Kripparian Joe here.
So I’m writing this real quick because I want some feedback on Survival mode in Fallout 4 before I get to script writing for my followup video later in the month. I’ve already gone through Far Harbor and Nuka World. I restarted with a fresh character so I could do second runs of the DLC in survival mode, while making different choices and seeing how I feel about the base game a year later.
Survival mode has become a gigantic chore and, after only a few measly hours, I am ready to throw in the towel. I can’t do another shitty slog so soon after No Man’s Sky. Especially on a game I’ve already played and, surprisingly, am still a little sick of a year later. I don’t think it was a secret how much I was disappointed in Fallout 4.
Survival adds a lot of things from hardcore mode in New Vegas. Some of these are fine: hunger, thirst, exhaustion. There’s also illness and infections. A big one is saving can only be done if you sleep in a bed–even if it’s only for an hour. I think this was done because someone thought a checkpoint system would add tension–maybe even trying to replicate our heroes at FROMsoftware a little bit–without really understanding what it would mean.
On their own these changes could be good. It’s really weird that I can’t find any meters that display thirst, hunger, etc. You just have to guess until a message pops up saying you’re hungry? I don’t know maybe I missed a menu somewhere in the Pip-Boy.
And that’s sort of why I’m writing this because I want to make sure I’m not missing something simple with this mode. I don’t want to make the video and a bunch of people tell me “Hey you missed X, Y, and Z. No wonder you didn’t like it!” I want to give Survival mode a fair evaluation because I love the idea. And I think it’s cool that Bethesda gave enough of a shit to add something like this after the game was released.
The big issue, however, is that these aren’t the only changes. They messed around with damage modifiers too. You and enemies do a LOT more damage. There’s also a mechanic called “Adrenaline” which increases your damage the more enemies you kill, but sleeping makes it fade away. That’s cool! There’s a risk vs reward to how long you go without saving, and whether you want to create a checkpoint and lose your buff, or risk continuing on. Great idea!
However, there’s two things wrong with these changes:
- The game is still Fallout 4.
- The damage modifiers don’t fucking work.
So 1. there might seem like a joke but it isn’t. The game still has hitscan bullets. You can’t reliably avoid damage. And I mean that as exactly as it sounds, unless you’re fighting creatures that are slower than you–mirelurks for examples–you are going to take damage unless you can capitalize on sneak attacks.
But that brings us directly to point 2. in that enemy health–or player damage–isn’t set properly. So even though YOU die in 1 or 2 hits, enemies still take a crap ton of bullets. There was a bloatfly in the swamp starting zone, you know the one to the west of Sanctuary right at the start, that took me about 10 bullets to kill when every shot landed. A BLOATFLY. In the STARTING AREA.
Some raiders take fewer hits than that! But then you also take damage at the same time, which is wildly inconsistent. The three raiders farther south, under the electrical tower, needed to shoot me a few times before I died. Whereas the lone scavenger to the east of Sanctuary could One-Shot-One-Kill-Lol-I’m-Widowmaker me. Meanwhile it took upwards of five bullets for me to kill her, including a sneak attack at the start of the fight.
The event that’s made me want to say Fuck It is that I got to the hidden camp a little farther east of this where you get ambushed by a raider and a dog. At this point I had struggled through so many bullet sponge enemies that, at hour 2 or 3, I was out of ammo. So I was police batoning my way through mole rats. This dog ran at me. I hid behind cover to avoid the raider’s gunfire. I bludgeoned the dog to death without taking damage. The raider got one shot on me. So I raised my Pip-Boy to heal.
At this moment, in a freeze frame shot that would fit in with the Emperor’s New Groove, I saw the red incoming grenade warning blip in front of me before the Pip-Boy was fully raised. It was only up for a frame or three before the game paused. I used a stimpack. Drank some purified water. I lowered my Pip-Boy and was immediately–and I do mean IMMEDIATELY–hit by a molotov cocktail and was killed instantly.
Reload back in Sanctuary at the bed I made to save. Everything I had just killed back alive. All that progress lost.
So if anyone knows how to make this mode playable, or if I just need to Git Gud, or if these changes are like trying to hide the taste of dog shit by covering it with chocolate sprinkles, I would like to hear from you. Before I restart and play the game on Hard Mode instead for a relaxing playthrough.