Tales of Fallout 76
Sure, you can make a game that has no bugs, but Fallout 76 is really pushing it. In this day and age where gamers expect nothing less than absolute perfection in the games they pay for, Bethesda has been one of the handful of companies that took several steps backwards with their releases this year.
If you want a good example of what games in 2018 should look like, look no further than Rock star’s Red Dead Redemption 2, or Santa Monica Studios’ God of War. There’s a reason those games are great, starting from the story line to the graphics, attention to detail, to everything else in between. And that’s also the reason why games like Fallout 76 ended up flopping. Let’s face it, this isn’t the 90s anymore. You can’t get away with making your characters, or even NPC’s, look like a deformed person drawn by an unimaginative five-year-old.
When it comes to video games, or just about any other software for that matter, one thing every developer must try is to ensure that the number of bugs is minimum by the time a live release is done. Well, apparently, the developers up there in Bethesda didn’t quite get the memo!
Look at all These Bugs!
When the director of Fallout 76, Todd Howard, announced that the game was going to be an unforgettable experience, he was right. No one is ever gonna forget a cow that spawned in the middle of a room, just to disappear a second later. Or that one time a staircase broke, making it impossible to continue the story.
If I were to make a list of all the bugs that occurred in Fallout 76 within the couple of months it has been around, Half Life 3 would have been released by the time I finish. I mean, it’s not just the bugs that occur in the visuals that make everything look stupid, it’s the critical bugs that completely halt gameplay.
Don’t get me wrong, the number of bugs that appear visually are supposed to be as minimal as possible, but if the game was at least playable, that would have been a huge step up. When Todd spoke about Fallout 76 in E3, he mentioned that the main focus of the studio was to ensure that the gameplay was as realistic as possible. You can stop me if I’m wrong here, but having enemies spawning right in front of your face, or having sun rays emanating from the middle of a mountainside, simply doesn’t sound realistic!
This, of course, comes in between a ton of other bugs. The shadows can sometimes be all wrong, the textures completely messed up, and you even have a couple of bugs from the previous Fallout games doing a cameo. Now, there have been madders who fixed these bugs in the previous Fallout games, but unfortunately those mods don’t work now, so it’s up to Bethesda to fix their game, although no one really has their hopes high, considering that this was a game that had a glitch which deleted the entire 50 GB beta.
The Terrible Multiplayer Experience
One thing Fallout fans were looking forward to in Fallout 76 was its multiplayer option… which was unsurprisingly, bogged. Going back to E3, Todd promised “dedicated servers” that were going to make multiplayer smooth and a lot of fun to play on. Of course, he never mentioned how often you get smoothly disconnected from the servers!
When you get disconnected from a server, the game automatically stops, which is as fun as having a bucket of glass shoved down your throat. Sometimes, when you get disconnected from the server, you’ll have the pleasure of watching your characters clothes disappear, which is lightly amusing in an otherwise bleak situation.
Fallout 76 also doesn’t seem to have completely figured out the intricacies of voice chat, with push to talk, which is standard in every multiplayer video game, only being released now. But an even bigger issue would be the unsafe way in which the game goes around communicating while on multiplayer. Since there are very little server checks, and hardly any encryption, you could very easily go ahead and give yourself God mode.
Since the engine is open and easily hackable, you could go ahead and make character models, trees, or the environment around you look like whatever you want it to look like. Now, making a tree the size of your pinky finger is all fun and games, but the real issues are the ones related to security, when you get the ability to use a program such as Wireshark to grab the IP’s of everyone else on the server, or to kick out some player you don’t like by making them go off-line. In terms of being a multiplayer game, Fallout 76 has a long, long way to go.
What do the Fans Say?
It’s not particularly hard to imagine what they have to say,with even hardcore Fallout gamers claiming this to be the “worst multiplayer game they ever played”. Of course, Bethesda pushing gigantic patch after gigantic patch isn’t particularly making anyone happy either.
Nobody likes micro-transactions, which is something companies such as Electronic Arts are hated for. So, when Fallout 76 announced that you could use real money to purchase stuff in their already dysfunctional game, the fans were not thrilled. Some of the critics went on to say that Bethesda was following a money-centric model where the company was trying to get as much money as possible while putting in the least amount of effort into their game. Of course, this model never works and seems to have backfired, with Fallout 76’s UK launch having 80% fewer sales compared to Fallout 4.
Sure, the previous Fallout games may have had a few issues with them, but they were all acceptably playable. It’s not too hard to say Bethesda grandly screwed up this time. Can they fix their wasteland? Well, only time will tell.
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