In the online-only, NPC-less post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 76, the Cult of the Mothman is an echo of pre-war Appalachia. But some players have taken it upon themselves to reestablish the Cult - whether the game itself likes it or not.
After recording a podcast about how it's such an exciting time for Pokémon fans with Let's Go, you can't quite say the same for those looking forward to Fallout 76, the online spin-off in Bethesda's role-playing series.
As patches go, Fallout 76's 1.02 title update is one of the biggest we've seen, weighing in at a mighty 47GB on each of the consoles - a marked difference from PC's 15GB download. In its patch notes, Bethesda talks about bug fixes and performance upgrades, but to what extent is the game actually improved over its launch showing?
First of all though, it's fair to say that the sheer size of the patch is somewhat baffling, especially bearing in mind the actual improvements to the end-user experience. Fallout 76 takes up 53GB before the patch - and yet despite updating with 47GB of data, it doesn't stack on top of it. The final file size is still only 53.2GB with the patch installed - only 200MB more than it was before. Clearly then, Bethesda is updating the game's files, but also replacing much of data you already had installed in the process. All the textures, sound files, and more fit into that same package - quite why they would need replacing is something of a mystery. "This update will be large compared to what we expect for patches going forward," Bethesda has said. "Regular updates will always vary in size, but future updates should be much smaller in comparison."
But once that mammoth patch is downloaded, what does it actually deliver in practice? A standout problem with Fallout 76 is the performance lurches, dropping down to 20fps and under on PS4, and even on Xbox One X. The first thing I checked was the Top of the World resort area that caused so many issues during our first analysis. On Xbox One X - before this patch - performance dropped as low as 10fps, with heavy stuttering bolted on top to create some shocking dips. With that in mind, it's a surprise to see Xbox One X - with the update installed - runs this area flawlessly. The frame-rate is fine here at least. All might not be well across the game, but it's a good sign.
Everyone loves a party, right? I know I do. I'll jump at any excuse to hang out with my mates for a good old sesh of music, games and lovely, lovely booze. But, in the case of today's Reclamation Day celebrations, I'll think I'll be partying by myself because to be honest with you, Fallout 76 is a multiplayer game that's much more fun to play on your own.
In John Hersey's novelistic account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the nuclear blast at once divides and unifies. It's the synchronising point for six parallel lives - six total strangers joined forever at 8.15am, 6th August, 1945. The idea of the nuclear blast as a kind of photographer's flash, framing and composing its victims in a single, baleful instant of universal transformation, has since become a staple of post-nuclear fiction. 73 years later, the Bomb again performs a synchronising function in Bethesda's Fallout 76, but to rather different effect. It exists here as a weekly public "endgame" event, triggered by gathering widely dispersed launch codes and assailing a control room, its arrival time and explosive radius marked on the map screen for all to see.