Hate me or love me for it, Fallout 76 is a guilty pleasure of mine. Roaming the wasteland in a familiar landscape that compares to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, warms my heart. Nothing can beat the late night gaming vibe of listening to The Ink Spots as I blast my pipe pistol that is on the verge of breaking at gigantic moles popping up from the ground. Yes, I understand that it didn’t have the best start, but can we give it a chance in 2023? With a landscape like West Virginia, the terrain is varied with The Mire and Cranberry Bog calling my name to come visit. To me, Fallout 76 may have started off as a troubling situation for most gamers, but I believe it has come a long way since then, and has a great community backing it.
When Fallout 76 first came out, I remember immediately not buying it due to horrible reviews that included the valid criticism of a lackluster world with no NPC’s available, a quest system that advanced the story through audio tapes, and a somewhat unfair survival system. To me, this was as disappointing as it gets, especially being a huge fan of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The two previous titles I referred to are legendary iterations of the Fallout series, and contain arguably the best stories in the series along with fantastic downloadable content. Unfortunately, Fallout 76 removed staples of the series and replaced it with dull exploration for the sake of completing a story with no human involvement/interaction, which is a necessity for its campaign. Through this setup, Fallout 76 was doomed to fail until Bethesda worked on the core game.
What made players angry about Fallout 76? To me, I believe the main complaint revolved around the absence of non-playable characters. Fallout is known for characters that stand out to gamers, being an important aspect of the wasteland. No NPC’s meant not having the ability to shape the story in the way you wanted to as the previous games would do. Players had no involvement in shaping West Virginia, as it seemed all settlers and friendlies were gone from sight. We certainly had each other to talk to in the online mode, but that didn’t go too well as high-level players were constantly killing and looting the lower level ones. Everything was broken and it remained that way for quite some time. Players would use Fallout 76 weapons, like the Quad The Fixer, to unload on the unsuspecting.
Another problem that rose from the ashes was the unfairness of the world for players who did not want to partake in online gaming. Fallout was always a game about being a lonely wastelander, but 76 switched those roles and made players constantly play online. Private lobbies were not a thing and single-player lovers had their hands forced in jolly cooperation (or jolly death from friendly fire). The problem here did not only lay with being constantly online, but the difficulty of the gameplay also suffered. Those who chose to play the game alone would have to face missions and challenges head on in solo capacity as well. While previous games had bodyguards and companions, 76 pitted gamers alone against enemies that would otherwise be impossible to kill without another person. I remember facing the Sheepsquatch robots with my friend and getting stuck in a cabin together against what seemed like an army of fake Sheepsquatch constantly lasering us to death. We would return to get our items and die by lasers yet again. The game was unforgiving, even to those who partied up.
Why do I want players to give Fallout 76 a chance? After all, everything I have described seemed to create a negative connotation about the game, right? Yes, but the general game is in the best state it has ever been in. Wastelanders (NPC’s) have returned to West Virginia, the difficulty has been lowered for solo players, and griefing is no longer an issue. That leaves all of West Virginia to explore in your own company, discovering landmarks that may give you the feelings the old titles once did. I personally don’t think the game is as bad as others say it is, and it’s even fun to play with friends in my experience. The Wastelanders have actually added a touch of humanity to the game, creating for a short story that should have been the longer story. Nevertheless, it is worth a try if you can get it for cheap, as Fallout fans will certainly never deny more content and story for their favorite franchise. Although the Wastelanders dlc did not add hundreds of hours of content and more so tens of hours, it is worth trying out. Don’t be afraid to play something someone else told you not to!
Another reason I love Fallout 76 is the lore behind the enemies. While being famous for the laziness in variety, I think the complete opposite of the game. Monsters like the Wendigo, Grafton Monster, Mothman, and Flatwoods monster help the atmosphere of the game in various ways. Some may even say that this is the scariest iteration of the series yet, with gigantic beasts awaiting your arrival in the forests. Glimpses of giant crawfish, enlarged sloths, and radwasps will send shivers down your spine as they walk through the radiated lands. The history of these mystical beasts runs back into West Virginia’s cryptid history. Beasts like the Flatwoods Monster whose history comes from it crashing in front of two bypassers who saw the monster stand up are part of the reason why I love this game. Then, there is also Mothman, and who doesn’t love Mothman?
All in all, Fallout 76 has improved drastically since its initial release. Gamers who are eager to jump in and give the Virginian mountains a try but don’t have an account can also buy Fallout 76 accounts from best salesmen in the market. Whether it is tuning into Fallout 76’s Appalachia Radio to hear classic songs from American pastimes or dropping a nuke onto somebody’s home, I think this game is worth returning to. While the majority of gamers will not allow Bethesda back into their lives after this one, I feel that they have done the best they can with updating the game with post-release content. Nobody asked for an online Fallout experience, but I am surely glad that there is one. May the quirkiness of meeting random players online never die, and long live the wastelands.