Gaming editor Christopher Hall reviews the precision 2D platformer N++, one that sets itself apart but is missing something that would place it among the greatsWritten by Christopher Hall on 24th September 2018
E3 | Impressions: Fallout 76
Duped by the first announcement, both Tom Martin and Nick Burton are relieved to see an in depth showcase of Fallout 76 at Bethesda's E3 conference, collaborating together to give their impressions of the game so far
For the third time in two weeks I’m writing an article in which I have to give impressions on a game I was completely wrong about; and for the third week in a row that game is Fallout 76. As a result, I’m going to make a completely conscious effort not to make crazy assertions on storyline, structure, gameplay etc. I’m just going to give my impressions on exactly what I’ve seen and pray that the hauntingly velvet voice of Todd Howard finally leaves me in peace.
However, I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe the experience of being a dedicated Bethesda fan. We are constantly being set up, disappointed and rewarded with games we never wanted: “You want Elder Scrolls 6? Here, have Fallout 76! What, you still want Elder Scrolls 6? Here, have a mobile game… no wait, two mobile games!!”
When Bethesda began to tease a new Fallout game, I wholly believed it would be a remaster of 3, then when it was revealed – after the single most Bethesda livestream that’s ever existed - to be a completely new game, I speculated that this would in fact be some kind of resource-management game circa‘Fallout Shelter 3D’. I was excited for this to be a completely different entry into the Fallout series; I guess I wasn’t wholly wrong on that front.
In its full reveal, Fallout 76 does appear to be offering what can only be described as ‘different’. For the first time in the series the game will be exclusively an online MMO/RPG hybrid that allows you to explore the wasteland with your friends (provided you still have any after all that time you have sank into previous Fallout/Elder Scrolls titles). The wasteland you will explore is also a departure from previous titles, appearing to be more vibrant and bustling with brand-new mutated monsters based on the folklore of its setting, West Virginia.
To many fans relief the game will have a storyline, with the Overseer of Vault 76 sending the player on quests through the six different regions of a map that is “four times the size of Fallout 4”. The game will revolve largely around the building-construction mechanics introduced in Fallout 4, with players able to use the C.A.M.P. to build whenever, wherever.
Whilst I am excited to get something different from the series, I do feel like the game might stray into that strange realm of being ‘too different’. Apart from the series frequent ‘Mr. Handy’ Robots, in an interview with Geoff Keighley, Todd Howard confirmed the game will feature no NPCs: “There are no NPCs. So that’s one of the big differences that we really leaned on, which is every character you see is a real person.
But there are still robots and terminals and holotapes.” NPCs are one of the series’ greatest achievements, with some being more memorable than the games they featured in, eg. Harold (Fallout 2, Fallout 3) who slowly turns into a tree, but is a seriously nice guy all the same. Or Yes Man (Fallout: New Vegas) the Securitron. The disappearance of NPCs from the game worries me as a fan of the series’ core personality. Bethesda likely hopes players will be able to recreate this themselves, but given examples like ARK, Rust, DayZ etc., I for one am not totally convinced this will be the case.
V.A.T.S. will also be undergoing a dramatic makeover. The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System is a system from Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4, which allows players to queue specifically targeted shots at an enemy. The mode was built and implemented to somewhat pay homage to the turn-based combat system of Fallout and Fallout 2, making it a beloved part of the Fallout experience for players of the early games.
In his interview with Keighley, Howard confirmed V.A.T.S. would now be working “in real time”: “You can kind of picture how it works. Like, I'm not as good as lining up someone and getting a head shot, but I've made my character good at V.A.T.S., and now I can do that." The comment ‘I’ve made my character good at V.A.T.S.’ strongly indicates that the mode will be linked to a perk or might be an entire perk itself. It may seem unnecessary to be concerned about such things in the context of a full game, however as previously mentioned, the mode is a huge part of the Fallout experience for older players, so it may alienate some to alter it too much.
However, despite my concerns, I was blown away by the trailer shown at Bethesda’s E3 conference. There is obvious passion in the project, with Bethesda themselves seemingly excited to take the series in a new direction, at least for now. I will be interested to see how the game measures up in its longevity, MMOs are designed to be played for years and years, so it will be interesting to see if Fallout 76 will be able to accomplish this. In the words of ED-E: “<Excited Beeping>”.
Todd Howard’s interview with Geoff Keighley @E3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3X04jwJ0U
Todd Howard taking the stage at Bethesda’s E3 press conference this year was something we’ve been waiting for for three years now, and to nobody’s surprise, he shows us an incredibly exciting game coming out later this year, as well as announcing around 5 different projects the studio is working on. Bethesda Game Studios being one of the three of what I consider to be the best developers in the world, (Naughty Dog and Rockstar being the other two), it is extremely exciting to finally hear all about Fallout 76 and what the game is going to play like when it comes out November 14thlater this year.
My prediction was that a Fallout project was in the works – my prediction being that Obsidian was working on a New Vegas II of sorts. I was wrong. Bethesda themselves were developing what me and my friends would consider a dream fallout game. An imaginative game we talked about ever since the release of Fallout 3, with our desire to play together without playing within an MMO setting. And now, this game becomes a reality thanks to the bold and passionate people working at Bethesda Game Studios.
Fallout 76 is one of the first vaults to open itself to the wasteland after the apocalypse occurs. Emerging into the gorgeous West Virginia countryside, you will embark on quests, build your character, and engage in survival mechanics and building systems in an attempt to rebuild not just the infrastructure of America, but the hearts and minds of the American people also. A world four times the size of Fallout 4. Fitting considering that the entire game will be played online.
Todd Howard asserted that the game can in fact be played entirely solo but suggested that the best way to survive and thrive would be to play with others. Playing with what looks like up to four friends at a time, this game has been designed to be played with your friends, whilst you also deal with other hostile players you’ll find throughout the stunning West Virginia landscape. Four times the detail of Fallout 4, with new lighting technics and texture design, this will be a different kind of Fallout experience. One that I have imagined playing with my friends with for years. I'm so glad it isn't a copy and paste MMO from the template of ESO.
We’ve yet to really learn about the story and quests found within this new Fallout, but Todd Howard did talk about how the only other NPCs you will encounter will be players. Robots and terminals are scattered across the land, suggesting that these will be a necessary requirement of interaction in order to find your next adventure. There are six distinct regions to roam around in with your friends, however, more details will soon follow after various interviews over the coming months. The true way to find out the ins and outs of this exciting new entry to the Fallout franchise will be to play it yourself when it releases later this year to Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
I for one, cannot wait to find out more, and really believe in the longevity this title can deliver on, once we find out all the nitty gritty details and mechanics. Trust in Bethesda. I do anyway.