The Biz – E3 2018 – Fallout 76: BE3 Demo Recap

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I was a bit late to the Fallout train, but ever since the release of Fallout 3 I have been a huge fan of the franchise. So when the teaser trailer of Fallout 76 released I’m not going to lie I was pretty hyped.

Fallout 76 Official Teaser Trailer

The community was able to figure out fairly quickly that this installation of the series is going to take place in West Virginia. This information was eventually confirmed by the release of the second trailer during the Microsoft Press Conference at E3 2018.

Fallout 76 E3 2018 Trailer

Todd Howard was pretty light on the details when it comes to what to expect from Fallout 76. However, he did reveal that it would be the biggest Fallout game yet, clocking in at over 4 times the size of Fallout 4.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too much longer for the official BE3 presentation to fill us in on some of the details.

Fallout 76 BE3 2018 Demo

To Bethesda’s credit, they gave us a lot to chew on!

To start things off, they said that Fallout 76 would be en entirely online experience. Todd Howard was quick to clarify that this didn’t mean you HAVE to play with other players to complete the game, just that

One of my first observations during the multiplayer segment of the demo, was that the game still played like a Fallout game. As far as I could tell there were no concessions made from a mechanical standpoint to make this game work online.

Another mechanical evolution from Fallout 4 is how structure building is handled. Unlike Fallout 4 there are not pre-designated building sites that the player can build in. Instead you are able to set up their C.A.M.P.(Construction and Assembly Mobile Platform) in any location that can support it.

I wasn’t sure if this meant that you could “pack up” your building and move it around, but the more I review the demo it seems like a C.A.M.P. is simply a mobile workbench. Personally I welcome this approach because it will give the builders out there a chance to showcase their ability to quickly assemble interesting buildings on the go. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be happy with 4 walls and a bedroll to occasionally recover our HP.

While I find the multiplayer mechanics interesting, I am concerned that moving to an open world format will have a dramatic effect on the integrity of the world. However, it appears that Bethesda thought of this as well, and in response have taken a bit of a “weapons free” approach to player and world interaction.

For example, you and your friends are able to find access codes to nuclear weapons, and launch them around locations at the map. Once you’ve nuked an area, that section of the map is drastically changed(read blown to bits), and can be foraged for all manner of rare radioactive materials.

Given how little we know about how the server system will work, it isn’t clear how reversible this process will be. Furthermore, it wasn’t explained how granular the ability to nuke various portions of the map is. My assumption on this is that you can only nuke certain points of interest. This will likely result in each area having an A/B(Nuked/Not-Nuked) state, and a completely different set of challenges to face and areas to explore depending on the state it is in.

Last but not least, it was revealed that there would be a B.E.T.A.(Break-it Early Test Application) of Fallout 76. You can sign up for it on Bethesda’s Fallout 76 website.

My biggest takeaway from the demo was that this isn’t going to be like a traditional Fallout game. The decision to add multiplayer, much less massively multiplayer gameplay elements will make the experience vastly different from previous installations.

I expect there to be some backlash from the Fallout community on this one. Personally I feel that if you can adjust your expectations and think of this as an offshoot of the Fallout franchise instead of Fallout 5, it will be a lot easier to appreciate the game for what it is.

That all being said, I could see the game-systems of Fallout 76 being a little bit too open ended, and the “public server” experience being a literal nuclear hellscape. Some players might find this to be feature, but personally I plan on following the rules I have set for myself in an actual nuclear apocalypse. I’ll stick to just playing this one with my friends.

But I am definitely going to play it…

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