*This post was originally published on The Game Bolt in May, 2016*
Do you remember the first time you ventured into the Glowing Sea in Fallout 4 with its oppressive atmosphere where the very air is out to irradiate you to death? Or when you stumbled upon the ghostly and horror-shadowed depths of the Dunwich Borers? It’s areas like this that keep driving one to explore in Fallout 4 with their uniqueness and challenging aspects. If you were someone who was looking for a good crossbreed between challenge and atmosphere, then the Far Harbor DLC is what you’ve been looking for from Bethesda’s next foray into the Sole Survivor’s story.
Ah yes! This looks welcoming! It’s like Mordor is encroaching on New England!
This DLC is massive to be sure. Boasting over 20 hours of content, it took me about 16 to complete all the quests and there are still a ton of locations I have yet to explore and depths I’ve been reluctant to advance into. While the content assuredly feels like go ol’ fashioned Fallout 4, some new features that are unique to the island change the game in terms of combat and exploration. Far Harbor is an entirely new aesthetic set in the wooded fishing villages of northern Maine. The Fog, a dense mist that coats the island to the point where it can block out the sun’s very rays, slowly irradiates you if you don’t take the necessary precautions. It also obscures vision, making long ranged combat a tense guessing game as to your enemy’s locations.
Then there are the very denizens of the island themselves. There are the standard Super Mutants, Mirelurks, and Mole Rats. Then there are the Trappers, the raider subtype on the island that are hardier than their Commonwealth counterparts. These poor souls have gone insane while attempting to live in the Fog and lash out against anyone or anything that comes into their territory. These are accompanied by four new enemy types: Anglers, mutated versions of the deep sea angler fish (go ahead and google image search that for some wonderful imagery); Gulpers, which are reminiscent of newts who have been irradiated; and there are the Fog Crawlers and the Hermit Crabs, which…well, I’ll let you find those for yourself. These new enemy types are tough to bring down and present a serious problem with their swarm tactics in groups. Even the most powerful power suit wearing Dreadnought should beware these heavily armored biological death machines.
The quest lines are mainly split between the three main groups on the island. The denizens of Far Harbor seek to reclaim their land and push out the insane zealotry of the Children of Atom. Acadia, a town of synths, merely wants everyone to live on the island in peace. And of course the Children of Atom are simply insane and have become a militant force looking to strike back at everyone else on the island. Once you’ve completed the main storyline for the DLC you’re actually given some pretty decent freedom in terms of how you want to decide the fate of the island. Does no one get to live peacefully and you wash the land in a nuclear bloodbath? Does one side get the benefit of being the island’s only inhabitants? Or do you play the benevolent puppet master and find a solution that keeps everyone alive? Slash and burn, or love and care. In the end, it all comes down to your decision and how you want it to go.
Pro tip: Bring Nick Valentine with you if you’re one for a companion. I missed out not bringing him on my play through 😦
Far Harbor shines out as a solid DLC experience. It feels like Fallout 4 at its core but adds a few unique concepts that keep things fresh. The oppressive atmosphere the island keeps with a deadly fog that hides irradiated horrors makes exploration tense. The different factions all feel like they have their own agency and agenda. The new slew of weapons and armor are thematically appropriate and add more depth to your character’s build. There are four new settlements and new building options to play post-apocalyptic Sims with. And even after you’ve completed all the quests, there are still locations left to explore and discover hidden stories amongst. The amount of content is staggering for DLC and definitely worth the price.
Considering its $25 cost, over 20 hours of content, and solid delivery, Far Harbor is an absolute must for anyone who has played Fallout 4. Whether you’re an addict like myself who hasn’t stopped playing since its November release, or you put down the game a while ago, Far Harbor gives everyone a reason to jump back into the cataclysmic world of Fallout 4.