Unless you’re one of those players who just loves to obsessively monitor stat bars and dump round after round into scoffing bullet sponges, you’ve probably not spent much time with Survival Mode in Fallout 4, you know, because it’s pointless. That may change, however, if Bethesda’s newly discovered adjustments have their desired effect.
Just yesterday, a snoopy Redditor posted the results of a trip through Fallout 4’s in-game files. The text files appeared to be revisions and enhancements to the game’ lackluster Survival Mode. The discovery was confirmed by Bethesda a few hours later via a not-at-all pandering Tweet.
When Fallout 4 launched way back in November, the game’s hardest difficulty — Survival Mode — came as something of a let down. Nowhere to be found were previous tweaks to the gameplay mode found in Obsidian’s previous release Fallout: New Vegas. Instead, as it stands, Fallout 4’s Survival Mode is basically just Hard-as-Shit Mode. Gamers tackling the challenge can look forward to receiving more damage while dealing less, finding fewer helpful supplies in the Commonwealth, and needing to wait longer for boosts like Stimpaks or Med-X to take effect.
In other words, Survival Mode just made things more tedious. Fans have taken to a variety of forums like Reddit, GameFAQs, and The Escapist to voice their disdain for Survival Mode, calling it “disappointing” and “a chore.” Now, however, Bethesda hopes to change all that by turning Survival Mode into Realism Mode by doubling down on the advancements seen in New Vegas’s Hardcore Mode.
I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow on everything that’s new, but let’s just put it like this: On the off chance you personally got frozen by an evil conglomerate only to thaw out 200 years later hell bent on revenge, you would still expect certain rules to be firmly in place. For example, if an otherwise normal fella starts talking shit and you put a bullet between his eyes, you’re going to expect him to die, not scoff as you try to shoot him in the head enough times (and quickly enough) to drain his health bar before he can return the favor.
Bethesda solved this problem by upping the amount of damage the player can do and compounding that with the new “Adrenaline” perk, which grants gamers a lethality bonus based on how many people they’ve killed. Which makes sense, because the more people you kill, the better you’re going to get at it, right? That’s just life.
Likewise, if you looted anything off your vanquished foes in the real world, you’d expect everything — even bullets — to have at least a little bit of mass. Even more, you’d expect that lugging around 200 extra pounds of shit on your back would have a long-term impact on your physical health. As such, when you find yourself overloaded for too long, your limbs will start to suffer.
The need to keep yourself fed, hydrated, and rested are also coming back, while certain creature comforts, like fast travel, are going the way of the Dodo.
For the longest time, Bethesda Softworks has kind of led the league when it comes to immersion. The worlds they’ve crafted in their flagship RPG series Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are second to none when it comes to pure detail and interactivity. While the developer has made great strides trying to let their customers live another life in another world, up until now, most players have been unattached explorers in a largely realized virtual playground.
The impending changes — which are set to release as an update after the first round of Fallout 4 DLC — may change all of that by combining the game’s stellar story and open world with a grounded set of rules that keeps players focused on survival as a way of life, not a means to increase the difficulty. Fallout is hard enough as it is.