Fallout Online has long been the talk of the city: many times, and not just amateur fans, tried to transfer the popular universe to the MMO format. Remember how in 2012, Bethesda Softworks finally drowned Project V13 from Interplay ? Now, at least it’s clear why the ugly squabble around copyright was needed. But it’s unlikely that by digging a hole for Chris Taylor’s team, the Maryland was counting on such a welcome of their own version of Fallout Online.
The community hated Fallout 76 long before the release. And it was for what! We bend our fingers: rejection of Steam , a cardboard box with a code instead of a disk, a buggy car on all platforms, patches of 50 gigabytes, absolute disregard for the mythology of the world, if only to drag Brotherhood of Steel and super mutants into the project, abandonment of mods, flawed role-playing system, outdated engine, decrepit graphics, microtransactions … Oops, my fingers ran out. In general, the occasion is the whole Luminous Sea. And, unfortunately, not all of them are far-fetched.
Let’s agree on the beach: this review is not a note from a crazy fanatic. Yes, I have a deep love and affection for the roots of the Fallout series, but I calmly accepted what Todd Howard and his enrichment plant turned it into. Did the action-RPG from a leisurely isometric role-playing game with turn-based tactical battles? Okay, so be it. Abolished the dialogue and role system, giving in return the opportunity to build settlements and protect them endlessly? Nothing will do. And only after the news about obligatory online and micropayments I still could not stand it: damn donat and got into here! Is Bethesda haunting EA laurels ?
The publisher shook my faith in the future of singles and the “bought once – play your whole life” model, so immediately after launching Fallout 76, I climbed into the in-game store with a heavy heart. It turned out that not everything is so bad: the Atomic Shop sells a wide variety of decorative trash like light vampire costume, stupid New Year’s glasses, emotions and poses for photo mode to light music (yes, there is also a photo mode now). Here you can buy, for example, new doors or laminate flooring – in short, the final transformation of the series into a post-nuclear version of The Sims was solemnly held.
The medium of exchange is “atoms”, which can be purchased at a predatory rate for real money or earn directly in the game. And this, I must admit, is not so hard: premium currency is dumped literally for every one like hacking four terminals or killing ghouls, so it’s quite realistic to accumulate a cowboy hat or a table lamp in the shape of a nuclear mushroom. And yes, with the exception of cosmetics, there is almost nothing in the store: the “kill all” button is not for sale.
We will have to deal with the extermination of all living and half-dead by ourselves, since there are enough monsters, both new and old. But the battle is the same as in Fallout 4 : apparently, three years after its release, the developers did not have enough to raise the shooting to the level of a really good shooter.
The only novelty is the changed VATS mode.It no longer pauses the game and does not slow down time – now it is a trivial auto-sight: a legitimate cheat sends bullets to fly along the most unthinkable trajectories, and in close combat can even pull the player a little to the target. It looks strange, but it’s convenient to shoot even from a gamepad.
That’s just convenient – it doesn’t mean interesting: artificial intelligence is catastrophically primitive, and for PvP it is almost impossible to find an opponent. Players simply have no reason to conflict with each other: there are many resources, and the reward for victory is the same resources. And the battles with live players themselves are not so exciting as to get stuck in them for a long time.
Formally, PvP mode is available from the fifth level, but to kill someone who does not want to fight is very difficult, even with a huge difference in levels. If the other player does not respond to your attack, the damage almost does not pass through him, so while he is being poured with lead and obscenities, he can calmly go about his business. The hunter / victim mode, in which developers see their battle royale, is also unlikely to drag anyone out for long. Royal battle for five? Really?
Multiplayer is revived a little only by regular squabbles for “public workshops” – sources of rare materials and simply convenient bases. First, such a workshop needs to be cleaned from mobs, and then defended from living rivals, who also need precious titanium and aluminum. In fact, it’s easier to get them by other, more familiar and less troublesome methods.
But even if (un) fortunate enough to get into a fight, it does not become more interesting: death does not threaten almost anything, and victory gives little. But there is almost no peaceful interaction with other players! Fallout 76 is an MMO from which almost all social elements were cut out. There are no factions, no guilds, no auction, no sensible group interaction. There is not even a normal text chat, so making new friends is hard. It’s better to come with your own – maybe then you can get some pleasure from the multiplayer.
Moreover, the chance of meeting someone by chance is not much higher than in No Man’s Sky immediately after the release: the post-nuclear Appalachia, to put it mildly, is not the most populous place. Here you can walk for hours without meeting a soul – and it’s not just about the players.
Remember the stupid conversational system from the last part? So, now it doesn’t exist at all: there’s still no one to talk to especially. Almost the entire plot and quests are filed in the most vulgar way possible: using notes and audio diaries. It’s like we play indie horror, not AAA class RPGs. Though…
What kind of RPG are we talking about? There is no need to play a role and make decisions now. The tasks do not imply any dilemmas or forks: it all comes down to running around, post-shooting, and reading. It is very difficult to feel the ephemeral responsibility for a completely empty world inhabited exclusively by robots and ugly mutants. This is not at all the same as being responsible for the lives of the inhabitants of Vault 13, deciding the fate of Megaton or unhappy synths that are too similar to people. It is not entirely clear why the world in which mankind seems to have died completely, is saved altogether.
Moreover, our actions have no consequences: in any situation, no one will die, not suffer, and not even be upset. Everyone has already died or turned into brainless monsters, so they definitely will not be worse.