I didn’t get on the first Fallout 76 BETA test on PC on October 30 because it was too late in my home country. There was also a bit of a fiasco with the PC beta launch which got delayed by about an hour, so I was happy that I didn’t sacrifice a night just to get frustrated watching my monitor.
But then, the Fallout 76 BETA started earlier and I got in. I was so excited and worried at the same time. I love Fallout, but I completely dislike playing online survival games. I didn’t know if, at the end of the day, I was going to place Bethesda’s latest game in one category or the other.
Judging from the title of this article, I guess that there’s no surprise when I conclude that Fallout 76 is much better than anticipated and, despite some flaws caused by this new approach, remains a core Fallout game that most single player enthusiasts will definitely enjoy playing.
Starting my Fallout 76 adventure
The PC BETA actually started 10 minutes early on November 1st. I shyly logged into the game, had a mini heart attack when at first I was told that my Bethesda credentials are incorrect… but everything went great on my second try. Then this beauty:
I was happy like a five-year-old getting their favorite candy! It was amazing and only real fans of a game can understand how you feel when you get to play something new in a franchise that’s been your favorite for years. So you can imagine how good it felt to see this awesome piece in the intro movie:
But I’ll be honest with you: I skipped the intro movie eventually. Not because it was bad – on the contrary, it was exactly what you’d expect to get from Bethesda. It was pure Fallout and, based on what I got to see, it was better than what Fallout 4 had to offer.
But time was limited and I didn’t want to waste it looking at the intro movie. I can do that at a later date – or on Youtube, most likely, at any given time. And I will, because it was top stuff.
I also spent very little playing with the character creation screen. I was never a good artist and I couldn’t, for the life of it, create a character that looked even remotely close to what I had in mind. So I pressed a few buttons, clicked a few options and scrolled my mouse wheel up and down for a while, then decided that I’m wasting time on something that I will never get done the right way. And I accepted my new look:
And then – off into the bowels of the vault. I spent some time exploring nooks and corners, trying to find hidden collectibles or goodies, but there’s absolutely nothing of value there. Nothing but the items that Bethesda wants you to collect along the way from the obvious locations:
And then, you see it. The huge Vault door. The post-apocalyptic Appalachia awaits behind it. Your heart starts racing. It’s finally happening. You’re part of the revolution. Now the game is about to get real!
As you walk into the wild, the “First contact” quest begins. Now, since this was the beta, it was full of people who were, just like me, mostly amazed. You could hear them all in the headphones, happy like little kids. Happy like me.
However, it didn’t take long to realize that “First contact” is not exactly what you might want. The Fallout 76 is indeed a game to be plagued by the toxic PvP folks who harass you and annoy you. In my case, this was the not-so-friendly welcoming committee:
Fortunately, PvP only unlocks at level 5 and I left these charming ladies behind quickly and they didn’t follow. In the end, everybody was stopping here and there to admire the views.
And there is indeed a lot to admire, this being the biggest shock: no more barren lands and the green tint of disease and radiation. Instead, a pretty lush world with long, green grass and pastel trees awaits.
Appalachia is beautiful indeed. So beautiful, that you just feel like taking a break and relaxing. I found this spot along the way with a harmonica and a banjo. So I started playing there for a while, trying to see what effect will it have on me. I wasn’t patient enough to spend my time singing – there was a brand new world for me to explore.
My Fallout 76 BETA impressions
Despite the relatively poor start with the two ladies that were waiting for new Vault dwellers to test their skin for steel resistance, my PC BETA experience was absolutely amazing. Just minutes after leaving the harmonica behind, I came across a group of three people who apparently just met in the virtual world of Fallout and they were exchanging impressions.
I had found some clothes and had them equipped, which instantly turned me into their biggest attraction. We instantly bonded, created a team and started exploring the world together. We found some Chinese robots, destroyed some foxes and gathered a ton of junk along the way.
Actually, we spend a good amount of time in the same team, even though we parted ways relatively fast. Of course, the main reason for that was that nobody knew how to leave the team – but eventually we did. So long, friends! It was a nice experience.
And an unexpected one, where I was always greeted by mature, sane people. Friendly people who were out there to enjoy the game. I teamed up with various other survivors during the BETA, to complete an event or two and to explore the world together. This was awesome indeed.
I even found my first Bobblehead, just laying there on a random barrel in a nearby farm:
A bit later, I even stumbled upon this beauty, the gorgeous power armor. It appears that my level was too low to wear it, but I stashed it well and still wore the frame with pride for a while:
One thing was clear: I never got bored during the first few hours spent in the game. I was surprised to see so many friendly people there and, even though the feeling of loneliness that others have described is indeed there when you’re not in a team and exploring the world alone, overall it was just great. Much better than anticipated. And don’t forget that I will write complete guides for everything related to this game (and there’s a ton to write about) on our Fallout 76 fansite.
There is so much content in the game – constant events to take part in, tons of junk to collect, missions to complete, notes and holotapes scattered around for you to read and listen and feel that you’re becoming a part of that world that it doesn’t really matter that you don’t have NPCs (although I did meet a wandering Supermutant who was selling goodies!)
Sure, it seems a bit strange not to have NPCs. It seems strange to see nothing but deserted cities. The survivors are focused on specific area and are few and far in between for the most part. But it’s still much better than I had thought it would be.
The thing with Fallout 76 is that it allows you to play exactly as you want to. You can be a team player and find a virtual friend instantly and roam the world together with them. You can play the lone wolf all the time, doing whatever you want to do at your own pace. And there is so much to do that you have no reason to complain.
Sure, the events are focused on bringing in multiple players so that they can fight together and much of the content is built with multiplayer in mind, but even if you are like me and you don’t have any real life friends who play the game, you can still have a solid experience. Or at least that was my case with this BETA – hopefully it won’t change once the game launches and the hype dies down a bit.
But yes, it was pleasant. I role played more than I do in the single player Fallout titles. I had fun. I was excited. I was happy. I even slept a bit, just because I wanted to look at my costume:
And as long as a game manages to keep you entertained even when you’re watching your avatar sleep, I say that it’s mission accomplished. Zany, over the top in some instances, funny and fun, entertaining and challenging – Fallout 76 seems to be a huge success and a game that you will fall in love with irremediably, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise.
I kept saying it and I’ll say it one more time: it’s much better than anticipated!