Fallout is always at its best when balancing the bleakness of a nuclear apocalypse and a bit of humour. But, every so often the game jumps right into the deep end of smothering sadness, making you need to take a break and vacantly stare out the window reflecting on your life choices. Well, good news for fans of awful moral choices and self doubt! Fallout 4‘s latest DLC Nuka World has the perfect knife to plunge right into your soul. Probably goes without saying, but SPOILERS for Nuka World below.
The premise of Nuka World has you clearing areas of the titular theme park and giving them to turbulent raider factions to stop a full on conflict. One such area you have to clear is Kiddie Kingdom, which is the first area I went for, as I figured it’d be a light hearted romp and ease me back into the game. Well I was wrong. Kiddie Kingdom is a cauldron of sadness, and you’re the spoon that stirs it all up.
The child friendly area is packed full of feral ghouls, which have been painted in what I assume is supposed to be the most nightmarish clown makeup imaginable. It’s also scattered with sprinklers spurting our radioactive water, so in general it’s an awful place, and at first you sincerely doubt you’ll ever sympathise with whoever made this living hell.
Much like me, I’m sure the rest of you wasteland addicts have put down plenty of feral ghouls in your time without much thought. They objectively suck, with their jolts of speed and lunging haymakers. As those versed in Fallout lore will know, ghouls are humans who survived the initial bombs that rendered the USA into a wasteland. The radiation transformed them into sterile, yet virtually immortal monsters. Some ghouls are friendly and live with the remnants of society, however others have gone feral, causing them to blindly attack any humans they cross. It’s not uncommon for a normal ghoul to be the focus of a quest, as they generally have sympathetic stories, however rarely do we get to sympathise with the ferals. That is until you start reading the terminal entries scattered around Kiddie Kingdom.
It turns out the ghouls populating Kiddie Kingdom are the original Nuka World employees, having lived in Kiddie Kingdom for over 200 years, until you, the massive dick of a player, starts to mow them all down. Below is the story of their survival uncovered from different terminals around the park.
Okay, so good start, the surviving staff and a few customers of Nuka World hide out in the underground employee tunnels, which is where I found this terminal. They stock up on weapons and food, when one day they begin to notice their bodies are changing. Fast forward a little bit and they’ve been alive for over a hundred years, which is when some of them start to change again, their friends and family start to morph into something worse, leaving the remaining survivors to live in fear of this new form they call the Affliction.
This above entries comes from a different terminal found in the Fun House. It shows the Affliction from a first person perspective, as the writer slowly begins to change. They start out hopeful and glad they can live with their son, to one day realising something isn’t quite right, and finally they turn. Another survivor remarks that a new bunch of psychos have moved in nearby (Read: YOUR NEW FRIENDS WHO YOU ARE KILLING FOR). Now desperate and scared, the surviving ghouls are rushing to get a cure for the Affliction so they can be happy again.
This terminal is Rachel’s, found in a tower within Kiddie Kingdom’s castle. You may remember the name as her and Oswald are the real protagonists of this story. Her entries tell the story of her acting as the medic for the group following the bombs. In the beginning she is a hopeful girl only just hired at Nuka World, and by the end she has seen her closest friends die from raider attacks (again, your pals) or the Affliction. She leaves in an attempt to find a cure, as it’s their final chance to fend off the raiders and keep their home.
The above entries are Oswald’s own. Oswald acts as the antagonist from your point of view, but from reading his story it’s really clear that you’re the definition of bad guy in this story. He has fought long and hard to keep his group safe. Encountering Oswald in Kiddie Kingdom you can hear him affectionately talking to the feral ghouls like they are members of his family. At first I thought it was creepy, but after reading all the history you realise they really are his family now, and he cares for them. Everything he does is to keep them safe.
Thankfully you don’t have to kill Oswald to complete this section of the story, you can convince him to leave and join Rachel, which despite being a slim chance I managed to do. I’m really hoping it isn’t the last we hear of their story. But for now I can just stare at the hundreds of bodies scattered around Kiddie Kingdom that once belonged to his friends and remember how horrible I am as a person.