Fallout 76 completes gaming’s most unlikely comeback as TV show reveals hidden gem everyone purposely ignored

Fallout 76 completes gaming’s most unlikely comeback as TV show reveals hidden gem everyone purposely ignored

Fallout 76 was panned by critics and players when it initially came out. However, after years of updates and the TV show exposing people to the series, Fallout 76’s incredibly late and unlikely comeback arc has finally begun.

Upon release, Fallout 76 was viewed by many as a low point in the series. Fallout 4 had its fair share of issues, sure, but 76’s lack of NPCs on launch, poor performance, dozens upon dozens of bugs, and lackluster story made this game a disappointment for fans of the series.

However, the devs have stuck with it in the years since its release, and the loyal fans who fell in love with post-apocalyptic Appalachia have kept playing through the issues. Now, after 18 themed updates that all added a ton of things to do and places to go, Fallout 76 is much closer to the game we were promised years ago.

With the game breaking its all-time player record on Steam and people hopping back in to play almost six years after launch, Fallout 76 has gone from the series’ laughing stock to one of its most feature-complete, content-rich entries.

Fallout TV show brings series to a whole new audience

It’s not like anything changed with Fallout 76 outside of its normal content cadence to attract some sort of big audience. First, we have to talk about what the TV series has done.

In a lot of ways, it feels like people were rooting for the Fallout series to fail. Early trailers had people cautiously optimistic, but nailing the dark humor and zany feel of the art deco-inspired post-apocalypse is no small task. However, the Fallout TV series pulled it off.

Fallout 76 completes gaming’s most unlikely comeback as TV show reveals hidden gem everyone purposely ignored

Between charming characters, strong set design, a good sense of humor, and a perfect understanding of when to discard that humor and get serious, it’s not hard to see why Fallout’s first venture into the realm of TV is so highly rated by longtime fans of the series and newcomers alike.

However, while the series has a solid library of games to play, all of them are getting into their years at this point. Fallout 1 and 2 are good games but also very difficult for the modern gamer to get into. There’s a good shot many of the people who have enjoyed this show weren’t even alive when they originally came out, and it’s built on design principles that have long since evolved within the medium.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas are well-respected and playable on current-gen hardware for those on console, but they were also released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Playing them nowadays makes it hard to ignore their glaring flaws and dated mechanics. Fallout 4 aside, there isn’t much to enjoy within the universe unless you want to reach into games that came out over a decade ago.

Outside of Fallout 76, that is.

Considering the number of deep, deep sales this game has had over the course of its life cycle, finding a cheap PC key is easy work. With the low price of entry and a wealth of content, people have decided to give 76 another chance even if they didn’t already own it.

Now, just days after the TV show’s release, Fallout 76 is breaking player count records. At the time of writing, the game has achieved a new peak of over 72k players, a massive increase over the max of around 12k players the month before.

Fallout 76’s loyal players proved us wrong

When Fallout 76 came out, it didn’t have much in the way of a main story, no NPCs, constantly crashed, and suffered from a lack of content outside of aimlessly exploring the wasteland and finding stories scattered between data terminals.

Now, a ton of new enemies, quests, storylines, locations, game mechanics, mission types, weapons, power armors, base-building mechanics, and expeditions have been added. Fallout 76 has significantly more content than it did when it launched, and there’s now an actual reason to stick with the game.

The Steam charts don’t lie here; Fallout 76 has broken its previous player count record, and people are sticking around. This isn’t a one-off deal; people are getting into Fallout 76 for the first time and sticking around for the ride.

Fallout 76 completes gaming’s most unlikely comeback as TV show reveals hidden gem everyone purposely ignored

Does the game still look incredibly dated? Yeah… The graphics weren’t great when it came out, and they’ve aged poorly. The gunplay could be better, too. VATs are a bit strange considering the game’s online nature and the fact you can’t pause combat. You can nitpick a lot with Fallout 76, and it’s a deeply flawed game in many ways.

However, much of what plagued the game at launch has since been fixed. Many of those who trash-talked the game (myself included) based their opinion of the game on a version of Fallout 76 that, to be frank, doesn’t exist anymore.

Staunch defenders of the game like New Blood CEO Dave Oshry have been shilling for this game for years, and, as much as I hate to admit it, they may have been right all along.

While the criticism that Fallout 76 should have been a good, feature-complete game at launch is a valid one, holding that against the game it is today is a great way to deprive yourself of a damn good time.

Fallout 76 being described as a hidden gem is a bit strange considering how popular the series is, but it’s also accurate. The game’s unlikely rise is surprising not because we didn’t know about it, but because its launch was so tragically bad that everyone who experienced it purposely pushed the game under the rug. According to the game’s developers in an exclusive interview with Dexerto, those who still believed Fallout 76 could be great are a large part of why it’s still alive today.

The hype behind the TV show is the shot in the arm this game needed to get more eyes on what the devs have been working on for the better part of a decade. Now, people get to experience the game Fallout 76 was meant to be.

Fallout 76 completes gaming’s most unlikely comeback as TV show reveals hidden gem everyone purposely ignored

When everything’s working right, and you experience a deeply atmospheric journey through abandoned towns and mutant-infested caves, or when you complete an expedition and receive some sweet legendary loot, it’s easy to see the hallmarks of what makes Fallout special in this game.

It’s pretty unlikely we’ll see a new Fallout game before 2030 rolls around, considering how long it takes Bethesda to develop games. Your options are limited if you want a playable look into the universe. That said, don’t be deterred by the overwhelmingly negative reviews from Fallout 76’s launch; against all odds, the game is actually worth playing now. I just hope the lesson Bethesda takes from this isn’t that we need a Redfall TV show.

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