Fallout 76 is now Bethesda Softworks' worst-reviewed game in 12 years. To say that Fallout 76 is a controversial game is a bit of an understatement. Rather than continue with a traditional story-based, single-player campaign that the Fallout franchise is known for having and Bethesda Game Studios is known for making, Fallout 76 takes the series in a new direction and unveils a new world (one set in West Virginia) that is based strictly upon online multiplayer play.
Coming off Fallout 4, there was a lot of hype surrounding Fallout 76's initial announcement earlier this year. Unfortunately, many people, though not all, started to feel that excitement drain as the game neared its release date in November. From the start, the idea of an online Fallout game didn't take with many fans, and then the less-than-mediocre Fallout 76 B.E.T.A. test made players aware of the game's fundamental issues that weren't necessarily server related. Even though some things were fixed by the time Fallout 76 hit store shelves, it's still a broken game.
Fallout 76 reviews are now online, and judging by its Metacritic score of 49/50, it's currently Bethesda Softworks' worst-rated game in 12 years. As a publisher, Bethesda's worst-rated game overall is still 2009's Rogue Warrior for the PlayStation 3, which has a Metacritic score of just 27. However, the PC version of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow (2006), is currently the game that ranks right below Fallout 76, with a Metacritic score of 49. So, it was tied with the PS4 version of Fallout 76 up until yesterday. Now, Fallout 76's score has been bumped up to 50.
What's interesting is that the Metacritic score bonus controversy that surrounded Fallout: New Vegas' release - in which Bethesda Softworks didn't award Obsidian Entertainment developers bonuses because Fallout: New Vegas received a Metacritic score of 84 instead of 85 - may once again be a topic of concern considering that Fallout 76, a game developed internally at Bethesda instead of being outsourced to a third-party studio, received the worst rating in the franchise's history, not to mention one of the worst in the studio's history as well.
Fallout 76's fundamental concept of being an online multiplayer game, giving players the options of traversing the apocalyptic open world with their friends and surviving together is a terrific idea in this day-and-age, but it appears the studio's execution was off. So far, several reviewers consider Fallout 76 to be an unfinished game, and it's difficult to argue with that notion. However, that doesn't mean there aren't redeemable aspects of the game. Hopefully, Bethesda takes these reviews (as well as fan reactions) into account when determining the next step in the Fallout franchise, whatever and whenever that may be.