As we’ve seen from the past few posts, I have been avoiding working on or planning for the coming semester. This past semester went well, but I still wanted to take some time to recuperate and enjoy myself! Even though I am trying to relax, I still am not able to sit idle. I’ve read a book and written a couple simple games in order to help occupy my mind. I’ve shared these with you as well. Today, I spent time playing Fallout 76, so I wanted to share with you how that went.
As in the other Fallout games, the world was set on fire in a nuclear war that devastated humans and animals alike. The lucky few were able to hide away in vaults designed to keep the ravages of the nuclear bombs from getting to the people inside. You are one of these lucky people. Your vault, in particular, was staffed with the best and the brightest members of humanity that Vault Tec could find. Other vaults may continue to be sealed to ensure that humanity lives on, but your mission is special. You will be the first to emerge from the vaults and rebuild society.
From your first steps outside the vault, you are met with peril. You are nearly immediately attacked and must respond accordingly despite a lack of preparation. If you can make it past the initial assault, you are still not in the clear. Throughout the game, you are continuously attacked, even when in a relatively safe area.
In addition to having to be able to withstand the assault of machine, ghouls and mutated animals, you also need to watch out for you own health. It was a welcome addition to the game that you now have to pay attention to both your hunger and thirst in the midst of everything else that is going on. If you try to put off having that meal because there is a radscorpion attempting to burrow its way into your tent, your stomach will let you know about it. The number of elements that you need to pay attention to throughout the game makes it challenging and exciting.
Not only did the game become more realistic by implementing new statuses to pay attention to, but it also removed the ability to pause, save, rummage through your bag or take a break when things got overwhelming. The game is now entirely online, so, if you decide to look at your pip-boy to find your next snack, that ghoul you were fighting will continue to beat on you until having the snack becomes useless.
Upon first entering, I was extremely worried that death would lead to permanent death, requiring you to start the game over. I made a ways into the game until, as I was trying to record some of the game play to share, I finally met my demise. You can indeed respawn after death and continue with the game, but not knowing this made it even more exciting as I ran for my life when I saw that first super mutant!
I have long been a fan of the Fallout series, and in fact, most of the games published by Bethesda. The style of play and rich story telling have been a hallmark for their games that keeps drawing me back. Fallout 76 is a different sort of game than I have come to expect from Bethesda. In my opinion, I really enjoyed the direction they decided to go, and I was happy for the new experience.
I know that not everyone agrees with that sentiment. However, while playing this game, I kept thinking, these are exactly the sort of changes I would have hoped for from the original game. Being able to pauses so that you could dig around in your bag, strategize, find the perfect weapon, or inject yourself with a stimpak seemed to negate much of the excitement of the game. Having death haunting over you, even if not permanent, pulls you into the surroundings and makes you a part of the game.
There are indeed still quests, but the number of them have been drastically scaled back from the other games. While a good quest line can really pull you into a game, the scenario we are giving for this game is that we are the first of the vault dwellers to emerge after the nuclear war. Who would be left to give this quests? Perhaps a few people survived, or a couple friendly robots, but, for the most part, you would be left to your own devices to determine what should be done in order to rebuild the world. The open nature of the game, I believe, does a wonderful job of pulling me into the scenario even more.
In addition to providing my reactions, I also want to go into more detail on the systems implemented in the game and how these things all work. In this case, I felt it was better to provide footage of the corresponding aspects of the game. Therefore, I recorded some game play, and I have shared it below so that you can decide for yourself what you think of the game.