You walk through the Atomic-blasted ruins of Boston, gripping your scratch-built gun tightly, sweat forming around your brow. You heard the sound of monstrous growls, unsure where the direction where it’s coming from...until it’s too late. A Deathclaw emerged from a drainage grate no further than 15 meters ahead of you – catching you entirely by surprise.
You unloaded your clip into the beast, to little effect as it lunged at you with it’s deadly claws and almost took you out. Then in panic you pumped as much drugs into your veins – Psycho to boost your strength, Med-X to toughen yourself up and Jet to slow down time. You eventually triumphed after a bloody battle that left your limbs crippled, severely addicted to the chemicals you just ingested and out of food and water to heal yourself. But hey you celebrate with an ice cold bottle of Nuka Cola that also irradiated your blood systems to dangerous levels – ah the sweet taste of victory.
This is Fallout 4’s Survival mode.
This is a recent addition to the game, where it changes the way you play dramatically. Now enemies are much more dangerous, you are no longer as tough, you have to eat, drink and sleep (the only to save your game) on a regular basis. Furthermore you also have to look after your character’s body as you can get illnesses, radiation sickness and addicted to substances more often. Your character no longer have a bottomless bag as everything has weight (as each bullet also weighs you down now as well), oh you also have to walk everywhere as you no longer have the ability to instantly fast travel.
This single addition has made this rather above average title at launch in late 2015, into the game that it’s supposed to be - a simulation of surviving the post-nuclear American wasteland in the year 2282. My first run through of the normal mode made my character into Boston’s finest killing machine with little to no effort, carrying a shed-load of weapons and items on your back – making the entire experience feel laughably comical. There simply was no element of danger or challenge to be had as you mow down human raiders and giant super mutant monstrosities with equal ease.
But Survival mode made me fall in love with game to a new level, I’ve always enjoyed the lore and look of the retro futuristic vision of the Fallout universe – which drew inspiration from 1950’s America, in all it’s white picket fence glory and anti-communist rhetoric. Now you play the game in a more cautious and methodical manner, picking fights when you know you can win, looting only the important stuff (ironically in this mode broken junk are extremely invaluable for scavenging materials) as well as hunting for food and water. Additionally you can also invest your time into building communities to provide settlements for wandering survivors which will help you grow food and gather materials in order to supply your character with better gear and ways to survive further challenges of the game.
I’ve already logged in 24 hours of gameplay; discounting the hours of progress I’ve lost by stepping on hidden landmines or picking unwinnable fights. Fallout 4 Survival mode will be the game I’ll be playing for a long time to come and oddly enough currently the only way I can enjoy my sessions. If you haven’t picked up Fallout 4, this update is the definitive way to play if you love an atmospheric – yet challenging experience of surviving the post-apocalypse.
Image- "Not So Tasty" by Xazomm