Fallout 76 hasn’t received the warmest of receptions since its Beta was launched and things have only escalated since the game’s official release. Now, I know it’s the popular thing to bash the game and to go after Bethesda. Yeah, not going to do that. Constructive criticism is different from blind rage and anger. On the other hand, I could find ways to defend the game and the developer’s choices. Once again, not going to do that either. Blind loyalty to developers and publishers only allow them to get away with crooked things and encourages them to do more dastardly deeds. What I will do is give you a little glimpse of my experience with the game because I don’t hate it like everyone else seems to. Shocking… I know.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, there is no denying that some of the choices are asinine and the game definitely needed more time to be worked on. Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to label it an Early Access title but I wouldn’t argue against anyone calling it that. With that being said, let me share my experience with you.
Playing the game from the perspective of an avid reader, a passionate writer, and a gamer who loves to obsess over lore, has seen me get a lot out of this game. Going around and discovering what happened to those who weren’t eligible to be in the vaults and what became of the great American life has been an amazing experience. That’s where this game shines; its small stories scattered across the world for you to discover.
You take the role as the very first group of people to re-inhabit the Earth after it was ravished by nuclear destruction. This transparent fact was shown and announced at the very beginning and it’s one of the main reasons the argument of lack of human NPCs made absolute zero sense to me. It’s a post apocalyptic world, not Barbie’s Vacation Adventure. Having a bunch of NPCs around the moment you re-enter the world would severely diminishes the impact of your arrival, of the devastation nuclear powered weapons cause, and the vast experiences your sense of discovery will bring.
I find myself captivated by what’s in front of me when I start the game. Reading notes, listening to audio tapes, and accessing computer terminals all to get an understanding of what has happened in this world. Yes, the fates of these individuals are already in stone, we know how their lives have ended but that’s not the point. The journey is the point. Why weren’t they chosen to be in the vault? What actions did they take to try to survive? What would I have done? What was this world like? All of these questions filter in and out of my mind as I learn more and fall deeper into the lives of the unfortunate. This, for me, has been excellent story telling.
Minor spoilers, perhaps, on one piece of story telling that I absolutely fell in love with and was completely overtaken and enthralled in.
Some of the best RPG games have their main story take a back seat, at times, to even greater side quests. I’m the type of player who likes to play a couple of story missions and then spend double digit hours playing side missions before going back. Put me in a game with complete freedom to explore, and, well… I’m going to explore. It just so happened in Fallout 76 that I ran into a place called the Uncanny Caverns.
Wait. Before you continue reading this, if you have any interest in this game or plan on getting it, stop reading here. I don’t want to spoil such a cool and remarkable game section.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s continue.
When I first got to this area, I was actually going to pass over it because I had other plans but something about it caught my attention. Following the road I ran into a bunch of signs from what seems like a protest, angry men and women demanding their jobs back and threatening to take others. The sign that got me thinking about our current time was one referencing machines taking their jobs. Could we one day end up like that? Silly thought, maybe, but another example of this game provoking thoughts. Across the road from these ruins, I found The Beautiful Uncanny Caverns sign and was eager to learn more about all of this. What I found, was most unexpected.
To avoid as much spoilers as possible, I’ll be skimming through some of this. I started following a path and ran into a creature called the Mole Miner Digger. It was a grotesque looking entity that I couldn’t wait to engage, and, so, I did. After finding some difficulty to take him down, as I still got a hang of the mechanics and my lower level, I continued down the path and eventually wound up in a mineshaft. Here I fought more Mole Miner Diggers and learned of this location’s true purpose; the legend behind the mysterious Night Kid.
The entire thing is presented creepily, although some uneasy music would have tied it better together, and hazards are all around you. Diseases and enemies are all around you, there’s also decayed corpses of other unfortunate souls. Following the intended travel path other visitors would have take when this place was open, before nuclear destruction, takes you across different sectors. Each sector provides more spooky lore and encourages the patrons to pick up their promotional packages and other means for the owners of the site to make more money. It’s a brilliant take on capitalism, and one could argue Bethesda’s business model with this game and it’s unfortunate circumstances since release. I digress.
That’s all I’ll say on this area because you really should experience it. The whole thing is presented well, the mystery behind the Night Kid and everything surrounding this area is brilliant. That’s my point with Fallout 76. Yes, it’s rough and there are a lot of issues with it, but the game has a lot of hidden gems and stories within it to be discovered. It’s still Fallout but in a different light, painted with a different brush. Multiplayer games have growing pains, some at the end of the cycle and some at the beginning, I just don’t think people should miss out on a potentially good game because of everything else going around about it. Yes, the bag situation is unfortunate. Yes, the game launched with a bunch of bugs. However, why can 2K get a pass on it but Bethesda can’t? I don’t think either should get a pass but I do think some of this stuff has been blown out of proportions. We are no longer in that golden era of games launching with little to no issues.
So, before you bash this game and condemn it, check it out. Whether that’s taking a chance and picking it up, or watching videos online. If you like discovering lore and using your imagination, you are going to have a grand time. The fact that this is a multiplayer game actually makes this game even more fun as you and friends gasp and search for mysterious references and locations hinted by the game. That sense of wonderment and discovery only magnifies the experience.
Now, this has been my take and experience with Fallout 76 but I want to know what has yours been too. Did you find the Uncanny Caverns? Did you discover any other wildly cool locations that I should check out? Maybe you don’t like the game for other reasons, let’s talk about it!
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