I’ve never played a single Fallout game before, but when I heard about Fallout 76 I was excited. I watched all kinds of YouTube videos about lore referencing Fallout, as well as all the latest news on Fallout 76. Since I’m a fan of survival games like ARK and Conan, it felt like it would be a good entry into the Fallout franchise for me. Unfortunately, several factors has my first Fallout experience on hold.
The first problem I noticed was the price. The standard $59.99 price tag for a triple A game seemed way too expensive. Survival games just don’t go for that price, even the big ones like ARK. It felt right away like I was paying a premium for the Fallout or Bethesda brand. As someone who doesn’t play Bethesda games beyond DOOM, this ‘brand tax’ didn’t sit well with me.
Luckily I managed to get a key from someone to check out the beta. Not having an open beta really threw up some red flags for me. My game performance wasn’t great. While the graphics looked amazing, I had stuttering at regular intervals. Even if I turned the graphics all the way down, it still stuttered. I could still play through the game, but it wasn’t something I’d expected as a bug at this point in development.
The gameplay itself seemed a little off to me. As a Fallout newbie, I’m not sure if this is something to get used to, or if it’s just not my style. Scavenging versus gathering is a big adjustment. Also, all the reading you have to do seems like a huge backwards step in game development. SWTOR really spoiled me on voiceovers, and I expected a lot more than walls of green text for a $60 game from a developer lauded by everyone for their great stories. I’m also a big fan of the building in survival games, and the building seemed a lot more limited than even the most basic indie survival game.
I eventually did pick up Fallout 76 on Black Friday at a pretty hefty 30% discount. I’m really intrigued by the Fallout setting, and taking place in West Virginia just seems really appealing. I’ve watched press debacle after press debacle unfold, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t regret buying it. I guess I’m hoping for a No Man’s Sky type miracle. I’m optimistic that Bethesda will follow through on this title. I’ll be waiting for several patches to hit before I dive in myself. I’d rather have a smooth experience after what I’ve witnessed so far. While the game reviews are sharply negative, the people I’ve heard from that own it have nothing bug good things to say about it. Since these are not only people I know pretty well, but they’re also the ones I’m going to be playing with, so I’ll gladly give the game a shot. Eventually.