Fallout 4: Nuka-World: A Review

Fallout 4’s Nuka-World expansion is a mixed bag, with some odd choices in terms of story direction. The premise is that the ‘Sole Survivor’ must go to the Nuka-World abandoned theme park, now run by raiders, to act as the leader of said raiders. There are three factions you can control.

Gameplay

Nuka-World provides fun gameplay with underwhelming story decisions. Firstly the good, characters, environment and fighting. The combat was great with a variety of monsters and creatures to kill. New weapons added variety in unique ways. Also Fallout finally received an AK variant rather than a PVC pipe with a scope attached to it for an assault rifle. The three gangs, and their respective leaders, add variety and are interesting. The way they operate is sadly not reflected in there attack methods. Other characters are genuinely well written and pleasant to hear. I found myself skipping dialogue a lot less which is always great. I won’t spoil too much, but a character from Fallout 3 makes a cameo, but only has a few idle lines and one fetch quest. Now for the bad; Choices in the story and interaction with the environment. While the ambiance of the world space is certainly there I can’t help, but feel that the rides and attractions which still work are boring. A lot of the rides will move and have places to sit in, but don’t let a player sit on the actual car, rocket or whatever other ride it is. You can only really ride one ride, which you have to clear out before hand, so you have seen everything already. Lastly the choices in the story. Bethesda makes it so that you either have to go fully through with the raider plan or kill all raiders to turn power on and ‘fix’ Nuka-World. The fact that to be good you have to kill everyone is just bad writing on Bethesda’s part. It seems strange that Bethesda wouldn’t have the foresight to allow you to talk or come to a truce over the use of Nuka-World and set boundaries for Raiders in an RPG. All in all gameplay is a little above average.

Sound

The sound of Nuka-World sets a tone for the DLC. While usually I would discuss the new radio stations they are not very important. Instead the soundtrack itself provides ambiance and is better than any other soundtrack from Fallout 4 and its extra content. Inon Zur has done well at supporting the setting of Nuka-World through his music.

Narrative

Nuka-World begins with a radio signal and brings you to a monorail taking you to the park itself, now run by raiders. The raiders give you a test, but rather than join them they make you their boss. The story revolves around you, just like Fallout 4’s base game which is undesirable in an RPG to say the least. Additionally while Fallout 4’s base game made it difficult to be a bad guy Nuka-World makes it too hard to be a good guy. In both the base game and Nuka-World you are forced to kill everybody and essentially skip all the quests and the fun if you don’t want your preferred companion to dislike you. The only problem is that Nuka-World has no companions that fit into its story except for the one added with the DLC. Overall the story, in terms of choice, is weak.

Graphics

Graphics are the same as the base game of Fallout 4, but special effects such as mist are used. New textures were added but at the same low quality, even on Ultra settings. Also like Fallout 4 in general assets and junk are littered about, with very little care given. Graphics are average to weak.

Verdict

Nuka-World provides a fun experience, in terms of its environment and stages of gameplay. The story lacks a good choice and makes it hard to play as a good character, which is bad writing on Bethesda’s part. However this expansion is very fun to play, and doesn’t force settlements into the gameplay.

score: 6.5/10, Better than Average

Cordially

N1sFoop

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Fallout 4 Far Harbor: A Review

Fallout 4’s Far Harbor expansion is a massive improvement to the game. The use of assets and effects create a solid environment and narrative. However in some places more than others the game feels lacking. In Far Harbor the player must travel to a new island and resolve a conflict that rises there.

Gameplay

While there are some holes in the game play of Far Harbor the whole experience feels extensively better than the Commonwealth and Fallout 4’s base game. Far Harbor includes several improvements, great experiences and some bad ones. First, the good; Companions, interaction with the story and atmosphere. While there is only one companion in the expansion he is actually quite good. His story and actions are actually interesting and he seems to interact more with the separate factions. Speaking of factions the three featured are all well-developed and present a good back story for you to make your own decisions which have a real impact on the story. Instead of 4 different ways to say no, Far Harbor uses factions like New Vegas to decide the closing of the story. Lastly what I find to be  the most interesting important part of Far Harbor is its environment and ambiance. The use of graphics and sound are incredible overall they form a very pleasing atmosphere, which is leaps and bounds better than the original game. Included in the atmosphere are some new creatures. The creatures are actually quite tough and really seem to emphasize the foggy, dense environment. Other mediocre and mild additions include new settlements and some new weapons. Now that the good has been explained here is where most of the bad lies, the quests. Many quests in Far Harbor are extremely boring. These mostly consists of running and moving with very basic fighting. They are almost all fetch quests. I would like to say it would be nice for Bethesda to think outside of the box for these quests, but they have already done it, and it is disastrous. What should have been an easy puzzle section turned into what seemed liked hours of boring, grueling first person puzzles. These puzzles consisted of a simulation using the settlement system to place blocks to guide a beam. It is a sort of laser and mirror puzzle. In total there are 8 of these which are repetitive, annoying and just boredom inducing. Overall game play may be good in some aspects such as environment, but the quests leave a lot to be wanted.

 

Sound

The sound of Far Harbor is somewhat important in terms of ambiance and music which does a good job setting the tone. Otherwise the voice acting and sound effects are practically the same as the base game and mediocre at best. Sound in an action game is very important and still leaves something to be desired.

Narrative

A basic narrative of Far Harbor starts with a case presented to you by Nick Valentine. The case involves a kidnapping which takes the player to Far Harbor. Far Harbor is an island that is home to three main factions. These are a group of synths, the Children of Atom and lastly the people of Far Harbor. The narrative comes together very well and actually gives a better ‘true’ RPG Experience than the base game. This is due to the player themselves not having to be attached to the story in any way since its not somebody you know that is being kidnapped. In total the narrative is quite good.

Graphics

While technically the graphics and texture quality remain the same as the base game of Fallout 4 several improvements made in the way graphics and effects are used inside the game. Overall with the use of fog, landscapes and lake creatures Bethesda created a very atmospheric experience with a chilling feel. All in all the graphics although technically not improved are still an important aspect of Far Harbor.

Verdict

Far Harbor is a real improvement on not only the poor precedent set by the Automatron and Wasteland Workshop DLCs, but an improvement of the whole game of Fallout 4. However with the DLCs hefty price tag of 25 USD  (€ 24.99 / £ 19.99), I can not recommended this piece at its full price. Far Harbor, for its price, leaves a few things to be desired.

score: 6/10, Above Average

Cordially

N1sFoop

Fallout 4: Automatron DLC: A Review

gfxautomatronThe basics of Fallout 4’s Automatron DLC are you can build robots and have them do stuff for you. Additionally there are a few quests, but nothing to write home about. Automatron also reintroduces a character from Fallout 3, The Mechanist. Essentially you have to stop robots and use their parts to reverse engineer your own robots.

Narrative:

The DLC presents a few quests in which you help a robot who was defending a caravan take out the Mechanist. By getting rid of the Mechanist you rid the Commonwealth of its robot problem. Not only are robots rogue in the commonwealth, but there are new types of raiders. These new raiders are called ‘Rust Devils,’ the utilize robots to attack you. Overall narrative is well made.

Sound:

Robot sounds are great and the voice acting is solid. The rest of the sounds are supplied by the base game. All in all sounds are are good.

Graphics:

The graphics are of the same quality as the rest of the Fallout 4 game. So they are pretty bad and mediocre.

Gameplay:

As stated before this DLC only presents a few quests. Sadly, the majority of these quests are either fetch-quests or a kill-everything type situation. Overall the quests were made poorly and very bland. While narrative and dialogue is great, the gameplay does not shine through in anyway. Quests and bland and repetitive and the main story-line’s gameplay is dis-interesting at  best. The final boss fight consists of the same copy-pasted robots coming after you. The only difficulty is the amount most of them are taken out in a couple shots. This part of the gameplay is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. There is a chance for redemption however. Automatron enables you to create and modify your own robot companions which also work as settlers in settlements. Firstly, the good, the DLC allows you to create insanely effective robots which seems to be balanced somehow. The customization is solid and you may choose different paint-jobs and voices for you bots. This is due to the need for leveling and perks. Now the perk Robot Expert is finally useful. Additionally robots made can be used as settlers. The only difference between settlers and bots is just the positive of not needing water and food and the negatives of not being able to take the job of a storekeeper. After the main quest and robot building there are only a few new enemies in the commonwealth to be wary of. These include rogue robots which include robobrains, eye-bots, protectrons, assaultrons and other mechanical conglomerates. Other than this a new type of raider, rust devils, were added to the commonwealth. They use robots to attack you along with weapons. Overall this DLC is not worth the money it costs upon release ($10 US).

Verdict:

While automatron has good customization and overall adds to the settlement mechanic I can’t say this for the overall game. This DLC sadly falls short on a few fronts such as quests and price for content. At ten dollars this DLC is not worth the price right now.

3/10

Poor

Cities Skylines: an Editor Review

Cities: Skylines is a pretty neat game to fill the SimCity void after SimCity 4 (2003), which was just over a decade long. Skylines, like any city simulator before it, is a management of electricity, water, and happiness. As well, the player also has to balance zoning for residential, industry, and commercial properties. It boasts an active community and developers who interact with players. Skylines is also single-player only unlike recent SimCity(2013) games.

Graphics 

Cities: Skylines graphics are beautiful and realistic, especially in night mode. Watching your city grow looks quite nice from afar. Although if you happen to zoom in the game can look a bit displeasing. While things are not very detailed the main problem resides in strange clipping in building parts usually occurring with slopes or jagged land as well as very blurry textures.

Sound/Voice

Skylines contains no voice acting, only sound effects. From afar your city may be peaceful and quiet with birds chirping and cheery music. Zoomed in you hear a busy street with train, bus, and car noises. Also, that damn chirping bird at the top of the screen is pretty annoying, but can be disabled in the settings. Sound is very average and not too important to the quality of this game.

Narrative

Like almost all city builders Cities: Skylines has no real story, but you could make your own.

Gameplay

Cities: Skylines is entirely based on three factors and a few subcategories to focus on later. These three being mentions earlier as water, electricity, and happiness. These are all influenced by some subcategories. Included in this are traffic, transportation, police, fire, and medical services. Additionally, districts can be set allowing for specific regulations according to where you assign them. Different districts also can have different specializations. These include farming, oil, and ore for industry’s as well as tourism for commercialization. Transportation and traffic are keys to help all of your services. If traffic is a problem then firetrucks can’t reach fires, garbage piles up, and industry cannot get the recourse they need. Transportation can fix this, by using public transportation you can limit traffic increase, especially when you avoid using taxis and buses. That said, traffic is by far the hardest thing to manage in this game. Speaking of difficulty, this game really lacks it. Even after the Hard Mode, which simply isn’t enough to satisfy the audience for this game, this audience being the ‘hardcore city builder crowd’ for games like SimCity 2000(1993) and SimCity 4. This makes Skylines have more of a relaxed environment and lets you focus on beautification and making your city pretty. Again this unfortunately, does not cater to the crowd this game was meant for, making out Skylines to be a casual game for beginners and intermediates. While not making up for the difficulty this game’s community is extremely active. Not limited to the steam workshop which has over 70,000 assets and mods, the community also shines in the developers interactions with players. Most player requests have been or are being patched in as well as included in DLCs.

Verdict

Cities: Skylines, while not catering to its mass audience, is overall a great city builder. Even though it is not the best looker it shows potential in community mods, assets and a developer willing to listen to players. All in all I found myself sinking almost two hundred hours into Skylines within the last six months

8/ 10: Great