BOSTON – Fallout 76 has had its ups and downs since its rocky launch, but one thing most players seemed to agree on is that they missed having interactable non-player characters (NPCs). These colorful humans, ghouls, super-mutants and robots have been part of the Fallout series since its very first installment, and it felt like something was missing without them. The Fallout 76: Wastelanders expansion will come complete with a big roster of NPCs, and the game immediately feels much better for their inclusion.

I went hands-on with Fallout 76: Wastelanders at PAX East 2020, and right from the get-go, it felt more like a traditional Fallout experience than the base Fallout 76 game. The adventure kicked off in the mountains of Appalachia, long after a nuclear apocalypse. I played as a survivor whose family had spent generations in an underground vault. At the beginning of the demo, a robotic companion exclaimed that there were people – people! – just down the road, and I should go see what they wanted.

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