The final chapter of the Fallout 4 Season Pass has finally been released, and it takes place in the happiest place in the Commonwealth -- the theme park Nuka-World! No more dark fog of Far Harbor, and long gone are the masses of radscorpions inside the Vault-Tec Workshop. Instead, you’re on your way to the one shining beacon of joy in an irradiated world -- just hop on the monorail to the far, far west of Boston, and get ready for fun!
Yeah, it was never going to be that, was it…? Instead, not everything is as it seems, as you approach Nuka-World aboard the monorail. The amusement park is still a place of mirth, but unfortunately everyone is laughing at you, not with you. Straight off of the train you’re forced to run a gauntlet of traps, creatures and ghouls, each more fiendish than the last. Also those stupid monkeys with the cymbals…
However, should you survive the gauntlet (bring stimpacks) right to the end, you’re rewarded with the run of the park. The entire complex may be inhabited by raiders, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow their lead and be evil. Except yeah, you totally do. If you want to do any quests in the entire of the park, you’ve got to grab your hooded cloak, go to the Dark Side and do quests for the three raider factions: Disciples, Operators, Pack.
It’s super limiting from an RPG perspective -- if you’ve been playing as a paragon of virtue who only kills when necessary, you’re going to have a very short questline… There are a few things to do, such as collecting Park medallions or finding all of the hidden Cappy pictures, which unlock some unique loot, but Nuka-World is no place for heroes.
It’s run very similarly to the Far Harbor DLC -- you leave the Commonwealth to go to a far off place, and find three factions. But whereas Far Harbor allowed you to play it several ways, there’s not really a lot to do in Nuka-World if you’re unwilling to work with psychopaths.
All three factions have been stuck together in one section -- Nuka-Town U.S.A. -- for the past year, and they are eager to conquer the rest of the park. It’s up to you to decide which faction goes where -- will you stick the animalistic Pack in The Galactic Zone? Are the blood-thirsty Disciples best suited for Kiddie Kingdom? Perhaps the caps-obsessed Disciples are deserving of Safari Adventure?
Of course, you may be wondering why these areas haven’t already been taken over -- why remain in Nuka-Town? Obviously because the other areas are full of maniacs, monsters, ghouls and freaking robots! Despite my thought that this was going to be a different flavour to the tough enemies of previous DLC, instead I only found tons more new types of them… Most aren’t radically different in looks from the enemies of the Commonwealth, and that’s to be expected since they’re in such close proximity. If this was an 8-bit game I’d have to say that they are recolours -- however, since it isn’t, I can honestly say: if Nuka Cola Quantum does that to a Mirelurk, what’s it doing to my Sole Survivor?!
Speaking of flavours, we find out that there are far more than the three Nuka Cola varieties that we’re used to; Cherry, Quantum and regular. There’s also Wild, Grape, Orange, and Dark - the 35% alcohol soft drink for adults! The DLC also reintroduces Victory and Quartz, from Fallout New Vegas. There are also several flavours to be found, which you can mix yourself in one of the mixing units around the park. These have a variety of effects, but also require different amounts of the normal Nuka Cola types.
Working for the gangs of raiders, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it won’t affect your alliances back in the Boston area. You’d be wrong. One of the story missions involves you heading back to the Commonwealth -- and many of the side missions require this as well -- to take over a settlement. You can talk the settlers off of it, or you can take the violent approach and descend upon them like the wrath of God to scour them from the land!
I’ve never made it a secret that my Fallout characters are a little on the evil side… I tried to make my Sole Survivor a bit of chaotic neutral, but was happy that I had an excuse to finally threaten everyone to get my own way. Unfortunately it’s not enough. There are far too many fetch quests, unheard of amounts of backtracking and although it has some nice areas, Nuka-World is far too small.
It is roughly the same size as Far Harbor, if you include the indoor areas and the fact that you’re constantly back and forth to the Commonwealth, but doesn’t manage to be interesting enough. The gang motives are: kill for pleasure, kill for profit and kill to show power. At least in Far Harbor the different factions had some nuance, they were much better written. There is a new companion in Nuka-World, which is a good thing -- because most of the others don’t like you being evil. Being a dick, sure, but slaughtering a settlement is heavily frowned upon by the majority of them.
The very interesting design and lore entries don’t save the game from being very middling. I’m glad I got the season pass before its £15 price increase in March. That’s more the focus of an article than a review, but the season pass as a whole hasn’t been amazing, and Nuka-World just plops an irradiated cherry on a disappointing sundae.
Fallout 4 Nuka-World (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Tons of fetch quests, far too much time spent away from the theme park, and forcing the role playing out of RPG, it’s still a fun addition - if you don’t mind playing it evil.