For a studio with the legacy and reach of Bethesda, there'll never be a way to please all the fans of a given series. Still, it was a near-universal consensus that Fallout 76 launched in a state that could generously be called "rough." Now that the long-awaited Wastelanders update is out, the tide appears to have turned for 76—and on Steam, where it just launched, it has already recovered from a day one review bombing.
Now Fallout 76 is sitting at a "Mostly Positive" rating, having amassed over 1,100 reviews on Steam since it launched there three days ago with the release of the Wastelanders update. For a time right after its release on Tuesday, the listing was flooded with poor reviews, immediately tanking it to a "Mostly Negative" average. The response to Wastelanders amongst committed players, however, was largely positive. So, fans began to rally to its defense, giving it high praise like comparing it to No Man's Sky's trajectory or calling it "Fallout 76: A Realm Reborn."
Our Reviews Editor Mike Williams has gone back to Fallout 76 with the Wastelanders update, and while he feels it's "largely successful" when it comes to grafting NPCs onto 76's previously barren Appalachia, it's not a revelatory win.
"It's Fallout as you remember it," Mike writes. "Oddly wooden NPCs-Bethesda's presentation has improved relatively little since Fallout 4-give you the lay of the land and quests that'll take you to new points of interest."
For folks who found something to love in 76's emptier, more self-directed gameplay prior to the Wastelanders update, it looks like many have found something much closer to what they wanted out of the game. That's translated into positive reviews today, but the real test will be to see if those players stick with it from here on out and how Bethesda expands upon Wastelanders.
Maybe nuke-resistant NPCs who don't react to your ransacking their stuff will be the norm, but who knows? Fallout's already a pretty out-there universe, and there's nothing saying Bethesda can't lean into the artifice to make 76 feel like something new and enticingly strange.