Where do I even begin?
Finally, I had the opportunity to try out the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A., and successfully connected to the world of post-apocalyptic West Virginia yesterday, during the November 11th extended B.E.T.A. session.
I am still in awe.
This game, in a word, is gorgeous. The scenery, the lighting, the aesthetics - everything that made Fallout 4 great has been amplified up to 11.
The character customization is improved, but not so much so that it becomes so overwhelming that people can't figure out how they want their character to look. I was pleased to note that a hair-style available to me in Fallout 4 only with the help of mods (due to it being assigned to the male character generator only) was now available.
This is my new Fallout 76 Vault Dweller, Delilah:
While I had only a limited amount of time available to play during this session, I managed to make it out of Vault 76 (and stopped by the Overseer's terminal on the way and I like how the terminal states that the air circulation system was going to shut down, making it potentially lethal to live inside the vault).
Once outside, I decided to make my way west to Point Pleasant to see what I could see in regards to the Mothman. I managed to make it to the town, fend off various robots, the Scorched (some sort of infected feral ghouls with enough autonomy to operate firearms effectively...a scary combination), find some notes, and the audio tape The Mothman Cometh. I found out after the fact that there may be a suit of power armor in town, but it wasn't present at the power armor station I discovered so perhaps someone else found it first.
Setting up a C.A.M.P. this early into the game was an unsatisfying experience due to the number of buildable items locked out due to not having the correct junk or engineering documents needed, and to be honest I'm not sure it's even useful to do except to establish a free fast travel point and a container to store your excess loot so you can go explore some more. Loot and caps are also rare at this early stage, but only having reached level four before the servers shut down for the night is barely scratching the surface of what this game is all about.
Compared to Fallout 4 there is some general lag in movement and access of containers (it's a bit disconcerting to see a spinning wait indicator when checking a trash can or mailbox for loot), and combat doesn't feel quite as smooth but it may be because I tended to heavily rely on VATS in previous versions of Fallout, and the revised VATS takes a little getting used to. I found that aiming at this level tended to be more reliable than using VATS, especially if sneaking and attacking distant enemies while hidden.
I like the fact that weapons and armor have durability and can be repaired, scrapped and even crafted from at the appropriate repair benches. Before I was done I repaired the few pieces of leather armor I had found, and then crafted the pieces I was missing to have a full set.
Overall I found the Fallout 76 experience to be a significant improvement over Fallout 4, which is really saying something. I honestly can't wait until the next time I have a chance to play. If you were holding off on getting this game because you weren't sure whether it would be good, I can assure you, it is good. You will like it, even with multiplayer.