Fallout 76 Wastelanders Review
Available now as free DLC, base game needed to play.
Version tested: Xbox One X
After our original review when Fallout 76 was released we barely come back to the game but with Wastelanders DLC I have decided to give it another go!
Please read our original review for some more information on the game but most of the game just mainly covering the DLC will be in this early review, as I keep playing I will be coming back to update the review as and when things are added to the game.
Previous players can carry over progress into Wastelands
I didn’t restart from scratch as I did have some progress already from the initial review so I missed out on the customisation of making a new character but I just wanted to get started as soon as possible.
Once back in the world of Fallout 76 you are told to go back to Vault 76 as there is new people there, upon arrival you will come across a couple of women and from there your Fallout 76 journey will finally start! How the game should have been from the start! There’s even companions now!
Finally we have NPC’s & Dialogue options!
Just having a story and quests make the game so much more appealing. I even found myself a little wrapped up in the story and wasted a good few hours of the day without even noticing and this is something that has never happened with Fallout 76 so it has to be a major positive!
Bethesda finally adding NPC’s and dialogue options was essential to this, it has the feel from years ago with the classics like New Vegas, multiple choice answers that actually effect what happens and NPC’s change the game for the better so much.
The game isn’t perfect now by any means and some quests can feel a little tedious, run here grab something or kill someone come back and do it all again but for the most part things remain interesting enough to keep you playing. As you explore Appalachia you will notice the world is slightly more filled out with settlers at most ruined houses, one thing that I wish they had added was stealing as you can go anywhere and take what you like, even in a gangs hideout I was able to take grenades and ammo while the leader stood there watching me do it.
Appalachia is a huge world to explore
Traveling around 76’s large world is slow on foot with plenty of running and threats along the way, animals will attack in packs and other players will sometimes attack although the community so far for me at least has been pretty friendly, most are much higher levels and obviously players who have stuck with the game regardless of it’s problems.
Traveling is aided as you progress around the map and once you have been to a landmark it is possible to fast travel there next time at the sum of a few caps unless you are traveling back home, make sure you are not carrying to much though as being over-encumbered will not allow you to fast travel.
Building is a pretty packed out feature and done really well with so many options
One of the better bits of the game was always the building and it’s still great fun building up a base. The base will need you to unlock items to be able to build certain parts of it, this stretches to defense building as well, everything will need materials to build so scrapping the right things to acquire certain materials will have you picking up everything in the world of Appalachia! The other side of the building that is great to see around is coming across other players bases, I actually encountered one and thought it was an in-game pre-made building only to find out it was a players built base full with supplies, vending machines and even a bed to stay in and recover.
As I said about the building options already there is so much to choose from and use it really has you thinking and planning, even powering your house can be a huge task and require alot of thinking. Setting up generators will need wiring to each appliance you need power for and building will need to be well thought out! Things can be moved around after they have been put down so if you make a mistake you are able to change it.
The base you build is a safe place to store some of the things you find in Appalachia, upgrade and repair weaponry and armor as well as cook food and rest in your bed if you have one. The vending machine is a great place to buy items needed so getting one in your house can help stop the need to go out looking for certain items, the vending machine is also somewhere to put your unneeded items up for sale to other players to gain some much needed caps.
Make sure your character is fed and watered to avoid decreased stamina and HP
The food and drink system on the game is annoying and will constantly have your player in need of food or water as the gauges decrease pretty fast. Eating food that you find scattered around the wasteland will add radiation to your character depending on the percentage it has in it, this will then add a red bar to the end of the HP bar and will increase with every bit of radiated food or drink you consume. Using Radaway will clear this but it just proves a bit of a pain more than anything but does add a little to the survival aspect of the game. As with most other survival games cooking food and drinking clean water is key to survival and on here it will limit the amount of radiation your character will get so make sure you use the cooking station as often as possible.
The more annoying part is the issue when you don’t eat or drink, not only will it eventually kill you but it sucks out your stamina bar and decreases the amount of time your character can run for, traveling this large world is slow enough sometimes without all this holding you back as well.
Weapons degrade overtime and will need fixing
Another system in the game affects weaponry, as you use your weapons they will start to degrade over time and eventually break leaving you weaponless if you have nothing else. weapons can be repaired but most of the time I just used whatever I had picked up off my enemies as weaponry in the game is plentiful and can be found on most foes bodies.
Fallout 76 is an online only game and this causes a few problems for the game that we never had in other games like it before, the VATS system is no longer slow motion and just helps to aim, itdoesn’t compare to how it was in Fallout before. I mostly went with melee weapons as it was just easier than trying to shoot sometimes, especially anything that comes close like dogs as trying to aim with the sluggish controls was just frustrating!
Online only gameplay means no pausing and no quick-saving or loading
The other big downside to being online only compared to old Fallout games is the fact you can’t pause at all and the game-world will carry on regardless of what you are doing on your Pipboy or menu and then there’s the issue that you can no longer quick-save before you do something and just load up if you make a mistake.
Some people will like the fact you can’t quick-load after a mistake but sometimes it leaves you wondering if something would have another outcome and there is no way to check, for example I rescued a robot head which was actually from what I can make out going to let me use it’s laser on it’s head as a weapon, sadly I accidentally exited the mine full of enemies I was meant to wipe out and the robot said something about no ammo and disabled, I went back in hoping it would just let me use it again to find it was disabled and I had missed out on using a pretty cool weapon, if the quick-save function was there I could have loaded up before exiting the cave and wiped everything in sight out!
Online events happen from time to time around the map and will give you an objective to complete to gain rewards and XP at the end of it.
The game engine is starting to show it’s age now but can sometimes still look fantastic!
Fallout 76’s engine and game-play is really starting to show it’s age and compared to other FPS out there it really does feel sluggish and inaccurate. Aiming can sometimes feel good though and head-shots sound great although some enemies take more than one head-shot to kill. If you play 76 you will understand what I mean you can just feel it, everything just feels laggy, slow and sluggish compared to what we have nowadays, on Xbox One X it does anyway, not sure how the PC fairs with mouse and keyboard.
While talking about the engine we might as well mention the visuals, they are also starting to show their age, even on the Xbox One X they look grainy and a lack of detail in areas. This isn’t to say they are terrible and sometimes the huge world of Appalachia can look great with some great lighting effects and the reality of an apocalyptic world. The game world itself is massive and once you start working your way round it you can start to appreciate it more.
One of Fallout’s main strengths for me is the sound, great voice acting, music and sound effects
The sound for me was one of the better bits, the backing music has a strong lineup with songs most people will recognise and want playing in the background. Voice acting is also extremely strong and a joy to listen to with the characters now in the game. Sound effects is the last thing on sound I want to mention and it’s also really strong, head-shots give off a distinctive splat along with a ding so you know they are dead while the game adds XP to you characters XP bar.
One thing I am really happy to report in my 14 hours or so of Wastelands is the fact Bethesda seem to have cleared something they have become renowned for recently and that’s bugs and glitches, the time I played I can’t say I noticed or encountered any issue. The game does have a few issues here and there with slowdown and frames occasionally jumping but glitches and bugs seem non existent which is great to see and nice to see Bethesda have stuck with the game that disappointed millions and started to turn it into a game really worth playing.
It’s hard to say how long I will carry on exploring Appalachia but for the moment the quests are strong and characters interesting so I imagine it will be something I will come back to most days to explore a little more. Wastelands is a free update so anyone with the base game already should at least give the game a second chance.
Wastelands DLC is a major step in the right direction from Bethesda and proves they are actually listening to the fanbase. The main quest is enough to keep players playing and Appalachia is still a massive world to explore through just now it has stuff to do and people to meet. It’s nice to now have actual NPS’s to deal with and not just finding holotapes all the time, the game just feels filled out.
Dialogue choices actually effect some quest outcomes and without a quick-save function choosing the right thing does make a difference as you can’t just reload if you change your mind or accidentally do the wrong thing. The sound throughout the game was really strong with great voice acting, music and sound effects. Visuals are a bit of a mixed bag, sometimes the game looks wonderful really showing off apocalyptic Appalachia but sometimes the engine really shows it’s age and looks very dated, performance is also a little hit and miss and even on the One X I experienced some slowdown even in the Pip-Boy menu.
Fallout 76 Wastelanders won’t be appreciated by everyone but the DLC is free and if you have the base game already I would say it’s at least worth trying out to playthrough some of the story, meet some of the characters and start building your home, we can only hope that Bethesda will continue to improve the game and keep making that bit better all time and keep players coming back until Elder Scrolls comes along..
7.8 / 10
Fallout 76 Wastelanders
- NPC's & dialogue options add alot to the game
- Appalachia is a huge place to explore
- Building is fun with lots of options
- Voice acting and background music is great
- Having a main story with NPC's was a great addition, well done Bethesda for improving the game and we hope for it to continue
- Game engine looks dated
- Some stutter in performance even on Xbox One X
- Controls can feel dated and sluggish compared to other FPS games