Friday, September 2, 2016

Fallout 4: Nuka World DLC An Imperfect Finale, But Worth Playing

I had been counting down to what I called Nuka Day, the release date for the Fallout 4 Nuka World DLC. I was quite excited to play the final DLC for Fallout 4 because the idea of an abandoned amusement park while not new (they did this in Bioshock) sounded like it would be interesting and fun in a setting like the Commonwealth Wasteland of Fallout 4. Once I had it downloaded, I started another adventure in the world of Fallout 4.

 It's best to come fully prepared when you start Nuka World. You have to be at least level 30 in order to start the quest. In my case, I was level 72 and by the time I finished I was level 79 which shows you just how much there is to see and explore in Nuka World. Definitely bring your best power armor as well as plenty of stimpaks, Rad-x, and RadAway because you're going to need all of it for many of the battles that come up.

 The way Nuka World starts is you get a radio signal from the Nuka World amusement park broadcasting advertising for it and when you go to investigate, you discover that it's a fairly nasty trap thought up by some raiders and you have to survive a deadly obstacle course known as The Gauntlet. At level 72 this was no big thing for me and I had maxed out several perks which included being able to disarm traps and mines which helped a lot. There are a few surprises here and there that definitely keeps you on your toes and my power armor really took a beating, but it felt a bit exhilarating to be running around and kicking ass.

Welcome to Nuka World!

Once you get to the end of the Gauntlet you have to fight the Overboss and this is where you meet Gage who tells you the truth about that particular fight, perhaps to further his own agenda or something even more sinister. Either way, you're prepared for that fight because of his help and it is a pretty spectacular one. The odd thing is that once you've achieved victory over the Overboss, suddenly you're thrust into the leadership position and become the new Overboss. That moment feels a bit awkward because you didn't really sign up to the be leader and were in fact tricked into showing up, but it does give you an introduction to Nuka World and gives you a good reason to finally get to explore it.

Kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. It's what we do in the Wasteland. 

 Your first area to explore is the main entrance of the park where you get to meet the three raider factions that seem a bit more organized than the usual raiders and who are unsure of your intentions and who you are. You also get to have a hilarious conversation with N.I.R.A. (Nuka World Informational Robot Assistant) the Nuka World greeter robot and you can get a quest from her as well. Once you've gotten acquainted with this area there are five main sections of the park to explore with themes ranging from western to space. My two favorites were Galactic Zone and Safari Adventure because they were interesting to explore  and there was a character in a quest located in Safari Adventure who I truly liked a lot.

A hilarious meeting with N.I.R.A. Nuka World's robot greeter.

 There are a couple of areas outside the amusement park to explore such as an abandoned town and a settlement with a religious group that calls themselves Hubologists. Nuka World gives you that feeling of a huge area to explore and there are a lot of things to see and do with a few more things that can kill you like Gatorclaws. That's right, two deadly things that can rip your face off merged into one. Thanks Vault-Tec scientists. It's exciting to explore and find all these different things because there is a sense of danger in some of the places you need to clear out for quests. I had to plan a strategy just to take out a Nukalurk Queen who was in a full blown rage because I dared to enter her territory. That fight was crazy and intense and I loved every second of it. There's a few new weapons and armor that you can get as well as a couple new power armor sets to add to your collection. There are a couple of fetch quests that are a little tedious because they don't really give you an idea of where to look for them like trying to find 35 star cores for a computer mainframe.

New power armor is always cool to have.

 There are radiant quests to do that the different raider factions give you as well as a few quests from folks like the Hubologists. This is where I had a dilemma about the fact that here are raiders who are not exactly good people and are all for horrible things like slavery. "No one has a bomb collar that doesn't want one and no one is a slave who doesn't want to be" is their messed up reasoning about this. My thought response was, YEAH RIGHT. I had played my character to be essentially a chaotic good type. I did my best to do the right thing, to try not to hurt anyone as best I could, and to help as many people and settlements as possible even when Preston Garvey drove me nuts with the radiant quests. 

 While it is an interesting concept and a cool idea that you can decide to join the raiders and become a big bad scary raider yourself, Nuka World doesn't feel like it really is friendly towards your lone wanderer if they're a hero. Granted you don't have to wage war on all the settlements you helped if you don't want to, but it seems like there are only a few quests that are you actually helping others. The rest seem to be blaze through in a storm of bullets and take what's not yours and it doesn't matter who you kill to get it. That's great for anyone who wants to try their hand at being the villain, but for the way I've played this character it did not sit well with me. I also find it strange that you would even raid your own settlements and I feel that perhaps this should have been a quest played alongside the main story quest instead of after the main one was finished. 

 You can at least finish the Grand Tour quest line before you decide whether or not you're going to live like a pirate or be a hero. I decided I did not want to be the villain. I felt that my character had worked very hard to help everyone in the Wasteland and I could not turn my back on the people who looked up to me and I could not turn my back on people who needed help i.e. the bomb collared slaves. This brought up the Open Season quest which you can get from one of the slaves who happens to be a doctor; Mackenzie who told me what I had already figured out about the raiders in Nuka World. This gives you a chance to continue being the hero if you wish, but make sure you've done everything you wanted to do before attempting it because it will finish things up. 

 The story feels a bit light in Nuka World and I think I liked Far Harbor better because for me, the story had more depth and even gave some great back story to one of my favorite characters, Nick Valentine. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy Nuka World because I did, but some of the pacing felt a bit uneven and forced. I did have fun exploring it however and I did like playing the last DLC of Fallout 4 because overall Fallout 4 has been a game that has been a nearly flawless and enjoyable gaming experience for me. This wasn't a bad way to spend twenty dollars. Nuka World is an imperfect finale, but it is worth playing because overall it is fun to play which is one of the big things that's important to me in my gaming. It was a creative and cool way to say goodbye to Fallout 4. 

A view of Nuka World from the top. Farewell, Fallout 4!

*The Nuka World DLC is available to play on these platforms: Microsoft Windows PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One

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