Where are we at now?
Now we've gone through the extensive history of the game in the last month, warts and all, it's time to cast a critical eye at the game as it stands, and let's start with the bad news - it's still technically poor. While patches and updates have worked to improve stability and performance, there are still a ton of bugs to account for, as well as general performance issues like crashes, freezing, stuttering, frame-rate drops, and a load more. It's not unplayable, but right now it does run badly, and the frequent glitches can mean lost items, quests you can't complete, and a whole load of other roadblocks. Basically, these aren't small issues, but we always knew it was going to be a big task to get the game to the place fans wanted it to be at. We just hope that this is continually improved as time goes by because damn it needs more polish.
That said, the game isn't without merits, and that's really important to point out. To say it has been the victim of a witchhunt would imply that the critics are unfounded in their complaints, which is totally untrue, but we would argue instead it has been caught in a social media storm, where even people who don't know anything about it are jumping aboard the hate bandwagon. This isn't a game with no redeemable qualities, don't be fooled by the negative press, as there is still a fanbase getting enjoyment out of it.
For a start, the map is huge and there's a lot to see and do. Despite lacking NPCs (we don't think they'll be added in the future, if we're honest) there is a lot of lore for those who want it in the form of holotapes, robots, documents, and more environmental storytelling, and the whole world has a story behind it. From the very first moment you boot up the game you're bombarded with information, and if you want to get lost in this narrative you can, or you can ignore it to just focus on the mechanics - the choice is yours.
You'll often get people attacking the game and saying that just because it's fun with friends isn't an excuse for its shortcomings, but it's not an excuse - lots of people love it in spite of its flaws. It's true, it's a lot of fun to play with friends, and this is heightened by the fact you can all loot together, share resources, pose in Photo Mode, visit each other's Camps, play instruments, do silly emotes, and a lot more. It's a social experience with a lot of features to heighten that, and you can see it was made with this in mind.
Above all, there's a lot of content here that provides hours of enjoyment either alone or with friends, some of which can be repeated for more XP, while a lot of it will remain new for a long time after you first exit the vault. New enemies and areas always provide a sense of discovery we've seen in past Bethesda games, and some of the criticisms levelled at it have been simply because it's trying new things (online, no NPCs, events) rather than its actual mistakes. It combines what Bethesda has done well in the past with a new formula that at times slips up, but definitely has its moments.
When you look at the past month as a whole for Fallout, the overall theme is "not very good" for the game itself, Bethesda, and everyone involved, but if it was a total disaster you wouldn't still find full servers and committed fans exploring the wasteland, helping newbies, and building settlements with friends. It needs some love, but there's enough of a foundation in there to justify building on top of it, and that's what the game and the fans deserve more than anything.