How Has Fallout 76 Improved 2.5 Years Later?

July 7, 2021

Fallout 76

To say that Fallout 76 had a rocky launch would be an understatement. The game was plagued with enough issues at launch that a number of parties were taken to court by the ACCC for refusing refunds or fee what was a defective product. There were bugs galore, server issues and the game itself was simply lacking. Even the physical odds and ends that came with the collector’s edition had issues, with bags that didn’t match what was promised. Until Cyberpunk 2077 came around, there hadn’t been another game with as rocky a launch in the last few years. Now, 2.5 years later, we’ve jumped back into Fallout 76 to see how it’s fared after myriad updates.

We took a look at Fallout 76 back when it launched, finding a slew of issues with the game that held it back. With a score of 2.5 stars, it’s fair to say that we weren’t massive fans of the game at launch. Thankfully, after a couple of years of updates and patches, many of the problems we originally had have since been ironed out. It’s still not quite the Fallout experience we’d hoped for pre-launch, but it’s definitely a vastly improved experience.

When I think of Fallout, I think of all the different characters I met along the way. There were the weird and wacky ones like the AntAgonizer in Fallout 3, but there were also the more straightforward and earnest characters as well. They helped elevate the Wasteland beyond an environment, transforming it into a world I became invested in. This was one of the most glaring omissions in Fallout 76, with no properly interactable characters. 2.5 years later, Fallout 76 has introduced plenty of NPCs to interact with. For example, the tutorial quest line of the game has now been changed as part of the Wastelanders update to involve NPCs in a small town who need your help. There’s still plenty of holotape delivery at points, which drags the experience down a bit, but having actual characters to interact with in the story is a massive improvement. There’s also plenty of other NPCs to find across the wasteland, many of whom also provide you with quests or information about the world. Finally, the addition of interactable allies who can be tied to your C.A.M.P. helps bring a little more livelihood to your base of operations, although the limit of a single ally at a time is disappointing. With that said, I’d still like to see the introduction of Companions, similar to the system introduced in The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood, for players like myself who prefer to play solo.

Another issue we had at launch was the lack of meaningful story content. Often delivered through holotapes and terminals, there wasn’t much to the story of the game that kept us interested. 2.5 years later, Fallout 76 has been updated with plenty of additional story content. Similar to the model adopted for Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76 now has a new overarching storyline that is being released in instalments, beginning with the November 2020 Steel Dawn update. It introduced a new storyline focused around the Brotherhood of Steel, as they first arrive in the Appalachian wasteland. You’re tasked with either helping or hindering the Brotherhood as you begin to unravel their motivations. Alongside it comes the introductions of plenty of new characters and quests, making it a much more character involved quest line than what was previously in the game. That storyline continues and ends with tomorrow’s Steel Reign update, so there’s still more content to drop on top of what’s already there.

Finally, the biggest issue we had with Fallout 76 was the instability of the game and general bugs. It was bad, even by Bethesda standards. Now after 2.5 years of updates, Fallout 76 seems largely stable. I didn’t have any issues with server stability during my recent playtime, which was fantastic to see. I also didn’t run into any major bugs or issues that impacted the game. There were still a couple of instances of small glitches here and there, but they were extremely minor and didn’t really impact my time at all. All in all, there’s been a definite improvement.

It’s pretty clear to me that Bethesda have put in a massive amount of effort in the last 2.5 years making Fallout 76 a game that is worth experiencing. It still isn’t perfect and I would love to see them continue to add even more story quests and NPCs as time goes on, but it’s a vastly improved game compared to when it launched. Given the ability to try the game on PC or Xbox via Game Pass, I think it’s definitely worth players jumping back on and giving the game another go.

Fallout 76 was played on a Windows 10 PC with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information, check the official website.