Fallout 76 is legendary in gaming communities – but certainly not for the reasons developer and publisher Bethesda would have liked. Bug videos for “Fallout 76” are virtually a separate genre on YouTube and sales practically did everything with every new step to further upset the already skeptical fans: Merchandise helmets with a risk of mold, collector’s editions that are not of the advertised quality corresponded, and crude ideas like the premium membership Fallout 1st, which also resulted in numerous parodies. But after a long wait, Bethesda “Fallout 76” donated the largest and most important update in its history: the Wastelanders update.
First Bethesda boasted: “Fallout 76” appeared completely without NPCs. Bethesda wanted to sell this to the players as an advantage, because it should allow the gamers to write their own story undisturbed in the online title. The result was a big but empty game world, which had to convey their stories via environmental storytelling, which in the long run seemed rather dreary.
In addition, many gamers complained about the community at the launch of “Fallout 76”. PvP was not thought through to the end and basically hardly interested anyone, which probably surprised Bethesda very much. There were also many single players who were also not enthusiastic about cooperation and tried to play “Fallout 76” like a classic game in the series. Incidentally, this is a phenomenon that I also discovered while playing “The Elder Scrolls Online”. Large parts of the players act like in a single player RPG, go about their quests on their own and pay little attention to other players. But that’s also the fan base that Bethesda has grown over the years with its open-world titles.
But back to the free Wastelanders update, which changes “Fallout 76” significantly: Because it introduces NPCs and, of course, numerous new storylines. Will the RPG memes now come to an end and will gamers embrace Bethesda again? Difficult question that I probably cannot answer in this sample. For the first time, I myself took a closer look at “Fallout 76” – before that, Todd Howard could not lure me with his now endlessly parody promise of “16 times the detail”. I preferred to console myself with “The Outer Worlds”.
Many of you may feel the same way and after the Wastelanders update you are now weighing up whether “Fallout 76” is still worth a look. Short answer: At the current price for the game, which varies between 10 and 25 euros depending on the retailer and platform, you can say yes. However, when the game hit the market at the full price at the end of 2018, this recommendation could not have been given. However, “Fallout 76” will not run correctly in 2020 and after the Wastelanders update. The almost classic Bethesda bugs can still be found in the wasteland from time to time – and I don’t mean irradiated beetles.
An NPC trembles epileptically through Wallachia, or an opponent prefers to stare dreamily at the horizon while I hurry up instead of defending myself. Teleporting is also a skill that is not foreign to people (and animals) in the world of “Fallout 76” and is used sporadically. However, most of these bugs have been rather amusing for me and have not slowed my progress. I didn’t have to fight with disappearing objects, unsolvable quests or crashes. I also tested “Fallout 76” on theOne X cannot say anything about other platforms.
The Wastelanders update not only introduces NPCs scattered throughout the game world, but also companions and two factions – the settlers and the raiders. You can complete quests for both of them, you just have to choose one from both sides towards the end. Until then, you can and should run on two tracks to take the whole story with you. The new NPCs that can accompany you also bring quest lines and their own stories.
Incidentally, it gets stupid for players who, unlike me, want to play “Fallout 76” and the story of the Wastelanders update not alone, but (as originally intended by Bethesda) in multiplayer. Per se, of course. But progress is not shared and the one who invited the others always has the say. The only advantage is that you can experience the main quest with friends several times from different perspectives and have the option to see the consequences of different decisions.
Viewed or rather, I listened to “Fallout 76” mostly in English, because I mostly enjoy games in English because of the 99.9% higher-quality settings. But I also looked into and listened to the German dubbing and the German texts. I was not really impressed by what was offered, especially since the emphasis on German speakers often seemed very uncertain or even inappropriate – presumably because there was too little information available in which context the respective snippets of language are sometimes used.
After the wastelanders and the possibility to interact with NPCs, “Fallout 76” now offers a much more lively game world, which should have turned out to be the case a year and a half ago when the game was launched. There are even chance encounters, a tradition of the series. There you will find, for example, traveling dealers and other figures who come up with nice or nasty surprises. In some moments, “Fallout 76” almost feels like a “Fallout 5”.
But that is also the catch: “in a few moments” or at the best of times you forget that this is an online game and wonder why Bethesda did not directly pump the resources into a fifth part. Instead, you tried to unnecessarily stretch your brand and ultimately messed it up with many fans. Was it worth it? The Wastelanders update actually saves a lot – but one and a half years after the launch it comes very late.
The new companions bring their own quests and can move into the camp after setting up certain items that attract them, so to speak, but they are not allowed to fight. It is also a shame that only one of the new companions can visit the camp – either ex-astronaut Sofia, a wasteland punk, a hiker, a collector or the former bandit Beckett. If you want to exchange one of the residents for another, you first have to dismantle the appropriate item and replace it with another – awkward.
“Fallout 76” is fun after the Wastelanders update in its current state, but remains a game that should never have existed in its original form anyway – especially not at full price. And even now you should take a critical look at the monetization options via the Atomic Store and Fallout 1st.
If you, like me, loved the previous “Fallout” games and got the game for a fair price under 20 euros, I think that in any case you can now spend a few entertaining hours in this title.