Fallout 76 REVIEW COPY PROVIDED BY BETHESDA
The Fallout franchise is one of the most popular single-player RPGs out there, with Fallout 3 being considered the high point of the series by many fans. While this isn't the first time the series delved into the multiplayer arena, this is the first entry to be solely focused on it as Fallout 76 is the first MMORPG entry of the franchise. Does it live up to the expectations of the previous entries or should this one have stayed in the Vault?
You play as a Vault Dweller in the eponimus Vault 76 in West Virginia and it's been 25 years since the Great War and the vault is now opening, giving you the task of repopulating the Wasteland. Compared to previous entries, it is a mighty simple setup but it does it job well and gives you a reason to be leaving the safety of the Vault. Once you leave the vault, you are free to do whatever you want, though there is a huge catch this time. Unlike previous entries, Fallout 76 forgoes the usual quest structure and instead you earn quests via holo-tapes or wandering into one of the many world events that can take place, which the later can earn you better loot. In a interesting design choice, the only NPCs you can interact with in the game are the robots as all the human ones are dead , with the sole exception being the other human players you may come across. While this may be a shocker to some long time fans of the series, it is a nice welcome change of pace from previous entries and helps with the idea that it's up to you and the rest of the vault to repopulate the world. Admittedly, it would've been nice to see a few human NPCs roaming about but this is still a nice and welcome change. Graphically, the game is still a good-looker, as it's powered by the same engine that Fallout 4 ran on, but there are the occassional graphical hiccup or out of place texture and some of the new enemy types do seem a tad bit lazy, but it was nothing to ruin the game.
Gameplay for Fallout 76, on the other hand, is a bit of an odd beast, to the least. Again, as the game is built from the tech that powered Fallout 4, the gameplay is largely the same as the last entry with one notible exception: VATS no longer freezes or slows down time. Instead the combat is 100% in real time and VATS, this time, helps you with focusing your attacks on an enemy while you stay on the move. You can still target different locations on a body and while at first this was a bit jarring to get used to after how it was implimented in 4, it does make sense from a gameplay perspective as Fallout 76 is an MMO-Style game and slowing down/freezing time wouldn't make much sense in that style of gameplay. Adding onto the combat, while the game doesn't really encourage it, you can still get into scuffles with other players, but this is where the first low point of the game arrives. In order to initiate a Combat Scenario with someone else, you first have to take a shot at them (which barely damages them) and then they have to shoot back in order to do said combat. If the other player doesn't shoot back, you won't be able to do combat with them and instead will just be very slowly taking their health down. Thankfully, if you do die in 76, the only thing you lose are all your junk you aqcuired so the fear of losing a shotgun you worked hard at getting is non-exsistant. Speaking of weapons, one huge selling point for 76 is the idea that you can launch a nuke at any place in the game, which will then spawn tougher enemies and better loot. To find and launch one of these powerhouses, you first need to find the necessiary key codes then find a launch silo containing the nuke to launch, but in our playtime we haven't found any of the key codes nor experienced a nuke launch for ourselves. The one other low point of the game is the C.A.M.P System or the Construction And Assembly Mobile Platform. While workbenches still exsist in the world, the CAMP is a mobile version of it and will, like the other workbenches, allow you to craft and mod weapopns, ammo, supplies, and armor along with building your own base of operations. The problem is, outside of a quest, you won't ever feel the need to just settle down and build your own house as, oddly, the game doesn't really feel suited for that style of gameplay. It's hard to honestly explain this reasoning, but it never really felt like there was a reason just find a small patch of land and build there or claim a building for yourself.Fallout 76 probably isn't the Fallout game one was expecting and, but it is still a fun entry into the series and while it is disappointing that many gamers denouncing this as a failure, we here at The Realm Of The Metal Wolf enjoyed our time playing it and honestly look forward to what the future holds for the game. FALLOUT 76 recives our score of 4 out of 5 and our recommendation of BUY.
Far Cry: New Dawn REVIEW COPY PROVIDED BY UBISOFT AND REVIEWED ON A XBOX ONE ORIGINAL
Last year, Ubisoft released the latest entry in the FarCry franchise with FarCry 5. Set in the fictional Hope County, the game told the story of a religous doomsday cult led by it's tyrannical leader, Joseph Seed. Now, less then a year later, Ubisoft follows it up with Far Cry: New Dawn, a stand-alone $40 expansion that while treading the same grounds as the previous entry, is still a fun and worth wild edition to the franchise. Following the events of the previous game in which Hope County was nuked, you take control of a new un-named character nicknamed CAPTAIN and are on your way to Hope County when your train is attacked by The Highwaymen led by sisters Mickey and Lou. Joining forces with the people of Prosperity, it's up to to put an end to the Highwaymen and the Sisters reign of terror in the post-apocaplyptic land of Hope County. While the story won't set the world afire, pun not intended, it serves its job of giving you a reason to be there and why the Highwaymen are to be feared, espically during one notable side quest. But while the game does a good job of setting up the sisters as a threat, it ends up being wasted potential and not as memorable as the previous games Joseph Seed as you don't really see much of them outside of a few cutscenes and whenever they call over the radio.
Being an expansion, the gameplay of New Dawn is very much the same as FarCry 5 though it does bring a few new elements that help break up the gameplay, the biggest three being the lite-RPG elements, expeditions, and the Take-Overs. Through out the game, you'll find enemies that are either Level 1-3 or Elite Enemies and in order to take them on, you can aquire weapons ranging, again, from Levels 1-3 along with Elite weapons though unlike other RPGs, you won't be searching the land for them but instead crafting them at weapon stations from various scrap and materials you'll come across. While the weapons, sadly, can not be customized and are instead stuck with the attachments they already have, there are a few standout guns, including the new Sawblade Launcher which can take out multiple enemies in a row. You can upgrade the weapons so they are more powerful, but this ends up being a sour note as, due to this system, you can't really expirment with weapons as much and are forced to use the higher tier weapons, which means your favorite may never be touched again, even if you upgrade it. And you will need the higher level weapons for the next new element: Take Overs. Like in the previous entries, you can find fortresses to take over for Ethenol, which is how you'll upgrade your homebase, but you can then scavenge it and re-take it for bigger payout, but with the catch that the enemies will be higher levels and these are fun to do as, along with Ethonal and crafting materials, retaking each fortress will net you pieces of an outfit you can then customize your avatar with. Then there's the Expeditions and these take place in locations outside of Hope County and task you with finding an item with a GPS beacon inside that will go off once collected and you'll have to survive until a helicopter comes to pick you up. Speaking of the crafting, the game does include a microtransaction system where you can buy the crafting material, but thanks to the payouts the Expeditions yield and how those can be replayed countless of times, the microtranscations are mainly there if you are feeling very lazy. Those elements aside, FarCry New Dawn really doesn't bring much new to the series as most of the features from the previous game return for this entry, like perk earning and the buddy system. Because this is a expansion, the graphics are largely the same from 5 but, even with that, the game is still a goregous looking game and a very well optimized game to boot, with barely any frame-rate dips or freezing occuring. We only encountered one bug near the end-game portion but it was easily fixed with a mission restart.
While Far Cry: New Dawn may not be a proper FarCry 6, it is still a fun entry and still has a lot of moments in it that will remind you of it's FarCry roots, including a few we dare not spoil. FarCry: New Dawn gets our rating of 4 out of 5 and our recommendation of BUY.