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‘Fallout 76’ the Spookiest Fallout Yet Thanks to West Virginia Folklore

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It’s a new game, a whole new post-apocalyptic world…

… and this time, Fallout 76 takes us to West Virginia, a land “of natural wonders and government secrets,” said Producer Todd Howard at Bethesda’s E3 conference earlier this year. The seven regions will have more detail than ever, and “plenty of new creatures.”

Every Fallout game boasts an impressive bestiary of radioactive monsters from a given location’s ecosystem, environment, and lore. Nobody can even think of Fallout 3 and 4 without an intense Deathclaw battle rattling their memory. If there are two things that West Virginia has that make it the perfect location for Fallout 76, it’s “nuclear secrets” and folklore.

Going off of what we know from the extensive gameplay footage shown at E3, I’ve compiled a list of the four most interesting Fallout 76 creatures and the possible West Virginia lore that inspired their creepy designs.

#1 Giant Bat Beast with Possible Fungus Infection

This giant bat-like creature first showed off its ratty wings in the Fallout 76 trailer. It can be seen hovering right above the Vault-Dweller-turned-adventurer behind a translucent wall of dust, its claws dangling. We get a closer look at this predator in the E3 gameplay footage, when a group of explorers take it on.

Crawling around with curled wings and explosively deadly sonar, it’s clear a bat-inspired this formidable creature. Current residents of West Virginia probably relate to the people fighting off this demon bat in Fallout 76, since bats have become somewhat of a major pest in the area. Many residents have complained about bats getting into their homes (although others enjoy the intruders since they eat so many pesky bugs).

This year, a West Virginia publication stated that a fungus has killed off 97% of West Virginia’s bat population. Scientists believe that surviving bats show signs of immunity to the disease, so the cave dwellers’ numbers will hopefully stabilize. This fungus, which causes “white-nose syndrome,” might play a small part in Fallout’s bat demon design. The giant bat beast appears to leak an acidic fluid, or emit it from its body as it moves about in the footage.

#2 Possibly Mothman Most Likely

It’s admittedly a bit difficult to see what’s going on with this creature, even after a few attempts at lightening the footage and photos. One thing is clear about this mysterious monster – its glowing, bug-like eyes and antenna pay homage to the most famous of all West Virginia hills folklore, Mothman. Others claim the floating figure cloaked in dust mentioned earlier may not be the giant bat, but another eerie glimpse of Mothman.

The household name became a worldwide phenomenon after a couple told a local paper that they saw a “man-sized bird” in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 1967. It’s believed that Mothman appeared as a result of the Silver Bridge collapsing and plunging 46 motorists into the icy river. However, even before gaining infamy and sightings around the world, Mothman’s glowing red eyes were spotted near Charleston, West Virginia. The tale goes that five men digging a grave saw the terrifying creature “glide silently” above them.

One thing stands out there: Glowing. Red. Eyes.

Many other sightings throughout history talk about the fiend’s eyes being “like bicycle reflectors” or a “giant bird with red eyes.”

Also, other media outlets have noticed this:

So there’s that.

#3 The Beast of Grafton in the Rolls of Flesh

Picking up a copy of “Tales of the West Virginia Hills” laying on a rickety picnic table, the Vault Dweller reads the headline: The Beast of Grafton. Immediately afterwards, they show this large, lumpy brute with disturbingly rotund arms and rippling stomach rolls.

Witnesses in Grafton have described the Beast of Grafton as nine feet tall and even headless. It appears the Fallout 76 version of this Bigfoot-style monster also has no head. Or at least a very, very small one. Swinging its large arms around like tree trunks, it’s hard to tell from the trailer if this beast is blind, or if it’ll eerily be able to find you wherever you may be hiding in-game.

Grafton was a usually quiet town, so the supposed witnessing of such an unsightly beast caused quite the frenzy. A local newspaper that reported the initial 60s sighting said the town had caught “monster-hunting fever,” as cars lined the roads “bumper-to-bumper” along the river drive.

We have a feeling that Fallout 76 explorers won’t be as excited to run into this radioactive monstrosity.

#4 A Giant Sloth, Now With Mushrooms

This is, obviously, a giant sloth. With fungus on its back (a touch of radioactivity). But what does a giant sloth have to do with West Virginia? Interestingly enough, West Virginia’s official State Fossil is a giant prehistoric ground sloth, or Megalonyx Jeffersonii, named after President Thomas Jefferson.

The Ice Age ground sloth grew up to 10 feet long, weighing around 800 pounds. But maybe even more menacing, this sloth’s scientific name means “Great Claw” because of its massive curved claws.

It’s clear that the Fallout team did their research into West Virginia’s history, but how did a giant sloth end up in Fallout 76‘s West Virginia, except for the fossil Jefferson acquired? What would bring a giant sloth to West Virginia after a nuclear war? Some media sources speculate that it’s a mutated monstrosity from one of West Virginia’s zoo. After some of my own research, I found that the Oglebay Park Good Zoo did indeed have a two-toed sloth.

Shown swinging its massive front arms in the E3 gameplay, we’re hoping it’s sloth-like in speed.

Honorable Mentions

Bethesda’s E3 conference shed some light on Fallout 76‘s plethora of cryptic creatures and the West Virginia culture and lore that inspired it. There have been images of a hairless wolf, inspired by the Snarly Yow that’s been supposedly roaming the mountains since the early 1700s. There’s a grotesque crawling bug with a hive swarming on its back, possibly deriving from the weird assassin bug, or another creepy crawly from the area. Then there’s this thing:

West Virginia looks to be the spookiest Fallout destination thus far. The state’s long-time horror movie stereotypes, endless mountains, and forests, and extensive lore make it the perfect location to drop some radioactive monsters. The creators have also promised that this will be the largest world yet, with 16 times the detail shown in Fallout 4. This includes even being able to see the weather in the distance.

After Howard described the state as “full of actual nuclear secrets,” it was revealed that West Virginia was, indeed, home to one of America’s most secure nuclear fallout shelters, The Greenbrier Resort. And those fallout shelters weren’t for nothing. West Virginia was also home to the P-9 Project, which helped build the Manhattan Project’s infamous nuclear bomb. The state was also a participant in the government’s Operation Plowshare, using nuclear weapons in mining operations. It’s no wonder they had such a ritzy fallout shelter at the ready.

Fallout 76 will tell the story of the first ever vault dwellers to leave the safety of their fallout shelters and see what has become of the world. We hope to see what a radioactive West Virginia has in store for us when the game launches on November 14, 2018.

I love playing video games and watching esports, and I love writing about them. I’m a professional writer, journalist, editor and social media manager and a very-not-professional Yoshi voice actor. I probably eat sushi about five times a week and I travel about once every other month to play at various Pokemon TCG regionals all around North America. Undefeated at Mario Kart Double Dash.

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Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019

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Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019

Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019Awesome Mixtape Vol. 5

It’s that time once again in which I bring to you my awesome mixtape featuring the best tracks from the best video game soundtracks of the year. Last year, my mixtape featured tracks from Triple-A titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and indie darlings like Celeste. In 2017, my picks for best soundtracks included tracks from some of my favorite games including Cuphead, Breath of the Wild and Into the Woods, to name just a few. Well, 2019 has been another banner year for the industry and as always, the games were blessed with an astounding selection of musical scores— some would argue the soundtracks were even better than the actual games at times. As always, it wasn’t easy deciding which songs to include and what to leave out— and as always, I’ve also mixed in some audio clips from various cut scenes while trying to keep it spoiler-free. Feel free to share this link and let me know if you think I’ve missed any great soundtracks in the comments below.

Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019 Playlist

Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding
: Low Roar – “I’ll Keep Coming”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Life is Strange 2: Seyr – “Colour To Colour”
Life is Strange 2: Jonathan Morali – “Into the Woods”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Sayonara Wild Heart”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Wild Hearts Never Die”
Death Stranding: CHVRCHES – “Death Stranding”
Afterparty clip
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “Title and Credits”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Hades Gonna Hate”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Schoolyard Strangler”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Main Theme
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Cyrus the Scholar
Kingdom Hearts 3 clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Main Theme”
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Blue Skies and a Battle”
Devil May Cry 5 clip
Devil May Cry 5: Kota Suzuki – “Urizen Boss Battle Music”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
FAR: Lone Sails: Joel Schoch – “Colored Engine”
Days Gone: Nathan Whitehead— “Soldier’s Eye”
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Metro Exodus: Alexey Omelchuk – “Main Theme”
Resident Evil 2 Remake clip
Resident Evil 2 Remake: Masami Ueda, Shusaku Uchiyama, Shun Nishigaki – “Mr.X Theme Music (T-103)”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Begin Again”
Life is Strange 2: Lincoln Grounds, Pat Reyford – “Morning Good Morning”
Life is Strange 2: Sufjan Stevens – “Death With Dignity”
Luigi’s Mansion 3 clip
Luigi’s Mansion 3: Koji Kondo – “Main Theme”
Ape Out: Matt Boch – “Intro”
Deltarune: Toby Fox – “Field of Hopes and Dreams”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “Loose Cargo”
“Star Wars: Imperial March” Hip Hop Remix
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
Death Stranding: Silent Poets – “Asylum for The Feeling”
Catherine: Full Body: Shoji Meguro – “Tomorrow”
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Koji Kondo – “Marin’s Ballad of the Windfish”
Metro Exodus – Alexey Omelchuk: “Teardrops”
Sekiro: Yuka Kitamura – “Ashina Reservoir”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “The Doom”
Medley: Eye of Death / Wild Hearts Never Die / Dragon Heart / Clair De Lune

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‘New Super Lucky’s Tale’ is Polished, Pleasing Platforming

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Streamlined, focused, and tons of fun, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a fantastic reworking for the Switch that absolutely nails the lighter side of Nintendo-style 3D platforming. Tight controls and a nearly flawless camera support running and jumping challenges which more often than not emphasize creativity over complexity, and it’s all set against a colorful, pun-filled, charming world full of quirky characters and light satire. Though the experience is not as epic or razzle-dazzle as something like Super Mario Odyssey, developer Playful has wisely trimmed the collect-a-thon fat that so many others in the genre employ in order to pad play time. The result lasts long enough to satisfy, yet also instills a fervent desire to see more adventures from its fearless, furry hero.

New Super Lucky's Tale carnival

In the fine tradition of its gaming ancestors dating back to the N64 days, the basics of New Super Lucky’s Tale revolve around acquiring arbitrary objects sprinkled through various stages in order to unlock doors and move on to the next area. This time it’s pages from the mystical Book of Ages, which contains the power to travel between worlds, and is the endgame of an nefarious cat sorcerer named Jinx and his gang of cartoonish thugs, the Kitty Litter. As part of a secret organization sworn to defending this kiddie-friendly Necronomicon knockoff, it’s up to Lucky to track down as many of these clover-embossed pages as he possibly can, and hopefully complete the book before his nemesis can get his claws on it.

It’s doubtful that the story will be what compels most players to keep going, and to that end, New Super Lucky’s Tale‘s simple setup also fits right in with its genre brethren. Still, Lucky is an amiable and upbeat fox to follow around, and Playful does an excellent job of surrounding him with a cast of gibberish-spouting weirdo goofballs that includes hayseed grub worms, supremely zen Yetis, loyal rock golems, and slick carny ghosts. Though their dialogue does little to drive any sort of narrative, it is endlessly amusing and often witty in its cheesy wordplay. In other words, the writing has a very Nintendo-like feel in its eccentricities that adds to the overall fun.

New Super Lucky's Tale factory

Those jokes would be less endearing without fantastic gameplay, but New Super Lucky’s Tale delivers some of the best running and jumping this side of Mario. Though this fabulous fox can’t quite match the plumber’s precision, Lucky does feel extremely responsive, and has a nice sense of weight and momentum that never feels out of control. He also comes out of the den with a well-rounded moveset, including a nifty double jump, a swishy tail (a la Mario’s spin punch), and the ability to burrow under ground. These moves can be chained together to create a satisfying flow both when exploring 3D stages and side-scrolling ones alike, and will surely inspire players to use them in creative ways in order to access seemingly out-of-reach spots.

And they’ll have to if they want to find all four pages hidden in each stage. New Super Lucky’s Tale requires a bare minimum of these leaflets to be found (and simply beating the stage merits one as a reward), but it’s in rooting around those nooks and crannies where much of the fun lies, and it gives the developer a chance to squeeze every ounce out of the unique mixture of environments they’ve created. From the assorted carnival games of a haunted amusement park to a beach party dance-off, there are a surprising amount of different things for Lucky (and players) to do here, with hardly any two stages ever feeling alike. One 3D level might task Lucky with casually exploring a farm as he gathers up the members of country jug band, while a side-scrolling obstacle course sees him dodging canon fire from an airship piloted by a feline Napolean. Some stages have a platforming bent, while others emphasize searching out secrets tucked away in mini puzzles.

New Super Lucky's Tale farm

It’s an absolutely delightful mix, and that sheer variety keeps New Super Lucky’s Tale fresh all the way through to the epic battle with fat cat Jinx himself. And though platforming veterans might find the overall challenge a bit too much on the friendly side, a few of the later bosses and and bonus stages may make that 100% goal a little tougher than it at first seems. And yet, it’s hard not to want to go back to incomplete stages or that block-pushing puzzle that stumped the first time around; the brisk pace and clever design will likely compel many players to find every scrap of paper out there.

No, Lucky isn’t the second coming of Mario, but there are few 3D platformers that offer such a polished, concise, joyful experience as New Super Lucky’s Tale. It may have taken a couple of efforts to get there (and for those who have played the original Super Lucky’s Tale, levels and bosses have been reworked here), but Playful has nailed a balance between creativity and efficiency that begs for more. 

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How Do ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’s’ Max Raid Battles Measure Up?

Max Raid Battles are one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s premier new features. Do they live up to their full potential? Let’s find out.

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max raid battles

One of the most heavily promoted new features of Pokémon Sword and Shield have been their Max Raid Battles. These gargantuan fights are both a key part of the online experience and likely the first taste most players will get of Dynamaxed Pokémon in-game. So, how’d this take on Pokémon Go’s raid system pan out in the series’ first mainline entry on console?

Well, on the plus side, getting into the thick of a raid is super straightforward. After the opening hour or two, players are introduced to the Wild Area and can access Max Raid Battles straight away by walking up to a pillar of red light on the field. From there you can invite others, challenge the raid with NPCs, and choose which Pokémon you want to use.

Real Friends Raid Together

Playing with friends online, though, is a bit more convoluted. There’s no “Invite Friends” option to be seen. Instead, all social features are handled through the Y-comm (literally accessed by pressing the Y button). It’s here that players can Link Trade, Link Battle, exchange player cards, and more.

After actively connecting to the internet–which has to be done each play session and each time the Switch is put into sleep mode–it’s up to the host of the match to find a portal and send an invitation to everyone. A notification will pop for friends on the side of the screen, and then it’s up to everyone to join the match directly through the Y-comm interface.

If players want real people to fill in any remaining slots (all raids are four-person affairs), they’ll need to join before the room fills up. Setting a Link Code avoids this hassle by creating a room but, unlike Salmon Run in Splatoon 2, only computer players can fill remaining spots after friends finish joining this way.

After some experimenting and fudding about, my buddy and I were able to hop into matches fairly quickly without much issue. Nonetheless, it’s hard to shake the feeling that creating friend lobbies is only such a headache because it had to be tied to the Y-comm. Pair this with the fact that battling while waiting for a friend to create a room can cause the notification not to pop, and getting a group together is a bit more painful than it should be.

Max Raid Battle Rundown

The raids themselves are a surprisingly engaging twist on the classic Pokémon battle formula. Groups of four challengers work together to take on a Dynamaxed raid boss. Each raid boss has a different star rating, and even the 1-star battles are no joke the first few times around. These boss Pokémon are merciless, and regularly one-shot lower leveled ‘mons with ease.

To combat these monstrous foes, one random trainer in every group is granted the ability to Dynamax their chosen Pokémon and lead the charge. The Dynamaxed Pokémon gets the benefit of having extra-powerful moves and increased HP, though it’s rather disappointing that there only seems to be one Max Move per move type (one Grass move, one Dark move, and so on). Each of these has a secondary effect on the battlefield; some trigger sandstorms, others trigger a health regeneration field that heals everyone a bit each turn. Regular moves with type advantages deal a significant chunk of damage, but it’s Max Moves that can truly turn the tide of battle.

If one of the group’s Pokémon faints, that trainer has to sit out for a turn before it automatically gets revived (a smart design choice to keep all trainers actively involved). However, the fainting of each Pokémon triggers the storm above to become more and more vicious. After four faints or ten turns, everyone is booted out of the raid sans rewards.

max raid battles

The Fruits of Victory

Two of the easiest ways to better your odds are 1) Choose a Pokémon with a type advantage going into battle, and 2) Manage who Dynamaxes when. Each trainer’s Dynamax meter grows periodically and, though only one trainer can use it at a time, multiple players can activate it over the course of a raid. It also seems like each raid’s star rating is tied directly to the raid boss’ level, so bringing a generally powerful Pokémon to a lower-level raid is another viable strategy for success.

Aside from the chance to capture the raid boss itself (and some Pokémon are Max Raid Battle-exclusive), winning a raid nets players some very worthwhile rewards. These include everything from EXP candies and berries to nuggets and TMs. It’s not so much of a haul that it hurts the overall balance of the game, but there’s enough to make getting a few friends together and grinding raids for a couple of hours worth it.

max raid battles

Though Max Raid Battles are just a small part of the overall Sword and Shield package, they’ve ended up being a rather fun take on Pokémon’s traditional multiplayer offerings. For as unnecessarily complicated as playing with friends is, there are also a few cool ideas here, like being able to join a raid from anywhere on the map as long as the host is at the raid pillar. There’s some good fun to be had here if you prefer to battle alongside your friends instead of against them.

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