Earlier this week, Fallout 76 update 1.02 launched on PlayStation 4. The colossal 47GB patch promised performance improvements, specifically a fix for the game's stuttering issue. Those of you who have read our review of the release will already know that we highlighted this problem because it has a substantial negative impact on general gameplay. The stuttering occurs both in and out of combat, and stutters often mean that your inputs aren't registered. The game's clunky to begin with, but the stuttering makes it unbearable at times.
But guess what? Update 1.02 didn't fix the stuttering. In fact, it barely improves the title's technical performance in any noticeable way. Bethesda's issued a 47GB patch and it doesn't do what it says on the tin. It's one of those situations where we wish that we could laugh, but at this point, Fallout 76 is beyond a joke.
So yeah, the stuttering is still here, and it's still throwing our aim off and making us hit buttons multiple times so that the game actually takes note of our desired actions. After the patch hit, we wanted to head over to a nearby super mutant camp and put the update to the test. It was literally seconds before we noticed the first stutter -- and we weren't even near the camp yet. Once we got there, it was the same old story. Aim at a super mutant's head, slight stutter, miss the shot. Turn around to face a mutant who had snuck up behind us, stutter. Go to open up the favourites wheel so that we can select our trusty shotgun, first press doesn't register. Get hit by the super mutant's big wooden board.
We mentioned this in our overview of the game's technical performance at launch, but it's almost as if the title struggles to compute certain actions. Everything from jumping over a small obstacle to reloading your gun can cause stuttering, and because of this it's clear that Fallout 76 is, in some way, broken on a fundamental level. The fact that this -- again, 47GB -- patch couldn't fix the stuttering issue is worrying to say the least.
Okay, well, did the update fix anything? To be totally honest it's hard to tell, and that in itself is damning. We did notice that the frame rate in certain built-up areas seemed a bit more stable, but we were still getting heavy drops here and there. Perhaps one of the worst things about Fallout 76's performance is that it's so unpredictable. We've travelled back and forth between specific locations in an attempt to try and pinpoint the cause of our plummeting frame rate, and there's just no correlation. Sometimes it's (relatively) fine, sometimes it's intermittent, and sometimes it's constant.
We came to the same conclusion with bugs -- did the patch remove any of them? We have no real idea. The bottom line is that we're not quality assurance testers, and neither are paying consumers.
Fallout 76 may only be a week old, but we're seriously starting to wonder whether the game can actually be "fixed". There are bugs and glitches here that originated in Fallout 4, and they weren't corrected by anyone but the modding community on PC. Bethesda needs to prove to the people who bought this game that it's capable of providing necessary post-launch support, and it needs to do it fast.
Bethesda has released a gigantic 47GB update that doesn't do anything to deal with Fallout 76's most prominent issues, despite claiming otherwise in the patch notes. That's where we're at right now. When the game launched, we were angry that such a broken product was allowed to be released at full retail price. But now we can't even bring ourselves to be angry -- we just despair for the once great Fallout franchise.
Have you been playing Fallout 76? Do you think Bethesda can turn things around? Be careful not to stutter in the comments section below.