Yay! More Fallout DLC arrives like a cold pint of ale on a hot summer afternoon, or as its England; a summer afternoon wetter than an otters bikini-line. Far Harbor is Bathesda’s largest ever land mass built for a DLC, surpassing the Elder Scrolls: Shivering Isles content from the best part of a decade ago. The size is reflected in the hefty, yet not unreasonable price tag of £20/ $25 (or free with your season pass).
Far Harbor is undoubtedly the best DLC yet released for Fallout 4; which admittedly would be about as difficult as finding a pube in a cheap motel bed…
Far Harbor takes you to the titular island on a missing person’s case for Nick Valentines detective agency and par-for-course it’s full of factions vying for control of the resources and land. In this case that’s a group of synths, a hard bitten insular fishing town and the radiation worshiping nut-bars of Children of the Atom. I won’t ruin the story as that’s most of the fun of the game but suffice to say the games a romp around a dangerous island filled with gun toting enemies, weird and wonderful creatures, abandoned settlements; all washed own with a healthy dose of radioactive fog…It’s basically like a holiday on Anglesey, just with no sea zoo to visit.
Far Harbor is undoubtedly the best DLC yet released for Fallout 4; which admittedly would be about as difficult as finding a pube in a cheap motel bed, but it plays very much to the strengths of the core game and jettisons many of the less-fun elements. That means no relentlessly wank radiant quests; though the the head of the Minutemen still expects you single highhandedly to deal with issues on the mainland… Presumably, the Minutemen look upon delegation like a posh person looks at a Gregg’s sausage roll. The story-line, though pretty basic, brings about the best moral choice since the end of Fallout: New Vegas, having to chose between a lie in the best interests of peace, or the truth which could shatter the trust and bring about war.
The story-line, though pretty basic, brings about the best moral choice since the end of Fallout: New Vegas
Part and parcel of the new world are new settlements to explore, including a number to colonise and customize. Most of the settlements are the typical rag-tag mix of disheveled bunker/house/cave with a nautical twist, but its hardly surprising the well is running a little dry when this is a sequel in a running franchise and there’s only so many flavors of radiation racked shit-holes to pick from. Far Harbor comes across as an aesthetic mix of Fallout 4 and the Point Lookout DLC from Fallout 3, with the swathes of wet woodland fog.
Of course as there’s settlements, there’s new people to interact with and Far Harbors fishing-folk native population are as friendly as a local farmer who caught you dogging with his mum, or crazy as the man outside of Tesco who licks the inside of crisp packets and talks to the pigeons. There’s some unique and interesting characters about though but I won’t ruin those for you players. The fun thing is the main three clans on the island are all linked by the plot threads, so unlike many of the disparate groups which inhabit the main game, its worth talking to them, rather than shooting them as soon as they clumsily try and lay siege to your hideout. Don’t you worry though, there are still plenty of nameless morons in silly outfits to deliver frontier justice to.
The fun thing is the main three clans on the island are all linked by the plot threads…
The people are not the only inhabitants of course and Far Harbor has a new menagerie of monsters. Some are new, like the Fog-Crawler and the Angler, others are variations on the main games fauna; like the Mirelurks. There are no Deathclaw’s in far Harbor though….thank Christ.
Overall the game is about 15-20 hours long depending on how deeply you delve into fetch quests and how many settlement tasks you get involved it. Its a good length for a bit of DLC and although at nearly £20+, it’s not cheap, that’s decent value and about the size of many full games.
…although at nearly £20+, it’s not cheap, that’s decent value and about the size of many full games.
Graphically its the same story as the main game, and it looks pretty enough when strolling about and questing, it is just when character models show up looking like melted shop-dummies that you are reminded of the inadequacies of the game engine. The graphics do the job though, they set the stage well for the plot and the game is still as atmospheric as ever.
Far Harbor is not groundbreaking in any sense of the word and Bethesda are playing well within their comfort zone. However, it has a intriguing plot-line and moral choice aspect to it, with a good chunk of satisfying campaign to get your teeth into. It is unlikely to win over those who felt that fallout 4 strayed too far into shooter territory but it does address other bug-bears in the main game such as a reliance of radiant quests. A solid recommendation.