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The new 'Fallout' game is a boring mess that you shouldn't play — here's why



Fallout 76

I want to like the new “Fallout” game, but I can’t. I want to tell you about all the environmental storytelling and quiet exploration, but so much of that is marred by a vast emptiness.

“Fallout 76” is a jumble of disparate video game elements set loose in an online world, held together by a string of pointless fetch quests and experience points. It is a bad game — full stop.

It is a “Fallout” game without a main story, without major characters, and without a memorable, iconic city. Previous “Fallout” games offer players a rich world full of interesting characters, bizarro sidequests, and distinct, memorable experiences. 

To that end, “Fallout 786” feels like a “Fallout” game in name and theme alone. Let’s say you’re willing to look past all of that — here’s why you shouldn’t:

What is “Fallout 76”?

“Fallout 76” is an online-only version successor to single-player predecessors including “Fallout 3,” “Fallout: New Vegas,” and “Fallout 4.” You control a character of your creation in a massive, open-world environment, either from a first- or third-person perspective. 

The environment is the star of the show: A post-apocalyptic wasteland full of mutated animals and people. There are “radroaches” and “supermutants” and all manner of other irradiated nightmares.

In the case of “Fallout 76,” you’re exploring the post-apocalyptic America as one of the first survivors out of a protective vault. To that end, the game is a bit of a prequel to the last few “Fallout” games, which take place later in the fictional timeline. 

What makes it different from previous “Fallout” games?

What “Fallout 76” adds in an online-only world — the ability to play with other people — it loses in nearly every other way.

Gone are the myriad characters that make “Fallout” so memorable. Gone is the main narrative thread leading through the game. Gone is any semblance of cohesion — this is a game about taking on fetch quests, completing those fetch quests, and then maybe listening to an audio log that’s supposed to stand in for an actual story with written characters. 

Let me be completely clear: In the 20-ish hours I spent with “Fallout 76,” I encountered one non-player character in the big open world. He was a supermutant merchant named “Grahm,” and he said almost nothing. Every other character I encountered was through leftover audio logs and notes. 

Where do quests come from? A computer. What do you do when the quest is done? You report back to the computer and check it off from a list. Literally every quest I’ve completed in “Fallout 76” feels like exactly that: Checking off a task from a list. 

As Jean-Paul Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.”

It makes sense that the world of “Fallout 76” would be empty based on the premise of the game:  You’re one of the first people out of the vaults — the apocalypse-resistant bunkers built by Vault-Tec, according to the franchise’s story — and as such you’re one of the first people exploring the post-apocalyptic world.

That feeling of isolation might be effective if it weren’t for the fact that “Fallout 76” is an online game. There are loads of people in the world — instead of written characters, they’re just random people like me. And yes, they’re almost always leaping around, as people do in online games. If you’re looking for a feeling of desolate isolation, look elsewhere; the world of “Fallout 76” is populated by people acting as silly as possible.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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