Our Future Begins…

Brandon Collins/Staff Reporter

     Launched this past Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, Bethesda’s latest game, Fallout 76, was originally announced back in May, right before this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (a.k.a. E3). Bethesda teased their game during a 24-hour long video that streamed a continuous shot of the Vault-Boy statue, which stood in front of a monitor with the message “Please Stand By.” The stream ended with the teaser trailer of Fallout 76, and a special message from Bethesda’s Todd Howard.

     Now, Fallout 76 follows the story of, you guessed it, Vault 76, one of Vault-Tec’s nuclear protection vaults. Now, as most players will know, a good portion of the vaults were originally designed for experimental purposes. However, Vault 76 is not one of the experimental vaults, but rather it is one of the 17 known control vaults in the United States. Vault 76 was home to 500 occupants and was originally programmed to open 20 years after a nuclear war. Despite being a control vault, Vault 76 was still a pretty unique vault in its own sense. The occupants selected were a diverse group from every walk of life, all of which were highly accomplished before the war and possessed competitive personalities. Vault 76 itself was also designed to cease functioning and be rendered inhospitable 24 hours after opening, a feature intended to force the residents to commit to reclaiming the outside world and prevent them from becoming dependent on the vault’s amenities. Vault 76 ran five years longer than it was originally supposed to, finally opening on Oct. 23, 2102, exactly 25 years after the Great War (the few days that nuclear bombs were deployed) and five years after it’s attended date, in a much-celebrated event now known as “Reclamation Day.”

     Fallout 76 follows the player as they awake on “Reclamation Day” and proceed to leave Vault 76. As the player leaves, they are greeted by a number of Mr. Handy Robots that helped take care of the vault, wishing the player good luck in their journey and providing them with basic supplies to start the adventure with such as stimpacks, a perk point, clean water, and a C.A.M.P., a Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform that is used as the central base of operations for players that allows them to build their own homes, fortresses, shops, etc.

     The game takes place in West Virginia, and is called Appalachia in the game. The map is roughly four times the size of the Commonwealth of Fallout 4, and includes a number of real locations, just like the previous game entries. The game includes areas such as the West Virginia State Capitol building, the Greenbrier, Woodburn Circle, New River Gorge Bridge, and Camden Park. The game also features a plethora of new mutated monsters, a number of which are inspired by West Virginian Folklore, such as the Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster.

     Fallout 76 also includes a modified version of it’s SPECIAL progression mechanics. Rather than deciding what your SPECIAL (strength, perception, endurance, charisma, intelligence, agility, and luck) attributes are at the beginning of the game, players now add points to each category as they level up, having the ability to boost all of the categories up to a total of 15 for each one. Players will also be able to choose perks and/or passive skills as they level up, giving them in-game bonuses. The perks now take the form of trading cards, each with their own value, determining at what level they can start being used by the player.

     One of the biggest difference in Fallout 76 compared to all of its predecessors is the total lack of any human non-player characters, also known as NPCs. All of the humans that players will meet in the game are other players in the server. This is a big change for Bethesda, given that it is usually human NPCs that give players quest in their games. Players now receive quest via robot NPCs, holotapes, terminals throughout the Appalachia, and even the environment in the form of exploring locations. Howard stated that this system fave Bethesda the ability to tell a story whilst giving the players a greater opportunity to create their own unique narratives.

     Now, as most of you know, Fallout 76 is completely online and is a multiplayer game. But for those of you who do not want to play with other people, you do not have to. Bethesda told gamers at E3 that the game can be entirely played by yourself, and it really can be. While playing the game, several of us at the Avion went several hours at a time without seeing any other player during the game. It plays like any old Fallout game when you skip the multiplayer aspect, but the experience is enhanced when you play with others.

     As with most new releases, Fallout 76 is not without bugs and issues. One major issue we have heard of involves power armor and not being able to get into them depending on the angle you are looking at it, and then issues where the game drops, but those are easily fixable with just a simple reloading of the game.

     All-in-all, Fallout 76 is a great game, and should rightfully be recognized as one. Many gamers have complained that Fallout 76 is just Fallout 4, but as a multiplayer, which is what gamers were told it would be during Bethesda’s E3 press conference. The game may not have lived up to the hype some players had, but it did live up to what we were told it would be.

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