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Thread: Starting my first ever Fallout 4 game in survival mode

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton

    Starting my first ever Fallout 4 game in survival mode

    Is this a bad idea? I'm about 15 hours in, and it's incredibly difficult but also rewarding in some ways. As someone who's played lots of Fallout 3 and New Vegas but never 4 before, I can make the following observations.

    Survival mode forces me to play slowly and thoughtfully, which can be satisfying. The problem is that a lot of the game seems designed to be swept through, and as a result I spend lots of time lurking very slowly in places that turn out to be basically useless, or else I go into some minor encounter and it takes like an hour because every enemy is so powerful and accurate. At this rate I'll be playing the game for years before I finish it. That being said, survival mode kind of alleviates some of the typical Bethesda tedium of: run up, kill everyone, check every drawer, move on. I'm having to avoid more encounters than I engage in, so the world feels more alive and dangerous and less just a place to be looted and consumed.

    Another problem is being able to save only when sleeping. When it comes to quest branches I don't really mind having to live with my choices, but when the game doesn't make it clear what my decision is and the result is something I didn't intend, it seems less like fate and more like bad design. Bethesda games are famous for glitchy quests, and while I never really enjoyed quicksaving my way through them to make sure they go smoothly, having to redo entire chunks when the decisions I'm presented with aren't clear isn't great either. But on the other hand, forcing me to save only at beds adds a lot of tension to the game, which is lacking in previous Fallouts. Some kind of balance between the two would be best, maybe. Would it maybe be better to just put the difficulty on Very Hard?

    As for eating and drinking, I like that food and water, always ubiquitous in the wasteland, now have a purpose. Having to store food and water is a bit of a pain, but not a dealbreaker, and I like the quiet moments of cooking.

    Anyway, those are some thoughts. Any opinions on whether this is worth it in the long run or any other survival-related advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Oh, also, sometimes my settlements get under attack, but they're halfway across the world and I can't fast travel, so there's basically nothing I can do, right?

  3. #3
    Short answer: Worth it. For the reasons you cite and more.

    That said, don't bother going to Diamond City until you are pretty high level and decked out in good armor and weapons (specialize in something, too).
    The main story progresses after visiting that place. I wouldn't even progress the settlement system by way of Preston until you can take care of yourself for the most part. The world is way more 'populated' once the main quest line gets moving just like in the other Bethesda games.
    Settlements will take care of themselves even if they fail fending off an attack. Don't worry about rushing to them. I'd get the popups about some settlement being under attack even in Far Harbor. Doesn't matter much really.

    The sleeping for save is the only gripe I have, but they're are plenty of beds out in the wilds. The only real reason to have settlements is for the beds and for stockpiling supplies.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    Cool, thanks. I actually didn't switch to survival mode until just after settling Sanctuary, so I guess it was like a couple hours in. I've made it to Diamond City already and now Good Neighbor, but the world is pretty treacherous. I wasn't thinking about survival when I first started the playthrough, so my stats are a little all over the place, although I thankfully invested in Charisma and Agility. Maybe I should head back to Sanctuary and level up (I think I'm only at 11 right now) for a while before going further.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2002
    Location: Edmonton
    So, I'm some 50 hours in, and I can say now that I wouldn't play this game in anything other than survival mode. I spent a lot of time leveling up; now I'm at 40, and the game was starting to get easy again until I did a bit more of the main quest, and now the world suddenly seems to have leveled up with me. Everywhere I go I run into legendary raiders and mutants, which is forcing me again, after a spell of overconfidence, to have to plan my attacks carefully and run away from fights I can't win (especially from anything that shoots poison at me).

    It really feels like the game was designed to be played this way. Having to manage hunger and thirst and illness makes scrounging for supplies a necessity rather than a distraction, and crafting stations for healing and cooking are now almost as important as beds. Settlements have become crucial as checkpoints for saving and keeping supplies, since I can't carry very much, even with strength perks. It also makes some of the odder perks like Lead Belly very useful.

    I resented the save system at first, but for the better it's changed the way I play the game. I don't go to places I've never been unless I'm prepared with either a nearby bed or a stealth boy, so I've been having fewer frustrating deaths. And the couple of times where I accidentally found myself in a tough encounter far away from a save and managed to pull through by the skin of my teeth were some of the best moments of the game so far.

    Managing settlements hasn't been much of a problem either. I can't haul around as much junk to them as I'd like, but that's okay, and it gives me the chance to make dedicated trips around the Commonwealth to check up on things, avoiding the dangerous routes.

    So, to summarize, I would definitely recommend even first-time players (which I am, in case the thread title wasn't clear) to try survival mode. It feels a lot more like an actual role-playing game than recent Bethesda titles. It forces you to slow down and pay attention to the world, which is, of course, the best feature of the game.

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