Fallout 76 is an online action role-playing game (RPG) developed and published by Bethesda Game Studios. It was released in 2018 as the latest entry in a long-running Fallout series which has been one of the most popular game franchises in the whole gaming history. It has been praised for its story, quests, characters, and little easter eggs that are hidden everywhere around its open world. The story of all the games in the franchise is based in an alternate reality on the aftermath of a nuclear war between China and The United States. Fallout 76, specifically, takes place in Appalachia, West Virginia.
Fallout 76 was initially received poorly not only because it had major issues with gameplay, but also because the story was missing one of the most crucial things in every role-playing game: non-playable characters (NPCs). The story didn’t feel engaging enough on its own, and players felt like the game was empty; the only things that they could interact with were each other and the enemies. After receiving huge amounts of backlash from the players, Bethesda decided to update their game with a patch, that brought the NPCs into the game. The damage had already been done, however, and Fallout 76 remains a “bad game” to this day.
Since I have been invested in the lore and the world of the Fallout franchise, I decided to see it for myself; how does Fallout 76 look in 2021? Is it really as bad as everyone says? The game starts off from the protective Vault number 76, where you venture off into the town of Appalachia. The game is stunningly beautiful, but most importantly, the story immediately hooks you in with the conflict between a small village and a raider group, that has been harassing the village and its villagers for quite some time. Your job is to resolve this conflict, as you are on neither side.
As you travel through Appalachia, you can’t help but admire the small details that have been put into the game. I cannot imagine what it must have been like without the NPCs, but since they were added, the story definitely feels much more like an RPG. You encounter characters that have actual backstories; some of them you can even have as companions. You can choose to accept their offer to follow you, and if you do, they will move into your C.A.M.P., which is basically your fully customizable home in Fallout 76. The companions each have unique storyline, which makes them feel like real people, a friend even. You can’t help but to feel for them, as they tell you about their struggles after the nuclear war. And to make the story even better, you can even choose to romance them.
The best part of Fallout 76 apart from the companions, are the small quests that you stumble upon while exploring Appalachia. Some of them have really intense, dark innuendos, but some are more light-hearted, filled with humour and references to other franchises. Discovering new places is fun because you never know what you’ll find. Maybe a house filled with stuffed teddy bears? Or perhaps a bunch of garden gnomes on top of a mountain, one of them about to kick the other off the cliff? The possibilities with this game are endless, and I love that.
So, is Fallout 76 worth taking a look at, or should you save your money? I say go for it, especially if you are into RPGs and a good story. The criticism that the game faced might’ve been relevant when it was first released, but it most certainly doesn’t hold its ground anymore. The game isn’t what it used to be, and for once, I am happy to say that. So, with that, I warmly welcome you to the town of Appalachia!
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: 14th November 2018
Genres: Role-playing game, Action, Adventure
Pictures: Screenshots from the game, taken by the author
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