If you haven’t heard — The ‘Wastelanders’ update for Fallout 76 is out. It is the last of the major releases announced on the 2019 roadmap, slated for a Fall 2019 launch it has come to us a little late. But honestly if I hadn’t just gone to look at the roadmap, I never would have known. Fallout 76 isn’t exactly a title I’ve held much active interest in after coming away from it with a resounding ‘meh’.

I was pleasantly surprised by Bethesda’s move to provide a free copy of the game on Steam for anyone who had previously purchased Fallout 76 and linked their Bethesda.net account to their Steam account. And worth noting too: It isn’t too late to do this. If you have a copy but never linked your accounts, or would like to buy a copy and end up with a Bethesda launcher version; if you link your accounts before April 28th you will get a Steam edition as well.

But as gratifying as that was — and no doubt it certainly warmed my affection for Bethesda a little again — I still hadn’t the slightest intention of going back to check it out again just yet.

Standing outside Vault 76, as a freshly emerged character.

Syp posted about his experiences revisiting the wasteland and it all sounded… Well; surprisingly positive. More so than I think we had any right to expect given the train wreck the title has seemingly been from launch until, well, now it would seem.

I still didn’t think I was going to head back though. I even commented as much, expecting I’d want to hear more of Syp’s adventure’s first.

But today I went through one of those near manic patches of, ‘Must play all the things!’ The polar opposite of not thinking anything appealing to play. Everything sounded like a good idea. Heck, I even downloaded WoW Classic again. I know. That didn’t last long though. I started thinking about the ride ahead and just didn’t see any light at the end of that tunnel so jumped out again. With the XP buff in place though, and the reputation bonus on the way? Well… I might finish up the Battle for Azeroth Pathfinder achievements to unlock flight.

Anywho. It was after the falling out with WoW Classic that I decided to download Fallout 76 and take a look at it again. Syp had mentioned a giant robot who thinks it is a cow now being a thing. It had stuck in my mind so clearly, this was something I had to see for myself.

I had no idea where it was, but thankfully this didn’t prove to be much of a barrier. I’d deleted my old character (it was only level 6 or 7 or so anywho) and started fresh and the main storyline took me to it almost right away.

Syp had already warned us, looking back in retrospect, but I will admit that I was disappointed at how little acknowledgement this giant robot-who-thinks-itself-a-cow actually gets. Which is to say: None. The owner of the establishment has no dialog option for it. As if it was just… normal to have one around. The robot itself only moo’s — albeit occasionally comfortingly — or states that it is exhaling breath noisily through its nostrils.

I imagine it is there as protection for the other Brahmin (Mutated cows of the Fallout universe; generally with two heads). I wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing this avenue of scientific investigation. I’m relatively certain it wouldn’t have ended well for me.

Other than the disappointment of the unanswered robot cow mystery… Yeah. I had fun. I ended up spending a fairly solid 2 hours with the game and could see it getting some more attention in the future.

The NPCs add a much needed breath of life to the game. Sure; the dialog options are relatively simple — you can tell this wasn’t designed for that strong singleplayer RPG experience right from the ground up, and possibly with enough time this might become an issue. But for the time being I’m just grateful they’re there. Oh; and simple dialog trees or not, there are at least options to use your stats to unlock different options to resolve things.

Also… Perhaps I’m just misremembering things; but has Fallout 76 received a graphical update at some point? A very cursory Google search would suggest not.

But I just don’t recall it looking this good before!