Tagged "Fallout 76"

Nov 22
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Some hangover sufferers struggle with a trip to the local shop, so we can only imagine how Fallout 76’s intrepid vault dweller feels. After waking in an empty vault following one heck of a party, they’re tasked with rebuilding and restoring West Virginia to its former glory, working alongside a group of other carefully selected individuals.

Namely, yourself and your online buddies – this is Bethesda’s take on the shared-world online experience. An MMORPG this isn’t, however. In fact, Fallout 76 doesn’t know what it wants to be, even borrowing a few ideas from the survival genre such as hunger and thirst meters. Allow us to pigeonhole it in a different way: if Fallout 76 was a party, it would be the ‘bring your own bottle’ kind. The host has provided the essentials, but it’s up to you to bring the fun and frolics.

But wait! After an hour or so it starts to become apparent that Fallout 76 isn’t the most considerate or hospitable of party hosts. They keep kicking out guests, the snacks look out of date, the same music is played on repeat, and whether you’re having a good time or not is never even considered.

You paid the entry fee, now it’s up to you to make the most of it by generating your own fun. If this isn’t the least appealing set-up for a shared-world online game, then we don’t know what is.

Casually roaming the golden-brown countryside is mildly diverting

Going into slightly more detail, Fallout 76 provides a colossal open world to explore, a list of quests and timed events to partake, a cubic tonne of junk to repurpose, and well…very little else. There’s no main quest – meaning there’s no drama, twist-filled, storyline to become engrossed in – and there are no NPCs aside the series’ trademark retro sci-fi robots. Following the nuclear fallout, they’ve been ordered to trundle West Virginia while awaiting your arrival.

Like the omission of a storyline, the lack of NPCs also has a knock-on effect. The world feels empty, and the game as a whole feels incredibly soulless. Every building is deserted; every town is a ghost town.

To use the party analogy for one last time, playing Fallout 76 is akin to turning up to a shindig beyond fashionably late. Everyone has left – all that’s left to do is clean up while the host shares a few embellished stories of what you missed. That’s to say, most of Fallout 76 is spent cleaning up other people’s mess – quite literally, given one mission involves collecting discarded beer bottles – while tracking down holotapes to listen to tales of living in a post-nuclear world.

Missions are mostly of the ‘fetch quest’ variety – one includes collecting blood samples from foes, while another entails collecting dirty water from various sources – and a cookie crumb trail leading to Vault 76’s overseer to follow. For most part, though, you’re left to aimlessly wander. The best-case scenario is discovering one of the better, more interactive, missions (in the absence of quest-giving NPCs, simply strolling into a town triggers an event), or finding a building to explore and ransack for loot. This is very much a game that requests you find your own sense of purpose. The chance to replay a live event for an umpteenth time isn’t what we signed up for.

Casually roaming the golden-brown countryside is mildly diverting, at the very least. In fact, it’s one of the few things Fallout 76 has going for it – with no major focal point, it has been reduced to its default status of being a sedate walking simulator.

“Where shall we casually stroll to next?” we often asked ourselves. Pulling out the camera (Fallout 76 has a new photo mode), we’d often stop and take a few snaps while walking from one location to the next. There’s a picturesque ice cream parlour on top of a mountain, and a quaint tea-pot shaped café. It’s a shame the game isn’t more photogenic – the creaking engine is way past its best, even struggling to load textures in good time.

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Nov 19
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

In a battle between Activision’s purple dragon and Nintendo’s cute critters, it was Activision that emerged triumphant – Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which we reviewed yesterday, is the UK’s new no.1.

Or it is? Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu debuted at #4 while Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee claimed #6. If sales of the two were combined, it would be this week’s ‘true’ no.1.

Either way, it’s a win-win for both Activision and Nintendo. Spyro hasn’t taken the UK top spot since the PSone original back in 1998. GI.biz reports sales were split 75% on PS4 and 25% on Xbox One, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the character’s roots.

Spyro’s sales were strong enough to topple Red Dead Redemption 2 from the top spot, in fact, causing it to fall to #2.

At #3 it’s another new arrival – Fallout 76. While this position may sound impressive, sales were down a colossal 82% over Fallout 4. Incidentally, the Metacritic for the PS4 version currently stands at a miserable 43%. Ouch!

FIFA 19 is at #5, while Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 dropped five places to #7.

At #8 it’s a new release you may not be expecting – the Fortnite: Deep Freeze Bundle. It’s a download code in a box, bestowing new equipment and a stash of V Bucks.

The evergreen Mario Kart 8 Deluxe hangs around at #9. Then at #10 it’s the final new arrival of the week – Hitman 2. Yes, this sadly means Agent 47’s latest outing was outsold by a Fortnite add-on.

Warner Bros. publishes both, so we doubt they’re too concerned. We imagine Io Interactive expected their first standalone debut to chart slightly higher, though.

Elsewhere, early Black Friday discounts have helped a few recent releases climb the chart. Just Dance 2019 is up from #39 to #14, Astro Bot bounces back at #22, and both The Crew 2 and Starlink: Battle for Atlas reappear at the lower end of the top 40.

With retailers cutting prices ahead of Black Friday, expect to see a good old shake-up in the top 20 next week. Spider-Man, God of War, and Detroit: Become Human are all likely to make a return, already heavily discounted at Argos and Amazon.

Nov 13
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

It’s time to free up some storage space. This week sees more than a few big hitters, two of which come packing colossal install sizes; the kind so large that they’re deemed newsworthy.

Despite being a mere remake, Spyro Reignited Trilogy weighs in at 67GB – only 19GB of which is on the disc. The online focused Fallout 76 is larger still, launching with a 51GB patch on top of its standard 45GB install. Big game season is definitely upon us.

After last week’s early access Gold Edition, Hitman 2 finally falls into the hands of all and sundry. EA’s Battlefield V now follows suit, arriving this week via the Deluxe edition. Reviews started to surface over last weekend, mostly clocking in at 8/10.

In fact, it’s a case of 8/10s all-around – the Metacritics for Hitman 2, Pokemon Let’s Go, Spyro and Battlefield V currently stand at 82%, 82%, 85% and 84% (respectively). We’ve rounded up reviews below.

As for Fallout 76 reviews, the servers only went live this evening – a few hours ahead of schedule – so don’t expect them until the end of the week at the earliest. We’d like to think most gaming sites will hold out until early next week, giving plenty of time to acquaint, but that’s perhaps wishful thinking.

PSN is also awash with Playlink titles – Knowledge is Power: Decades, Chimparty, Ticket to Ride, and Just Deal With It! We wonder if Sony kept these on the backburner for a full Playlink assault.

New release showcase:

Battlefield V

90% – Xbox Achievements: “Battlefield V builds upon its predecessor in meaningful ways, DICE stripping away practically every one of the series’ fripperies to get to the nub of what truly makes the series tick. This is Battlefield at its most undiluted and raw, and it’s all the better for it”

9/10 – Press Start Australia: “Battlefield V retains heart in its single player War Stories mode and variety in its multiplayer modes. New & improved personalisation within ‘Your Company’ gives each of the classes a fresh, personal feel to your soldiers, while remaining authentic to the era. A solid road map of content is set to deliver new maps, modes and seasonal events to keep gamers coming back, which is a good thing as no other game does raw gun play and bullet physics quite like Battlefield. It just feels right and Battlefield V is no exception”

3.5/5 – GamesRadar: “Not as drastic a change up as its WW1 predecessor, nor as wild or wondrous, Battlefield 5’s deliberative design sidelines its strengths as a simulative sandbox”

Hitman 2

8/10 – VideoGamer: “Hitman 2 walks familiar ground and provides the type of delightful moments you expect in the maps on offer, as well as a multiplayer mode with bundles of potential”

8/10 – GameSpot: “The addition of other minor mechanical changes–like concussive weapons, a picture-in-picture enemy activity alert, and visible security camera sightlines–help to improve Hitman 2 overall as a dense and accessible stealth assassination game. But the new locations are the real stars, impressive and inventive sandboxes ripe for picking apart with exciting experiments”

7.7 – IGN: “Hitman 2 is like a hearty stew: not pretty, but so full of nutrition that you’re bound to walk away full and happy”

Pokémon Let’s Go

4.5/5 – GamesRadar: “Pokemon Let’s Go is a superb surprise, a fully-fledged Pokemon RPG with interactivity that brings the series to life in a way that’s never been done before”

8.3 – IGN: “Powerful friends and new mechanics make for a delightful return to the Kanto region in Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee”

Recommended – Eurogamer: “Pokémon’s Switch debut deftly toes the line between returning fans and all-new ones, with a few small wobbles along the way”


7.5 – VideoChums: “If you’re looking for a fun party game that gamers of all skill levels can enjoy together then you certainly can’t go wrong with Chimparty. The intuitive gameplay, enjoyable mini-games, and cheerful graphics and sound make for one happening party”

5/10 – Push Square: “Chimparty is fun in places, but the repetition and occasional frustrations of its minigames means it’s not likely to stay that way for long. As a family game it’s too fiddly to be enjoyable for a sustained period of time, though its visual style is appealing enough to soften the blows of the substandard gameplay”

5/10 – TheSixthAxis: “Chimparty is fun enough to break out for an occasional bout of light-hearted multiplayer when you’ve got friends round, and accessible enough to cater for all ages, but its limitations soon being to show if you spend any extended period of time with it”

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

8.5 – IGN: “The Spyro Reignited Trilogy recaptures the magic of Spyro’s original adventures in one nostalgic package”

8.5 – GameInformer: “From a historical standpoint, you can clearly see the foundation for Insomnaic’s Ratchet & Clank series in each level. As a game, Spyro is a blast to control, and collecting gems is an oddly satisfying thing to do. You’ll watch the credits roll on each game before you know what hit you”

4/5 – Windows Central: “Overall, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an excellent remake of the originals. It’s a lot of fun to play and looks stunning. Unfortunately, the lack of a 60 FPS option, even on the Xbox One X, and the awkward camera controls in some levels detract from the experience. Despite these issues, the remake pays homage to some of the best platformers ever created, and it’s evident that developer Toys for Bob spent many years crafting this package. It’s a labor of love and that shines above all else”

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