Fallout 76 reviews: a ‘frustrating’ return to the nuclear wasteland

Critics label the open-world adventure game ‘a social experiment’

The launch of Fallout 76 has sparked a gaming frenzy among critics eager to see whether the new title lives up to the hype.

Fans around the world had been counting down for the release of what is the first online-only game in the post-apocalyptic franchise. Groups of up to 24 players can explore the bombed wasteland of a future West Virginia.

However, while previous Fallout games have won instant acclaim, the latest instalment from makers Bethesda Studios is getting more mixed reviews.

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Average fan scores on reviews site Metacritic currently sit at 2.9 out of ten, with users complaining that the new game doesn’t live up to Fallout titles of old.

Here’s what the critics they have to say:

The good

Fallout 76 creator Bethesda Studios is among the best at creating vast open worlds, and the setting of the new game does not disappoint, says tech site Windows Central.

This world is four times larger than that in its predecessor, Fallout 4, and is packed with secret areas to explore. The previous game’s base-building system is also included, allowing gamers to construct their own settlement that can be seen by other players.

In another plus point for Fallout 76, the game’s open-ended nature means it can be “anything you want it to be”, adds TechRadar.

Indeed, the tech news site hails the new title as “an immense RPG, shooter, and world to explore that is only constrained by your imagination and desire to explore”.

The bad

Given that Fallout games have traditionally been a single-player-only experiences, some players may want to ignore the Fallout 76’s multiplayer aspects and go it alone.

The good news is that Fallout 76 is “totally enjoyable alone if you have the right attitude”, says IGN.

Players who enjoy building a character as they roam around the vast open world can still find plenty to entertain them. However, the lack of an in-depth plot and voiced non-playable characters (NPCs) can leave the experience feeling a bit empty, the site adds.

Ars Technica argues that the multiplayer title “feels less like a complete Fallout game and more like a social experiment”.

The sight of seeing another player “jumping up and down just for the heck of it” can be “jarring”, but joining gunfights to save others from “gangs of monsters” can be rewarding, the site explains.

Metro agrees. Despite the game’s emphasis on survival, that “there doesn’t feel like there’s any great consequence to death”, since players keep all of the items and money they’ve collected after they die, the newspaper says.

The verdict

For all its flaws, Fallout 76 isn’t “bad enough to move you to put the controller down”, but the game’s shift of focus away from plot-driven single player modes can make it feel “more like a task than a glorious adventure”, says The Independent.

However, while the new title may not live up to expectations in its current form, GamesRadar+ says the game’s always-online nature means it may undergo substantial improvements through frequent software updates.

This may make Fallout 76 feel “very different” and could help win back some of the franchise’s disillusioned fans, the gaming news site concludes.

Where to order

Fallout 76 is available to order now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for around £42 from Amazon. Players on PC can pick up the game for £46.

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