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Fallout 76 Fails To Deliver An Interesting World

Fallout 76's open world feels lifeless in the wrong way, especially when you compare it to games that did it well.

An online, multiplayer-only Fallout game, Fallout 76 was roundly criticised at launch for a number of reasons, one of which was its lack of meaningful events and interactions with NPCs--which do not exist in the game.

In a new GameSpot video, Jess McDonell covers the many ways that Fallout 76, in its current state, fails to deliver an interesting post-apocalyptic world. In short, the way Fallout 76 delivers quests and story elements simply isn't all that interesting or engaging, Jess argues.

Fallout 76 is of course not the only game that lacks other human characters, and in the video piece, Jess examines the ways in which titles like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Tacoma, Return of the Obra Dinn, and The Division do a better job than Fallout 76 of telling stories when the world's other humans are dead and gone.

Be sure to watch the full video in the embed above to get the rundown on the failures of Fallout 76's storytelling elements and how things could have been different using one of the many alternate approaches. And once you're done, leave a comment below about what games you think handle the post-apocalypse or minimal characters best and whether or not you're a fan of how Fallout 76 handles it.

For more on Fallout 76, check out GameSpot's review and all of our previous coverage here.

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Blueresident87

I've found several of the holo stories to be pretty good, and a lot of the notes and documents found have some good stuff in them too.

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illegal_peanut

They would have been better off making Fallout 76. Into a small scale DLC mode for Fallout 4.

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FakeNews

I can tell you haven't played the game because of the "no npcs" remark. There are no HUMAN NPCS. Huge difference. Go interact with Rose for example and tell me there aren't interesting NPCs ;)

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somethingbrite

Most recent post apocalypse game that did it for me was Horizon Zero Dawn

It looks gorgeous, the UI is well thought out for the pace of the game and the story is engaging. I also found the combat interesting, and fun enough that I still casually drop into the game to go robo-hunting.

And you know what? I've not once experienced a bug in that game. - despite getting it almost immediately on release.

By comparison Fallout 76 looks dated. (and that's being polite) seems to suffer from clumsy, careless design and is full of bugs..some of which I've ready seen in previous Bethesda titles.

Everything is a chore in this game. Even combat is a chore. The combat mechanic is about as shonky as it gets - in fact I don't think I've played an online fps shooter with combat mechanics this bad in a decade and the hostile NPC AI and animation? Even if we don't talk about the bugs associated with that it's just repetitive and unengaging - it really is poor design.

Finally. Because of the reuse of Fallout 4 assets it just feels like I've seen it all before. I find myself thinking "that's Medford hospital" or "that's the car showroom near Roxbury"

(I've played Horizon Zero Dawn, on my laptop, over wi-fi using PS4 remote and it's looked better and played better than Fallout 76, even with reduced resolutions and blockier colours and the odd bit of lag.)

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clay544888

Fallout ALWAYS failed to deliver an interesting world lmao. Boring ass game. And no I’m not ADD, it’s a boring ass game series not to mention BUGGY plain and simple.

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Foxhound1982

To be honest, im not concerned about the quality of 76 at all. Whilst i love Fallout i haven't even finished 3 yet! Im the George RR Martin of gaming. Bethesda should just hold their hands up to this failure. As long as their next game is a return to form then all is forgiven in my book.

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nyran125tk

Bestheda have been putting out outdated graphics and streamlined games since SKYRIM. The direction they are going down with Fallout, is going to heavily affect them for their next releases if they continue. Thats 2 mediocre games in a row for me, its 3 mediocre games if i include Vegas and the only reason i think people liked Fallout Vegas(Vegas was extremely small and bland and also was the intro into Fallout 4, moving away from rpg mechanics in favour of more FPS mechanics), from what i can tell, the only reason people preferred Vegas was the southern cowboy setting, not because Vegas was a better Fallout game than Fallout 3, because it really wasnt. Vegas had nowhere near as much to offer over Fallout 3, accept for the Factions, it was bland. So for me personally thats 3 dismal fallout games in a row, its adding up. CDProject, companies like that, are starting to pull away big time. Bestheda are starting to just get cocky. They think if they just release a map, a player can go wherever they want, thats enough for players in 2018. Well back in 2003 they were the only guys on the block that offered an immersive open world game , outside of GTA. They arent the only guys on the block anymore and i think they still believe they are. Fallout 5 is seriously going to have to be a good game with an updated overhauled engine and get back to an interesting statistical based RPG, not just an open world action shooter, with streamlined character stats, if im going to care.

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IanNottinghamX

"In service of its multiplayer component" is the excuse for this game being a pile of shit? No....how does Red Dead online do it? that game has npcs and a meaningful world and story. Even though for the most part the game is currently barebones at least....AT LEAST it gives quality for the dollar.

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Barighm

Bethesda is giving away your personal/financial information: https://www.reddit.com/r/fo76/comments/a3ga47/i_am_getting_your_support_tickets_on_my_bethesda/

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UziKill

I stopped comparing 76 with the other Fallouts. 76 is it's own thing with a fallout skin. That being said, I do enjoy the game even with all it's flaws but only as a cooperative adventure played with my best friend. We're having a blast exploring and levelling together. But when I play alone it does get boring and repetitive, and it's shortcomings become more apparent. The lack of NPCs is one of my biggest complaints though. I'm having a real hard time with that. Feels like they chose the easy way out for their NPC problems leaving an already empty world emptier than it should.

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nyran125tk

@UziKill: you could do that with any game together. Elder scrolls online. The old republic. WOW. They offer much more than 76.

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UziKill

@nyran125tk: Played SWTOR for 3 years got bored of it. Played ESO for 2 years got bored of it. I hate WOW. Now it's this one. It probably won't last long unless the Devs really improve it but for now we are having fun with it. After that, it'll be another game. That is how it goes for me.

Also my best (real life) friend wasn't playing those other games. I'm really enjoying 76 only because he's playing it with me.

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roger_tyler

For the sake of Cthulhu it's a survival game, not a mainline fallout game. I never saw a headline stating "

Minecraft's open world feels lifeless in the wrong way, especially when you compare it to games that did it well."

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IanNottinghamX

@roger_tyler: it fails as a survival game, as a pvp game, as a fallout game and most importantly as an rpg. It tries alot of things and fails badly at all of them.

Also alot was promised to Fallout fans by Todd Howard at E3 etc. ALOT. This falls flat on its face.

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JSprunk

Last night, I finally settled down to my PC, with an hour of spare time at about 7pm EST. Booted up Fallout 76, made it into a server without issue, scrapped some junk, stored it, rested up in my cabin, played an instrument to get the well-tuned bonus, ate, drank, and then started off to conquer a building I'd discovered the day before.

Immediately upon setting out (approx. 7:10pm EST), a global notice pops up that servers are coming down for maintenance. Ugh, you have to be kidding me. Prime playing time is when some IT genius decided it was a good idea for server maintenance?

Logged off and took a shower before beginning my Netlflix session for the night.

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FakeNews

@jsprunk: That minor inconvenience in your life fixed a major issue with the game.

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JSprunk

@fakenews: What did it fix that couldn't have waited a couple more hours?

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GH05T-666

Hopefully a series of large updates can fix this game, just disappointing that it is probably going to be a while before it happens.

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m7stech

I have high hopes for them, if No Man's Sky did it these guys can too, they definitely needed the backslash though to put players and fans first.

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DOA2169

Wasn't there a video posted of a group of people trying to take on a world boss in 76 and in the middle of the fight the server crashed? I mean come on it isn't 2005, and this isn't World of Warcraft.

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nyran125tk

@doa2169: i think Bestheda still thinks that it is 2005 and they are still the only company producing open world RPGS. Borderlands has more to offer than the last 3 Fallout games. Does it want to be a shooter or an RPG? They need to choose and fast, because real Fallout fand since Fallout 2 wont all go out and buy Fallout 5. If it wants to be shooter then theres flat out better shooters out there, Borderlands is just 1 example. Borderlands even has smoother and better graphics with less issues and glitches. Bestheda needs an entirely new engine to , to compete in 2018.

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charlieholmes

“In its’ current state”, absolutely can’t stand this long trend now with some of the big name games coming out fairly bare boned. Especially if they price it the same as a game sitting next to it, say Fallout 4, which is loaded with things to do, interact with, and explore.

I was excited somewhat prior to release but just can’t buy something that has let down what the Fallout series, or any big name series, built up. We have an expectation from the prior games. If the new doesn’t come close to what we expect, somebody didn’t give a damn about actually building something good for the customer.

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ShadowBlade

It truly is just a huge disappointment in my opinion, I really enjoy fallout 4, skyrim and elder scrolls online and it makes me frustrated to think why couldn't they just spend a couple more years on fallout 76 and not make it online because i know for a fact they made it online as an excuse to release it faster.

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Pyrosa

The WORLD is actually very interesting -- the problem is that you're constantly reminded that you missed all the big events.

It'd be like playing Fallout 4 right after the hero/heroine finishes all the main quests, bit didn't pick up any of the holotapes or notes. Still tons of local, radiant, and randomized quests, and lots to listen to & read... Just no "mains."

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Oren76

@Pyrosa: Yeah, I think grouping up and working has a team has to give bigger rewards. Not sure what that would look like yet, but, i try and find people to go do events, and, we're all so pre-occupied with the next area to explore or next item(s) to farm.

To me, they've basically made the single player game of this so rewarding, that, they've stripped away any desire to group up.

But, I bet that's coming.

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altairdarius

I didn't enjoyed the Fallout 4 (even though I platinumed that on ps4) and lost the hype for the franchise. I haven't even considered buying this. Probably gonna rent it or buy it cheap when I don't have anything else to play.

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guudgidga

@altairdarius: How do you platinum a game like Fallout and then say you did not enjoy it?

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charlieholmes

@guudgidga: Exactly! That makes absolutely no sense.

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gamingdevil800

@guudgidga: Haha exactly... That's like saying to someone you don't fancy a girl then afterwards proceed to flirt with her...

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lukemo

@gamingdevil800:

Playing the first 5 hours and quitting = flirting with her.

Platinumed the game = Flirting with her, courting her, marrying her, making sex on the lady, having kids and spending a lifetime of misery raising them with her, and then divorcing her at the age of 85 because you don't enjoy her.

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Oren76

Outstanding game, for the genre it's in. A single player RPG? Naaa, weak. a FPS? Weak, How about an open world online survival game...with not much to compare it to? In a relatively new genre? GROUNDBREAKING.

It's being reviewed as the next Fallout, and that's a fail....it's the first online MMO fallout survival game....and lightyears ahead of Forest, Conan, and Rust.

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jteagle

@Oren76: I love Bethesda, and always have, but the Forest, for what it is, is an overwhelmingly superior game. By a truly dramatic margin.

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Pyrosa

@Oren76: Agreed in that; I've posted much of the same. Conan and Rust are ROUGH even compared to F76's current state.

But for the sake of the article's point, the quests are worth discussing.

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Oren76

@Pyrosa: Yeah I hear ya, I hope they start implementing smaller "main" style end game quests that actually have an impact on the world.

My concern is all these unfair negative reviews are going to kill this game because people are so persuaded by reviews.

I could also see this game progressing to a realm vs. realm style war similar to ESO or DAoC....that would be a blast.

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jsoncraig

The game could have taken ideas from firewatch. That game was devoid of other people but felt so incredibly alive.

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GirlUSoCrazy

@jsoncraig: What about the bird and the bee out at the lake drinking beers? But yeah.

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Pyrosa

@jsoncraig: Dammit... You just convinced me to finally play that now. I have to compare it myself.

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RonThallsBalls

“Why FF14, Despite Having a Bazillion NPCs, Is the Boringest Fucking Game Evarr”

B-be sure to watch it to the end to get the full rundown of why yore favorite game sux balls. Huuurrrrrrrrr!!

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silv3rst0rm

Problem with F76 isn't terminals themselves...

Problem is that the information you need to draw from terminals is surrounded with tons of empty and time wasting filling.
I mean, WHO actually read everything that is in there anyway?
To me, it feels surreal and like a heck of a chore so as soon as I'm hitting a terminal, I'm just spamming every action/choice possible without reading anything as 99% of what's in there is just filling anyways and are meant to waste our time...

Why not make like horizon zero dawn which requires you to go grab info/hack computers but they're straight to the point. From the moment you do hit the computer and activate, Job's done!
No need to scavenge through useless crap, dozen of pages or hearing a 2 minutes useless holotape...

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GirlUSoCrazy

@silv3rst0rm: I read stuff from terminals in other games when I felt like it, sometimes it was interesting and I'd read more. But to be forced to do it would make it a chore for sure.

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Pyrosa

@silv3rst0rm: I read everything, because it's the most interesting non-crafting part of the game. But I also read IRL too, so... to each their own.

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Brakkyn

@silv3rst0rm: Um, I don't know, but, I'd read everything. At least once. I mean it's an RPG. It offers information that diverges from just what you need to complete the quest and gives you insight into other things, like RPG's should. I mean skip it if you so choose, but I'd feel like I was missing out.

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silv3rst0rm

@Brakkyn: You're saying you "WOULD"...

Obviously you have no idea how big a waste it is.
You need to retrieve an information on a terminal.

It is ONE of the 5-6 choices of informations you can get from this specific terminal, all the rest is cannon fodder like daily logs, notes, maintenance, etc...

I did reason myself to to try and care as much as I could to every details but it gets to a point where it just doesn't make sense.

I can't, for god's sake, spend 15 minutes reading useless stuff on every single quest I am on... I'd still be level 2 by now while most people are 30+...

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Brakkyn

@silv3rst0rm: Heck yes I would, because I don't give a hoot what level OTHER people are compared to myself. If I want to spend 15 minutes reading "useless" stuff, I would, because who cares about everyone else? I sure don't.

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RonThallsBalls

@silv3rst0rm: EXACTLY! Who wants context or story? The comments section to every Fallout 76 article has been CRYSTAL CLEAR! Bethesda, we want HUMAN NPCs that simply TELL us to “go to the quest marker on yore map and do thing”. That is all. No bullshit lore or reading stuff or problem solving. Also make it a Battle Royale with a paaaaaaassive option.

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Pyrosa

@ronthallsballs: Can you imagine a current-gen player trying to play Morrowind?

"WTF are all these screens of dialogue? Why are there dozens of things to talk about?!?"

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ghost140

When the point of the game is to rebuild America by making little camps, shooting each other, and nuking it from time to time. Its not hard to see why such a world fails to be "interesting".

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Pyrosa

@ghost140: The "little camps" are the best part of the game IMO. Shame they kneecapped that with the low Stash limit until today, and it's still capped by a build limit.

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