Fallout 4: affecting post-apocalyptic game with good balance between storyline immersion, character interaction and exploration

I wasn’t gonna do it. I wasn’t gonna do a post about such a totally popular game, because I believe it has received much love (though hate too), the love I am happier giving to other games, such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Bethesda will never be my favourite developer and with fallout 4, while a fine, immersive game with affecting writing and liberal roleplaying freedom that offers a balanced take on open-world exploration and immersion in the story (unlike Skyrim) they made a few things (like eliminating some content) that bring the game down a notch or two for me. However, where devs failed to deliver, modders come to the rescue, in large part. There are a few mods I found disagreeable, but they’ve predominantly done an incredible job of making the game as I think it should have been from the start. Spoilers, some really major ones, follow but at this point, I think everyone knows the game, I’m just sharing how I play it. The post includes my take on characters and, towards the end, some mods I endorse.

STORY

War never changes. A timely game to play these days. You start out in a nice home, with a spouse, s child and a robot. A loving family. A vault tec salesman knocks on your door and all hell breaks loose. The plot has you become the Sole Survivor of a nasty experiment that at the same time saves your life after a nuclear attack wipes everything. And while that experiment is running, your spouse is shot and your child taken away, while you watch helplessly. I love the fact it begins before the events of the game and gives context and emotional attachment to characters. I love seeing pre-war Sanctuary, seeing our characters, and playing a tiny part in it. I care about Nate, Nora, and Shaun. It’s a good reminder to love your family as well, while you can. I was really emotional the first time I played it. I was also really sad and reflective.

Everything’s so nice before the war. A nice home family, neighbours. 😦
One of the more interesting quests in the game gives you insight into the mind of the criminal who hurt your family.

Then I used a great mod to rescue my loving spouse. As the game should have given me the opportunity to do from the start. Well, those spouse-rescuing mods are truly amazing. They pull vanilla lines to make it all voiced, the same goes for quest mods! I’m in awe!

As we explore the vast wasteland, the storyline does not give easy ways out and does force you to consider what’s your own moral stance, what is acceptable to you and what is the limit you will not cross, and what’s a value that’s most important to you? The quest are quite affecting, You have to consider that while roleplaying through the quests. This is also the game’s limitation because too many of the quests give too binary options. Especially in the end game where there are so many things that could have been done better, with a wider range of choices. Even assuming you are supposed to make hard choices and not like everything – because the in-game world is one ripped apart by the apocalypse, tough and at war and war never changes, the really good games give you a full range of choices, and this game fails to do so.
Fortunately, modders come to the rescue, restore cut-out content and make things better and more balanced in terms of choices.

One of the best mods let’s you rescue your spouse. I honestly think this should have been done in the base vanilla game, however hard the requirements could be, but saving the person you love is worth all the effort. Having his support in this strange world is priceless. Having someone who loves you and gives you strength in a cruel world where you need to survive, is more than important. It’s vital.


You meet four factions vying for dominance in the post-nuclear wasteland of Boston area and you essentially have to choose one or two by the end of the game, though there are ways to obtain other endings. Each faction gives quests that allow you to consider their perspective in-depth. Quests outside factions also give extra insight, to help you make a choice. And the voice of regular NPCs, settlers, also matters. The Vault-Tec missions and exploring vaults and what Vault tec were up to are an extra fine touch, really good.

POINT OF NO RETURN

You can progress all four factions up to a point. It does not matter with whom you build “the Molecular Relay” needed to get to the Institute and begin the end-game phase – it does not lock you out of other faction’s questlines. The point of no return in the game is the following:

Brotherhood: Blind Betrayal started but not finished. Finishing Blind Betrayal starts Tactical Thinking – the mission where you destroy the railroad. Avoid talking to Kells after Blind Betrayal if you haven’t decided what you want to do yet but want to complete it. Unless you have mods installed, in which case you can progress beyond Tactical thinking while sparing the railroad.

Institute: Mass Fusion started, but not progressed one bit. Progressing with this quest will force you to make enemies with the brotherhood. (The game will warn you at the point where you become permanent enemies with the brotherhood). This quest is the absolute point of no return with mods. You have to pick either institute/railroad/minutemen (cause that’s what the best mod ending can give you) or Bos / minutemen and railroad. It’s a choice between Institute and the other two factions, cause minutemen are always with you unless you do something like raiding the Commonwealth or maybe side against them during another Institute quest, Pinned.

Railroad: Underground Undercover started, but not finished. You’re expected to have this quest active while finishing Mass Fusion for the institute, and doing that turns the brotherhood hostile.

Minutemen: Minutemen ending is essentially available forever and will kick in once you turn other factions hostile (get yourself kicked out by completing stated quests). There’s a way to turn them hostile if you side with the institute, but it’s not my play style to achieve it.

The modded versions of these questlines will give you alternative options and things just may work out. You will still need to pick a side at Mass Fusion / Spoils of War quest point and even with mods, this is a point of no return when even when you do spare the Brotherhood and do other things to have them remain at least neutral towards you, the betrayal at Mass Fusion, if you do it, will cost you. With mods, all four factions can stay if you side with the Institute, but while minutemen and railroad can be persuaded to remain totally friendly, the Brotherhood will (understandably) take a major hit.

It’s difficult to find a favourite faction. Every single one of them has a potentially valid claim and an angle you might agree with but what they all have in common is fear. Commonwealth / Minutemen fear the Institute, synths and Brotherhood of Steel. The institute / Father fears the surface world. The synths fear the institute / BoS. Railroad fears the institute and BoS. You’re never going to communicate if you just hide and fear everything.

The Minutemen seek to restore the land to the people and rebuild what was destroyed. I find that to be the most constructive action among all four factions. The railroad is an undercover type of organisation, based on similar concepts from history. They fight for the freedom of synths that already escaped, but I also think their way of wiping memories for synths to blend in with people is very questionable. The Brotherhood feel more like the inquisition at times, a military organisation with religious fervour, they are very uncompromising in their approach and that doesn’t entirely sit well with me because the question I ask in response to their story is all technology really that bad? Danse’s story reflects so well on this problem. Do we really need to fear synths and do we really need a uniform society? That’s what the Brotherhood aims for and that doesn’t sit well with me, they are too extreme when a moderate approach might be better. But that doesn’t mean I want to immediately blow them up, the same goes for the railroad. And after all the institute stories I played, I’m more inclined to consider their position.

Really, it’s a weak point of the game that it only offers binary choices in how to deal with factions that are warring with each other. The storyline of the institute, the evil of the Commonwealth, has very interesting and varied quests as well as a potentially interesting ending – more so when you add “Subversion ending” mod, that allows you to reform the institute and save other factions. But the question is – are you ok doing the institute’s quests like their sidequests or repeatable radiant quests? The kidnappings? the replacing of people with synths? The Warwick “better crop”, while interesting, made me feel totally dirty. Far harbor was easier. In the Warwick quest, you actually convince a good, intelligent person that they are mad with paranoia. That’s not right. Those sidequests are interesting but may be uncomfortable. They are good to do to see/experience the extent of the Institute’s wrongdoings. That’s way worse than DiMA in my opinion, but you can decide for yourself.

There are some logical inconsistencies and lapses that, for me, show certain inattentiveness. For instance, DiMA questions the MC about what their first memory is. They made it convenient for themselves but it doesn’t add up with certain lines elsewhere, even more so with the fact that synths CAN and often DO remember their whole lives (because they were given a full set of memories!) and the line of questioning doesn’t make sense other than to highlight that DiMA is a manipulative character. There’s a quest about a ghoul boy inside a fridge that made completely no sense and was left without a logical explanation.

A WORD ABOUT DLCs

The elaborate DLCS add a lot of content to the game as well. My favourite is Far Harbor because it expands on the main storyline in an interesting way. Automatron and Vault Tec are also good additions. Nuka-world isn’t really my cup of tea. In this DLC you hop on a monorail to a pre-war theme park, where you become the overboss of a raider gang and raid Commonwealth. This is ridiculous. I don’t see why I would want to become an overboss of raider gangs, other than do it on purpose to free their slaves and just pacify them, which ultimately seems to be the objective of the DLC. I usually leave this DLC totally alone or complete it before meeting the minutemen and don’t progress too far into it – with the quest open season, you can just free the slaves they keep and you can do it right after coming to the park. Otherwise, it may make Garvey distrust you and I don’t want that to get in the way of my character’s friendship with him, and besides, I really believe in what Garvey does. But the Nuka world itself is fun to explore.

CHARACTERS

Love the protagonists and their origin story. The characters themselves are ok, some of them stronger than others, some are given better backgrounds, and others are treated very shallowly.

Nate and Nora – I care about them and I am pretty sad Bethesda did not implement the choice to try and save the spouse. For all their words, they do nothing. That’s not right. If I loved someone as strongly as those two seemed, I would have at least made an attempt to find out if something can be done, considering there are so many scientists around and really not give up or lose hope. I would give a goddamn try to save someone I freaking love! I don’t believe the spouse would have died so easily and fortunately, some amazing mods come to the rescue, doing the job for Bethesda. For me, the spouse is the only character to romance, I would not move on, nor would I want my spouse to move on. They were mine, I was theirs, it’s not something you can just shake off and move on to romance some accidental freak character in the brave new world. And I absolutely hate cheating and lying. In this respect, Cassie Dalton from Far Harbor is a better example of loyalty to the memory of a lost loved one. Besides, Nate is the ONLY character I’d trust to see my character through all the hard choices she has to make. The only one. No one else. It’s also important to consider their jobs, I consider them important for the roleplay. Nora is a lawyer, she’s bound to be flexible in some of her choices, relying more on charisma whereas Nate as the military man might actually fit with the Brotherhood of Steel, though he’s also flexible. I’ll never know his perspective as the protagonist because I just can’t play a male, if I have the option not to and I’m not really comfortable playing anything other than a female.

The beginning of the game hits hard, especially on the first playthrough. Ah. no pun intended.
I can’t imagine my game without Nate. Family and love come first for my character on top of seeking peace wherever and however possible. Nate is the only one I would trust to see me making the hard choices to bring some peace to this torn world.


Father – he’s a complicated and engaging character and I care about him. I cannot blame him for what he had no control over, he’s still our son and while you cannot change the past, nor can you influence or educate him any longer, you can try and save him – again, Bethesda failed on this front, but modders did their job for them. I care about Shaun more than anything else, because ultimately, for me, bonds of family are the strongest and most binding of anything there is out there. The ghouls we meet in side quests reinforce that idea, even scientists at the institute, even Kellogg too. Everything can go to hell, but as long as you have family, you can make the most of it. As I have said, it should have been possible to save the spouse at some cost. As for Shaun, he has plenty of regrets and while you cannot teach an old dog new tricks as in you can no longer teach him anything, the synth Shaun he offers you as a parting gift is a symbol of regret to me and a symbol of hope, a little gift to at least have some semblance of a life that could have been, and a symbol of a world forever changed, a symbol of hope maybe too. It might be argued it’s Father’s failsafe in case things go wrong with the institute but I’m not cynical and I really believe synth Shaun is actually a gesture of goodwill towards a childhood he had irrevocably lost and a hope for the future, and a gift for his parent to have at least some semblance of the life they could have had, had the institute not interfered.

But the fact of the matter is, as the director, Shaun is afraid of the outside world, growing as he did. All he knows is that shiny bunker. For how long did he know about his real past? He didn’t have to wait as long as he did and what he says in the game are excuses I don’t really buy. The institute rescued him? Sure, he’d say so because he know no other life and had no chance to learn – that alone angers me. There’s little purity left in this Shaun and the man he could have become died when the institute kidnapped him. However, he does seem to be genuinely happy that we looked for him anyway, and that makes him trust us. We’re still his parent, a parent’s love, to me, is unconditional. And the pain that all this happened this way is there in him too. It fills me with sorrow, to think that he and his parents lost everything pretty much because of a nefarious plot. Even so, he takes care of his people and does not support certain research projects, he’s a very engaging character and I sincerely believe he does feel sorrow at the life he never had, even with all his lofty speeches, there’s sadness in him. You can actually save Shaun via another mod, even when you destroy the institute,.

Institute itself did HIM and others too much harm through inhuman, unethical experiments, treating synths as tools, and stealing Shaun (and many others) away from his childhood and life and therefore I cannot forgive them. It’s a fake place. It’s a place where people disappear to be subjects of experiments, to be unethically and secretively replaced by synths. But, the institute’s quests are varied and interesting (if unsavoury and quite a few hard to swallow). And it’s a fun place to scavenge and explore.

Cowards hiding underground. Should rebuild on the surface, and with the right leadership could atone and do it right. Bethesda failed to use it to the game’s advantage/ It’s things like this that prevent Fallout from being a truly great game.


Kellogg – a rounded adversary, with a story that makes him understand the Sole Survivor. I like him.

Nick Valentine – strongly related to the main post and has a lot to show and tell to make me think about the ultimate choice I have to make. He’s a bittersweet character struggling with his identity but is a really nice, noir detective-style good and all-around fair guy who would do anything for his friends and has the means to do so.

DiMa – is a politician. An unsavoury, manipulative character who does not play openly and lies and schemes but, caught as he is between three factions, he really has to manoeuver to try and keep peace and has no luxury to be honest. Peace is not easily attained, requires backstage politics. And ultimately what matters is not whether he is a good character, but that he does GOOD things. Peace on the island is a good thing. Peace requires a lot of work that’s never easy, I think that’s very true. Some things worth fighting might not leave your honour intact. I think we get off easily in the game by just replacing Tektus, the leader of Children of Atom, the fanatical religious community that reveres Atom, the very thing that ripped the protagonist’s life to shreds. And you don’t even have to kill Tektus He can always be switched off or reset when he becomes the synth replacement. And while it’s dangerous to give this much power to DiMa, if something goes wrong, we can always destroy them. Speaking of Children of Atom, I like how the game shows how religion can be born and how to change with tides of leadership and circumstance, and how ridiculous, frustrating, and naive it may be. Revering Atom, sheesh! It’s frustrating but those people don’t know any better, and as such, they are both ignorant and innocent, they simply don’t understand, nor cannot ever fully understand. Even sister Gwyneth from one of the Children of Atom sidequests cannot comprehend what Atom really and truly meant. Children of Atom were needed in this game. Richter should have been a romanceable / companion to represent the faction. He has a lot of unused potential.

Orator and manipulator


Danse – he is a good character and romance option (especially if you don’t believe your spouse can be saved or you just don’t want the origin story to define your gameplay). His backstory ends up being ironic and all his beliefs backfire on him, but it doesn’t need to end in tragedy. I find his character and story to be balanced and fair – if you choose to keep him alive after Blind Betrayal, he pays the price for staying alive and it’s bittersweet but fair. His AI is a bit erratic and can get angry for shooting at Brotherhood even when enemy to them or when he shoots at them, but gets annoyed at the character. However, even without his backstory, he would have made a much better Elder, because he is fair and less antagonising than Maxson. Maxson is another interesting character. He is brutal and unrelenting in his approach to things, though what he represents is needed in this game to balance the scales of factions and existing stances. He is ultimately anti-technology, not just anti-institute, and often takes things too far, though I guess in his position he has to be decisive and unrelenting, he knows what he’s fighting for and cannot back down, he believes in this. He’s a hard man but ultimately does show compassion to Danse when you do Blind Betrayal and ask to spare Danse, showing he actually might care for Danse (and notice that while he refers to Danse as it in the confrontation scene, when discussing this with you later refers to him as “he” again). Maxson could have used a few softer touches all in all. It’s a shame the Litany to change Elders was removed. Danse should have had a chance to become one. Or at least the player character. Mods come to the rescue but mods modifying those quests are a bit risky, they can backfire with bugs that prevent you from completing this or that quest.

Come in peace but achieved on extreme terms…is that peace?
Not everything about technology is wrong, eh, Danse?


Hancock – a bad boy type, a ghoulish mayor of one of the major settlements, but is decisive and has a good heart. Chem addict as part of his story, but it’s not something I can easily accept, even though I can relate to his story in some ways and find that ti does make him an engaging character. Well, at least he does things openly. Too bad his design was changed to a generic ghoul. Modders come to the rescue and restore his early design and make him unique, attractive and appealing. He’s brutal and fair, and has a lot going on with his brother storyline. I find him interesting but usually leave him alone, much as he’s got the kind of charisma that can appeal. I don’t always agree with his methods and his character does not really fit my playing style. Nate companion is my play style and preference…but I have created a file just for Hancock, where the first thing I did was recruit him, going all the way from Sanctuary to Goodsneighbor and straight into his recruiting mission. We’ll just go off into the sunset.

Oh, I’m sure we can get into all sorts of trouble. He’s so much better in this modded style.


Curie – is likeable, and helping her is a nice thing to do.
Cait, MacReady, Porter Gage – I don’t even get anywhere near them. They can stay in their holes.
Dogmeat- loves you unconditionally. For me, best companion aside from Nate / spouse.
Codsworth – aww, it’s nice he survived so long. Provides a sort of stepping stone into this post-apocalyptic world of the game. A robot you and your spouse had to help at home.
Strong, Longfellow, Piper, and the institute courser- I’m rather neutral about them and don’t really do anything with them.
Miles, the DJ – I like the awkward Miles, the quest Confidence Man turns him into a jerk. No wonder Scarlett doesn’t like him anymore.
Deacon – a habitual liar but should have been romanceable. Represents the railroad faction, an organisation that helps synths escape the institute, where they are slaves. Clear historical references here. Espionage type of gameplay, with missions to secure areas, caches and pick up dead drops.
Garvey – a good guy, but shallowly treated, really got the short end of the narrative stick, very shallow and many people simply hate him for reasons that I can clearly see and understand. His quests are a mess – settlement quests to help and establish new places are given too frequently and moreover, a main quest to take back a stronghold of the faction from creatures of the commonwealth known as mireluks happens without any level requirement and he may insist on doing it TOO early in the game. I was shocked doing my initial playthrough. Bethesda majorly messed this up, but again modders save the day. Other than that, the minutemen is a good faction that wants to do good for the Commonwealth but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that they are also farmers who fear synths, fuelled by all the wrongs the misguided Institute has done. Garvey’s idealistic but he’s also whiny and does not really make for a good companion. I like his quests but I usually send him to the Castle and just talk to him once in a while. However, one of the popular quest mods really went to the other extreme by making him into a foul-mouthed, idiotic vulgar secret agent for the gunners or whatever. I found that to be immersion-breaking because rather than a legitimate, careful story, it felt more like a reflection of the hate everyone seems to have for Garvey and it was strongly offputting. I did not enjoy that and I do not endorse the work of that particular modder.

This was one unexpected encounter I liked. I wanted to help him.

ATMOSPHERE / GAME WORLD

  • a detailed representation of semi-fictional Boston, with some real landmarks, streets, details and districts. I read some comments that they really faithfully recreated how hard it is to find things in Boston. I cannot judge how true that is, but the world is definitely large and detailed. And yes, some spots are hard to find when you need them!
  • Open-world exploration is great. The map and the world are so huge..and made so much better by unique atmospheric, nature and weather mods made by the modders (add beautiful grasses, denser forestation, make beautiful seasonal atmosphere…amazing!). There are unique places, cosy corners, sinister corners and quirky characters and quests. Bethesda definitely did this right, the world is incredibly immersive. It also offers a more balanced experience between exploring and immersion in storytelling, unlike Skyrim which os heavily exploration based and I just can’t find my footing in it. I much prefer Fallout 4.
  • strongly relate to one another. The experience is different here and Fallout 4 is much better for me than Skyrim.
“Seasons” mods is just gorgeous
I look at that ruined landscape, ruined skyways (that would be great to build settlements on, there is a mod for that but not in a safe spot), crashed planes, thrash and feel reflective. We must appreciate what we have. Because war never changes.
add healthy grass mod and a forest mod and you get a gorgeous natural landscape
Atmospheric, unique locations with great layout and lighting, inspires me to build my own, and with modder added resources it’s all possible
Diamond City is a place where I like to activate a settlement mod. There’s a small space near the stands that’s great for a settlement…and settlers to take care of all those neglected fruit trees.
I don’t like Nuka-world because I hate the premise of that mod but the world is breathtaking.
Far Harbor is a very good DLC, very atmospheric and beautiful, with a good storyline. I enjoy it the most of all the DLC content.
Greygarden with lovely transfer settlement blueprints that turn this place into a cosy, romantic corner. Graygarden actually includes a bit of the skyway to build on, but it’s not immediately obvious because the build area on the ground ends. So just look up and move to the skyway to build more. It’s one thing I didn’t realise for the longest part, it;s one thing the game should have made clearer.
The Glowing Sea. So much death and destruction

GAMEPLAY / MECHANICS

  • It’s strongly story-oriented and a lot more cohesive for me than Skyrim, which I’m currently trying to get into but am failing. The story and characters are strong and appealing and you easily immerse yourself in this world. The interactions with characters are also much richer, more fun and meaningful than in Skyirm
  • a good variety of systems in place: relationship, outfit and weapon making, collectables, and most of all building settlements but they all had to be improved by modders.
  • The relationship system is ok. The interactions and backstories are quite extensive and satisfying and come with different flavours. I enjoy progressing affinity and impressing them, as long as I don’t cheat or sleep around or lie – I hate that kind of thing, but the dialogues here are ok, they are based a bit more on closeness than I anticipated and I like that. Only ONE modder, as far as I have seen, made something interesting out of it. Amazing Follower Tweaks (see the mod section for the link) made a spouse that actually evolves with player choices, though they never implemented all of what they planned ( spouse has well-justified amnesia in this mod and the modder was planning to add a final sequence in which the memories return, I’m sad they never managed/wanted to do it). Phenomenal. Otherwise, the relationships in the game are not particularly immersive or strongly embedded in the story, aside from if you rescue your spouse in a modded version. They can be nice, though. But this is not Mass Effect or Dragon Age – I miss that kind of elaborate, strongly meaningful and story-embedded relationships in Fallout BUT at the same time it’s fortunately not sex-based, I can pick one and stick to them and just take them everywhere, their lines are often very nice. It usually is Nate with me though.
  • Much as I like Garvey and enjoy the settlement quests when I went to the castle on my first playthrough I wasn’t even level 20, that should have been forbidden by the game… there’s an excellent mod that regulates the frequency of radiant settlement quests, makes a level requirement before you can go to the Castle and in general improves the Minutemen.
  • A variety of quests, from saving a cat to escort quests. Each small NPC is important in some way.
Some of the quests are quite quirky, but they have historical or aesthetic references, ex there’s a historic ship with a robotic crew that wants to fly or you solve a murder mystery involving robots with human brains. in the style of Hollywood noir crime films. One of my most favourite quests is dangerous minds, where you explore Kellogg’s memories- that one’s really good!
  • Building mode – I LOVE building settlements…except the scrap and build options for the vanilla game were limited. Again, modders came to the rescue.
I have some ideas about how I want to use vanilla settlements and what I want to do with them. Roof gardens, having plants in unexpected things to add flavour, there’s so much possibility here! But why are those roses so flat? 😦
I like remaking things in a way that’ might be similar to the way they were, too.
:3

Basically, in the vanilla form, it’s a fine and engaging, story-rich and atmospheric game, with thoughtful and relevant and universal content to consider as war never changes and can rip everything apart. It gives plenty to think about and explores how different people react to the war and its effects and what they make of it as time goes on, and how factions and religions form and can go wrong. And ultimately, it had me consider what matters to me. But the game has lots of issues that could have been taken care of in the development process and modders really improved it. I am not interested in other Bethesda games. This one had a plot, thoughtful quest content where choices do matter very strongly, and most of all protagonist backstory that pulled me in. The other Bethesda titles don’t sound as appealing as this one did, and my gut instincts never fail me when it comes to games. Bethesda is not a developer I like. I have more confidence in Bioware, as they have shown me incredible and truly choice-based storytelling, allowing for options to save the characters I care about and respond to situations in more varied ways, albeit at a cost – that’s fair. As far as I’m concerned, Bethesda fails to show the same level of attention to detail and it puts them low on my interest list. Nonetheless, Fallout 4 is a good, immersive game that leaves lots of possibilities for the imagination…and modders. I recommend it modded…but play vanilla at least once to know what you’re up against. The thought-provoking writing warrants it.

MODS I ENDORSE

I’ll mention just a few off the top of my head. I have over 200 currently installed, some smaller, some bigger. They change/add some aspects that I wish had been done from the start in the base vanilla game. I only notice minor bugs with some quests and a few objects, but that may also be because the vanilla game is quite bugged. So be careful how you mod the game and pick the mods you really, really want. To install mods, it’s best to use a mod manager like Vortex.

Amazing Follower Tweaks
Save your spouse in a believable, immersive scenario. Help them find their way in this new reality. This mod will make the spouse evolve with your choices and that gives an incredible sense of immersive and rewarding progression. Plus, on top of a dozen useful tweaks to the AI/companions, it also allows you to turn any place into a settlement. A total must for me.

Dual Survivors – Nate companion mod with an optional file for more dialogue and the companion Extended Edition Dialogue

This mod makes me feel Nate’s much-needed love and support, which is the most important thing for me. Nate is the only character I want to romance because he is the only one I’d trust to support my character and see her through hard times and choices. He’s irreplaceable. The mod itself feels slightly lore-breaking because, as it removes the gender lock on Nate, it makes it so Nate the player character can have a husband Nate – but that’s himself referring to himself as his own husband and that’s what makes the mod a bit bizarre. The idea of Nate referring to himself as his own husband is a little weird. There’s a compatibility patch for it, though. But I guess some players envisage their starting characters differently, there’s even a mod, Start Me Up, that helps them achieve that, so I guess following that logic it just removes the gender lock for players who play as male, but not default Nate, but want to have Nate as a spouse. Well, I’m not inclined to ever roleplay as a male character, even to experience the game from his perspective. I always say this, but it is important to me, I’m a straight female and always will be a “she/her”, and want to have my character referred to as a she, so this slight break in lore is not something that bothers me. On the contrary, it encourages diversity in a way, and that’s nice, should be encouraged. The added lines, one by the original author of Dual Survivors and the Extended Edition mod add to the experience of Nate as a much-needed companion. I could never let go of my husband so easily. Add to that Player Talk and Head Tracking for a full convo experience. I absolutely love these mods together!

I personally don’t support Start Me Up, as interesting as it is. Perhaps it should have also been in place in the vanilla game for more roleplaying flavour. However, this origin story of a concerned parent is what hooked me on the game to begin with. There’s a reason I’m not interested in other Fallout games.

Hancock Restored (to his deserved glory)
Changes Hancock’s appearance and slightly alters his stats to make him more like his original character design artwork.

Fallout 4 Seasons
Make the wasteland beautiful. Spring, fall, summer, winter – you choose. Totally beautiful and just worth every MB.

A forest
More trees. Turn the world into a dense forest. Gorgeous!

Lush grasslands
Wonderful meadows await you.

Scrap Everything
Adds a lot of items to scrap, something the vanilla game overlooked. Very useful for rebuilding settlements. It can be a bit tricky if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, so you may also want Scrap (Not Quite) Everything to go with it.

Immersive Scrapping
Rebalanced scrapping for better material hunting. You don’t get only steel from a car.

Place Everywhere
Build where you want. Clip the objects into one another. Useful for leaving less empty space when building and building tight structures.

Armorsmith extended
Useful for crafting armour and weapons, customise their colours with another supported addon. I can make an armoured dress of my choosing. Like a wine-coloured ratty skirt with golden-coloured Acadia shield and I feel like a gladiator of the wastelands.

LooksMenu
Adds engine modifications to improve character creation to add more colour options / presets / hairstyles etc.

Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies enhancer
You need this for certain mod-added clothing items and it;s actually fun to customise the body a little bit more.

Full Dialogue Interface
Makes the game display the full lines of what your character is going to say in conversation, instead of just a paraphrase. It also revamps the interface so that the game will now display dialogue options in a list and use the number keys/face buttons for input, depending on your control scheme. Very useful.

Vault 120 Underwater
An amazing mod, a fully functional underwater settlement with its own story, though that was never added to the terminals. It reminded me of Bioshock. It could be such an amazing, thriving community to rival the Institute.

The Moon Palace

An amazing player house in Far Harbor. There’s nothing quite as detailed as this. I don’t really use it because I enjoy building my own settlements and moreover, this one is quite heavy, it tended to crash my game.

Some towns should have been settlements: Concord and Jamaica inn are fun to expand via mods: Concord Township + Concord Revised (make Garvey’s dreams come true! He’s a good guy), Jamaica Plains Extended and Quincy ruins aren’t bad places to fully settle. I also like building in Diamond City. Far Harbor’s Cliff’s Edge Hotel and Acadia’s interior are also places where I really want to have settlements. But there are more Far Harbor settlements here. Heck, you can settle the Glowing sea. Much as I don’t like Nuka-World, the parks should have become more populated after Open Season so they should have been settlements. It’s possible thanks to this great mod.

You can create a Vault Empire. I don’t really like touching Vault 111, but this mod has separate files and you don’t need all. Others added fun Vault 75 settlement, and even Vault 118 with its unused garage space. There’s a vault 110 near Concord in my game. Aside from Vault 88 (DLC) and Vault 120 (which I’m never dropping because it’s too immersive), I have to wonder if I really need so many Vault settlements in my current game. I guess I like all of those other vaults because, aside from 118 where you can build in the garage, they are ready to be furnished. Vault 88 is a bit challenging, considering I am not skilled with the build menu and even building roofs for regular houses is still a huge challenge for me.

Subversion Ending
Makes the end-game more varied, add choices to deal with some quests in a peaceful way, reform the institute and make sure everything is under your control. You can save Shaun and make him a companion. You can also add Danse dilemma to have Danse become the Elder. Danse dilemma is a small and ambitious mod and it won’t be perfect. If it acts up by having all Brotherhood hostile after Danse gives his speech on the Prydwen, move the mod lower in your load order. To do so in Vortex, set a rule to load it after a certain mod. I chose to load it after a certain mod but BEFORE Spare railroad playing as brotherhood, which gives extra options with hard speech checks to completing Tactical Thinking quest without jeopardising the Railroad. Also for Danse dilemma, remember that it might become impossible to complete the optional goal of informing the Brotherhood about Bunker hill – I think it comes with the modding territory. The quest marker for Bunker Hill’s optional objective to inform the Brotherhood will still  obviously mark Maxson as the leader of Brotherhood and you have to tell him, the quest will point to him even when he’s dead. I suppose it comes with the modding territory since  Litany was scrapped from the game, and Danse was never even the option to become an Elder replacement to begin with (just the player)  and it seems impossible to alter the game to the extent that would permit Danse to be recognised by the game as the Elder so that he would literally take over Maxson and we could inform him about Bunker Hill, it’s same as player character might still be called Paladin because the game  cannot be changed to the extent everyone would recognise the player as the sentinel or perhaps elder. There’s also something to be said about  vanilla Danse staying alive but in hiding, it’s bittersweet and there’s a price to pay for letting him live, which is fair. But the mod does give you the option of playing it vanilla and leaving it as is, it just gives MORE options on hos Danse can proceed, which is what the base game should have done. The solution is, if you make Danse the Elder, to skip this optional goal. You don’t need to tell the Brotherhood about Bunker Hill, as it is optional so this one isn’t game-breaking and just has to be accepted as is. I think there won’t be a problem if you have Danse join the Railroad, as this will keep Arthur as the Elder, and this mod gives you the option to do so. You can also play it vanilla: suggest he leaves initially but then tell him to stay in the bunker. Personally, I just can’t bring myself to have him join the Railroad, though, because Danse belongs in the brotherhood.

David Hunter
A nice little side story for the Brotherhood faction, with a likeable character. You get new fun objects for your settlements.

Hilda Hughes – an institute story
If you like Dangerous minds, this is a super fun side quest for the institute in which you follow the memories of several pre-war NPCs to discover their fate. Be aware that if you have this enabled along with other mods like Subversion ending, you may experience a bug in the quest “Institutionalised” that prevents you from talking to Shaun for the first time. You have to disable it before talking to Father for the first time, because it bugs out at that stage, and then turn it back on. If using mods like Subversion, it might be best and safest to install this mod after the institutionalised / Institute questline is complete. It will obviously not work if Institute is destroyed. This story ultimately convinced me to see things more from the Brotherhood’s perspective. Honestly, the author made fantastic use of existing undeveloped scraps and offered a story that once and for may open your eyes, if other Institute quests haven’t been enough. Excellent job.

Story mods I haven’t yet completed but seem interesting
Fourville
Tales of the Commonwealth

Others

Workshop Rearranged
Adds a much-needed workshop menu order, and puts everything into neat categories. This is how you do it, Bethesda. I have not experienced major issues with other workshop add-ons, though one of the versions of my mod-added power armour stations stopped working. But that’s just one in a million and I’ll probably have to clean up the mods at some point anyway. I added smaller mods before discovering the bigger ones, but Workshop rearranged is truly worth it.

Any mod that adds hairstyles, dresses/clothing (Vault-Tec dresses, Aristocrat Gown, Detective Outfit), hair colours, as well as building resources, creative furniture and elements to the game, such as happiness-raising objects, showers, potted plants, lighting types, power generator types, deco and so many others. There are too many to mention and you will find plenty of them to suit your tastes. I use the ones that add colourful plants and potted plants, Woody’s wasteland stuff, Homemaker, CVCWasteland, and a few others. They are all amazing. I usually check required or recommended mods under the ones I download- those are usually the best resources for new great mods.

Mods that restore cut content like Sentinel Bos/Minutemen ending

And last, but not least, just a big thank you to all those modders who take all these mods and make patches to them to make them compatible with one another. This is a huge help, you’re doing an amazing job! Bethesda should just hire all of you modders. With all your powers combined, you’d make a game of the century.

I also enjoy all the different settlement mods but I have to cut down on those and select the ones I really love for my ultimate playthrough – it’s not good to have this many mods installed to begin with, but they are too fun to pass up on and some of them, I dare say, do what Bethesdas should have had in the game from the start.

Seeing everyone rebuild..,gives hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s