Adventures of Appalachia
Fans of one of the oldest RPG franchises were taken by surprise when Bethesda capped off their E3 presentation by announcing Fallout 76. This multiplayer-only game is set in Appalachia shortly after the bombs fell, and it promised an experience unlike any other. I got the opportunity to try out the not-so-public beta this past week and here are some of the takeaways from that.
Firstly, one thing you will have to acknowledge right away is how beautiful Appalachia is. From the sprawling luscious forests to the many sites of old civilisation, this is probably the biggest Fallout map with the most to see and experience. Even though the engine is old and some of the textures are outdated, walking through the forest while beams of light split through the canopy is something you won't get tired of. Bethesda makes the best environments, and this is the best example of that. What you will get tired of, however, is how the game is being compromised to make the always-multiplayer aspect work. The FPS is going to be fixed at 63, and the FOV cannot be adjusted. Bethesda claims that these are there to prevent cheating but an AAA title having FPS restrictions is just ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous, it wouldn't be a Bethesda game without bugs. And oh boy, were there many. Sometimes the ghouls get stuck without any obstacles being present or fail to detect you when you are 2 inches from their face. Another time, I got killed by a couple of them because they disappeared below the ground while still being able to attack me. As amusing as it was, that's not the kind of thing you want to remember the game for. While you might think I'm being especially harsh on these, let's not forget that this wasn't an actual beta but just a server test for Bethesda.
Even though I've been mostly negative, I did enjoy the game. The gameplay itself is like Fallout 4, with a big focus on the run-and-gun aspect along with some scavenging and crafting on the side, crafting meaning both items and structures, which you can carry with you to set up a home base anywhere empty with your C.A.M.P. On my journey to Level 13 in the beta, I enjoyed the scavenging and gunplay. As a fast run-and-gun MMO this game is quite fun. There are also a good number of quests scattered around, accessed by holotapes and terminals, which give you something to do.
One thing old Fallout fans will dearly miss, however, are the NPCs. Some may be quick to point out that there are robot and super mutant traders, but that's clearly not what I'm referring to. The lack of other NPCs to talk to, get quests from and learn about the world makes the world feel empty. Nor do the quests seem very significant. In short, the storyline (or the lack of it) makes the game less like a traditional Fallout game and more like your everyday action MMO.
That doesn't mean the game is all bad. By the last beta session I was beginning to get addicted to the gameplay, especially when I started interacting with the other players. PVP and PVE was equally fun, and having people around makes it less lonely, but they still don't fill the void of NPCs. Even though Fallout 76 isn't the typical RPG, it's still fun. If you can accept that Bethesda has taken the RPG series you used to love and made it into an FPS, the game is quite palatable. Your best bet might be to wait till it's on sale, though.
Wasique Hasan sheds a tear in Fallout's memory. Press F at: fb.com/hasique.wasan