I found myself typing some Fallout 76 impressions on my Facebook, and thought, what the hell, I used to have a blog for these sort of things. So here we go, half a decade later like nothing happened.
This is not a Fallout game. It's a crafting/survival game with Fallout trappings. I think that's half the issue with the poor reaction the game has received. People wanted a Fallout 5, and instead they got this. Imagine if From Software made another Dark Souls game, and it was a turn-based, tactical RPG. Fans of the series would lose their shit. Same concept here.
I've encountered a handful of glitches so far. There's the usual Bethesda stuff, like objects floating in the air and dead enemies spazzing out. I had one quest repeat: Halfway through rebuilding a bigger, better version of my house, a quest pops up again telling me to start building my house. Not a major glitch, as I guess I'll get the quest reward twice. In my experience so far, the issues I've heard about online either have mostly been fixed or were greatly exaggerated.
I've played about 10 hours, and I've had some enjoyment in finding food, water, and Radaway, and building my little cabin in the woods. It feels nothing like a Fallout game. I can't comment on whether or not this is a good survival game or not, as I'm rather unfamiliar with the genre.
Let me emphasize how much this does not feel like a Fallout game. It doesn't even look like one. At one point, I followed some trails up a big hill, and found some boardwalks up there, showing off scenic vistas. It looked great, and reminded me of vacations with my parents as a kid...which is nothing I associate with the Fallout universe. The classic Fallout games through New Vegas--I have not played 4--all presented a world that was fried, fractured, and fucked. Fallout 76 presents a world, that in absence of two-headed deer, could be a national park simulator.
The combat is lackluster. It feels stiff. And it probably doesn't help that I've also been playing Dark Souls III and Doom 4 lately, which while being very different in gameplay, are both incredibly fine-tuned. The absence of time-freezing VATS really shows off the clunkiness of shooting in Fallout. Combat has not been something I've sought out so far.
In summary: The fun I've found in the game has been in the roleplaying survival aspects: Finding food, and finding stuff to build my house. I've enjoyed the pretty outdoor scenery and mostly avoided combat. None of those statements say Fallout to me at all. I don't know what to make of this game. On one hand, the Fallout franchise is probably the single best known post-apocalyptic setting in gaming, so it makes sense to build a survival game in it. On the other, all the other games in the Fallout setting are nothing like this one.