The beginning of Fallout 4’s newest DLC content package, Far Harbor, is both dull as hell and very, very interesting. Like many other DLC’s since Fallout 3, it begins with a radio signal being picked up by the main character, something which feels so bereft of inspiration that it almost hurts me. Despite this, it does at least make sense from an in-universe perspective as it gives your main character a reason to know there’s a new mission to take on. Either way, you get a new radio signal and have to go to Valentine’s Detective Agency to take on a new case, which I highly recommend that you take Nick along with you for, in fact you should probably take him along for this entire DLC.
Once you take on the new case, you find yourself wandering around the far north east corner of the map. Literally as far north as it is possible to go in this game world, something which does cause a minor issue with the game. It seems that as you get closer to your initial destination, the game has a habit of telling you that you can’t go that way which is something which gets very confusing when you’re just trying to find a tiny fishing hut on the coast somewhere.
When you arrive, it appears that your main mission is going to be locating the missing daughter of a local fishing family, both of her parents giving you different reasons for her disappearance. The father seems to think his daughter was kidnapped, the mother says that she could very well have left of her own free will. After digging around a little, you learn that she’s travelled north to the town of Far Harbor to try and locate a group of synths which she thinks she may belong with. Once you set off on a boat borrowed from the fisherman, your new adventure really begins.
The town of Far Harbor is entirely located on a dock on the far east side of the island in which the new DLC is set. When you first arrive, you have to defend the town from a special breed of Mirelurks, and you then learn that parts of the island are entirely enshrouded in thick, deadly fog. From that point onward, it’s up to you how you choose to play Far Harbor. The DLC basically introduces an entire new area to explore with all its own side quests, main quests, and activities in general.
One of the most interesting things about the DLC overall is that when you first arrive, the people of Far Harbor do not trust you and it is soon clear that they have a great amount of difficulty accepting strangers into their midst, and you are no exception. To gain their trust you have to do what you can for the people, help them repair their damaged defensive wall, help them repair the life giving fog condensers which supply them with their water, and generally just try your best to fix their broken lives a little. Of course, that is all optional and you can instead lie, cheat, and steal your way around Far Harbor only completing the main quests and generally being a slaughtering butthole.
The entire aesthetic of the DLC is nautical in nature (go figure), and the muggy, foggy atmosphere of the island lends a lot to the feel of the new area. Everything feels oppressive and dark. The enemies stumble their way out of thick fog and prowl the dark corners of the island, making them seem much more capable of damaging you than most of them actually are. The new enemy designs can surprise you as they come out of the darkness, and I lost count of the number of times that I was sprinting through a darkened swamp, running for my life from some fiery venom spitting monstrosity.
I had heard before playing the DLC that it required a level of around 50 to be completely playable, but I went in at level 31 and encountered very little difficulty for the most part. Having said that, there were some sections that felt extremely tense where I was pumping enemies full of everything I had just to have a chance of defeating some of the stronger enemies.
Much like with the main game, there is so much to do on the island that you’ll almost certainly find yourself forgetting the reason why you’re there for a long time. With all the help that the townspeople need and all of the new areas to explore, you can while away hours and hours just taking on all the missions that come your way.
I did come across a bit of an issue with the DLC however, there appears to be at least one bugged quest-line that gives you a great amount of difficulty handing in. When you try to hand it in, the NPC just repeats the same line of dialogue sometimes causing a crash, although eventually the NPC actually does accept the quest’s completion and you can move on with the game. Presumably, this bug will be fixed with an update at some point, and at least it’s not something that makes the completion of the quests impossible.
Along with the missions, you also get yourself a spate of new settlements to manage, some pretty big ones, but mainly just middle sized towns and hamlets. Along with the new settlements, you also get a bunch of new decorative items to furnish your settlers with, as well as a new building type and some decorations themed around the Children of Atom, for story reasons.
A great addition is even more magazines to collect with some exceedingly useful perks included both for the DLC and when you return to the mainland. I found that these magazines, combined with the new unique weapons, were worth getting the DLC alone. All this extra content made me more than glad about my purchase of a season pass on release day.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 19th May 2016