A Battle of Mediocrities
The past week or so, we were faced with some really good games. Like Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. And probably Warriors Orochi 4, I guess. But you know what wasn’t great? Fallout 76 and Battlefield V, two big ticket games. Both were set to make a splash in the crazy release season that is November. But neither could achieve what the wanted. Fallout 76 was vastly undercut by it’s monotony and lack of direction. Battlefield V was just the same Battlefield as always with a new coat of paint. BFV also had it’s critics for its inaccurate portrayal of WW2 by people on the internet, but that’s the internet. Everybody hates everything on the internet. Besides that, both games got major BETA playtests from regular users. This is honestly a good step, allowing the actual PLAYERS some advanced look at the game instead of some journalist who intends to write a giant think piece. Both of these games have a huge focus on multiplayer. Fallout 76 is the first major multiplayer game for Bethesda and Battlefield V is a multiplayer game with a campaign tacked on. Only their campaign was even shorter AND less interesting.
Either way, we haven’t finished enough of either to give you a consensus. But… if you are absolutely dying to play an online shooter game, we have something interesting for you. We are going to compare the games using our review system. But instead of the score, we are going to say which game did it better! Let’s start, shall we?
Battlefield V is flat out gorgeous, with heavily detailed maps and great lighting that really set the mood for a lot of maps. There are some glitches but it works for the most part. The smoke grenades set up some serious smoke particle FX. And the detail of the character faces is surprisingly detailed for a game that doesn’t have too much focus on what the player looks like. Fallout 76 looks… exactly like it did several years ago. Fallout 3 and New Vegas never looked that great. Fallout 4 didn’t look that great. Fallout 76? It’s markedly improved, sure. But does it look great? No way, it looks as trashy as its level design and full of all sorts of ugly textures. Several of the ugly textures have taken more than 20 seconds to pop in. Yikes.
Victor: Battlefield V
Battlefield V is one of the many, many, many, many iterations of World War II presented in game form. Somehow, it managed to make history even more boring, despite trying to spice things up with some creative historical fiction. What you get here is a mere 3 stories, as opposed to 5 in the previous entry. It’s really hard to feel anything for these characters because you spend such a small amount of time with them. It ends up being boring. Fallout 76 is boredom incarnate. Using the gaming worlds least interesting way of telling stories, any thing plot related in the game is played out in VERY LENGTHY audio logs. They can’t be paused or fast forwarded. If you interact with your pip-boy and click the wrong thing, the tape will stop and you have to start it over. Other than that, you only other window into the events of the game are logs written on terminal screens. In old Fallout games, this was done for lore. In 76, they are main story points. Super lame. All the same, when it comes down to brass tacks, it would seems that Fallout 76 still has a better overall story. Having a ton of lore is better than a bog-standard WW2 plot.
Victor: Fallout 76
Battlefield V has all the standard sounds you’re used to hearing. The audio was on autopilot in this regard. Every single gun sounds like it did in every other game. You will not in any way be inspired by the sound design of the weapons, nor will you be interested in the orchestral OST. It’s there because it’s supposed to be there, not because it wants to do something engaging. Fallout 76 surprisingly has a decent OST going for it. The ambient music that plays while you’re wandering the world is noticeably better then previous versions. It’s actually notable and really adds to the mood of the game being very lonely and desolate. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s always the old sock-hop records to keep things going. The fantasy weapons also have wonderful unique sounds.
Victor: Fallout 76
In Fallout 76, you are bombarded with nonstop activity. The game is always online, so that means no pause menu. If you want to look at the map, it’s realtime. If you need to sort your junk on your Pip-Boy, that is also real time. There is nowhere safe to be when you play this game. You absolutely will be bombarded by enemies at any and all opportunities, with very little time to rest and get a bearing on things. In Battlefield V, the campaign is atrocious. But the multi-player is on point. It weird, the game is so much better in multi than single. It makes you wish the they skipped the campaign, instead of Black Ops. Anyway, the game is direct and lets you “play it your way”, which is very important. Divided into four classes, you can spawn is as a specialist in Assault, Medic, Recon, and Support. Don’t let the names fool you, all of them are combat roles. It’s what you do with them that matters. Either way, BFV manages to be a great shooter while Fallout 76 stays wonky as ever.
Victor: Battlefield V
To put it simply, there’s an easy dichotomy here. Fallout 76 has a “make your own fun” approach to game design. If you want to have any fun, you want to team up and do fun stuff together with your friends. Otherwise it’s a drag. Battlefield is good at grouping you with interesting colleagues that you help out during the many combat modes. Even if you aren’t on voice chat, the game finds a way to make you feel connected with your squad. It’s admirable that it manages to gel so well with random strangers. Meeting random strangers in Fallout 76 are few and far between. They are also as underwhelming as ever.
Victor: Battlefield V
It is clear that the winner is Battlefield V with a victory spread of 3-2. We haven’t heard too much of the game in the blogosphere of gaming. But this may be because the game just… is fine. It’s not spectacular. It’s just fine. Despite early complaints, the bottom line is that BFV is a better experience than Fallout 76. If you need a brand new game to satisfy your itch for fast paced, online, multiplayer shooter action, you could do worse than picking up the latest Battlefield. Me? I got so bored during the campaign that I jumped into multi. I never do that. Not until this iteration. How surprising!