Fallout 76 is getting review bombed already, despite only being released today. Fallout 76's servers went online early, however, so some players have been able to jump online and experience the newest Bethesda-made wasteland ahead of schedule.
Fallout 76 is the first entry in Bethesda's take on the IP that features online multiplayer and a story that isn't at least partially driven by a main solo campaign. Much has been made of the developer's decision to dive headfirst into online content without even having had multiplayer modes for the previous Fallout titles, but in previews the game appeared to be succeeding at engaging players nonetheless. Fallout 76 features other major changes to the franchise as well, including a lack of NPCs populating the post-apocalyptic world, which makes for a jarring experience for those accustomed to the high level of interactivity that typically comes with a Bethesda title.
Fallout 76 is struggling out of the gate, however, at least when it comes to its Metacritic and Steam scores. Players are tearing the game apart and while some of that might just be because other people got their hands on the title ahead of those who ordered physical copies, there are a whole host of other issues being brought up in these responses as well. The comments criticizing the game range from people complaining about the presence of a number of game-breaking bugs or glitches, the relatively sparse world layout that feels somewhat empty, and the aforementioned lack of NPCs, which might hurt player engagement with the narrative Bethesda has presented in Fallout 76.
Fallout 76 has already accumulated over 400 negative reviews on Metacritic, and while some of them are fair criticism, it does seem like fans are actively trying to hate the game at launch rather than giving it much of a chance. There was a lot of discontent in the Fallout fan community after Bethesda revealed the next installment in the series wasn't another single player journey, and it looks like that negativity has carried over into the game's launch.
If there's a silver lining, it's that not all the early user responses have been bad. Although around 150 of the approximately 600 reviews are positive, that's a 25 percent average in what is clearly a very hostile environment. It's hard to tell how much a game's user score on Metacritic is influenced by its quality and how much is being weighed down by trolls, so until critics begin dishing on the game, fans should probably take Fallout 76's Metacritic store with a grain of salt.