News July 25, 2016

Fallout 4's Far Harbor - is it Worth it?

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Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Date: 07/25/16

Fallout 4 has been my go to game for some time now. Whether I’m tinkering at a workstation or fighting rouge robots, there are plenty of reasons to venture back into the wasteland. Most of my desire to return is based on the game’s base content; though the DLC certainly warrants continued play, the core content can keep one busy for days. That said, the Far Harbor expansion is different. Not only does it allow us to do more of the same (crafting, fighting, surviving), it also introduces a whole new environment to explore…   

This expansion takes our hero out of the Commonwealth and places them on a mysterious island called Far Harbor. Well…they travel there after receiving an assignment from Nick Valentine’s Detective Agency. The job was to track down Kasumi Nakano, the daughter of a fisherman who recently went missing. Investigating further, we find out that the Kasumi was in contact with the leader of Acadia, a colony of escaped synths living in Far Harbor. Her father believes she was kidnapped, though there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of foul play; Kasumi had been sending messages to them for a while before disappearing. Is it possible that she left her parents of her own free will or was there something sinister afoot? The only way to find out was to use the fisherman’s boat to travel to the island.

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Like the Automatron add-on, I really like the sleuthing aspects of this expansion. The ante is raised, however, in terms of overall mystery. Moments after stepping foot into the town of Far Harbor, I’m greeted by armed citizens. Apparently they’ve been on edge and aren’t immediately trustworthy of strangers. Taking a look around, I can see why. The town was surrounded by a radioactive fog. For years the residents dealt with it from afar, but recently it’s begun to creep towards their town. Now it’s up to their gates. Thankfully, by using fog condensers to make fresh air, they town’s residents are relatively safe. That is until they’re attacked by large salamander-like creatures called Gulpers.

The presence of these deadly monsters and fog must be the work of the Children of the Atom, a cult that worships radiation. Then again, it could be that colony of synths. Ever since these two other factions move to the island, things have gone from bad to worse. At least, that’s what some of the town’s folk think. Because of all of the mistrust and small instances of violence, a Cold War like situation has developed between the three groups. How would the Children of the Atom be responsible for the fog’s current state when it’s been a part of the island for centuries? Just who are these synths? And what does all of this have to do with a missing girl? Before I could even start answering these questions, I was slammed with another conundrum. I won’t spoil what happens, but will say that not everyone living in town was who they said they were!

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The island of Far Harbor seemed to fuel the enigmatic happenings all on its own.  Playing in first-person, it felt like I was being watched.  On more than one occasion I would turn and see something scurry back into the fog. In the distance I would hear what sounded like something being eaten alive. New versions of Ghouls and Crawlers lurked about, while larger beasts patrol specific areas. Waste high water made it difficult to flee attackers. With the help of a guide I was able to traverse a safe path through the fog in order to reach Acadia. And by safe I mean we were only attacked by small to medium sized monsters. Basically, Far Harbor was an unnerving place to visit.

Along with a new environment came new items, armor and weaponry. One of the standout additions is the harpoon gun. This weapon takes a while to shoot and must be reloaded after every shot (unless modded) but its massive damage output makes it worth the hassle. Being able to retrieve the bolts to replenish the ammo is a nice touch. Other noteworthy loot are scattered about. Some, like the top-tier Marine armor sets, are only found after completing certain quests. Just make sure you’re strength is high enough to carry the new equipment without becoming encumbered; not being able to run away made me think twice about picking up everything I saw.

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There is usually a lot/too much to talk about when it comes to Fallout. The bottom line here is that I enjoyed my time in Far Harbor. The narrative is rather interesting, featuring twists and turns that may shock players who fully invest themselves into what’s going on (as opposed to beelining to the finish). The island is spooky, but in a different way than what came before; the fog keeps the tension high when you aren’t fighting for your life. The new items and weapons are fun to use. There’s even a virtual reality section that totally changes the way the game is played. All and all, Far Harbor is the best piece of content released via the season pass. At least, that’s how I feel so far anyways…

The Far Harbor expansion is available for those who purchased the season pass or sold separately for $24.99. Next up is the Vault-Tec Workshop – an add-on that’s similar to the Wasteland Workshop and Contraptions Workshop DLC. Be sure to check back here for our thoughts on that after it’s released on July 26th. In the meantime, go here to check out our coverage of all the DLC played thus far (including our review of Fallout 4)!