Every gamer knows the story of fallout 76. The game that failed miserably at launch. Server issues, broken mechanics, irrational enemy AI, free access to the developers’ area, Sun shining from the ground, and nothing at all that resembles 16 times the detail. These were only a few of the problems that existed in fallout 76 at launch. But I will not let that cloud my judgment in this Fallout 76: Wastelanders review. As the update obviously fixed many aspects of this game. Even the patches before it paved the way of the fallout 76 revamping mission.
Free DLC doesn’t count towards the positiveness of Fallout 76: Wastelanders review
I do not consider this a free DLC that was given away by Bethesda to please the fans or thank them. This should have been in the game since day one. The game was extremely broken and missing content. This should be advertised as a bug fixes and new late content delivery patch, not as a “free gift from Bethesda”.
Wastelanders fast-forwards the world a year and focuses on the sudden increase of population in Appalachia following rumors of a hidden valuable treasure. Somehow, a cure for the plague appears and it is the mission of the player to spread that cure and convince the Raiders and Settlers factions to work together.
The new story quests overlap with some of the old ones and create an unnoticeable mixture of story missions. The quests are all integrated and feel like one story in the fallout 76 world. You will not feel out of place if you were away from the game for a while. Unlike other MMORPGs that demand players to go through every story expansion in order to reach the current one. Fallout 76 pulls off a smooth transition that keeps players experiencing the old and the new.
The only way you would know the difference between the main story and Wastelanders story is Human NPCs. They are present in Wastelanders only. As we all know, the original 76 quest givers were holo tapes and old letters.
At one point Wastelanders will require you to be at least level 20 to progress, forcing you to put up with the old non-human fetch quests. It is a pace breaking incident so I hope to see a fix for it soon. Maybe integrate the old missions and the new missions together or manage the progression system so you won’t be far off the level when you reach a specific mission.
The missions themselves are very well written and well designed. You experience the story in a way that rivals Bethesda’s best titles. Imagine playing fallout 3 but the dialogue is more fluid and the mission is not entirely fetching or run and gun.
Surprisingly, multiplayer in this multiplayer game is sometimes off-putting. Especially in dialogues if you are in a party. Everyone goes to the dialogue sequence alone, similar to what happens in Anthem. which feels like having your friends there just to shoot stuff together.
An alternate option is just going along with the party leader and letting him decide the dialogue choices. But in this approach, you don’t even get the rewards of completing the mission. It is a broken way of managing dialogue sequences in a multiplayer session. I would have preferred a voting system or a simple poll that makes players decide one outcome for the whole party.
The new content provides you with almost 30 hours of gameplay, these can be reduced if you have a high-level character or if you ignore some of the side quests. But overall the amount of gameplay is satisfying for a story campaign in an MMORPG game.
Graphics, Performance, and Artificial Intelligence
Although Human NPCs are complete game-changers, they feel like static objects until you interact with them. They usually face the wrong direction in dialogues, they NEVER blink, they are mostly Bethesda’s personification of mental illness. You can even steal from them, shoot them, or make them witness a murder and they will not react at all. The game is designed in a way that makes the NPCs extremely passive until you start a conversation with them.
Completing a questline for an NPC will give you the option to invite them over to your camp. It definitely makes the camp less lonely but I was hoping for the NPCs to join me in some quests, along with other real players. It would have been a real addition and a reward to your commitment towards that NPC. Instead, they just live in your camp giving you more fetch quests to go through.
Other than the awkward NPCs, the graphics are tremendously enhanced. Sunrays and reflections look much better. And colors are now more saturated and varied. The world really comes to life in this update. We still want to see ray tracing in that world though, but I am not sure Bethesda can pull that off without breaking anything.
Spend $5, $10, or $15 in the atomic shop on cosmetics like outfits and emotes. You can also buy repair kits that would save you time on missions. The prices are somewhat reasonable and you can never eliminate microtransactions in an online game. But it would be nice if there was an option to grind for atoms on your own instead of only buying them in the shop.
Bethesda also offers a premium subscription plan, called Fallout 1st, for $13 per month or $100 per year. It offers exclusive cosmetics, unlimited storage, and a free mobile survival campsite you can summon anywhere to drop off scrap and rest, and a monthly supply of 1650 atoms. Which is a good deal considering is that 1000 atoms cost $10. Fallout first also gives you the ability to play in a private instanced world with just you and up to seven friends who don’t have to be subscribers. It is weird that you have to pay in order to play privately in an online game. What is the point of it being online?
Although it is not what we expect human NPCs to be, Bethesda is going in the right direction and I hope this update is one of many to come.
Unoptimized multiplayer experience
Worth a try
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