Sleep, Eat, Die, Repeat: Hands On With Fallout 4’s Survival Mode

Fallout 4’s [official site] Survival Mode entered beta earlier this week and to honour the occasion, we sent Robert Zak back to the future with a pack full of rations and a pocket full of bullets.

It’s been too long since I last slept, which is a problem because it’s the only way I can save my last hour of tentative progress in Fallout 4’s survival mode. I’ve finally completed a routine quest for some man-child ghoul who wanted to wear some superhero uniform, and need to hit the hay somewhere, anywhere, lest some unforeseeable bullet or head trauma insta-kills me. I skirt my way around bandit camps, pick off the occasional super mutant (only when absolutely necessary) with single silenced headshots, and am barely a hundred feet from the safe haven of Goodneighbor.

It’s a cruel, cruel mode, is survival mode, and I’m not yet convinced that I like it.

I allow myself a pinch of elation as I make for the town’s welcoming cathode-tube sign, when suddenly the dreaded ‘danger’ music kicks. I instinctively hit the VATS button, but can’t see where the threat is coming from until it erupts from the ground into my face. Mole Rats. Around eight of them led by two powerful ‘Legendaries’. A slow-mo ‘NOOOO’ moment ensues, as my sleep-deprived adrenaline kicks in (giving me a 40% damage boost). In seconds my screens turns into a firework display of giblets and mole rat heads.

But it’s not enough. Just a couple of irradiated nibbles at the ankles and my leg pops off like a Ken doll’s. I’m dead – a solid hour of progress ripped away from me in seconds. I emit one of those profanity-filled whisper-screams in the back of my throat, cry foul play, and indignantly declare to myself that I’m done with it forever (which is, of course, a lie).

Yes, Survival Mode is cruel.

This was to be my gateway back into a game that I never massively warmed to in the first place. I put around 30 hours into Fallout 4, and loved its densely-packed, engaging world, where walking in any direction promised some kind of impromptu adventure. But the protagonist felt too prescriptive, with the dialogue and story angling him/her too much towards being a bit of a Mr/Mrs Nice Guy/Gal. Narratively it felt on-rails, the ‘do anything, be anyone’ fantasy didn’t really apply, and my interest waned.

But with survival mode, a new fantasy is promised – a post-apocalyptic experience that captures some of the shittiness and misery. Sleep, disease and antibiotics, food and hunger all factor into your overall ‘Wellbeing’, you take much more damage, and ammo now has its own weight. It all sounds tough and gritty and wonderful, but the current reality is that – despite many moments of bum-clenching brilliance – it’s rather fiddly and frustrating.

Instead of starting a new game, I crank my current character up to survival difficulty. While you can’t turn the difficulty back down once you’re survivin’, it automatically treats your lower-difficulty game as another character, so you don’t need to worry about your pre-survival game being overwritten.

I spend my first half-hour offloading equipment at Sanctuary to meet my carrying capacity, seeing as I have enough ammo on me to pour it into a deep vault and dive into it Scrooge McDuck-style (obviously, I’d rather do this with money if I had enough of it, but I imagine ammo is equally jingly). It’s an arduous process, but seeing as I always struggled with clutter in my Fallout 4 inventory I do find it kind of cathartic (see image above to get an idea of how much I dropped).

With that said, I don’t appreciate the fact that for every minute that I spend over-encumbered, I emit a grunt as if I’ve just been kicked in the stomach and lose a chunk of health. Survival mode, it seems, is so tough that even your own inventory is capable of turning on you and pummelling you to death…

Also, for the first time in my life I actually have to learn which ammo fits into which guns: .308mm for sniper rifles, 10mm for pistols, .38mm for revolvers – yep, I’m now a regular survivalist gun nut. Lightly packed and newly knowledgable, I bound out into the wasteland with a spring in my step. Well, actually I’m perma-crouching, parched, and one stimpack away from being encumbered until my legs break, but whatever. I’m ready.

My first run-in with death comes as a result of naivety, as I happen upon a raider kneeling by a grave, praying for a fallen comrade. I hadn’t seen this before, and take pity on him, thinking that maybe the poor bugger is maybe some unique ‘friendly’ raider who’d show that they’re not all bad. He isn’t, and two shots later I’m dead – a reminder that raiders are indeed the scum of the Earth and should be slaughtered indiscriminately. It was only about 15 minutes since I’d last save-slept, so by no means a disaster.

Suffice to say I get the bastard back, honourably chucking his headless body into the grave he was kneeling by.

As I work my way towards Boston I’m beset by hunger and thirst much quicker than I expected, denting my endurance and intelligence. Cooking stations are now a crucial survival tool, and while I’m generally much more cautious about jumping into combat, I’m prepared to risk it all and take on a whole raider camp just to get to their cooking pot, grill me some radroaches and purify some water.

With food and water essential to my survival rather than just being gamey quick-fix healing items, sitting around a fire at night and cooking takes on a more meditative quality – the cooking pot is a place of rest, reflection, quite a bit of micromanagement, and scouting for any quests to complete in the vicinity. Without fast travel, it’s often a long and dangerous journey to return to a given place, so best settle any important local business sooner rather than later.

Counteracting this perversely pleasurable feeling of vulnerability is my favourite addition to the survival mode – Adrenaline. For every 5 kills you pull off without saving, your damage infliction increases by 5%, all the way up to a maximum of 50. This creates a great little dilemma – if you’ve buffed yourself up to being an adrenaline-fuelled killing machine, do you push on for more adventure with your stat boost, risking everything you’ve achieved since your last save? Or do you cash in, save your game, and become an adrenaline-free mortal again?

I can say that after several rush-of-blood adrenaline frenzies that ended in my death and sizeable slabs of time wasted, the answer to that should be obvious. But I’ll let you find out for yourself, seeing as the fear of being brutally punished for your recklessness is the whole masochistic reasoning behind playing in survival modes in the first place, isn’t it?

Survival mode makes Fallout a more engaging, immediate and gripping experience, though that’s inevitable when saving the game becomes a rare luxury. There are still problems with the mode that prevent it from being the ‘definitive’ Fallout experience for me, most of which relate to the huge level of micromanagement it entails. Even on normal difficulty, I found the inventory way too fiddly, and now that I need to constantly monitor my weight like some Fitbit fanatic, it’s only gotten worse.

Bethesda promised that the survival mode would encourage exploration, ‘slowing down the pace of the game and encouraging players to explore the nooks and crannies of the world’. While it’s certainly slowed me down, it’s done so through a combination of micromanagement and the fact that I’m terrified – neither of which is conducive to exploration. The hell am I going to go sticking my face into ‘nooks and crannies’ when a mole rat might just jump out and one-shot pop my head off like I were a bloody Lego Man.

Survival modes make the peaks and troughs of the gaming experience more extreme. Death is more likely and punishing, making victory and progress more satisfying – it’s like the wingsuiting of video games. Currently, in Fallout 4 the extremes are too pronounced. The need to eat and drink is so frequent that it becomes tiresome, and the save system has you scrambling for a bed after each quest, lest you lose your progress. It’s kind of comparable to bonfires in Dark Souls, but that game offers rigid patterns that you can learn and adapt to on each playthrough. Part of Fallout 4’s charm is the unpredictability of its open world, but in the current rendition of survival mode, that charm can quickly turn into frustration.

Being a beta, this is a work in progress, and gameplay tweaks like Adrenaline and no fast-travelling definitely embellish the experience. I’d like to see the need to eat and drink pared down a bit, to have a tad more leniency with weight, and perhaps an extra way of autosaving – such as by completing a quest or by ‘clearing’ an area of enemies. But maybe these are just the meek words of someone who’s been beaten down and broken by survival mode, and really it’s aimed at gamers made of tougher stuff than myself… not that I’ll ever admit that.

Now, if you excuse me, I need to go find a mattress to lie down on, before something awful happens…

From this site

83 Comments

  1. LewdPenguin says:

    Not sure you quite qualify as a survivalist gun nut just yet, .308mm and .38mm would be rounds about the size of a fairly small sewing needle, it should read just .308 and .38 for those 2 examples. Although thinking about it slightly more I am having doubts, please tell me that was just the writer not being at all familiar with guns and not an accurate reflection of what it says ingame. I can just about imagine Bethesda having dropped something that hideously wrong in, in which case it might just take F4 from ‘something to pick up in a bit for cheap in a sale’ all the way into ‘OH GOD NO WHAT WERE THEY THINKING’ territory for me.
    That said I wonder if it would be a good/fun idea to jump right into survival from the start at whatever hypothetical point in the future I get around to actually playing F4…

    • Carcer says:

      It’s the author’s error – certainly at least base Fallout 4 ammunition is all appropriately named (though shotgun shells are just “shotgun shells” rather than having gauge or type specified; presumably, they’re 12-gauge 00 buckshot). I suppose it’s possible someone decided to rename the ammo items in the survival beta for some reason, but I’d be surprised.

      • MadisonCarter says:

        Mʏ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴘᴀʏ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs $8000 working 9 hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 29 hours a week. I ᴄᴀɴᴛ ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ʜᴏᴡ ᴇᴀsʏ ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴏɴᴄᴇ I ᴛʀɪᴇᴅ ɪᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ.
        Tʜɪs ɪs ᴡʜᴀ¬ I ᴅᴏ,.. link to tiny.tw

    • steves says:

      I think (though I may be wrong, as a UK-er I’m not allowed to play with guns) that rifle or handgun calibers like .38/.45 are decimal inches, whereas mm would be in the 7-10 range.

      I have no idea what a “thirty-ought 6” is though, except that it’s what sniper rifles in Deus Ex used, and therefore the best ammo!

      • Shadow says:

        .30-06 Springfield is an old American rifle calibre dating from 1906 used by guns like the WW2 rifle M1 Garand.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        • SheepOFDOOM says:

          He’s right, but to explain a little better without going to Wikipedia: .30 rounds already existed, but the military developed a better rifle round in 1906. It’s gone on to be rather popular, so 30-06 is shorthand to avoid confusion amongst gun nuts.

      • Maritz says:

        It’s not like guns are banned in the UK. If you want to shoot why not get a licence?

        • Premium User Badge

          Grizzly says:

          If it’s anything like the Netherlands you don’t actually need a license, just go to a shooting range with it’s own armory (which they all have due to strictness of aforementioned license).

          • Premium User Badge

            Grizzly says:

            And I highly recommend that you do! It’s a lot of fun in a surprisingly zen way.

      • Rozza says:

        Haha! Decimal inches. Good one.

    • Robert Zak says:

      What? You mean you’ve never heard of needlehead bullets – capable of puncturing a man’s flesh and scrambling his insides while leaving no discernible mark?

      Ok, I yield. Neither have I. Those ‘mm’ are a mistake – there go my fleeting pretences to being a gun nut…

  2. Phendron says:

    I played a lot of Frostfall in Skyrim, I love the idea of making your way naturally as opposed to opening a map and teleporting to whichever quest marker is on the itinerary. Having human (or argonian) needs and being mindful of which objects you need to survive is immersive and rewarding to me.

    I booted up survival mode last night, new game to get a feel for it all. Just like you mentioned, I was almost immediately parched and hungry, and panicked the moment I fought my first mole rats. After about half an hour of wandering and snacking I ended up in Concord and was promptly destroyed by bandits, putting me back at my fresh bed in Sanctuary Hills.

    This is pretty much what I was looking for after a couple dozen hours in the vanilla game, I think it’s promising once they tweak the numbers. The dealbreaker for me though has to be the limited saves, it’s way too frustrating considering all the minutia you have to repeat. Savescumming may be tempting but at least a couple of checkpoints or maybe a ‘save bank’ that gives you a handful of quicksaves in between each rest would alleviate the frustration. Almost there Beth.

  3. Underwhelmed says:

    So does this replace the current survival difficulty? I really hope not. I find babysitting food and water bars and walking over the same empty ground a dozen times just about the opposite of a good time, and I really don’t want to give up the way survival difficulty currently works.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      Well that was a dumb question that I figured out myself.

      It does appear to replace the current survival mode, and that is really stupid.

      • popej says:

        That’s pretty poor tbh.

      • snowgim says:

        Yeah that sucks. I’m 65 hours into a Survival playthrough, and now I have to either lower the difficulty or put up with all that nonsense? I was having fun :(

    • Galilnagant says:

      Don’t worry, I’m sure there’ll be mods to make Hard mode’s enemies have 10x more HP before the end of the month.

  4. MadeMeSignUp says:

    Cant’t really take it much more.
    Read these articles every time I go to start-up Fallout 4,
    because hey, news.
    These articles seriously suck.
    Between Adam Smith, and Robert Zak.
    It’s like they’ve never played games before.
    Why write articles when you don’t know shit about the game itself?
    Just kinda confuses me.
    Stay crappy.

    • Phendron says:

      shouldn’t you be watching people on twitch or something?

    • Joriath says:

      That’s pretty poor poetry, it doesn’t even rhyme.

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      I feel great amusement,
      that your disagreeable comment
      is quite poetic.

      Was it intention?
      Or just poorish writing skills?
      We might never know.

      • Premium User Badge

        caff says:

        He signed up once,
        because he’s a dunce.

        We’re not sure why.
        But to say we care,
        would be a lie.

        • MrFinnishDude says:

          I agree good sir,
          but sadly your haiku game
          is just not on point.

          Dishonorable.
          You must commit sudoku
          to preserve your honour.

          As sad as it is.
          Commenters on game sites
          follow traditions.

          • Michael Anson says:

            I think you will find
            That you meant seppuku, sir,
            Not number logic.

            It is very hard
            To kill yourself painfully
            With a paper cut.

      • Minglefingler says:

        A grumbling writer,
        displeased with articles wrote,
        melancolic poem.

        • Minglefingler says:

          Ian Minglefingler,
          wrote whimsical haiku fast
          misspelt longer word.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Is this a poem?

    • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

      The only good homophobe is a dead homophobe. I hope you and your worthless family never reproduce. #GamersAreDead

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        This whole thread should be sterilised.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          That made it sound like I want everyone who posted to be sterilised. I just mean stop being silly and mean.

  5. katscan says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but:
    you can carry a sleeping bag and therefore save the game at any point.
    That makes more sense in that you trade some weight for the ability to save.

    • Magical Pedro says:

      Hey, hi :) Actually, no.

    • Magical Pedro says:

      addendum to previous reply: of course its one of the most asked feature for a survival update on fallout4 forums and redditz.

  6. Stevostin says:

    Someone on their forum suggested smoking a cigaret as a way to save. Sounded like a beautiful yet practical idea to me.

    • Stevostin says:

      … or drinking a Nuka Cola, if you don’t want to ad for tobacco.

      • shocked says:

        Could I eat a salad instead?

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          What if I’m survival roleplaying a breatharian insomniac but these modes keep forcing capitalist ideas like humans having to eat and sleep and always kills my character. :(

        • Stevostin says:

          Don’t tell me, tell them. The feedback on the save limit is the #1 response from what I’ve seen, close to the thirst/hunger being too high, so I’d expect them to modify this pretty soon.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It could be self-regulating then too. Smoke cigarettes too often and get cancer. Drink cola too often and get fat with bad complexion.

      Silly of course, but they could simplify it to simply getting sick if you smoke/drink cola too often. Maybe every 15/20 minutes. Give some really hefty debuffs if you smoke/drink more often than that. Debuffs that last until you get a full nights sleep in a bed.

      Maybe even have it that the longer you go without smoking/drinking cola, you get a slight buff. To encourage you to not save rarely. Kind of like the adrenaline buff talked about in the article.

      This way you can save very often if you like, but you pay a penalty if you do. But you can save during missions or extended exploring so you don’t lose all your progress. And you can tailor when you save to suit your needs while still being encouraged to take risks.

      • jonahcutter says:

        “To encourage you to save rarely.”

        Not, not.

      • Underwhelmed says:

        Be punished for saving too frequently with in game penalties!
        Be punished for not saving frequently enough because of game breaking bugs and broken scripts!
        Win win!

    • Geebs says:

      So, in MGS5, which started the whole “smoke a funny cigar to make time go fast” thing, Venom Snake unrepentantly does a bunch of pretty awful stuff (murder, nuclear proliferation, listening to Hall and Oates, etc). The thing which really bugged me, though, was that on several occasions he lights up and gets high in front of a bunch of children, specifically because he’s waiting for them to go away. That’s pretty much as degenerate as a person can get.

  7. katscan says:

    Here it is from the patch notes:

    “Bed Types

    The type of bed you’re sleeping in determines the length of time you are able to stay asleep. A sleeping bag will save your game and may help save your life when you’re desperate, but it will never allow for a full night’s rest and the benefits that come with it.”

    Robert, you want to rewrite your review and see if your conclusion is different now that you CAN save the game at any point? Just craft a sleeping bag and carry it with you. You won’t get the full benefits as if you slept in a proper bed, but that’s correct: sleeping in a sleeping bag on a rock is not as restful as a proper bed.

    So what do you think of Survival mode if you CAN sleep/save at any point?

    • popej says:

      I could be wrong dude but I’m pretty sure it’s just referring to fixed sleeping bags that you find around the world. Or those you build yourself in settlements of course.

      I don’t think it’s a carrying sleeping bag in the manner of other games….

      • Magical Pedro says:

        I can confirm that.
        Thruth is, I find the lack of possibility to craft your own sleeping bag very immersion breaking, BUT i’m actually very pleased of the present system; being able to drop a sleeping bag and save whenever you want (out of combat) would break the pace bethesda wanted to give to this survival mode, wich is quite good as it is now. Every time I leave my settlement, I feel like i’m really on patrol, very carefull, thinking twice before taking this way or engaging that enemy. It feels like a total new game, and i’m as satisfied that it embrace fully the path it was already leaning to (openworldcraftysurvivalshooterbasebuilding, but too easy/boring in vanilla) as I was disapointed that fallout 4 took one step further far from its glorious rpg origin (f1 & 2)

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Strange that they didn’t add that. I updated a script for a mod broken by one of the DLC’s in New Vegas and it was a pretty simple script, plus the models already existed in the game.

          Add a script for the rolled up static sleeping bag item.
          Drop it from inventory and use it on the ground for a popup menu with “Pick up” or “Unpack”.
          A new rolled out model spawn and replaces it with a new menu with “Sleep” and “Pack up”.

          The only problem was that the placement sucked if the ground wasn’t flat but they have a new system for item placement to potentially handle it even easier now, like use sleeping bag in inventory out of combat and get a one-use placement of it like in a settlement and a “sleep/pack up” menu when using it.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        This.

  8. OmNomNom says:

    Survival mode is definitely a step in the right direction but I feel there are a few other variables that need to be tweaked too. I still feel that there is way too much ammunition kicking around for starters.

  9. Jack_Empty says:

    It could do with a suspend save system, one that gets deleted when you load it up. On the xboxone or ps4 you can suspend games whenever you like but I cant do that on my PC. I wanted to play some more this evening but dont have 2+ hours available to actually get something done but wouldve started if I could stop (suspend) mid mission to sleep in the real world. Rob is right about food/water needing too much attention, at the mo I find it takes 3 purified water to refesh myself and it feels like I need it every 20 mins.

    • Jack_Empty says:

      .. oh and bars/numbers for your hydration/hunger/sleep. As it is I’m often unsure if I’m about to be thirsty or tired, and when it says I’m fully hydrated am I 100% or 92% with 90% being the point it mentions it?

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      You could alt-tab to desktop and put your PC in hibernate mode, not 100% reliable but better than nothing.

  10. malkav11 says:

    This sort of mode is always fiddly and annoying, as far as I can tell. But then, the first thing I modded out of Fallout 4 was the inventory limit.

    • Stevostin says:

      On the contrary IMO those limits are a necessary condition to keep the game exciting. Without weight limit you’re carrying absurd amount of steampack, buff, food, whatever at all time. Never a decision to make, you’re not really playing.

      When they weight, there are decisions to make. You can’t reasonably go on a trip with more than 10, 15 stimpack. One tough fight and it goes fast. You then progressing very carefully, making close call, ultimately really deciding, aka really playing. You generate stories worth telling. You build yourself memories. You explore the game mechanics really in depth. Once used to that kind of mechanics, playing like you do feel awfully bland.

      • malkav11 says:

        Those aren’t the elements of the experience that do anything but annoy me.

        • Underwhelmed says:

          Seriously.

          I am not going to build waste land towns and settlements by carrying a pocket full of tin cans and toasters back and forth 6000 times to build one house.

          Fallout 4 is not built to be a survival game, and shoehorning it in is going to result in a pretty badly balanced experience because something else has got to go to make room for it.

          • Rindan says:

            Yes! Few things bother me more than when RPGs enforce inventory limits that make no sense for the gameplay.

            If you look at a game like Neoscavenger, inventory limits matter. The game is about survival. It is built around survival. The inventory limit serves an important purpose in the context of the game and the gameplay. Figuring out what to take behind and what to leave is important. Setting up caches can be important. The inventory limit is an important part of the game. Most junk is actually just junk not worth picking up.

            Your inventory is NOT an important part of Fallout. This is a game where you are CONSTANTLY on fetch and carry quests. To build a base you need to drag huge amounts of junk back to your base. To play it “properly” you would do really boring shit like killing everyone in a building, and then spending hours hauling their crap back to merchants where you can make sick profit. That is horribly boring. You are also always carrying around crap that might be important later. The game just isn’t about survival. If it was about survival it wouldn’t be raining ammunition, armor, and weapons that can all be sold for phat profit.

            I would love to see someone strip the “story” from Fallout and rebuild it as a survival game. It is going to take a lot more than the tweak described above to make that appealing.

      • LexW1 says:

        Stevostin, that would make perfect sense in a lot of games.

        It makes zero sense in this game, where you’re expect to constantly pick up and haul ridiculous amounts of junk to build settlements. They’re contradicting one of the major gameplay design elements by doing that.

        They really need to compensate by being able to tag stuff for other people to come pick up or something. Otherwise it’s just silly, essentially making you either:

        A) Ignore the settlement minigame entirely.

        or

        B) Engage in ultra-tedious low-capacity hauling taking many times as long as it did previously.

        Neither is a good choice.

  11. MrFinnishDude says:

    Before corrected,
    I must tell you this my friend.
    I cant do haikus.

    My understanding
    of syllables in English,
    is mediocre.

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      Error has happened.
      For this was meant as reply.
      No edit button.

  12. Aliasalpha says:

    The mode has got potential but there’s too many irritating things about it at the moment. It’s less like a simulation of survival like the FNV survival mode and more like a “Oh you think you’re good? See if you can survive with these random penalties!” challenge.

    The likely reason you’re constantly dehydrated in particular is that stimpaks dehydrate you but to an absurd degree, if you take 2 or 3 when you’re at full hydration then you’re immediately starting to suffer dehydration and since, barring a spectacular success, you tend to go through 2-3 per fight then it means you have to keep carrying increasingly large amounts of water to recover. If there were other practical healing options in the game then it might be better but there really aren’t, blood packs seem to heal fairly well but they’re pretty rare. If there were medkits that you could use which created a slow health regeneration without side effects but you had the option of using a stimpak for instant health boosting as long as you are aware of and accept the side effects (I imagine that the stimpaks would pop up an EULA that the injured person would have to agree to before you inject it) then that would be quite good. When stimpaks are your only healing option then having a major penalty for using them is not difficulty, it’s bad design. Drop the penalty to perhaps 10% of the current one and, most importantly, TELL people that there is a penalty and it might become a useable system. I like the idea of the high penalty for RadAway since it acts as an additional deterrent for becoming irradiated but having it for stimpaks is just silly. As is not having a numerical readout of the status effects, am I well hydrated to the point where any more water would make me burst or hydrated just enough to not be suffering minor dehydration? If you’re showing a meter for the effect then show me the numbers you’re using to make the meter.

    Adding diseases is a good idea in theory but it’s annoying when there’s a chance of you getting one from almost any consumable and the game confidently & constantly tells you that you can cure it with antibiotics (in 3-4 hours of play I’ve never seen one, only an immune booster that might have helped before I got sick) or visiting one of those all too common doctors which plague the wasteland like mole rats… Oh and speaking of mole rats: HOW CAN BEING BITTEN BY A MOLE RAT INFECT ME WITH INSOMNIA?????

    The over encumbered damage is flat out terrible. You spend a good half the game in a suit which amplifies your strength and as soon as you get out of it, you’re carrying too much stuff and slowly breaking your own back. Hilariously, this even happens in menus! I got out of my power armour to try and repair it, part way through browsing the upgrade menus I take encumbrance damage despite kneeling perfectly still in a safe area where I could probably safely sit my backpack full of neutron star metal on the ground. If you feel the need to have an additional penalty for encumbrance then how about this: Add the excess encumbrance to your fall damage as a percentage. If you’re 10kg over your maximum then you take an extra 10% damage from the fall. Possibly even add it to melee damage to represent you being weighted down and too unwieldy to effectively roll with the impact. Anything to excise the ridiculous prospect of being killed on the walk from power armour station to the workbench by the weight of the telephone collection you have in your backpack…

    In summary, it’s a good start but really needs work.

    • malkav11 says:

      You try sleeping when there might be mole rats around!

    • Stevostin says:

      Well if you’re in that armor suit then it seems you got it coming. BTW you can use the suit as a chest, but ppl can steal from it. But think about it: IRL you would have that issue.

      I know I stood clear from power armor most of the game. Still it was way easier than previous moded version of F3/FNV I played which counted ammo & stimpack weight – or for that matter, any STALKER game.

      I haven’t played that mod yet (no beta for me thx) but I suspect you’re amongst the crowd responsible for the dumbing down of games because you may not stand the frustration and learning process involved in any new constraining game mechanic. I know for sure my first move in such a move would be to use power armor only for mule trips and never for exploration (big cons on stealth by the way, I am sure your know that). I’d also grab maybe 20% of all the loot around, with informed discrimination on what I pick and what I leave. Actually real scav would grab all, put all in a chest at the entry of a dungeon and come back for it later.

      • Aliasalpha says:

        Well having put something close to 800 hours into XCOM’s Long War mod which is a vast and complex system where at least half of the mechanics aren’t explained well and the rest just aren’t explained at all, where everything is designed to make the game harder and kick you in the teeth repeatedly and where even the simplest of knowledge is often gained by death, I feel confident in declaring myself free of the taint of the dumbed down moron.

        My problem with the new mechanics is that they’re heavy handed and poorly executed. I like the concept of most of them but the rest of the game hasn’t been changed to accommodate the changes, there’s no readily available light healing item that you can use to replace stimpaks for example. If you’re heavily wounded then you have 2 options, either wander around hoping to bump into a doctor to get normal healing, or hope you have enough water so you can heal and then restore your hydration after using 4 or 5 stims & suddenly being half dead from dehydration (and that’s not an exaggeration which is the biggest problem). They’ve added the option to fill a bottle with water but from what I can gather, you don’t get empty bottles if you drink a nuka cola so you have to obsessively collect already emptied bottles and be sure to fill them up whenever you can, oh and I’m pretty sure that they’re consumable along with the water you put in them so you don’t get the bottle back…

        With the armour repair example I cited with the encumbrance, it seems like an area of the new system which would benefit from some logical thought. Why would you keep an extremely heavy pack on your back when you’re standing still or kneeling down? You wouldn’t so the sensible alternative is to code the encumbrance penalty to only apply when moving.

        I want difficulty and complexity, New Vegas is incredibly fun when you’re a relatively weak sniper lugging around just enough .50 ammo to let you fight effectively but that’s because the systems they implemented were designed and implemented quite well and done during the development of the core game rather than just being tacked on after the fact which is what F4’s survival mode feels like.

  13. loganjamesalex says:

    The thing that has been bugging me the most about survival mode is the damage of mines. all it takes is one tripwire or one nuka mine and I can even start running before it goes off (in fully upgraded power armor I might add) and it instant kills me from full HP. Thats what makes me most afraid to explore. I came across a bandit group that I had already cleared once so they all respawned at level 14 so at level 63 I figured this would be a good time to have some fun but next thing I know there is a Nuka mine and the huge mushroom cloud wrecks me losing over an hour and an entire quest

    • Zenicetus says:

      Isn’t there a perk you can get fairly early for not triggering floor-mounted traps? I just hit level 20-ish in my current playthrough, and I’m pretty sure I have that. I think it’s in the Stealth progression.

      • Stevostin says:

        True. One could add that mines aren’t that hard to spot. You can find them with VATS if you’re lazy.

  14. Arkanae says:

    Zzzzzzz.
    This is just a few steps in the same wrong direction. Away from story and RPG and toward grind-fest.

    • Morte66 says:

      I don’t begrudge Bethesda making the open world shooter with zillions of map items and completely unmemorable quests that I would expect to come from Ubisoft. Some people like that. It’s just a pity they’re calling it “Fallout”, since we won’t be seeing a open world RPG with a well written branching story by that name.

      • Stevostin says:

        Some bits in F4 (or even F3) are very well written. A lot of bits in F1/F2 are very bland and washed out by magical memory.

        Some people will say FNV is well written but actually it’s exactly the same. The writing itself is packeg with pretty bland & repetitive exposition, with some highlights.

        I do find F4 companion interesting although less used than Mass Effect ones. But most pack more charms.

        • onodera says:

          F4 companions are obviously better than F3 or Skyrim companions, but aren’t as good as Mass Effect, NV or DA:O companions. They are on par with F2 companions, maybe a bit better.

          The biggest problem with F4 is how in-your-face its systems are. It’s an animatronic dragon with gears and pumps showing through the skin. There’s the main quest and there’s the dungeons. Each dungeon is full of either raiders, super mutants, feral ghouls, Gunners or rarely Children of Atom (the latter two groups are not that different from raiders mechanically), all shuffled across the map. There’s a steamer box at the end of the dungeon with ammo, weapons and maybe a quest-related item.

          Many dungeons are very well-made, though, with unique twists and memorable architecture, but some are really, really bland.

        • LexW1 says:

          That’s really absolute nonsense.

          Fallout 4 is clearly inferior in it’s writing to literally every other Fallout game. Claiming it’s misty memory or the like is absolute rot. Many of us have played FO1 or 2 recently, so we actually know. Sure, they have a few bland bits, but the bland bits in FO2 are equal to the best-written bits in FO4. The idea that FO4 is better written or remotely close to FNV is something that’d you’d need to support with a lot more than an vague assertion, frankly, as it seems obviously wrong.

          Even FO3, which had some issues, is better written than FO4, especially in the side-quests.

          • Underwhelmed says:

            That was “literally” a subjective opinion, and as such pretending that anyone that doesn’t share it is objectively wrong is literally more annoying than the excessive use of the word “literally”.

            In other words, calm down.

    • Stevostin says:

      Lol, Fallout 4 about grinding?

      Look, you can find the quests lacking some charm or based too much on “blast that dungeon” formula (even if those are generally good dungeons by any RPG standard). But that doesn’t make the game grinding. The only possible grind is endgame minute men, and I certainly didn’t do it. It’s rather “if you want to keep around enjoying your endgame gear” rather than grind.

      • Arkanae says:

        The fact that the grinding is not very challenging doesn’t make it any more interesting or less grindy.
        FO4 seems to me either trivially easy, even on higher difficulty, or just about endless trips hauling giant amounts of worthless crap.
        I am still waiting to encounter a game mechanic that challenges my intelligence, requires skill or involves my emotions. The only part of the gamer in me it triggers is the hoarder, and that’s hardly the most rewarding.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yeah, adding an optional new mode is really dragging the genre in the wrong direction. How dare they.

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  16. homeworld4 says:

    If you thought fallout 4 is a game about “do anything, be anyone” fantasy, you missed the point. It never presented itself as such, and you were just riding on expectations from older fallout titles. Would you also expect Gordon Freeman to switch sides for the combine, be able to join the vortigaunt faction and raise in ranks by doing sidequests, steal shit from eli vance’s lab and romance judith mossman and alyx?

    • CarthAnne says:

      No, but that was never a part of the Half-Life games. “Do anything, be anyone” has always been a part of both Fallout games and Elder Scrolls games since the beginning, so I’m not sure I see your point, you say he’s riding off expectations of earlier titles (which is true), but the sentence following that statement seems a non-sequitur as it gives an example of engaging in an action in a game which has specifically never been a part of how that series of game has worked in order to make fun of the idea of being able to “do anything, be anyone” in the latest Fallout game. You have never been able to switch sides in any Half-Life game, ever. A more fitting example would be “Would you also expect to be able to choose between hacking or fighting in order to achieve an objective in Deus Ex?” or perhaps “Would you expect to be able to use melee combat to defeat your enemies in a Zeno Clash game?” I’m sorry, perhaps I misinterpreted.

  17. Jovian09 says:

    My problem with the new survival mode is the saving limitations. Unlimited saving in the base game isn’t there to make it easier (though that is open to abuse). It’s there because too much can happen with a game of Fallout’s scope that the player can’t do anything about, especially when you start modding it. If modders can alleviate that when it comes out in full, and if they can tie the adrenaline system to sleeping rather than saving, I see myself spending a lot of time with it.

  18. sparklefox says:

    so, do you think they’ll actually use the beta to tweak things beyond bugs and make it more of a fair simulation of trudging through a dangerous, dreary wasteland, rather than the micro-management + random calamities + thou shalt not save grind it seems to currently sit at?

    i’ve not played the beta myself as i got the game on ps4, and i was really hoping for a more in-depth continuation of FNV’s hardcore’s mode. making stimpaks offer more of a tradeoff than a cure-all, having to sleep/eat/drink more often, etc. sounds like solid, smart improvements, but as far i can tell from the articles and previous comments, the saving and overemcubered systems really needs some work…

  19. Peppergomez says:

    I don’t see how just making the game more difficult will improve upon many of its significant shortcomings.