sat 15/12/2018

Fallout 76 review - how to wreck a perfectly good legacy with one messy game | reviews, news & interviews

Fallout 76 review - how to wreck a perfectly good legacy with one messy game

Fallout 76 review - how to wreck a perfectly good legacy with one messy game

When home runs go horribly wrong

Fallout 76: like suddenly realising Google Maps is lying to you

It was all going so well for Bethesda Games Studios, the developer behind some of the best single player action-RPGs to ever grace consoles. The Elder Scrolls titles combined with the Fallout games have kept the Maryland-based developer raking in the dollars for the best part of 20 years.

The last Fallout game, released back in 2015, was a universally loved epic adventure that The Arts Desk nominated for game of the year. This latest offering, a game that suffered such drastic performance issues it had a launch day patch of over 50GB followed by a subsequent update of 47GB, is a pale shadow of past glories.

So, what went wrong? The internet happened. Unlike other Fallout titles, Fallout 76 is a 100 percent online game. That’s not to say you have to play with others – a challenge in itself, at times. It means you’re traversing a perpetual post-apocalyptic world, where every human character you encounter is a human player in real life. This should be a fun no-brainer, but the reality is a bleak example of ambition outstripping technical expertise.

You’re cast in the familiar guise of one of the last surviving humans in a post-apocalyptic 2076, several decades before the other games in the series. The premise is almost identical to Fallout 4 – you must shoot, scavenge, equip, build and survive in a brave new world filled with radioactive monsters, environmental hazards and a web of open-world narratives to unravel and explore. So far, so familiar, but the difference here is that the open world is outdated both visually and technically.  

The map markers are a good indication of the shonky production values. You will often diligently follow the flag on the map to retrieve an item, only to realise that the indicator has led you on a wild goose chase and the actual item is situated somewhere in the vicinity, but not where you are. It’s like suddenly realising Google Maps is lying to you – a flaw that simply shouldn’t happen.

Get to combat, especially melee fighting, and frame-rate issues mean you’re often fighting with a delayed, laggy reactions that puts you at a major disadvantage. The bugs don’t stop there – regular console crashes, getting stuck in bits of scenery, delayed rendering and server fragility meaning you get kicked to the menu screen. As the game progresses, the bugs, like the on-screen enemies, get bigger and more difficult to deal with.   

All of this is very frustrating, because underneath this tangled mess of rushed code and lacklustre presentation lies a decent Fallout game with lots of potential, especially considering the online aspect. But when a game is rushed out the door to the extent that it’s a mess of an experience, followed by the bandwidth-crushing requirement of downloading patches the size of Jersey, forgiveness is as thin on the ground as radioactive grass.

@wordsbysteve

As the game progresses, the bugs, like the on-screen enemies, get bigger and more difficult to deal with

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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