For those of you that have been living under a rock (or in an underground vault) Fallout 4 has been absolutely dominating the video game market for the better part of 2016.
Bethesda Softworks recently released Fallout 4: Far Harbor, the third DLC, and first true expansion on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. How did it measure up? Read on to find out for yourselves!
Far Harbor takes you to an island off the coast of Maine to explore a previously unseen part of the post-nuclear war wasteland. Like all areas in the Fallout series, this is based on a real place, specifically Mount Desert Island, Maine – home to the real-life town of Bar Harbor, ME and the Acadia National Park. Known in game as simply “The Island” with the main town now being known as “Far Harbor,” you’ll explore the town, the Acadia National Park, and many more new locations throughout what Bethesda has confirmed as “the largest expansion map ever created” in one of their titles. Considering that Bethesda is also the studio responsible for The Elder Scrolls series, that’s certainly no small feat.
The massive DLC expansion features new… well, everything. New missions, new characters, new companions, new weapons, new armor, new settlements, new factions, new monsters, and new crafting items – all of which can also be used in conjunction with the original map. Unlike previous Fallout expansions, you can also bring your companions (both from the main game and Far Harbor) along with you to either map… and in fact, that’s actually a big part of this story.
Once you install Far Harbor, you’ll get a radio broadcast signal from the Valentine Detective Agency asking you and prototype synth companion Nick Valentine to investigate the disappearance of a young girl from the Commonwealth. It is very highly recommended that you bring Nick Valentine along with you for this adventure. It’s not required, mind you, but I would highly suggest you do, because he factors in heavily with the story of Far Harbor.
When you arrive on the island, you’ll find that nearly the entire island is covered in a radioactive fog. Walking in this fog will not only irradiate you (so keep plenty of Rad-X and Radaway handy) but you’ll also find that lots of horrific nautical-themed radioactive/mutated creatures like to live in it. Much like the main game of Fallout 4, you will encounter three major factions, the townspeople of Far Harbor, the synth refugees of Acadia, and the cult of the Children of Atom. You’ll find that each of these groups have several characters with plenty of depth, varying ideals, and an awful lot to consider. Be warned that your choices with these groups will have a major impact on what ultimately happens to the island, so choose carefully… or create a lot of different save files!
Given the nautical island setting, the fog, the horrifying creatures hiding in said fog, the fanatical groups, and the overall sense of dread and impending doom there is a strong H.P. Lovecraft feel to this entire expansion, and this writer can only assume that was intentional, given the Fallout series’ obvious connections with the master of cosmic horror.
Gameplay matches perfectly with Fallout 4, and everything blends together nicely. All of the new things only serve to add to the experience without limiting it in any way. There is one particular story mission that will offer up a bit of completely different gameplay via a simulation that’s about half Minecraft and half Portal, which can be a bit annoying for those that aren’t fans of that type of gameplay, but beyond that, it’s business as usual in the Wasteland.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Far Harbor is an outstanding addition to an already outstanding video game. All of the new stuff it adds only serves to enhance your overall Fallout 4 experience, and Bethesda makes sure gamers get their moneys worth out of the standalone $24.99 pricetag (or free if you purchased the season pass). Far Harbor sticks to the winning formula of Fallout while also setting itself apart and offers a fun, exiciting expansion that all Fallout fans are sure to enjoy. If you only download one of the current DLCs, do yourself a favor and make it this one! – 9.8/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine