I had the opportunity to participate in Bethesda’s Stress Test for the upcoming Fallout 76 thanks to combined efforts from Bethesda and Xbox Insider. Participants had a time-slot to play the game and explore the highly anticipated West Virginia recreated as a dangerous wasteland. Just as the various teasers and trailers have mentioned, you start off on Reclamation Day, the day you finally get to take back the wasteland after devastation has hit from bombings that wiped off life and created new creatures ready to prey on the unknowing vault dwellers.
Right off the bat I took note of the setting once you step foot outside the vault and it was absolutely beautiful. It felt like looking through photographs of what the Fall looks like when the trees have just begun to turn into a warm amber and orange. I was very impressed with the graphics and after playing the entire time allowed for the Stress Test, I was genuinely surprised that I had no difficulties remaining in the game. With expectations of constant crashing or being kicked off servers, it was a nice surprise to see how well it worked out despite it being a brief testing on our parts. There moments where graphics dropped and I could only see about ten feet in front of me before the images became extremely blurred but I expected something like this was a test run and still found that it didn’t hinder any excitement I felt as I explored this new setting.
The game still functions on allowing you customize your character’s stats using the perks system though unlike previous Fallout titles, you upgrade using a cards system. It was confusing at first, but once you leveled up a few times, you get the gist of how it works when deciding your stats. One critique I did have about the leveling system is that even as I was a level one, it was still extremely easy to take down a level eight enemy, making me wonder if the game will become to easy or at one point too difficult in battles. Enemies have numbers over their heads indicating their levels at all times, and you will often find a higher level enemy hidden within a horde of lower level ones. Again, there are still things I am sure Bethesda is working on and this critique still didn’t effect my enjoyment of the game, though I do look forward to running into higher level enemies that will have much more on my toes compared to the ones I encountered during the Stress Test.
Despite my look for the Fallout games, I was nervous as online games are the one genre of video games I avoid as I tend to prefer games solely for the plot and I am much more of a lone wanderer than a team survivor. In the Stress Test I did run into a lot of other players but was pleased with how easy it is to remain a solo player even with ten others running through your path every so often. The set selections of emoticons allows you to communicate with players if you don’t wish to speak via mic. If you didn’t wish to join a player then it was easy to indicate your preference of running solo and can leave it at that. I expected there to be tons of players taking advantage and potentially targeting unwilling players, but the game seemed well prepared for this. If a player kills another that didn’t fight back, then the game marks them as wanted and a bounty is put on their head, allowing everyone on the map the chance to take down that player for compensation. It’s not a complete solution but is definitely effective in a lowering chances of bullying in the game.
Aside from the main and side quests, there are events that occur, meaning that you must be in a certain location to participate in said event and only have a certain amount of time before the event expires. Some events repeat a few times, but there are those that only appeared once that you can pass or fail before it disappears. It made me excited as I am sure this indicated that there will be events that may be appear on certain days or special events. It creates fun limited time events and also allowed opportunities to encounter players that can even lead to future teamwork with them. Even failing an event was fun as it created a sense of pressure for time and made you much more attentive to what the event asks from you as you must do it before the timer runs out.
I am excited to see what Bethesda has in store for us as the release date approaches and cannot wait to continue exploring the beautiful and eerie wasteland of West Virginia. I have my issues as someone that dislikes multiplayer online games, but I wanted to give this game a chance and couldn’t pass it up as I am a huge Fallout fan. It will take some getting used to on my part, but I am eager to get back into the game and see both improvement and surprises from the developers.
This review is based on the Stress Test and I know that there will be glitches and issues as the Break It Early Test Application (B.E.T.A.) becomes available.
This review is not sponsored, just a huge fan expressing her thoughts on the upcoming game.