Teeming with new monsters, quests, NPCs and loot, with an offering of 15 hours or more of adventuring, Far Harbor is indeed the expansion Fallout 4 fans have been waiting for. Better yet it’s also fantastic.
With a radio signal informing you of a new case at Valentine’s Detective Agency, you’re soon heading to the North West coast to jump on a boat and journey to a mysterious island drenched in an eerie, radioactive fog. What starts off as an investigation into a missing person soon develops into a fascinating set of mysteries about the island’s denizens, the fog, and the huge mutated creatures that call it home.
Three faction live on the island and soon seek your aid, conversion, or destruction: The Children of Atom, a colony of escaped synths, and the human settlers. It doesn’t take long for you to find yourself in the middle of them, with choices of brokering peaceful existence, annihilation, or something in-between.
The options available to you are even broader here than during the main game, allowing you a great deal of flexibility on how you deal with the three factions. Meanwhile, dialogue has seen a significant improvement, helping to develop the characters into people and synths that you can care about and truly get to know. This also makes your decisions more meaningful and interesting, encouraging you to create a few extra saves in order to see the multiple outcomes.
The new fog effects, meanwhile, adds a fantastic sense of atmosphere to the island that makes it feel and look very different to the mainland. Moreover, the fog helps conceal enemies, making your adventuring more treacherous and far scarier. Having a bandit jump out from nowhere is enough to send you several feet up from your couch, but having a ghoul of super mutant do it can send you into orbit. However, it’s the new creatures that will really get you flying.
Giant frogs, praying mantises, crabs and other sea creatures, all plague the residents of this island, and they are truly a sight to see. Hermit crabs using trucks as shells, and praying mantises that can give a deathclaw a run for their money. These are wonderfully unique, intimidating, and powerful creatures for you engage that test your skills thoroughly.
The Far Harbor story alone can take a good 15 hours to complete, however, there’s plenty of island to explore and get caught up in your own adventures. The terrain is also very different from that of the mainland, with a more rugged feel and a terrifyingly eerie mountain path to ascend.
New equipment is also strewn across the island for you to find and use, including nautically themed weapons to add to your collection. Unfortunately the new companion is a bit of a let-down; he can help guide you around the island but his fisherman backstory doesn’t yield much interest. However, some new puzzles you come across during the expansion’s story are a welcome break from the norm.
Far Harbor’s new and fascinating setting, menacing monsters, more in-depth characters, and well-paced story, all make for a superb expansion. The eerier atmosphere is a welcome change that helps make the new location feel very different to what we’ve encountered before, and the abundance of content finally delivers the expansion we’ve been craving. You’re not going to want to miss this boat.
Thanks to Xbox and Bethesda for supporting TiX