Fallout 76 Review in 2020
We’re at that time of year when we can look back at the beautiful launch of Fallout 76 and ask ourselves the question:
“Why did we even bother to support this game?”
Well, let me tell you that this very question was only answered in the current year of 2020.
The BIG One
Anyone who’s stepped foot in Fallout 76 within the first year and a half of its launch saw what the game was, how sad and broken of a state it was in. A LOT Fallout fans completely disowned this game, just as bad (if not worse) than Star Wars fans with Episodes 7-9. We all watched as our beloved franchise of Fallout had its name brutally dragged through the mud and dirt, and the life was just beaten out of it… literally, there was not a single living human NPC. At all.
But you’re not hear to listen to me recap, we all know the horror stories of Fallout 76 past, lets focus on Fallout 76 Present.
When Nuclear Winter was announced, so was Wastelanders, one of the most promising additional pieces of content that would be coming to the game and HOPEFULLY not be so terrible it would get removed. We wondered if this would actually be the one to help the game survive its second year, or if it would be the final nail in the coffin for this online installment of many folks favorite game franchise. Well, in short, it was good. No, it was great.
I still remember streaming the Wastelanders launch day like it was yesterday. THOUSANDS of people watching me, the known lover/hater of the game, experience what this was for the VERY FIRST TIME. And I’m just gonna say it, I had an absolute blast. The whole stream consisted of brand new players coming into the game to say hi to me, brand new and fun story campaign adventures (with ACTUALLY interesting characters!!!), a HEAP of new content to enjoy and grind for, even some Fallout 76 devs showed up to the stream! (Looking at you LadyDevann, never forget Randal…).
12 HOURS went by in that single stream, and it felt like 2. I had more fun that stream (mostly solo, by the way), than I’ve had in a long time in that game. Being a veteran player of the game, this was a massive breath of fresh air, and massively helped the game get a proper footing on the ground after a year and a half of walking the thinnest most shakiest tight rope in the world.
Although I’m not here to specifically review Wastelanders, as I’ve already done that in the past, let me just say that this update to the game is the reason why the name is even still floating around, and NOT in a completely negative light. It added so much life into the game, with NPC, questing, tons of dailies, wandering HUMANS to make the world feel more lively, and an entirely new currency system to help players have another reason to grind in different ways than JUST killing enemies. I’d say that (especially if you have game pass), Wastelanders alone is a reason to give the game a go.
Randal and the Colossal Problem
Oh Randal, where art thou Randal. With the addition of Wastelanders also came a BRAND NEW End Game boss: The Wendigo Colossus, a three headed, long legged, disturbing behemoth of a Wendigo, and it was AWESOME. The problem was that he only had a certain percentage of a chance to spawn, meaning that you would drop a nuke and get lucky OR drop a nuke and totally waste it. BUT, if you DID manage to find him (which we promptly named Randal), you would get to fight a TON of wendigo’s, which meant screws galore, and typically get a lot of great loot from the behemoth himself, including legendary’s.
But the problem still stood: Why would players constantly risk dropping nukes on a CHANCE for a boss to spawn?
Queue The Colossal Problem event. Just a few months after the Wastelanders release, the promise of a new boss event, the Colossal Problem, veered its head into the scene. Only delayed by a MONTH (vs. the 7 months that Wastelanders was delayed for), this event offered a guaranteed Wendigo Colossus boss fight EVENT (so extra loot at the end), with seemingly dozens of wendigo’s to farm, and in a place that wasn’t affected by the nuke zone, so you could go in with whatever gear you wanted. Only difference was that THIS colossus, named Earl, was about a hundred times more difficult to kill, especially for the average end game player, so the risk was quite a bit higher on this one.
Regardless, the Wendigo Colossus was a fantastic End Game boss addition to the game, of which I hope is one of MANY new big and cool looking end game boss fights to come.
Seasons Battle Pass
It’s funny… I never thought I’d actually appreciate a Season pass coming to a game, and I mean that in a “Oh yeah, I look forward to this!” sort of way. Games either seem to have one or they don’t, and honestly MOST of the time I couldn’t care less. It’s just a simple way to get more money out of players, which typically they ARE the best bang for your buck, but at the end of the day you gotta be real involved in a game to want that sort of system.
And, well, a lot of us WERE when it came to Fallout 76 Seasons. The game had only offered the Atomic Shop as a means to get in game cosmetics and skins, sometimes giving out free stuff, but for the most part it was overpriced for the average quality. Seasons, on the other hand, completely shook this up.
Now, in the past (looking at you, Fallout 1st) Bethesda seemed to lean so heavily on microtransactions in Fallout 76 that you would, at times, feel like you were being constantly forced into the shop. Usually only to be disappointed by very average looking skins and items. NOW, with Seasons being ENTIRELY FREE, they’ve given players the opportunity to grind for some actually pretty high quality cosmetics and in game items (such as caps or perk cards) without needing to drop a SINGLE DOLLAR! This was a great way for Bethesda to show to their fanbase that, regardless of past issues, they want to give them something that shows they care about THEM over just critics. This showed that they were willing to put in the extra time to design a ton of great looking (and season specific) items, without looking for any form of compensation whatsoever… unless you decide to drop some atoms to level up your pass.
When Seasons hit the game, I was amazed at what they brought. Although quite buggy in the FIRST season (I mean, they were still testing out a bunch of brand new systems to get it working), by the mid-first season to second season everything was ready to go. Seasons give a lot of reason to log in each day, even just for 10 or 20 minutes, to level up your pass and enjoy some free rewards. 76 got this one REALLY right.
One Wasteland is the Best Wastelander
Okay, this is a controversial topic for MANY 76 players, as it seems folks are either for it or against it. Honestly, I don’t know how ANYBODY can be against this, but you can decide for yourself.
One Wasteland was probably my favorite addition to 76 this year. Even over NPC’s coming to the game, cause that was bound to happen eventually. One Wasteland was a complete overhaul of the game, rebalancing EVERYTHING to scale to the players level. In short, that means you are able to freely explore the world without out-leveling regions. End Game players are returning to the Forest and the Ash Heap for the first time since they STARTED playing! I have been happily farming and grinding in those regions, and had forgotten how much I missed them, how many memories I had of those areas when I personally played back at the beginning of the games life. This update means that players will have a challenging experience against any and ALL enemies they encounter, that they can finally play with low level players without just curb stomping the enemies before anyone gets a hit.
This ALSO brought a balance to a lot of the weapon damage in the game, making guns and melee weapons doing far more reasonable damage that one-shotting every enemy within the blink of an eye. I think that this might be the reason why players are crying, because their guns don’t just carry them through the game anymore, that they actually have to PLAY THE GAME. I mean, I had a ton of overpowered weapons that decimated every enemy, but I hated my time playing. It was bland and easy, absolutely no challenge, and when players aren’t challenged in an experience they move on.
To me, I feel like this was the butter on the bread that was Wastelanders, it gave the ENTIRE world reason, rather than just the end game areas. It made every location end game, every single building a difficulty to fight through. It might be sad to see the hilariously powerful weapons start to dwindle out a bit (trust me, there’s still a TON OF THEM in the game), but this is the greatest quality of life improvement the game has seen, and I don’t know why players hate on it with such passion.
One of Fallout 76’s BIGGEST downfalls was end game, well, ANYTHING. The game for high level players was beyond boring, bland, and empty. With all the hacked and broken weapons being duped by the masses, there was NO reason to grind for any legendary’s, you just bought em. There was ONE final boss, the Queen, and that was pretty much it for end game players. Fallout 76 was more empty at the point where they promised the most fulfillment.
And then came Daily Ops. These repeatable dungeon quests rotate each and every single day between multiple locations and various MUTATED enemies. And by mutated I mean they have randomized buff effects to make them more of a threat. Each day you get a new location with a random enemy encounter to tackle, where you must go in, activate a radio beacon signal, capture two hold points, and kill a final boss… who’s actually quit a challenge at times.
These Daily Ops offer players the chance at unlocking some pretty cool cosmetic items, plans, legendary’s, caps, resources, and so much more. Not to mention that the enemies in these events actually DROP AMMO!!! and not just any type of ammo, the EXACT ammo from the weapon you use to kill em! Not a single area in the entire game has used that mechanic except for Daily Ops, which make them an incredibly viable ammo grinding location, especially for players that use the expensive Ultracite ammo.
Although not the most lengthy content (typically complete in 8 minutes or less), Daily Ops added a fair amount of repeatable content for players to enjoy, and specifically end game players. These aren’t the easiest, are very fun to complete, and just offer a new tier of challenge to the game, making for just a extra cherry on top while doing your dailies.
Like I said above, I’m not going to bore you with the specifics, just simply what I believe needs to be said.
Fallout 76 in 2020 is a night to day comparison. At times it’s hard to believe it’s the same game, even the GRAPHICS look far better, not to mention the lack of constant game breaking bugs and glitches. I don’t know what happened, but I’ll say this: Bethesda kicked it into overdrive with this game, whether or not they figured it would find success. After 2019, a year road map of complete disappointment and failures, 2020 was the redeeming year HANDS DOWN. The amount of content added, problems fixed, and replay-ability value added has been ludicrous.
They still have the Brotherhood of Steel stuff they’re adding near the end of the year, which I’ll be back to play and try out, but I look forward to seeing what the game does next. This IS an online game after all, and players of an online game tend to move on quickly, prepare for whatever is next. I hope Bethesda continues to work on the game, adding so much content that players enjoy, and ultimately get back a name for themselves that is more respectable.
I’ve been a fan of Bethesda games since Morrowind, and ESPECIALLY since Oblivion, and it was painful to watch everything that 76 was. A company going from making the best single player RPG experiences to releasing an unfinished, underdeveloped, and frankly bad game was a huge blow to fans. Wastelanders has drastically improved this game, and I believe that it’s one worth giving a go, not too seriously, but rather just for a fun time, especially if you have friends joining you.
If you would prefer to watch my thoughts rather than reading, check out this video!