Fallout 76 has some seriously terrible press out there. Metacritic doesn’t have professional reviews yet but their user score is 2.9. This is based on over 1400 reviews with 148 positive, 33 mixed and 307 negative. When you search for Fallout 76 on Youtube, the videos I found were the following:
I’ve watched a few of the people’s big complaints about the game. What they really boil down to is inappropriate expectations. I personally saw the game and thought it looked like Conan Exiles with a Fallout skin. I thought it would be about rushing out, finding an area to build on and the endless rush to get the supplies needed to make that crap.
I started to watch the game server rental places to see how much it would cost to grab a Fallout server. Then I got to try the Beta. It pleasantly surprised me that it was not at all what I imagined. I’ve played over 20 hours now and I haven’t really built anything at all. There is plenty to do without delving into that aspect of the game.
Furthermore, you aren’t forced into PvP either. There’s a setting you can engage that makes it so you don’t initiate it (PvP starts when you hit someone and they hit back). There are ways around it, methods by which you can start it and I suppose there’s probably a way to grief with it but I have yet to see it. I don’t think it’s necessarily something to worry about.
While you’re playing in the world, there are workbenches you can claim. You do a quick event then you can build in that space. Apparently, other players can come along and take them if you’re not there. Or attack you to take them if you are there. I haven’t done that part of the game either but I can see people being upset if this is something they were excited about and don’t want to brawl for these building experiences.
You CAN build a base and whenever you move your camp, everything you built is stored for you to move about with. That’s a pretty cool feature, one that helps you keep your various stations at the ready so you can check them down and start crafting if necessary. It’s helped friends of mine with their own experiences. I personally just use the stuff I find in the world.
Which is perfectly viable in Fallout 76. You can specifically use only the things you locate in the world and advance. I can’t say how many quests there are but I’ve done a lot. One in particular stands out. You start it at a water park and begin an investigation. I’d say it took at least 30 minutes to complete with the various steps and along the way, I found a lot more to do beside.
Many people complain that Fallout 76 isn’t like any of the other games. That’s not true. The story has offered up a viable reason for there to be no people in the world. Only automation and robots. Yes, you don’t have a lot of introduction to the game—you just end up running out of the vault and starting—but that’s pretty much the only part of this game that does NOT feel like previous entries.
Something important to remember: if you did not like Fallout 4, this game is not for you. It’s basically that with Survival Mode engaged. The base building looks the same, combat is relatively the same (VATS is handled in real time, allowing you to not have to aim to hit a target), and quests plus background lore fits right in to the Fallout universe.
Now, I’ve spoken about all the good in Fallout 76. There are some problems which I’ll point out now.
Microtransactions didn't make that list because they're all cosmetic AND there are challenges where you can earn the in game currency so you don't have to give them MORE money. I've bought a couple of things. They're kind of neat but totally non-essential to game play.
I haven’t seen the griefing I’ve read about. I’ve played through events with people and those worked out well (public events like Guild Wars style). I all around think that people had insane expectations for Fallout 76 and didn’t know what they were getting. As a result, they’ve been crapping all over it rather than realizing it is NOT supposed to be Fallout 5. It’s a new entry, a survival game with a twist…and that twist is something to do besides build, fight, eat, and repeat.
I like the game. I think with the right mindset, you would too.
If you want to see some gameplay, I've posted hours of it over at my Facebook page.
You can watch it here.
Author of several books, composer of several CDs. Please check out the rest of the site for some of my work.