Truly unacceptable offering from Fallout team
Fallout 76 (Windows/Playstation 4/Xbox One), 5/10
It is honestly astonishing how the makers of such a respected franchise have allowed their work to slowly slip into the realms of tedium.
Fallout 76 is baffling in its utter lack of direction and jarring departure from the well-trodden tropes that have defined the Fallout series to date.
What is immediately noticeable about Fallout 76 is that it is clearly graphically distinct from the other entries in the series. The lighting is more diffuse and the overall art direction softer, which is actually a rather welcome departure to the harsh hues and sharp lines of the previous titles.
Nevertheless, the pallette of greys, greens and pastels wear thin after a while, ultimately reinforcing further the idea that Fallout 76 is just a little bit lacklustre and uninteresting. The main criticism - and honestly the only one that really matters as it truly undermines the concept of an RPG game - is that the world feels vast, lifeless and devoid of any impetus to actually explore beyond an unabating stream of fetch quests. Other than the 20-odd players spread pointlessly and thinly across the altogether too-large map, your only interaction with anything meaningful will be the enemies you slaughter and a smattering of robot NPC's who exist for no other reason than to relay emotionless information to you.
The cruellest aspect of Fallout 76's limp attempts at any form of storytelling is in how they have masterfully injected an impressive amount of environmental cues in regards to an overarching narrative. Abandoned toys, skeletal remains, notes and journals all point to a thriving society up until mere moments before the bombs dropped. Where the cruelty lies is that you inevitably end up yearning to meet the actual characters as opposed to their remains, making all the more bitter the endless trudging through this barren game.
Fallout 76 is, unsurprisingly, totally littered with bugs ranging from minor and often hilarious to major and utterly game-breaking. Large swathes of your camp may suddenly disappear without any warning.
Fallout 76 feels like one of those titles that was rushed out to meet a deadline. Perhaps in a few years the issues will iron out and the game will feel like a redemption story but, for the minute, the game is in an unacceptable state for a developer held in such esteem.