I played Fallout 3 on PC. For New Vegas I was on Xbox. Same for Fallout 4. But for Fallout 76 I’ve returned to PC. Despite playing on the platform before was I utterly unprepared for what that meant in a game where there is no pausing.
Unlike previous games in the series, Fallout 76 is multiplayer only. This means no pausing to heal. No super slow time VATS to help you approach a deadly monster. And more importantly, there’s no way to safely look up controls on how to fight when you’re in the middle of battle.
Straight out of the Vault 76, I turned right and found the friendly neighborhood Liberator MKIIs. The game flashed some quick combat tips in my upper left hand corner. But me, being too focused on trying to actually fight the little buggers while conserving what little ammunition a nearby dead body gave me, missed them.
So here I am, quickly running out of the 20 or so bullets I had. I’m trying to figure out how the new VATS works, and failing mind you, and sure enough I run out of bullets.
This fresh faced baby has left the Vault for all of a minute and can’t remember what button melee was on ten years ago. Naturally I want to pause, but can’t. So I run behind a beaten up rust bucket and then try to fight with the menu system to figure out how to bash these bots to bits.
I do a quick scan, don’t see melee, and get too scared to keep looking so I back out to make sure I’m safe.
The bots aren’t that intelligent. I peek around the corner and they’re roaming around trying to shoot me. I’m fine. So I head back in and find that bash is set on Left ALT by default for some reason. Great.
So I dismantle the bots and start questioning whether Fallout’s PC controls were always this bad.
This wasn’t the first issue I had with the game. The character creation process was a struggle as well. I pretty much just moused over and messed around with various aspects of my character’s face until I figured out what was doing what.
Taking my character’s snapshot was even worse. Z and C navigate the menu tabs left and right, but what changes the values inside of that? I tried Q and E to no avail. I couldn’t figure out how to mouse over them at all. Eventually it dawned on me. “They wouldn’t use the arrow keys, would they?” They do.
Very little about Fallout 76‘s control scheme was intuitive to me.
I have one word of advice: use a controller. Or immediately remap everything. You’ll have a better time.
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