I swear, every time I log into Fallout 76, I mystify myself as to why I’m playing. I mean, if you were to criticize this game — and heaven knows that there are plenty out there willing to do just that — I would be on your side. There’s so much WRONG with this game’s design… and yet I still want to play it.
Does that make me sick in the head? Perhaps it’s radiation poisoning.
Or perhaps it’s the fact that when you push past all of the problems, there’s still a satisfying exploration experience here that keeps me poking around. I don’t have to have an agenda during any given session other than “Let’s go see what’s in that place over there” if I don’t want to. And the gradual accumulation of supplies, building up my pathetic base, and finding outfits — such as my new dirty suit, above — is enough for me.
I will defend the game’s character growth system, because I think it’s one of the best of the series, and far, far better than the mess that was Fallout 4’s. Every level you get a new stat point for your SPECIAL which pretty much just gives you a card slot to use. Then you can swap in and out cards as you will to create the best build for your character. It’s very intuitive and flexible — and it makes me look forward to leveling.
I have been starting to lean in the direction of actually doing quests from time to time, just to feed the ravenous hunger I have for narrative in F76. It grates that because of the “no human NPC” rule that Bethesda put into this title, almost all of the quests that I’ve encountered to date are from robots. Is it just me, or are there far too many robots in this game? It’s like I’m in some sort of bizarro scifi wasteland at times where there were never people, just robots living in a robotic world.
I’m still not as keen about exploring some of the more urban areas, but that’s hardly new to Fallout 76. They’re just hard to methodically comb through and usually not very attractive on the eyes. This is why I like the Appalacian setting, since most points of interest are surrounded by nature and kept from being overly large.
My arsenal has been steadily growing. My hunting rifle is really powerful but very slow to fire (which is a distinct minus with this game’s version of VATS), so I almost always gravitate toward my 10mm pistol (weak but rapid firing) or my new automatic pipe rifle, which can spit out 12 bullets very quickly and chew through ammo that I don’t need otherwise. I save my shotgun for truly sticky encounters, such as a pack of super mutants, and if I’m in tight spots or against weaker foes, I still sling my fire axe with impunity.
I kind of wish I would find more in the way of armor, which seems very scarce around the wasteland. I probably should craft some more, but I have to actually force myself to spend time crafting, and that doesn’t happen too often here.