Fallout 76 review: An empty world filled with empty space

Credit: Bethesda
Credit: Bethesda /

Fallout 76 is a massive vessel with very little to fill in the empty space. Exploration is a large aspect of the game, but doing it alone serves to be dull.

Title: Fallout 76
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PC (version reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: November 14, 2018

Fallout 76  is a game aspiring to let fans of the series party up with some friends and take on the radiation-infected lands. Sadly, those lands are empty. They provide little to no enjoyment, especially when it comes to playing solo. Gameplay and objectives lead the player into the same repetitive cycle leaving no room for variety.

Fallout 76 is truly a barren landscape of fun.

I have to admit, my first few hours of Fallout 76 were quite enjoyable. I enjoyed the beginning missions as they acquainted me with the world and several different systems within the game. After those few hours, however, Fallout 76 began to reveal its true face.

One major issue of Bethesda’s take on a multiplayer game is the lack of other people. The West Virginia landscape is full of interesting creatures, enemies and environments, but there are zero people to talk to unless you bring some friends. Like I said in my beta impressions article a few weeks ago, missions are only given through holotapes and robots. There are no organic NPCs for players to interact with causing the world to feel emptier. The livelihood of the game just isn’t there leaving me with little initiative to explore more of the world.

Fallout 76
Bethesda /

With only about 20 other players on the server, I almost never came across another person, leading to a nonexistent PvP game. Objectives and events are about the only element within the world to bring players together, but even then they are unattractive. Events are widdled down to a wave-based defense while missions are constant lists of activities to perform. Variety within these missions is severely lacking. Collecting specific objects or killing certain enemies are all the only activities they ask of you.

…  I found myself getting bored from each encounter.

When it comes to enemies, the AI within the game acts poorly in combat. At one point I was able to stand on a bridge over a dried up river bed and shoot a Grafton monster until it died. Its only defense against me was a black sludge it would throw, but it never could hit its mark.

Other enemies with weapons rarely take cover behind structures. If they do, then their head and upper abdomen are clearly revealed. Without an advanced AI to serve up some challenges, I found myself getting bored from each encounter.

Fallout 76
Bethesda /

The cycle of repetition breaks when it comes to exploring the world. There are several places I discovered that was not illustrated on the map which gave me sparks of interest. The locations that are on the map struck curiosity within me because they are illustrated beautifully.

Some of the best moments of Fallout 76 occurred when exploring the wasteland with friends. Being able to talk with them, coordinate and the sole fact I was with someone drove me to explore more. Finding the best place to set up out camp served to be enjoyable because we wanted the best area for resources.

Surprisingly, the camp-building falls into the better half of the game, as well. At first, several building options are limited, but later on, I was able to build a wide variety of structures. The depth within the building system was significant enough to keep me busy for hours. Options within the type of material, types of crafting benches and decorative items was a nice break from the exploration.

Fallout 76 Base Building
Bethesda /

Gathering materials for building, armor, and weapons serve as a difficult task. I was constantly being over-encumbered which slows your speed and keeps you from being able to fast travel. This constant nuisance was my main antagonist throughout the game. Having the ability to stow away your items in a stash was greatly beneficial. These items carry over to every stash you come to, but even then it seems to have a low ceiling on what it can hold.

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Fallout 76 has several problems that need to be addressed. The world is flat out empty with little differences in objectives and almost zero PvP. This world can be a bit livelier if you play with other players, but even then you will still be facing the same dumb enemies as you did the last hour.

Base building was a nice surprise. Its deep variety gives the player several options to create a camp they want to live in. Sadly, this great portion of the game is restricted by a small inventory system that will have you dropping all the important resources just so you can fast travel.

. Fallout 76. 5. After the first few hours of <em>Fallout 76,</em> you can expect a lot of the same mission types over and over again. Playing with friends is ideal, but it cannot overcome the constant repetition. Base-building and undiscovered locations serve to be the best portions of this radioactive mess.. Bethesda Studios

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.