Fallout 76 Review: Give it a Second Chance


My character early on in the game outside of Flatwoods.

Gordon Tuomikoski, Contributor

Fans of Bethesda’s iconic “Fallout” series were very disappointed at their most recent title “Fallout 76” released last November. The game launch suffered numerous flaws, including glitches and missing content that left the game feeling empty and broken, especially the absence of non-player characters. This meant there were no people to interact with other than robots and fellow online players. The story was instead carried on by notes and tapes left behind by supposedly dead people, but now after fixing the game-breaking glitches that plagued the game at launch “Fallout 76” is much more than an empty shelled wasteland.

I came into the game with an open-mind, ignoring the numerous warnings and gasps of people after telling them I bought “Fallout 76” like it’s a sin. First impressions were great, Fallout games always open with a great cinematic introduction with the iconic “War, war never changes” motto.

Following the introduction, players are brought to the character customization screen which is about the same as Fallout 4, still featuring heavy in-depth facial creation. Players are then free to explore Vault 76. 25 years after the war, Vault 76 is set to open for ‘Reclamation Day’, the opening of the vault and the dawn of the rebuilding of America. In a dramatic exit leaving the vault, players are greeted by the beautiful fall-seasoned mountainside of the Appalachians.

After leaving the vault, players are free to explore anywhere they want in the enormous West Virginian world. In my game, I moved down the mountainside to a farm, where I encountered my new favorite enemy in the game, the Scorched. The Scorched are former humans infected by a plague that turned them into mutilated hive-mind drones who still retain the ability to speak basic language and use weapons. They’re like ghouls (irradiated humans into a zombie-like state) with a bigger challenge, but not overly powerful. After the farm, I set off onto cities like Morgantown to explore and complete quests.

The most striking feature of “Fallout 76” that caught my ear was the sound design. Not only is the soundtrack by iconic composer Inon Zur incredible, but the ambient sounds of the world are phenomenal, like wind chimes on porches, or the wind blowing through trees. It creates a great level of immersion.

The graphics of “Fallout 76” use the same game engine as Fallout 4, but they are significantly upgraded. Sunlight casts through trees much clearer and brighter on the ground. The game also features a cinematic depth of field effect much better perfected than Fallout 4’s. They use the same engine as Fallout 4, but it has been bettered.

Other smaller features I really appreciate in the game include the C.A.M.P system, the new perk system, live events and the bounty system.

C.A.M.P stands for “Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform.” C.A.M.Ps are portable boxes players can carry in “Fallout 76” to build a portable base. Players can build an entire house and move it to a different spot on a completely different part of the map without having to rebuild it. This allows for portable temporary settlements which is very convenient and useful. The building system itself is also much more perfected, allowing more unique roofs and such, as well as an easier snapping system than Fallout 4.

The perk system in “Fallout 76” is different than previous games. Every couple times players level up, they are given a pack of upgradable perk cards. These come from all 7 of the traditional ‘S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ perk categories: strength, perception, charisma, intelligence, agility and luck. There are different cards like Dromedary from the endurance category, which with every upgrade increases the amount of thirst quenched from drinks by 25 percent, or Picklock from the perception category, which with every upgrade allows you to pick harder locks and increases the lockpicking ‘sweet-spot’ by 10 percent.

‘Fallout 76’ features a new live-event system too. Whenever players are in an area, like the ‘Poseidon Energy Plant,’ a rundown nuclear power plant, they’ll get a new miscellaneous quest they can do, like getting the power plant to run again. Other events include escorting a robot to test safehouse alarm systems. These live events can last anywhere from a couple minutes to an hour. At the end ot the events, users are given rewards like currency and food. They aren’t required events, but they’re fun and an interesting takeaway from the traditional questlines.

Another new feature to tie-in with the online world of ‘Fallout 76’ is the bounty system. When players cause damage to another player’s personal property, like their base, they will get a bounty on their head. Everytime users destroy something from thereon, the bounty will increase and remain until they are killed by another player. When players kill another player with a bounty, they get the reward of their bounty, like 10 caps (the in-game currency). This adds a fun layer to the online play.

“Fallout 76” may have had a horrible launch but it is worth a second chance. It’s still a full Fallout game, even if it has no other humans. There are three big expansions coming this year that are set to revive the game; Wild Appalachia, Nuclear Winter, and Wastelanders. If you like the Fallout formula, “Fallout 76” is finally worth a playthrough three months into its release.