Truth be told, Fallout 4 is probable my least favorite of the Bethesda developed Fallout games. I know I’m probably in the minority here, but for me, despite the publisher’s efforts, it’s just too narratively sparse. Sure, it’s the biggest game in the series, and there have been two previous downloadable content additions, and now mods are even available. In my book, that just covers up, or in Wasteland Workshop’s case make the problem worse. With all of that in mind, my expectations for the new Far Harbor expansion were pretty low.
To be fair, Bethesda didn’t do much to inspire hope that add-on would actually be that compelling. As it turns out, Far Harbor is probably the best piece of storytelling in the whole game. What starts off as a typical case from Valentine’s Detective Agency, ends up in a long boat ride to an entirely new location. Speaking of Nick Valentine, if you want to experience everything Far Harbor has to offer you should probably take him with you. There are some character specific bits to be found on the nuclear fog-covered Maine island. Even without him, though, this is surprisingly the best bit of storytelling Fallout 4 has to offer.
Far Harbor doesn’t even start out all that promising. For most people, the adventure will begin with a long walk to the far North Eastern corner of Fallout 4’s map. There’s not really much else that goes on up there; once you get there, it sounds like all of the other kidnapping missions the game will send you on. After a short investigation, all indications are that the victim left of her own volition. The only real question is why. Luckily, the family has a boat and is more than happy to let you use it to find their missing daughter.
Unfortunately, getting back and forth from Fallout 4’s Far Harbor is probably more trouble than it should be. With that in mind, make sure you’re ready for a long slog, before heading out. Like I said, the mysterious island is covered in a toxic nuclear fog, where the higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world. That means lots of tough new monsters, and you thought Deathclaws were bad. Blanketed by all of that danger, there is also a growing conflict between the synths, the Children of Atom, and the local townspeople that needs sorting out.
With a murdered wife, and abducted child, Fallout 4’s main quest was supposed to hit all of the numbers for a compelling narrative, but at least to me, it fell short. Maybe the story was just too big, but I just didn’t care. With Far Harbor, the characters are actually fleshed out enough that they’re more than just stand-ins, and for the first time I was actually interested in what was going on in Fallout 4. Far Harbor is the largest landmass for an add-on that Bethesda has ever created, filled with new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures, dungeons and even a strange new vault. While it might not be Bethesda’s densest add-on ever, in comparison to the main game, it’s a welcome surprise.
Fallout 4 is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, and Use of Drugs. This game can also be found on: PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.