Fallout 76 strips away most of the things I love about Bethesda’s Fallout games and replaces them with human-controlled avatars. But while other players are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, this is a game world that spectacularly fails them – on pretty much every level.
The high-level conceit here is the question, what if Fallout was multiplayer? And I think this is a grand thing to wonder about. The collision of Fallout and multiplayer sparks all sorts of exciting ideas in my mind, most of which have to do with post-apocalyptic role-playing. What if I ran a town, hosting elections and keeping the peace? What if I opened a shop, selling exotic items to other players in a desperate bid to raise enough caps to survive the harsh wasteland? What if I worked behind a bar, serving drinks to other players, passing on gossip and words of wisdom? What if I was the head honcho of a group of raiders, ordering other players to attack camps and loot the corpses of our enemies? What if I founded my own faction, something like Caesar’s Legion from Fallout New Vegas, perhaps? What if I wanted to infiltrate a player-run faction I didn’t get on with, befriending their leader before stabbing them in the back?
Unfortunately, Fallout 76 does not facilitate any of those fantasies. What it does instead is facilitate boredom, frustration and game-breaking bugs. And I’m not talking about the radroaches that kill you, either.
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