It’s time to play devil’s advocate. The sixth and final DLC expansion to Fallout 4, Nuka-World, really isn’t that bad. There has been a lot of press flying around about how this wasn’t the finale to Fallout 4 that everyone was hoping for. I would argue that for a game that was released 10 months ago, the Fallout 4 Season Pass has kept this game extremely relevant, and Nuka-World is no exception. There is a good chunk of new content here, with a fun, quirky story-line and some entirely new directions available for your character to take. If you’re not determined to be disappointed, you might just enjoy the ride!
Nuka-World takes you to a soft-drink themed fun park with six different zones to explore. To get there, you must first survive a complex gauntlet that has been set up to deter (and kill) any unwanted visitors. You only get an official quest to take a trip to Nuka-World at level 30, and even if you just wander into the area on the map where the entrance to Nuka-World is situated, you will get a warning suggesting that you should be level 30 before you proceed. However, the only physical barrier to the park is an expert lock you are required to unpick in the gauntlet, so you can happily create a new character for this DLC and head over as early as level 7.
Once you clear the gauntlet, you enter a cage fight with the raider “Overboss,” where upon your victory you are crowned the new Overboss of Nuka-World. You later learn this job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: the three gangs running the park are on the brink of civil war and you are the only thing standing in the way. The plot of the DLC essentially follows on from there – each zone has been overrun by a variety of different plagues from ghouls to mad robots to Gatorclaws. You need to clear out each section and then allocate the territory to one of the three gang which you can do so evenly – or not. Although it doesn’t make much sense for the Overboss to be the one running the errands, you do get overall control of the final geopolitical landscape which was quite gratifying.
“The creepy fun-house vibe was underpinned by an affecting story, chronicling the gradual demise of a group of survivors…”
The thing I loved most about this DLC was that each zone felt distinct and new, with its own visual theme, questline and monsters, very true to the theme park you have found yourself running. Yes, some were clearly more carefully developed than others. Kiddie Kingdom was the absolute standout. The creepy fun-house vibe was underpinned by an affecting story chronicling, the gradual demise of a group of survivors to the Affliction, which is what they called the latent radiation in the area following nuclear fallout.
Additional to the main storyline, Nuka-World introduces a bunch of new weapons, armour and recipes for you to play around with. Perhaps the biggest change is the ability to take your new raider bent back to the Commonwealth to conquer and enslave the settlements you fought so hard to construct. This is where most of the noise in the media has been coming from: in order to get the most out of the DLC you “have” to be bad. I simply can’t understand this criticism.
You’re not forced to do anything! And if you really want to see how it plays out, perhaps from a lore perspective your character has finally cracked after too many hours in the wastelands? Or if you really can’t bear that outcome, create a new character? Or even a new save? Far from Bethesda restricting the choices of the player, the reality is that there are plenty of inbuilt options within the game that encourage new and different choices all the time. Especially in this case, where Bethesda has clearly tried to respond to earlier criticism around a lack of “bad” character choices available, surely we can give them the benefit of the doubt and not demand that all parts of the game have to be all things to all people.
- Fun major quest line
- Dripping with flavour
- A solid 15-20 hours of gameplay
- Few lasting impacts on the rest of the game
- RPG elements under-developed in some areas
So why not head over to Nuka-World and enjoy what is likely to be the last DLC of one of the most epic games released over the last year? It’s a roller coaster.