Well, I have to say, this has been an interesting week. You all know how much I was looking forward to Fallout 76. Despite being weighed down with two potential candidates for my Game of the Year list, namely Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2, I still made Fallout 76 a top priority. However, as I knew I was going to be reviewing the game for GiN, I wanted to make my gameplay experience fresh. To start off, I did not take part in the B.E.T.A. at all. In fact, any information I saw regarding it I intentionally avoided. I did not want any spoilers or any outside comments to ruin my first run.
I will admit that I was not able to start my run when the game launched at midnight. Please let it be known that I received a review copy of the Tricentennial Edition for Xbox One X at noon that following day, and then needed to install the game, so already I was thirteen hours behind everyone else who started playing before me. It was during that wait I started to notice all the negativity shown towards the game, some of which I felt was wrongfully handled. User scores on Metacritic were way too low to start off with, but I brushed them off as the usual group of trolls who are still upset that the game is believed to be multiplayer only.
Eventually I got the game installed, and as you can see from the first video, I had no problem getting out of Vault 76 and out into the Appalachian wasteland. It actually shocked me because I’ve seen many online only games have connection issues right at launch. Even Bethesda’s own Elder Scrolls Online suffered that fate. But here, I was even able to meet up with other Vault 76 survivors who were able to help me. In fact, I didn’t face the wrath of any griefers who just wanted to go on a PvP killing spree. It was all looking good…until the game froze on me at the registration monitor.
Fortunately I was able to get logged back in, even meeting up with the same person who assisted me before the crash happened, and dare I say it, I was actually enjoying my play time. To me it felt like what it always did in Fallout 4, going out exploring different locations, looting and scavenging for weapons, armor, junk, ammo, and (albeit at a very scarce level) bottlecaps. Even further on, I was able to set my very own C.A.M.P. Site and turned it into a simple, but effective, little piece of residence that I called home. I was enjoying myself.
But while I enjoyed my game, all I saw were posts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as YouTube videos saying about how broken the game was, with some people even destroying game stores because they couldn’t get a refund (though not having a receipt didn’t help,) and even going as far as saying the game was worse than No Man’s Sky in its original state. To me those accusations were taking it too far and made me wonder why there was so much hate with the game, as I didn’t notice anything wrong myself.
I will say so far that I am over 25 hours into the game. My character is currently at a level 25 and I have explored a good part of the center of the map. Has my session been perfect? Not by a long shot. The game’s performance is all over the place, even on a console as powerful as the Xbox One X. I have had many temporary freeze ups that ended up clearing themselves out, but also about three full lockups that required me to go to the Xbox main menu and quit the game. There was also one gameplay session where I noticed considerable lag in gameplay, but aside from that, the initial game was nowhere near the level of travesty that the trolls wanted you to think it was. And no, it would not be responsible for the downfall of Bethesda as the doomsday prophets want you to think.
However. I should say that this was before a patch was released this past Monday. The near 42GB patch was stated to improve gameplay performance, but from what I’ve seen, it was the opposite. While performance itself stayed about the same, I had the game freeze up on me three times in one day. It started to frustrate me. To make matters worse, the Fallout 76 servers were down for maintenance on Wednesday afternoon, the time of this writing. I am hoping that this maintenance will help fix the game a bit, especially with the lockup issues that the latest patch caused, but we’ll have to see what the results are.
I know Bethesda is working on more patches to improve the game, such as increasing the limit of your personal stash, which I do admit is another problem I have with the game, and I will be keeping an eye on it, and will put that into consideration for my final review. But for right now if I had to review the game, I might end up giving it 3 ½ Gems because despite the issues that I’m facing, I am still having a fun time with the game.
The exploration feels like Fallout 4 to me but just with other players. Players have actually messaged me on Xbox Live asking if I needed any items, which they end up giving to me. I haven’t seen this level of camaraderie since I played Phantasy Star Online on both the Dreamcast and the original Xbox. Maybe Fallout 76 will bring me back to the online world that I have avoided for so long, but only if they do their best to improve on a glitchy launch product that will hopefully prove its critics and trolls wrong.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Currently Playing: Fallout 76 (Yes even with all the issues I’m still playing it)