There's no getting around it: Fallout 76 is a bit of a mess on PlayStation 4 as far as technical performance is concerned. Those familiar with developer Bethesda Game Studios' track record may have seen this coming, but that can't be used as an excuse. Fallout 76 isn't a total train wreck on Sony's system, but after having spent around 20 hours with the full release, we can only conclude that it's not pretty. It's not pretty at all.
We've tested the title on both a PS4 Pro and a regular PS4, and just about every issue that arises on the standard model also occurs on the supercharged system. As mentioned, Fallout 76 isn't unplayable, but its problems stack up rather quickly.
Our single biggest gripe with the game's performance is how often it stutters. And we're not talking common frame rate dips, we're talking full-on zero frames per second sticking on a regular basis. This stuttering gets worse when you reach a busier area, usually somewhere with buildings. It's not necessarily a deal breaker but boy is it annoying, and there have been times when the stuttering gets so frequent that we've almost felt a headache coming on.
However, there's absolutely no doubt that this issue is at its worst during combat. Nearly every encounter is hampered by some form of stuttering, which results in a frustrating amount of input lag. It's almost as if whenever the game has to work something out, be it an enemy or the player taking or receiving damage, it's forced to pause for a split second to calculate what just happened. And during particularly hectic moments, when you've got multiple foes charging at you, this is something that you simply don't want to deal with.
It's shocking that such a problem exists in a $60 title in 2018, but here we are. Again, you can play through the issue, but like we've said, that's no real excuse. The stuttering alone makes Fallout 76 feel cumbersome, awkward, and janky -- even more janky than the supremely janky animations would have you believe -- and the result is fundamentally simple gameplay that demands an unnecessary amount of effort.
As for the frame rate in general, it at least seems a lot more solid than it did in the beta. Barring the aforementioned stuttering, Fallout 76 is reasonably smooth, although some seemingly minor drops do still happen here and there.
And that leads us neatly to bugs and glitches, of which there are quite a few. Just hours into the game, during the main quest, we stumbled across a bug that forced us to close the game -- we got stuck looking at a terminal and we couldn't exit. Another bug saw us get repeatedly kicked out of the player-to-player trade menu, and a more humorous error saw a whole bunch of enemies spawn inside the walls of a ruined house. And by that we mean actually inside the walls themselves.
We've also seen seemingly dead mutants suddenly t-pose before returning to life and attacking us, we've seen enemies spawn inside one another, and we've watched on as other players exited the game only to leave a floating body in their place. Oh, and the classic Bethesda bug in which inanimate objects get caught in tables is alive and well here -- we saw a coffee mug gyrate furiously through a workbench before launching itself through the air.
Perhaps the saddest thing about all of this is that we've seen most of these issues before, in other Bethesda games -- Fallout 4 specifically. But here, the problems are amplified by the fact that Fallout 76 is always online. Thankfully we've only been kicked from a server once, but there are definitely bouts of lag that you have to deal with from time to time, particularly in menus.
Fallout 76 isn't unplayable, but its current state on PS4 is embarrassing. The stuttering, especially during combat, is the real kicker here, while bugs and glitches pop up on a consistent basis. It just ain't good enough.
Have you been playing Fallout 76? What are your thoughts so far? Be careful not to bug the comments section below.