Brooke Nicholson | Arts & Entertainment Editor
The highly anticipated prequel to Bethesda's immensely successful "Fallout" franchise, "Fallout 76," officially launches today on all platforms.
After three weeks and six days of the B.E.T.A. (Break-It Early Test Application), the full game is officially ready for players to wreck havoc in what is now America 25 years after being ravaged by nuclear bombs. It is the players' job to leave the safety of Vault 76 and rebuild America from the ground up with other respective vault dwellers.
Having the privilege of being one of the few players to experience "Fallout 76" early through the B.E.T.A. tests, here's some things to know before entering the Wasteland full time.
1. One of the first things to notice once you've stepped out of the vault is the lack of human NPC's within the game. Every human the player comes into contact with is a real human playing somewhere else in the world, and real human beings mean unpredictability, lack of story and weird gamertags always floating around on the screen. Other players will exit the vault the same time as you, they will do the same quests at the same time as you, and they will sometimes try to kill you. Players have begun to miss having an NPC to talk to instead of reading a holotape or a note all the time.
2. The game is absolutely gorgeous. Everything from the texture of flowers to the dramatic lighting, the game is obviously much prettier than its counterparts. There are four seasons and all kinds of weather happening in various parts of the game. Make sure to keep your Pip-boy light on at almost all times, because when it begins to get dark outside, it gets dark.
3. Holotapes, holotapes, holotapes. These things are everywhere, and are basically required to listen to when trying to complete any kind of quest, side mission, etc. Players have grown a slow hatred towards holotapes and the amount of reading that's mandatory before doing anything in the game.
4. Weapons can get broken during fights, and you cannot use them until you've fixed them. You almost begin to feel like you were spoiled in "Fallout 4," because when you cannot use any of your broken weapons while you're dying in a fight with a Wendigo, you'll hate yourself for ever thinking "Fallout 4" was hard.
5. You must pay a certain amount of caps if you want to fast travel anywhere on the map. Just when players begin to gather a healthy heap of caps, the game takes some of it away if you indulge in any sort of convenience to make the game easier.
6. The story might be a little hard to grasp at first. Being a huge single-player RPG fan, this is something I struggled with the most. While "Fallout 4's" story was immersive and plot-twisting, "76" lacks in. If you play without friends, the game is constantly reminding you of how much easier it would be to tackle getting shot at or completing a quest as a team.
7. Even without NPC's, there are four factions present within the game. You will find dead bodies of soldiers from the Brotherhood of Steel, the infamous Enclave from previous "Fallout" games, and more. Expect to see trinkets left behind by people from these factions or read notes about those who have wandered through West Virginia.
8. Once you turn the Appalachia Radio station off, there is no ambient music to fill the silence, and it is hard to hear your friends talking to you with it on. This was something I wasn't a fan of - the instrumental music of "Fallout 4" really set the mood, immersing the player within specific sections of the game. I didn't necessarily feel that way when I played "76" alone, and wished I'd had the ambiance to help capture the real horrors present at the time.
9. Bethesda has already teased what they intend to include in the game post launch. Bethesda, in an official post on the game developers social medias, included a letter to fans stating what to expect out of the game in the future. Bethesda mentioned the element of PVP factions, and other vaults will eventually be added.
10. Just because Bethesda held a B.E.T.A. test for the game, doesn't mean the whole thing is a flawless, untouchable file that will never be worked on again. This is a Bethesda game, continue to expect a heaping amount of glitches, bugs and overall game crashes. Expect a lot of patches and updates a few weeks prior to the games release, and keep coming back to find out whats changed.
Will all that stop you from conquering what's beyond the vault?
"Fallout 76" is now available on the Xbox One, PS4 and Bethesda Launcher.