Earlier this year, Bethesda made the bold decision to announce a brand new Fallout game ahead of their E3 2018 press conference. Having never been the biggest fan of the series, I decided to keep my expectations for Fallout 76 relatively low but remained intrigued by what they could potentially accomplish with this online multiplayer prequel.
After finally spending some time in the B.E.T.A. on the Xbox One X, I can now confirm that my interest has peaked and I’m completely sold on what the final product has to offer. Below is a quick overview of my entire experience along with some more info on what players can expect from this title when it hits stores later this week.
Fallout 76 is the ninth game in Bethesda’s popular post-apocalyptic RPG series and their first entirely online multiplayer title. Set in West Virginia approximately twenty-five years after the events of a nuclear war, players find themselves tasked with recolonizing the Wasteland after being released from Vault 76. This prequel also includes dedicated servers and options of up to four-player cooperative play.
When I started playing the B.E.T.A., my first task was to create my character. The robust creation options included choosing a gender, race, body type, face type, and extras in the form of makeup, markings, and blemishes. After finalizing my appearance and picking up my Pip-Boy, I was then given the ability to choose a special character attribute before exiting the vault. These attributes act as the game’s level-up progression system and impact different categories including Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck.
Once I finally left Vault 76, I was floored by just how visually stunning and massive the world was around me. West Virginia is referred to as Appalachia in the game and there are several recreated locations and landmarks to highlight the state. Bethesda has gone on record saying that the open world environment will be four times bigger than Fallout 4. Since my time was limited with this B.E.T.A., I can’t fully confirm if that statement is true but I can at the very least say that everything felt bigger and slightly more immersive than ever before.
The narrative structure behind Fallout 76 is significantly different from other entries in the series. As I continued to explore my surroundings, there were several things that stood out. For starters, there are no human NPCs in the game as you and the other players in the world are the only humans left alive. Instead, there are robot NPCs and collectible Halotape audio diaries that recount personal stories from those who perished during the nuclear war. In many ways, these audio logs are special because they not only give you clues on how to navigate through the wasteland but they also highlight how vulnerable people felt in their darkest final hours. There’s also a lot of mystery behind these diaries in regards to what led to the war and I’m very curious to see how the story expands as we get deeper into the game.
As with every Fallout game, all of the activities that you can do are essentially the same. You’ll still be able to craft armor and weapons, face radioactive creatures and consume food and water in order to survive. However, the important, sole difference in this game is that now you can do all of these things with friends. There are even public quests called events that you can participate in to complete objectives. For a sandbox game set within a post-apocalyptic world, multiplayer just feels right and can elevate the series to new heights if it proves to be a success.
Rounding out my personal experiences with the B.E.T.A, I can honestly say that I didn’t encounter any technical issues whatsoever throughout my entire three-hour gameplay session. This is one aspect that definitely won’t remain the same once the game finally launches as there will be several different factors to take into consideration. While the dedicated servers will play a role in keeping things up and running, many players’ internet connectivity strength will be put to the test especially if they decide to play cooperatively with other friends.
In addition to what I mentioned above, the other thing to look out for is to see how diverse missions and activities will be as players progress deeper into the game. If things get stale over time, I can definitely see some players moving on to other titles especially if the story is only built off audio files with no additional narrative threads. At the end of the day, it will be Bethesda’s job to do things to keep the gameplay experience fresh and I’m very eager to see what they have in store for us all.
While I didn’t get to spend too much time with Fallout 76, I do feel confident in saying that the B.E.T.A. has certainly convinced me to pick up the final game later this week. One could argue that Bethesda is taking a serious gamble by making this an online-only multiplayer experience but it is this bold practice to do things differently that could ultimately pay off for them big time in the end. Luckily we won’t have to wait too much longer now to find out. Feel free to check out several new screenshots from the upcoming game included below.
Fallout 76 launches worldwide on November 14th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Only Bethesda.net). Have any of you had a chance to participate in the B.E.T.A? If so, did it succeed or fail to convince you that the final version of the game is worth picking up? Please feel to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.