Is Fallout 76 worth playing in 2024?

James Lynch
An image with the Fallout 76 logo and an icon of a mutation

It’s no secret to anyone who followed the launch of Fallout 76 that the game had a very tricky start to life. That said, it has been a while since the game’s darkest days back in 2018, so is Fallout 76 worth playing after in 2024?

The release of the Fallout series on Prime has viewers clamoring for new ways to delve deeper into the world created by Bethesda and Interplay. The obvious choice is to try out some of the games and, amongst those choices, Fallout 76 is a bit of an outlier.

The first and most obvious difference is that it’s an MMO, allowing players to explore the wasteland together and eschewing the Lone Wanderer scenario so often found in the single-player games. Though that may immediately rule Fallout 76 out for some, there are still questions to answer for those considering giving it a go.

So, is it worth giving Fallout 76 a go in 2024? In short, yes, it is. There’s a little more to it than that, though.

Fallout 76 is a much more complete game now

A shopkeeper from the Fallout 76 Wastelanders update

Fallout 76 has always had the inordinately large map associated with MMO games, but it suffered at launch. The entire region felt bland, uninteresting and, most egregiously, empty, with the relatively verdant West Virginia wastes not home to even a single NPC.

That has since changed significantly after intense backlash forced Bethesda into a fairly rapid change of direction. Not everyone was happy to see the additional characters added to the game, but it’s difficult to deny that it feels a lot more like a Fallout game now.

These significant additions extend to the game’s content more generally, and a series of major updates has improved things significantly. Many of these updates occupy an interesting space between patches and full expansions, bringing new characters, weapons, skills, activities and storylines for the player to explore.

Some bring the Brotherhood of Steel to the fore, while others restore areas from the single-player games for players to explore, with Fallout 3’s The Pitt a particular highlight. The latter comes as part of one of the more intuitive ideas introduced since launch: Expeditions.

These task players with conquering areas outside of Appalachia, and the most recent, Expeditions: Atlantic City, has been a real highlight. They are fully PvE activities that greatly expand on the game’s existing canon, while providing a fun and impressively deep experience rolled out over multiple updates.

The mechanical & combat elements are also greatly improved

A junksite settlement in Fallout 76

At its core, combat in Fallout 76 is still very recognizable as part of the wider series. When the game first released, it felt like a clunky, chaotic and more confusing version of the standard system players got in Fallout 4.

Though they may not be the most glamorous updates, steady and consistent changes to the way combat works have brought the system largely up to scratch. Improvements to reticles, more control over combat animations and an overhaul of many of the moddable items have been particular highlights, if not enough to make engagements outstanding at this point.

The additional utilities and gameplay features on offer also work well, without being groundbreaking. Base building can be fun and rewarding, for those who are into that kind of thing, as well as practical in game, thanks to mechanical additions that allow players to produce goods and make in-game currency.

Fallout 76 still needs development upgrades in a lot of areas

Raider NPCs speak to the player character in Fallout 76

Bearing in mind the genuine fun that can be had in the game, there are still a lot of areas that need improvement. The first, and most obvious, is that it doesn’t really reach the heights of the single-player games in terms of story and immersion.

A lot of this comes as a consequence of the change in game type, where story elements are a small part of a wider tapestry. Unfortunately, Fallout fans arrive at the game expecting compelling narratives, and there are simply not enough of them at this juncture.

Many of the game’s activities are fun to participate in, but again, there doesn’t feel like there’s enough there. When looking at some of the most established MMOs in the world, players have everything from immense storylines to timed activities to rare events and everything in between.

Fallout 76 has been unable to achieve a landscape as broad as those in its lifespan, and, for those who play multiple games across the genre, it is very noticeable. The game can feel stuck in a limbo of sorts, stuck somewhere between other genre entries and the single-player series that spawned its world.

The other elephant in the room is microtransactions. The game is notorious for locking a ton of items behind a real-world currency paywall, and little has changed in that respect. There is not a lot that can’t be achieved by grinding in-game but the whole practice still leaves a bad taste overall.

Fallout 76: To buy or not to buy?

Players face a mutated creature in Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is very far from a perfect game, but there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had across the wastes. Is it the quintessential Fallout experience? Absolutely not, but it does bring some things to the party that the single-player games cannot deliver.

The most obvious is the ability to play with friends. In spite of its issues, heading out and conquering one of the game’s storylines with a pal is great fun. Equally, ruining someone else’s day by killing them and stealing their stuff will remain rewarding, regardless of the game it takes place in.

If you can forgive the rough edges and occasionally predatory marketplace practices, there is plenty to get into here.

About The Author

James is a Gaming Writer who specializes in Destiny 2, WoW, Assassin's Creed, Strategies, RPGs and Yu-Gi-Oh! When he isn't writing, he can usually be found supporting Brentford F.C.