Fallout 4 Far Harbor review: a nautical masterclass in DLC

Reviews
9

Amazing

The latest offering in a series of so far decent Fallout 4 DLC is one of the finest additions to a game since Red Dead Redemption‘s Undead Nightmare. Far Harbor introduces a whole new area to the Commonwealth brimming with mystery, horror and in true Fallout fashion, fucking insane moral decisions.

Kicking off with a visit to Nick Valentine in Diamond City, the player hears about a case involving a missing girl, Kasumi Nakano. After a visit with Kasumi’s parents and some top rate detectiving (it’s a word now), the player discovers that the girl stole a boat and fled to a synth haven known as Acadia, in the distant location of Far Harbor, to discover if she’s a synth.

Looks like a nice place...

Looks like a nice place…

Upon taking your own newly acquired boat to Far Harbor you find an island filled entirely with conflict and intrigue. The local inhabitants are living on the very brink of the land due to a radioactive fog that is spreading and pushing them out of their homes, which they believe is due to the Children of Atom nut jobs nearby.

The first thing you’ll notice after reaching this spooky fog filled place is that the Far Harbor DLC isn’t a linear story add on like Automatron, there are factions to side with and a ton of side quests to attend to. And attend to them you most certainly should. One particular side quest, Brain Dead, has been my favourite in the entire game so far, I won’t even slightly spoil it because it’s way too good, but when an NPC asks for your help investigating a murder, you should definitely go with them.

Just don't wander off.

Just don’t wander off into the spooky island fog

The main meat of Far Harbor lies in resolving a conflict brewing between the Far Harbor residents, the Children of Atom, and the synths of Acadia. To do so requires equal parts detective work, and shooting people/monsters in the face. Of course the main story plays out in such a way that you need to make a lot of important decisions and ultimately side with one faction’s rationale.

This was particularly hard in Far Harbor as I didn’t like the morally “correct” option, but the others were too extreme and left no middle ground. Picking the right option was also hard given Fallout 4‘s strange dialogue selection choices, so sometimes I hit the wrong thing based on the stupid snippet of misleading information. I’ll discuss this all in detail in another article later, once spoilers can rain from the sky like nukes. Let’s just say it felt similar to that time in the main game when I inadvertently caused a massacre… oops.

One truly negative aspect of the main quest was a series of puzzles the player has to complete inside an AI character’s mind. They were way too long and in general not at all enjoyable. Had Fallout 4 been a puzzle game perhaps the mechanics would have suited this better, but using the rusty community building tools to solve problems was a forgettable, yet stupidly long endeavour.

It even looks terrible... booooooo!

It even looks terrible… booooooo!

When not solving stupid puzzles there is plenty to explore in the DLC. Hidden in the gloomy mists of Far Harbor are new enemies, including cannibal bandits known as Trappers, packs of wolves, disgusting mantis looking mutants called fog crawlers, and mutant angler fish waiting to ambush you in the many swamps. One word of advice is to stock up on ammo for your best weapons, some of the new enemies are bullet sponges and take a fair bit of fire-power to take down. Stepping into a swamp filled with fully grown anglers can take a small miracle to survive.

All these new and unique enemies make up the reason why the Island as a location really works and why the DLC feels so good to play. The Island is entirely new, it’s horrific, it’s mysterious and it’s fucking beautiful. The way god rays cut through the mist leaves you needing to stop and take in the scenery every now and then.

Purge suit selfie.

Purge suit selfie.

Of course it wouldn’t be DLC without giving you lots of new toys. Far Harbor presents players with harpoons, lever action rifles, armour, a power armour skin, rad weapons (literally and figuratively), and a new companion who likes to drink with you/hit on you if you’re a female (I punched his ugly face).

Whether purchased separately or downloaded as part of the season pass, Far Harbor is definitely worth the time if you’re looking for more Fallout 4 goodness. This add on gets a Vault Boy thumbs up from me.

Good

  • The island is beautiful
  • Awesome mysterious plot
  • Plenty to do
  • Lots of new gear

Bad

  • Forced into decisions
  • Same dialogue annoyances with main game
  • The puzzle sections sucked

Summary

Far Harbor is what DLC should be, it adds enough to make the game feel new again. There is substance here that adds hours of playtime and reinvigorates any passion for the Commonwealth that may have faded after completing the vanilla game. The main story is presented well and filled with new factions, side quests and gear. Of course the location is what really helps this offering, and the Island is certainly one of Fallout's many memorable places that will stay with players well into the future.

Harpoon Charlie on Twitter @clbraith and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.
9

Amazing

Lost Password