Note, this is a review of what I got to play of the “Break-it in Early Test Application” and not my final thoughts of the game.
Personally, I didn’t get to play too much of the beta. My internet was shutdown when it launched and when I got it back… I had to work during the weekend beta hours. As I love my job at the haunted house and get paid for being there… you know which was more important. And on the third day before the final beta, I ended up talking to an old friend while playing Soulcalibur VI the whole day. Worth it because we rarely get a chance to speak to each other and the new timeline means we had to reboot our fan fictions. But what I did get to play… I enjoyed.
When I first got out of Vault 76, the scenery was beautiful. Yeah, there were both rusty and burned out vehicles, corpses, skeletons, and little killer robots… but remove all that and it’s still “pretty-ful” as we said in Boone County. Of course the character creation when I started was difficult, I had my sister who is talented in that aspect of video games do my personal Fallout 4 character. And yes, he looks a lot like me. But the 76 one… it’s close enough to play the game and feel like it’s my experience. And of course, the first weapon you pick up is a pipe pistol, not a 10mm like in Fallout 4. Hey, everyone knows that in 3 you get the BB Gun first and in New Vegas it was a 9mm from that doctor. Anyway, the combat is a little different than in previous games. V.A.T.S is WAY different in real time. You can’t use it to aim at individual body parts either, instead it’s all basically a body shot unless you somehow get the perk cards to do it differently. I ended up mainly with a Melee character.
I forgot to even mention the new S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. Instead of the classic Fallout style, you cannot set your stats when you start the game. Instead you have to put points into it as you level up. And when you reach level 5 I think, you finally start getting the new Perk Cards in packs with a stick of gum. Before that, you only get one card with each level. It’s these cards that you use to decide your perks. Personally, I don’t like this new system. You raise your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats with each level, but it stays like the older games. However, you can change your perk cards for each stat anytime you want. I know Bethesda is trying new things, but this is stupid. So far, it’s my only real complaint about Fallout 76.
Now, the lack of human NPCs. That I actually don’t mind. Most of the lore in this game you find through Holotapes and terminals. I actually like that because I like to find these things for myself. As this game is new, I can do it for myself when I start playing the actual game. Though I did watch some of Oxhorn’s videos, I already know that for my personal character I’m going to that Civil War reenactment and grabbing a Confederate Soldier uniform. I’m not racist, it’s heritage and not hate. Besides, I want to know how many people would call me a racist just for wearing it. And the fort in the reenactment is a goldmine for finding wood, which you need for everything in this game. So yeah, Desk Fans are no longer “goldmines” for scrap as you need wood more than metal now.
Now let’s get to the Survival System. I… personally don’t care for it. I always played on Normal, not Hard or Survival in previous games. But you have to eat and drink like in survival mode. However, you can no longer just sleep in a bed in order to heal fast. Now you just lay there and slowly recover HP. I accidentally laid down on a Sleeping Bag when trying to loot a corpse once, and ended up with a disease. It happened as soon as I laid down too. I’ll get to how I got rid of it later. Anywho, I forgot how many times I got dehydrated. In the new system, you can’t just go to a cooking station and turn Dirty Water into Purified Water. You have to boil it to turn it into Boiled Water and if you have a filter you can turn that Boiled Water into Purified Water. Boiling it removes diseases and purifying it removes radiation. But in order to boil it (or cook in general), you actually have to have wood.
Wood is the most important scrap from what I learned because you need it to make your C.A.M.P. and to cook. It’s sad that I get excited to find pencils and clipboards now. But for some weapons, cooking food, and building in general, you need wood. I wish they would’ve done something like make it so if you had a hatchet or an axe equipped that you could get it from a tree or something. I never thought I’d live to see a game in where you need wood even more than you do in Minecraft, but Fallout 76 proved me wrong.
When I said you need wood for weapons, that’s a double meaning. You can actually make your own weapons now, I made myself a machete. However… the weapon durability from Fallout 3 and New Vegas is back. Meaning that you have to repair them or they’re unusable until repaired. I had that happen once with a rifle, and it wasn’t fun. And you can’t just remove a mod from one weapon and just add it to another anymore. Now you have to scrap them in order to get mods. It’s bad enough that bottle caps are even harder to come by now, but you have to be careful what you want to sell and want to scrap. And yes, I learned this with the first Machete I had. I wanted to put the serrated edge mod onto a higher level machete, but it didn’t work. It was easier to just make a new serrated edge mod for the higher level machete.
And yes, armor has durability as well. But unlike Fallout 4, it can be hidden with outfits. You find outfits throughout the game you can wear over your vault suit and your armor. It’s mainly cosmetic and they don’t have a durability amount like the armor does. I’d say more about Power Armor, but I didn’t get a set before the beta ended. But it ended near where I know where a set is. So hopefully I’ll get an armor frame when I start playing.
Now for my experiences with other players. To be honest, I didn’t have many of them. There was this one kid who begged me for some of my water. I managed to get him to trade his .45 ammo for my 4 boiled waters. It was actually a kindness as he didn’t use guns with that ammo anyway. He kept wanting to find someone to PVP, but I got out of it because I traded him water and gave him a Sickle because he had no melee weapons. Not to mention I cleared out a former Raider Outpost in Sutton before he got there, and he saw the damage I had done. I don’t know what happened to him, he left because he found another player nearby. My second encounter was when I wandered into someone else’s C.A.M.P. the guy was just laying down, so I used his Weapons Workbench to scrap my junk so I could lighten my load. He seemed cool with it. The third was when I was trying to set up my C.A.M.P. near this mining supplies place. I was getting attacked by Scorched (those new enemies that use weapons) and some friendlies helped me kill them. But that was all the experience I had with other players.
Overall, I enjoyed the beta. There were mechanics that I didn’t like, but there’s always that when it comes to all games. I mainly liked the mostly intact landscape. Though when comparing it to post-apocalypse movies, I’d say it was more like The Postman with Kevin Costner than Road Warrior with Mel Gibson. If you haven’t watched The Postman, I’d recommend doing so. It’s not that good, but it would make you understand my comparison easier. And yes, I plan on live streaming the actual game eventually. But I’d like to get some more time in it first.