Bethesda offered quite a few announcements about the Fallout franchise at the 2016 E3 Expo. Besides the expansion of their hugely popular mobile game, Fallout Shelter, the Nuka-World add-on for Fallout 4 offered the most promise. The final of two narratives focused downloadable expansions, the Nuka-World preview offered the most fun in an amusement center since KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. The recent success of the Fallout 4: Far Harbor DLC added to the promise of the popular role-playing game’s final addition.
I mentioned the 1978 Hanna-Barbera campfest for a reason. While the general aesthetic for Bethesda’s Fallout games is decidedly mid-century, atomic age, Nuka-World abandons almost all of that. It’s not that there are a bunch of incongruent parts thrown in as much as it is such an obvious translation of decades past that it comes off as parody, in a way that the actual Fallout games do not. Though it is worth mentioning that, it’s hard to imagine an amusement park being built in the 1950s that actually has higher production values than some modern parks.
Authenticity aside, the biggest problem with Nuka-World is that unlike Far Harbor, the narrative is pretty weak, and unless you’re an anarchist, you might have a hard time embracing the add-on’s theme. I’ve often criticized Fallout 4’s lack of narrative density, but was pleasantly surprised with how Far Harbor’s simple tale was implemented. Rather than adding to the Fallout 4 experience, Nuka-World actually offers an alternative faction for you to join, the raiders. Considering how much effort the core game requires to build and maintain settlements, I doubt there are many players that are ready to tear all of that apart.
If it weren’t for the high level requirement, I’d say it would probably be best to explore Nuka-World before playing through the main campaign. That way you could just choose the raiders as your faction, without all of the back and forth. Unfortunately, the quest line only appears once your character has achieved level 30. I guess they only want experienced heroes to run the gauntlet, that leads to the amusement park. Speaking of gauntlets, that is essentially what Nuka-World is, a series of Nuka Cola-themed amusement park sections that require a lot of clearing out.
All of that grinding isn’t for naught though. There is plenty of new loot to find, a new companion, and even a Nuka Cola themed set of power armor. Even though the Nuka one is a bit more effective, I think I like the look of the Vim set, just a little better. Regardless, there is a good amount of new stuff in Fallout 4: Nuka-World, and you’ll even get recipes for making your own Nuka Colas. Who knew there were so many of them?
I’ll be damned, if I’m going to start attacking the settlements, the game forced me to build over the first hundred hours or so I played Fallout 4 and that seems to be where the Nuka-Cola DLC leaves me. So, as for the lasting impact, I’m not really sold. I did also mention, the whole thing is pretty combat heavy, but then again so is the rest of the game. It’s not that I really expected more from Fallout 4 and its expansions, but I really hoped for a better overall narrative. I did find Far Harbor to be bright spot, albeit a foggy one, but honestly that’s probably the only time in the game that I really cared about what was going on. As for Nuka-World, I’d rather have it than not, but I’m not sure it warranted a significant price increase for the Season Pass.
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.