Fallout 4 was one of the true standout games of 2015. Despite criticisms that it had leaned more to the first person shooter side of things then it’s predecessors Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 brought us a wonderfully engaging RPG experience. The current generation of consoles is sorely lacking in the RPG department (well apart from the truly masterful Witcher 3: Wild Hunt of course) so when it finally landed with us back in November of last year, Bethesda’s latest magnum opus was welcomed with open arms.
If you are anything like myself, at this point you have explored as close to every inch of Fallout 4‘s Commonwealth as humanly possible and seen all possible outcomes to the main quest line. While The Mechanist and Wasteland Workshop DLC expansions helped us squeeze just an extra little bit out of Fallout 4, our Sole Survivors’ were itching for some new adventure; and guess what? We got it with the long awaited Far Harbor expansion.
Far Harbor takes the Vault 111 Sole Survivor on another investigation for the Valentine’s Detective Agency in search of a young woman who has travelled to Mount Desert Island in Maine and the events that unfold are a nice change of pace from the story of the vanilla game.
Since it’s announcement by Bethesda a number of months ago, Far Harbor was touted as the largest expansion the game studio had ever done for one of it’s RPG’s and they weren’t joking. The Fallout 4 version of Mount Desert Island is reminiscent of Point Lookout from Fallout 3, and has an atmosphere that while you were unfamiliar with your new surroundings is akin to that of a survival horror game. The island itself is covered in a radioactive fog and brimming with new sea monster style enemies ready to bring about your doom at a moments notice.
Far Harbor’s main quest line introduces the player to three main factions. The citizens of Far Harbour, the synth colony of Arcadia and the Children of Atom. I particularly enjoyed the way the story unfolds as you aid each of the factions towards their goals and it does so in a way that more closely resembles Fallout: New Vegas rather than Fallout 4 itself.
Much like the Mechanist DLC, Far Harbor adds some new weapon and armour types for you to play around with. The new Harpoon gun has a number of useful unique variants. There are a number of nautical themed melee weapons such as the fisherman’s hook pole. But the highlight for me weapon wise was the Radium Rifle, a semi automatic rifle that causes ballistic and radiation damage. With the right upgrades, this rifle becomes a welcome addition to your arsenal.
On the armour side of things, with Far Harbor being a fishing town there are plenty of maritime clothing items waiting to have ballistic weave sown into them. With a new faction of raiders come the Trapper armour, which literally looks like someone strapped assorted fishing apparel to their person. But the armour you will be seeking, is the Assault Marine armour. It is the strongest armour in the game that doesn’t run on Fusion Cores, so those of you who like to play Fallout 4 on it’s harder difficulty settings are going to want it.
While I did enjoy Far Harbor for the most part, it does come with one major caveat. About half way through the main storyline of the DLC you will encounter a mission called Best Left Forgotten. Without going into too much details and risk spoiling the game, during this mission you are tasked with a puzzle that is best describe as a mixture of an homage to Minecraft and Tron. This puzzle require the player to move a number of virtual blocks around using Fallout 4‘s settlement creation tools.
The Best Left Forgotten puzzle murders the pacing of the main quest. Up until this point you will have been engrossed in the main story of Far Harbor only to be confronted with a rage inducing quest that is not hard because of the difficulty of the puzzle but because the settlement creation tools are just not suited to something like this. I am honestly not sure what Bethesda were thinking with this one. On the bright side, this quest does have some nice rewards but I honestly couldn’t in good conscience review this DLC without mentioning this puzzle.
The Best Left Forgotten quest aside, Far Harbor is a welcome addition to Fallout 4 and breathes some new life into an RPG experience already worth your precious gaming hours and hard earned euros.
– Words by Matt Conroy