taken the spot as the worst Fallout game in the franchise from Brotherhood of Steel, which was made by Interplay themselves, never see a game studio to beat that record.
It was reported that sales of Fallout 76 were so bad that some German game retailers were literally giving away free copies of the game with purchases of hard drives, consoles and controllers.
In 2019 Todd Howard had an interview were he casually admitted that Bethesda knew Fallout 76 was an unfinished buggy game that would flop and released it not caring about its quality because they could fix it later.
- Development on a Fallout online game started at Bethesda Studios and Interplay Productions with a project by the name of Project V13 (also known as Fallout Online). It was in development hell between 2007 and 2009 until it was cancelled in 2012 due to conflicts between Bethesda and Interplay, and Bethesda used an out of court settlement to gain the full rights to the Fallout franchise.