If you’ve been one of the brilliant folks who regularly read my ramblings you are no doubt aware that I absolutely loved Fallout 4, it was my game of the year for 2015 and also provided my favorite open world experience as well.
Far Harbor brought more of what I love to the game, hours upon hours of quests (it took me roughly 14 hours to stream the whole thing in the two weeks it has been out), a brand new area of the world to explore and either new factions or an expanded version of an existing group with a far more militant take on the Children of Atom than the already sometimes aggressive group from the main game. A few months ago Automatron did a good job of whetting my whistle for some good old fashioned Fallout DLC but Far Harbor is truly the main course I had been waiting for.
You start the quest via Valentine’s Detective Agency, obviously making the rescue of Nick Valentine and completing the quest “Getting a Clue” a priority. Once those requirements are met you can take the “Far from Home” quest, meeting with some parents whose daughter has ran off. You quickly discern that the daughter believes she is a Synth and has ran off to join a Synth Colony located on a distant island. You take a boat to the island and are immediately (un)welcomed by the human inhabitants of the town of Far Harbor, settlers who remain fairly icy to you even after you help fight off waves of new beasts at their front gate. You get some quests here but the DLC doesn’t really take off until you find yourself in the Synth colony of Acadia and start diving deeper into the island’s history and the feuds between the human factions and the Synths.
The game continues to examine several of the questions the main game focused on, such as whether Synths are “living” people with free will or abominations while also threading elements of religious zealotry into the plot. The radiation worshiping Children of Atom were one of my favorite parts of the DLC, their crazy religion based on attaining “Division” through the power of Atom making for some of the most humorous dialogue as they prattle on about the faith of their little cult.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Fallout game without crazy mutated beasts and Far Harbor brings a few solid additions to the bestiary. Cannibalistic Trappers replace the standard Raiders and Wolves replace the Feral Hounds of the base game as well as new forms of Radstag, Yao Guai and Mirelurks. The big additions are Gulpers (weird giant lizard looking things), Anglers (odd ape-sized amphibious beasts with lights dangling off their heads like the classic angler fish), Fog Crawlers (large insectoid beasts somewhere between Deathclaws and Mirelurk queens in size) and Hermit Crabs (exactly what you think). The latter two I only saw once a piece, which was disappointing because so many NPCs warned me about the Crawlers that I wanted to fight them (the one I did fight got a good jump out of me when it sprung up out of nowhere) and the Hermit Crab was so cool looking I wanted to battle more of them as well.
The only gripe I have with the whole DLC is a segment late in the main quest where you are inside the memories of a Synth unit. The sequence is a series of puzzles wherein you move blocks to create pathways and shut off force-fields to allow little digital bugs to access the memories. The last of these took me way too long to sort out and even when I was moving from segment to segment of the puzzle it felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. Take this one sequence out of the DLC and it may well have been a perfect ten.
Final Verdict: 9 out of 10
Far Harbor is an example of how to properly do DLC, I wish Bethesda had done a better job with putting out more content just like this one. I liked Automatron just fine and have not dabbled in the Wasteland Workshop stuff but this is the sort of experience I wanted as an addition to my Fallout 4 experience. If you are a fan of Fallout I highly suggest you pick this up at your earliest convenience.
Also keep an eye out for the play-through I completed today, I’ll be breaking it up into the usual segments over the next few days.