Do you like suffering? Do you just plane like to torture yourself with insanely difficult situations? Do you consider it totally worth it because it let’s you get more immersed in a video game like nothing else? Well then, kids, strap yourself in because the Fallout 4 Survival Mode is just for you! I should note that as of the release of this article Survival Mode is only in beta, so there might be a few kinks to work out. I personally found none, but I’ve also played about four hours of it before excitedly running here to type up my joyous opinion of it. You can get the beta with Steam by right clicking your Fallout 4 game, clicking properties, going to the beta tab, then clicking the drop menu and selecting the survival mode beta. Your game should automatically update.
Let’s start with the bad, because I only have one: saving. So with survival mode saving is disabled. I mean completely disabled. No autosaves. No manual saves. No quicksaves. The only way to can make sure you don’t lose all of your progress and end up back in your post-war suburbs is to find a bed and have a nap. In a way, I really like it. It means I’m more cautious about my incredible Fallout fuck ups and am less likely to run screaming at a suicider mutant with nothing, but my fists. But… and this is a big but… I rely very heavily on quicksaves. I rely on them, because I have a reletively arcaic computer and playing Bethesda games taxes it like no tomorrow. That means I crash… a lot. And oh boy does it HURT when I crash in survival mode. But DS, why don’t you get Bethesda games on your PS4 or Xbone? Cause I’m a stubborn old man who has played every Bethesda game on my PC and I don’t feel like changing. Thankfully I am relatively use to sleeping in random places because I like the bonus XP I get from getting all snuggly with my partner.
Okay so, how does it compare to Fallout New Vegas’ Hard Mode?
So much better.
For starters, Fallout 4 brings back the basics New Vegas introduced* with hard mode: hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. It also brings back added weight to ammo. Cool, so, with Survival Mode you can now starve to death, die of thirst, and die of lack of sleep? Is that a thing? I would think most likely you would pass out randomly and get eaten by a Yao Guai. Regardless…
In addition to all of those we’ve got adrenaline now, which basically means if you’re getting fired upon while you’re a bit loopy from lack of sleep, your character’s adrenaline goes up and so does your damage.
That is probably the only beneficial bonus to this mode, since it also introduces diseases where you will need antibiotics to cure, a stricter limb healing system (no doctor’s bags, but your limbs won’t magically heal themselves after a battle), much harder to kill enemies, a much lower carrying capacity, and I don’t even know what else at this point. Like I said, was excited to talk about it.
I noticed stimpacks, consumables, and RadAway took ages to work which made me horribly nervous when pinned down by super mutants and my last nap was 30 minutes ago. I also noticed (and this could just be my imagination) headshots obliterated me. It happened a couple of times when I was stuck in a particularly long and grueling battle with a legendary super mutant skirmisher. My health would be full (well as full is it could get with radiation) and I would see a red laser from the green bastard’s gun fly right at my face and then of course I had to break for about ten minutes before I broke my monitor. Again though, not sure if that’s true or not. I had only read about half an article about Survival Mode before downloading it.
From another thing I had read (but not yet experienced) is a slight change in companions. Don’t worry, they still can’t die. But you also can’t watch them go down, finish the fight, then stare at them like a disappointed parent until they get up. Mostly because they won’t get up. That’s right if your chatty, perk-providing, mule goes down in battle you gotta juice them up with a stimpack to get them back up or else they’ll slink home and you have to walk back and fetch them.
Oh that’s right. Fast travel is disabled with Survival Mode. Granted, I personally believe a Bethesda game is far more enjoyable when you don’t fast travel, but I’m odd so if having to walk everywhere sounds like a nightmare to you, well it’s a reality with this difficulty level.
So, what do I think of it? What’s the bottom line from this ol’ alcoholic beelzebub? Fucking awesome. Knocked off a little from fun since crashing and losing all the progress you can for only being to save one way. Knocked off a little from immersion since I still can’t smell the bodies, not that I’d want to of course.
*Yes, I’ve been told that Fallout New Vegas got their hardcore mode from previous Bethesda mods, but I’m not going to officially state that because I’ve done no research on it. Modders are in fact the shit and the stuff they can pull off is outrageously awesome, but that’s a topic for another time.