Wastelanders: Fallout 76's second youth!

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Marie-Ange Demory
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In the medium of current entertainment, to which - slowly - we have been getting used to it with some difficulty over the last few years, a sort of tacit rules have formed which, in some way, must be followed.

In particular with regard to the playful sphere, the step between success and failure has become frighteningly short, also due to a self-proclamation to videogame experts and critics of the sector not exactly always in focus by too many people, a "new" way of approaching the new that is advancing which, in fact, has not helped and is not helping to the whole industry. A product, whether good, mediocre or poor, therefore passes - inevitably - under the press of perhaps too many different hands, which in most cases manage to alter the judgment of the community or, in any case, hit that unenviable target of loading expectations (future, present or missing) even what would actually have played a fundamentally minor role in the ecosystem to which they belong. .

In any case, it is clear how much all this is linked to the media importance of the brand - or brands - specifically, whose different resonance has always played a predominant role in communication and automatically in the increasingly long-lived and widespread practice of "let us speak". And, in all honesty, if there is a brand capable of making people talk about it, it is certainly Fallout which, by analyzing the last years of this generation of consoles, has certainly not been able to hoard some praise.

The motivation is very easy to identify and is enclosed not only in the half misstep made with Fallout 4 (but here we go further back over the years) but also and above all with what, at least until today, is considered one of the holes in the water deeper than Bethesda: Fallout 76.

The undersigned, indeed, at the time, spent in Appalachia a long time, perhaps too long, somehow convinced that there was something good in the middle of a sea of ​​nothing, and how, remaining however with this feeling, which quickly became only a shining hope, which gradually began to fade more and more, leading to a practically definitive abandonment of production.

The latent desire to return to the contaminated streets of the new location, the perfect setting - but never really exploited properly - of a new one who advances unable to fully assert himself and above all to convince his neighbor, has not died out completely and, indeed, a small flame, one of those you do not see and do not hear, has been able to withstand the elements, remaining miraculously lit, net of everything.

Because, let's face it, Fallout 76, while proving even in the darkest times to have much more to say than it seemed, did not make it, quickly becoming one of the worst exponents of a generation that of missteps - of different sizes - he's seen quite a few.

For this reason, thearrival of Wastelanders, immediately aroused an unstoppable desire to return to give the game a chance, aware, however, that a possible (new) misstep would have definitively destroyed an ambitious project but never really able to live up to expectations. wastelanders, for the uninitiated, it is a sort of love oath of Bethesda towards her creature and above all towards the fans, who were too disappointed by a playful formula, experimented precisely with the non-canonical chapter, far too far away from the sacred dogmas of a series that over the years has been able to stand up strongly as a bulwark of Western-style role-playing games.

With Wastelanders, in fact, Bethesda basically takes a gigantic step backwards on its intentions, embracing, or rather re-embracing, a playful style that is much more familiar both for itself and and above all for the fans (but also for the insiders, not necessarily two separate things, of course) and he did it starting from the base, that is, practically rewriting the structure and writing of the game in order to introduce what everyone was clamoring for: the NPC.

Yes, just them, because let's face it, however fascinating and innovative it might seem at first, the total lack of non-player characters with whom to relate, in a similar game, has been able to make itself felt in a continuous and annoying way, a bit like the dripping of water from a badly tightened tap, forcing even the most fierce (in this case, “deaf”) of the supporters through so many metaphorical sleepless nights.

It is therefore no mystery if the rebirth of the game passes right from here, from the almost total abandonment of a bold but never truly appreciated and above all focused formula to the more classic and familiar one, and let me tell you right away: Bethesda, with Wastelanders , from this point of view he made a nice full center, trying to meet - in our view and succeeding - both the needs of veterans and those of newcomers.

In order to better judge the above, we both stepped into the shoes of newcomers to Appalachia (creating a new character and, therefore, reliving the whole story from the beginning) or continuing a game that has already started, the one we talked about at the beginning, which boasts hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Just starting from scratch, we realized in an even more truthful way how much the game has changed, how much it has benefited from a total - or almost - total review of what is the general infrastructure, starting from the most relevant element, namely the construction of a storyline based precisely on the lexical exchange with people in flesh and blood. The opening words immediately overwhelmed us for the quality with which Bethesda was able to introduce intriguing, well-made missions and above all non-playing characters, who immediately reminded us why we felt so much the lack of a similar concept of a video game, independently the gender they belong to.

Wandering around Appalachia on behalf of Duchess in search of a hidden treasure (and above all whose real existence is unknown), clashing with a faction of bloody bandits with whom it is also possible to collaborate and ally, has quickly brought us back in time, but it has also made us rise spontaneous in our mind a very specific question: why not do all this from the beginning?

It goes without saying that the answer has a bittersweet taste, since the positive sensations arising from what, on balance, is a simple return to origins and not a revolution have been able to give production a distinctly different specific weight, and above all more in line. with the expectations of the eve. This can be breathed deeply (although the moment is not the best, remember the mask) both, as we said earlier, starting from scratch and dusting off our old inhabitant in exodus from Vault, to which Bethesda has been able to dedicate a full-bodied and curated questline, worthy of the good times.

The line of missions in question, with a good longevity and above all supported by a writing finally up to the fame of the series, has the merit of bringing to the screen moments of pure enjoyment never ending in themselves, but rather embellished with a strong sense of satisfaction due in large part to the way in which they connect both to the character we created and to the real “endgame”, one of the other pain points of the production.

The new inhabitants of Appalachia, in fact, with which we will come into contact thanks to the storyline coined especially for Wastelanders, they will become an integral part of our daily life in the contaminated area, with daily missions and activities capable, in some way, of keeping glued to the screen even once we reach the titles tail. But not only that: based on our answers and our peculiarities, everything can take on different shapes and dimensions, with lines of dialogue that are generated in an always different way based on the answers, with obvious consequences on everything that follows also in terms of endgame and overall progression. It is in this respect that Wastelanders manages to win across the boarda, that is, managing to give back to Fallout 76 the media power that it has received up to that moment, but for quite other reasons.

Are we, therefore, facing a total change? The answer, this time, is negative, albeit not entirely. The dogmas of the general infrastructure of the game, those game traits survival and violently focused on crafting and on the obsessive research of materials and various objects, are not put aside with the arrival of Wastelanders but, on the contrary, they also pour into the ocean of novelties with which Bethesda has managed to raise, even if not totally, a production frighteningly launched towards an abyss as deep as it is unexpected.

That remains therefore slow and cumbersome gunplay, that annoying tendency to baste too often remains fetch quest all too flashy and useful only in numerical terms, and doubts also remain about how the much-desired balance will be maintained once the campaign is completed.

Thankfully though, the good news isn't over yet. In fact, Bethesda has not "limited" itself to retouching the general structure of the game, but has also heavily handled the technical and graphic sector of the game, plagued in the past by a multitude of problems of different nature. While remaining anchored to a heavily inadequate graphics engine with current times, the remodeled Appalachia for Wastelanders is decidedly more beautiful, "cleaner" and with fewer problems in terms of general stabilityand, also managing to give the game a second life in this respect.

The Italian dubbing of the new NPCs is also very good: the performance of the chosen actors is certainly very pleasant and in focus but it fails to escape the harsh law of balance that seems to accompany the production since its inception. The audio mixing is in fact anything but idyllic and in some passages the vocal tracks are completely unlistenable. Nothing serious, of course, and above all nothing that could somehow compromise the half miracle performed by Bethesda, capable, as a good necromancer, of resurrecting something dead, or almost. But be warned: the road is still long and in order to finally get out of the tunnel Fallout 76 still needs a lot of light.


I tried the massive Wastelanders expansion on Xbox One X, picking up both my old game and creating a new character to replay the early stages with the new game update.

  • Fifteen hours or so to complete the new questline
  • Endgame even richer than in the past, capable of enormously increasing the longevity of the title
  • The return to the "origins" of the series gives the game a more linear and well-known progression but no less interesting, far from it.
Collectibles and Extras
  • New trophies, objectives and achievements related to the innovations introduced
Game Card
  • Game Name: Fallout 76
  • Release date: November 14, 2018
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Dubbing language:
  • Texts language:

Fortunately, however, the path taken seems to be the right one and Wastelanders could only be the first step towards an unexpected ascent.

Review by Salvatore Cardone

Although still scourged by a graphics engine not in step with the times, the restyling work on the technical front, at least on One X, makes itself felt.


As usual, the sound sector is very good, halfway between memorable music and an expressive and functional dubbing (also in Italian). Too bad for some blunders on the mixing front, but nothing sensational.


The NPCs and the new questlines give a distinctly different playful depth to the production, but still too tied to questionable mechanics and slow and plastered gameplay (especially gunplay). The premises are there, in short, but we'll talk about it later!

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