By trying to please everyone, Fallout 76 manages to please no-one
Fans deserved so much better.
We could spend this entire article listing what Fallout 76 has very publicly been flogged for getting so incredibly wrong.
The huge, vast, mostly empty world to play in.
The lack of human NPCs, denting the tradition of Fallout's branching paths narrative from the likes of Fallout 3 or New Vegas.
Having to play the majority of the "single player" game through reading letters or listening to voice recordings left behind by characters who have been dead for years.
The dodgy shooting mechanics.
The endless game-breaking bugs and glitches.
The fact that game just isn't very fun to play.
But no, instead we want to discuss how Fallout 76 represents the ideology of chasing what is popular, and how fads in gaming should never be chased, but created.
To be fair, the creators of Fallout 76 do deserve some praise for attempting to do something different to what was expected of them.
Fallouts 3, New Vegas, and 4 were all copies of each other, with slowly improving graphics, so to attempt to go the open-world crafting route (kind of like Minecraft with rocket launchers) was an adventurous punt, at the very least.
However, they tried to smush this kind of take-your-time-to-do-your-own-thing-at-your-own-pace kind of game up against a regular Fallout game, which usually involved panicked running away from things that are trying to eat your face.
The friction between these two incompatible styles of game leaves us with a Fallout without a good plot, and a crafter with lots of weird Fallout stuff in it.
By attempting to do lots of things, Fallout 76 manages to do none of them particularly well.
Perhaps by failing this badly, developers Bethesda will take stock of what they usually do really well, and simply improve upon that instead.
Inexplicably, makers of games have being edging some big name titles - Black Ops 4 and Star Wars Battlefield and the first Titanfall come to mind immediately - away from single-player gaming entirely.
Multi-player will always be popular, it is why Fortnite and Overwatch and PUGB are as big as they are, but that shouldn't be enough to warrant ditching single-player entirely. If you want to make a great multi-player game, then absolutely do that. But don't sacrifice what was once an amazing single-player game at its alter in order to achieve those goals.
Clips via Bethesda Softworks