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Destructoid's Nic Rowen has penned a long diary piece on his experience with Survival mode in Fallout 4. The catch? He played the game with a self-imposed ironman rule, meaning he'd have to restart from scratch every time his character died. I'm not going to spoil his stories, but here are a couple of his conclusions on the mode itself:
Survival mode is Fallout's attempt at leaning more towards a post-apocalyptic simulator than a thrill ride. It dramatically increases the amount of damage you receive (and dish out), requires the player to keep well nourished, hydrated, and rested while wandering or suffer stat debuffs, and introduces the possibility of illness and infection. It also does away with some of the video game niceties of the genre, no more fast-travel between previously visited areas, and bullets and health kits now carry a weight value like every other item.
What did I learn?
Well, slowing down the pace of Fallout 4 makes it a more interesting game in some ways. I noticed more detail in the environment, more nuances to the level design than I’ve given the game credit for in the past. It’s most evident in the downtown core, where the rat-like mazes of elevated street cars and rubble make for some tense hide-and-seek if you aren’t just shooting your way out of every fight.
Of course, this also made the rough patches stand out more as well. Every time I got snagged on a piece of debris it wasn’t just a matter of hitting the quickload button, but an agonizing loss of half an hour’s progress. I couldn’t track down my missing companions with a little quick travel back to Red Rocket – they were just gone for good, taking whatever supplies they were carrying with them.
The nuts and bolts of Survival mode still haven't evolved much past what was in New Vegas. Keeping your character fed and hydrated is trivial ten minutes out of the Vault, and even easier if you put any effort into your settlements. The added weight to ammo and healing items just forces you to specialize in one type of weapon more than you might otherwise. It’s all more of an annoyance than anything compelling.