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Fallout 76: You'll never walk alone

Fallout 76 is coming November 14 but game developer and publisher Bethesda has been running an expansive early trial online.…

Fallout 76 is coming November 14 but game developer and publisher Bethesda has been running an expansive early trial online. The beta, which Bethesda calls a BETA, or Break-it Early Test Application comes with all sorts of caveats and asterisks about game systems breaking and content that may change for the final game, so our initial impressions shouldn It will be taken for a formal review.

The most difficult aspect of judging a project like Fallout 76 is that any online-only game is largely defined by its player community. The wastelands of West Virginia in the game may feel lifeless because there are simply not many people playing right now. While mutants, robots and ghouls are plentiful, actual flesh and blood humans are few and far between.

With that in mind, here are our initial impressions of the Fallout 76 beta, as played on the Xbox One console.

Dan Ackerman

I liked Fallout 76 much better the second time I played it. My first session in the beta I was presented with something that looked and felt a bit like Fallout, but had unfamiliar menus and a mixedly save opening level in a now-abandoned vault.

It’s true that, like most players I suspect, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the character creation screen, experimenting with different chin lengths, hairstyles and nostril sizes. That part never gets old.

On my second play session, I finally left the confines of Vault 76, apparently several hours after all else (because I overslept, according to the game lore) and things took a sharp visual upturn. The inside of the vault looked blocky and dated, no different from Fallout 4. But outside, the thick foliage and rocky outcroppings finally showed off the power of my Xbox One X combined with an LG OLED TV.

Screenshot / Dan Ackerman

It’s a good thing I was doing more than just looking around. Sommige angry robots begonnen potshots te nemen om me bijna onmiddellijk, en zonder mij te worden aangeboden een kind van combat training of even een wapen. I did find a rusty old gun on a nearby corpse, but only a few rounds of ammunition – not enough to fight my way through the parking lot outside the vault.

Instead I made my way down a stone staircase through the woods, trying to follow a marker to my first McGuffin – a camp purportedly set up by my missing vault overseer. Along the way, I passed by a seemingly deserted farmhouse. Probably a good place to pick up some extra gear or crafting materials, I thought.

Approaching the farmhouse, I saw a figure step out with a shotgun in his hand. Siden alle menneskene i spillet er blevet spilt af faktiske mennesker, jeg trodde dette var min første chance for å interagere med en annen spiller.

Turns out it was not a fellow beta tester at all but a zombified ghoul with a gun (or a variant called The Scorched), which I suppose I should have expected. Taking out one enemy did not seem that hard. Men når jeg pivoted to stand my ground, I saw at least three or four more Scorched running towards me across the farmhouse’s front yard.

It was then I learned an important Fallout 76 lesson: It’s often better to retreat than fight, especially if you’re outnumbered. Not only, start the game with minimal offensive capabilities, there’s no ability (as in other Fallout games) to slow down to a crawl and strategically line up your attacks, RPG style.

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Over the course of several beta sessions, I experienced several ups and downs. A handful of in-game moments captured my interest, but I suspect I’d be happier to play another single-player Fallout game with the series’ typically detailed characters and communities.

Some other highlights for me included:

  • An in-game “event” where every nearby player was instructed to take on a robot rebellion together. Det var fantastisk teaming med andre spillere, men det hændte sig selv næsten hver gang jeg var i området.
  • En serie af vicious fighter med gambling i en bombed out by. There was a distinct walking dead vibe as I had to slowly back up while slicing them down one at a time with a machete.
  • A crafting system that’s simpler than most Fallout games. I was able to turn every piece of junk into my inventory into raw materials at the click of a button.
  • Being swarmed by a fleet of giant military helicopters. I have no idea who was in them or where they were going, but I managed to snag a few cool screenshots.


Some Fallout fans take it too far …

Sarah Tew / CNET

David Katzmaier

I loved Fallout 4 – 476 hours worth of love, evidently – but until now I had zero interest in multiplayer gaming. So yeah, I was psyched when Dan invited me to play the 76 beta, but not so psyched that I cleared my calendar to log in to the first session (the beta is only online during scheduled hours ). My first playthrough was a two-hour stint in session two, followed by a nice four-hour chunk in the third one.

My first impressions of the world mirror Dan’s: The game starts slowly in the lame vault, then all of a sudden you’re deep into battle and worldbuilding with minimal tutorials or hand-holding. It’s classic Bethesda, rewarding you for trying to figure things out on your own, and I approve.

I soon realized that my machete was fine for most of the early Scorched, Ghoul and Feral Dog fights, especially once I figured out how to gather and boil water to heal myself a bit. That’s one of the first survival-style quests, but it also seemed a bit too grind-y: I spent lots of time dealing with healing. I also grew annoyed to become thirsty and hungry all the time when I was wandering around – it’s an element most games do without, for good reason. But having to pay attention to my avatar’s appetites did add an element of realism, I guess.


Maybe it’s just me, but my first encounter with other players was awkward and never really got better. At one point I was invited to join a team of a couple of higher-level players and we teamed up killing some robots as part of the event Dan mentioned. It was fun! Men det var tough å grok hvordan de quests var delt, og til slutt jeg løste spor av mine teammates i The Wilderness.

I participated in a few other events with other players – blasting Scorched in an airport, clearing feral dogs out of part of a forest – and they were fun slay-and-loot fests, at least until server teams kicked in and stuff slowed to a crawl (fingers crossed that’s a beta-only issue). I also met up with Dan for an event that was way too tough for us both, and I just ended up dying. It was less fun to have to respawn and go back to get my loot, with baddies all around. I prefer the more forgiving single-player way of dealing with death: Reload your last save.

One of my favorite Fallout 4 mechanics was base building, so I claimed a workshop near a power plant and broke out the build menu. Det var tilfredsstillende å få min turrets å plukke invaderingsmøller, og få min arbeidsbenker og et sovepose satt opp levert en tilfredsstillende følelse av sted.

Unfortunately I could not figure out how to scrap unwanted world items. Der var en tree and a car right where I wanted to build, and I could not get them out of the way. Most of the cool stuff to build – from advanced turrets to beds beyond a sleeping bag – seemed to require a recipe, which was kind of disappointing. Then again, it gave me another reason to quest!

Screenshot / Dan Ackerman

I also found myself spending a lot of time in my PIP boy menus. But unlike in Fallout 4 the action did not pause when I pulled up a menu screen. I found myself getting attacked frequently when I was in-menu. I did appreciate the expanded shortcuts for favorite items, which makes it easier to access important stuff like healing stimpacks.

The highlight of my time in the beta came after I cleared that airport and climbed a traffic control tower to survey the area. A dragon-like Scorchbeast appeared in the sky above, something I’d never seen before, and it was at level 50 (I was a level seven at the time). I put my rifle to my shoulder anyway and took a few potshots, hoping it would notice me and engage. Maar in tegenstelling tot de thrilling drakengevecht (en) bij het begin van Skyrim, het was gewoon weg. Too bad – that would have been a fun way to go out.

Overall I love the huge map and potential to explore and make a new wasteland, and I’ll definitely give the full game a try. It already feels solid compared to Fallout 4, but I do miss the quest-giving NPC’s that gave the solo games more of a sense of purpose. After the beta, my biggest issue is not the multiplayer aspect, which seems potentially fun without being intrusive, but that the game will end up feeling too combat-heavy and require too much grinding – performing repetitive tasks to achieve a goal or item . I doubt I’ll spend another few hundred hours in Fallout 76, but you never know.

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