Fallout 76 was released three weeks ago. It is now almost half the price it was on release day. This has sent the internet into a frenzy. Many who bought the game on its release have returned it, and many more have quit playing altogether.
Which, if I’m being honest, is understanable. It only takes a few minutes of scouring Twitter or the comments section of Kotaku to get a full grasp of how bad the situation actually is. And I’m not without my own in-game bugs. Yesterday, as I was attempting to pick up beer bottles at a local shooting range, I was constantly being attacked by what I can only assume was an invisible mole rat. As I ran away, finally getting back to [Hidden], I was met by a group of super mutants that miraculously appeared out of thin air on the road in front of me. Was I confused? Yes. Was I frustrated? Definitely. Was I about to pop the game out of my PS4 and go throw it back into a Best Buy cashier’s face? Far from it.
1) This is a Bethesda game.
I guess nobody remembers Fallout 4‘s release, when some people couldn’t even leave the cryo chamber at the beginning of the game. I guess some people don’t remember giants being able to launch you thousands of feet into the air in Skyrim. I guess nobody has the same problem I do with New Vegas: that I can’t play it for more than an hour without it crashing my XBox eight years after its release. (Different game studio, I know. Shut up. Let me have this.)
It’s Bethesda. Glitches are what they do best. Game breaking glitches are what they do best. You know what I would be more worried about? If they released a perfectly functioning game right off the bat. Then I’d know something was wrong. Bethesda has never made a perfect game. But they always do their best, before and after launch, to knock out bugs and make it more and more enjoyable.
These glitches you’re experiencing will be fixed. They will go away. Not right now. Maybe not even next month. But they will go away eventually. Right now, let’s just take them for what they are: random little weird happenings that make us remember that if we do live in a computer simulation, then we have a really good team of developers behind the scenes making sure that bugs get fixed.
2) Are you not entertained?
The same comments now are the same comments we heard before launch: ‘This is a multiplayer only game.’ ‘I won’t be able to play this by myself.’ ‘Fallout is dead and Bethesda killed it.’
There are two times so far in my 10 hours of playing 76 that I really wished I was playing with someone else. The first was an event where I had to escort a robot around to different security shelters. The sheer amount of enemies that the game threw at me made me use all of my ammo. By the time I got down to my last 10mm bullets, the robot had died, the mission failed, and I was left to try it again.
The second was yesterday right after the super mutants popped up in the middle of the road. After quickly dispatching them and earning a couple hundred XP, I kept walking up the mountain. I reached a civil war fort and an event popped up. It was a specifically designed event for me and my friends to play against each other. We were supposed to reenact a battle from the civil war, each picking to fight for a different side: the union or the confederacy. At that moment, I realized how much thought they put into the game, and how hard they tried to marry the single and multi-player experience.
Aside from those two moments, I’ve had an awesome time exploring West Virginia all on my own, seeing the new landscape, and learning more about the moments right after the bombs fell. It’s a new setting. It’s a new world. And it’s all there for me to explore on my own, or with my buddies. If you’re not having fun, then you’re not really that into Fallout, are you? You just wanted another FPS RPG. Go play Red Dead (which, by the way, is boring as hell.)
3) More is coming.
Every day we spend with glitches is a day closer to brand new content. They’ve told us already that we’re to expect content updates regularly: events, bug fixes, and huge quest expansions are all coming our way. So just wait. Just sit back and enjoy what you’ve got. If you can’t enjoy it because of some game-breaking bug, then I’m sorry, but start over! See what happens. Just give it a shot and wait to see what comes in the future. Because I can almost 100% guarantee you that in six months, we won’t even be able to recognize it.
I’ve put more time into Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 than all other video games combined. Bethesda has given me so many great memories, stories, and late nights that I can’t even remember them all. They’re not going to let that die. There’s no way that they’re just going to drop the game after two weeks. It’s going to be bumpy, but we’ll get there, just like we did with every other game.
4) You’re probably not playing it right.
Fallout 4 is a great game, but it wasn’t an RPG; it was an FPS with the potential to be an RPG. Fallout 76, on the other hand, has reintroduced some of my old favorites, plus some great elements from survival mode in Fallout 4. You have to make sure your weapon and armor condition is OK. You have to keep yourself fed and hydrated. You can’t walk around carrying 500 lbs of stuff in your inventory and still have room to spare. 76 is a great blending of two great game types. If you don’t like it, you’re probably not playing it right. You’re not focusing enough on keeping hydrated or cooking food to buff your character. You’re not focusing on inventory management or weapon condition. You’re expecting to go through with nothing but a 10mm pistol and an itchy trigger finger. If that’s the case, go play COD.
Fallout 76 has its weak points. It’s far from perfect, but that’s not what I’m arguing for. I’m just saying to give it a chance. Play it. Embrace the fuck ups. Enjoy the bits that actually do work. Because when it does work, it’s a fantastic game. And it’s only going to get better as time goes on.