I, like most people born in the late nineties, have never played the original Fallout games. For me, the franchise began in 2008, when Bethesda released the Washington DC-based third installment. Between that and Obsidian’s 2010 offering, New Vegas, not to mention the liberal helpings of DLC both games have, there is nothing short of a metric crap-ton of replay value.
However, I bought Fallout 4 on release, for PC, and haven’t returned to it since 2015. I enjoyed it, I completed it, I clocked hundreds of hours, and then I left it be. Now the proud owner of a PS4, I spied the very same game going for cheap a few weeks back, and couldn’t resist. Two years on, with the hype train well behind us, I wondered precisely how well it held up.
A visit to the Nexus should fix this.
An hour or so in, I remembered everything. The gunplay was familiar, the characters and rendering felt like I had never really stopped playing… it was nostalgic for a while, but then it quickly got boring. It was then that I remembered precisely how Bethesda games accrue their replayability: Mods.
Below I’ll provide what I believe to be one of the best methods of repackaging Fallout 4 as an entirely new experience, for console and PC gamers alike. These mods will all be available across the three platforms on which you can play Fallout 4, none of them will use ANY external assets, making them small and convenient to download, and none require any DLC. Without further ado:
If you only choose one mod from this list, get Immersive Gameplay.
Fallout 4 becomes an entirely new game with Immersive Gameplay. Upon reaching Sanctuary, you gain access to a basement filled with duct tape, weaponry, mods, armour, etc. While you may think that sounds like an easy mode, wait until your first raider fight.
The playing field is entirely leveled with regards to damage and endurance. Head shots will kill all humans, yourself included. If a missile lands near you, you will die. This mod makes the Commonwealth an unforgiving wasteland. Its brutal, it’s punishing, but encounters with groups of enemies are exhilarating. It changes the way you play.
Followers become useful rather than annoyances. I was facing off against a raider, and I emptied the last barrel of my sawed-off into his chest as I rounded a corner, crippling one arm and almost killing him. He produced a pipe pistol, and leveled it at me while I was reloading. From out of nowhere, Dogmeat jumped on him a split-second before he fired and ripped his throat out.
I guarantee you, a Fallout game has never been as exciting.
SimpleGreen / ReGrowth Overhaul
Wasteland or not, the relentless drudgery of Fallout‘s various shades of brown can get somewhat monotonous after a while. With SimpleGreen – a PS4 exclusive – or ReGrowth Overhaul – for XB1 and PC – you can change this. In the post-apocalyptic landscapes of Boston and its surrounding areas, you encounter not just dead black plains but teeming, overgrown flora all around.
The two variants are similar, with ReGrowth being a little more detailed due to the Xbox/PC’s ability to use external assets.
In Fallout: New Vegas you could enable Hardcore mode for immersion without making the game exceptionally frustrating. Fallout 4 only offers an ultra-challenging Survival mode as the apex of the game’s difficulty settings. Good on you if that’s what you’re looking for, but in tandem with Immersive Gameplay, it can get a bit overwhelming.
Simple Survival removes all the unnecessary points of Bethesda’s stock Survival Mode, including the necessity to sleep to save your game, instead offering a simpler alternative for immersion. You must eat, sleep, and drink to survive. Failing to do each will mean your stats take a pretty serious hit.
Unified Clothing Overhaul
Unified Clothing Overhaul provides Fallout 4 players with a fairly simple premise: Wear whatever armour you want, over whatever clothing. You can even customize your clothing too. It seemed arbitrary that Bethesda only allowed three or four “under” layers for the game’s new modular armour system.
Instead, you can now modify that pinstripe black suit with all the ballistic weave and padding it can carry, and strap all the metal armour pieces you wish to it. Hooray for immersion!
Settlement Supplies Expanded
This is just a no-brainer.
Want the razor-wire tipped concrete walls of Covenant sitting around your quaint little survivor-cave? Go for it. Pre-war cherry-red motorcycles in your drive? Sure. Lighthouses? Mausoleums? Raider poles? Expand your decoration options tenfold. SSEX is the mod for you.
This also goes hand-in-hand perfectly with a settlement size expansion mod. There are plenty out there.
Fallout 4‘s Diamond City Radio has some great classics of the 50s and 60s, hearkening back to the revivalism movement America was undergoing during the late 21st century. However, for a game that can take hundreds of hours to complete, hearing Cole Porter’s Anything Goes for possibly the thousandth time can prompt bouts of minor neurosis.
While this point is strictly for PS4 users (PC/XB1 have radio replacer mods available), to keep this kind of retro-futuristic soundtrack feel, investing in a Spotify account allows you to play, pause, and skip songs in a playlist from the Quick Menu in a matter of seconds. You can choose to play music of your personal preference, or follow some purpose-built playlists if you so desire. It may not seem like that much, but it really, really helps.
Finally, for any Fallout fan that owns any kind of smartphone, the official Pip-Boy companion app is a fairly irrelevant memory. It was a novelty at best; but, honestly, with a tablet with a little more screen room, it actually becomes deceptively useful. Placing it on your armrest or lap allows for quick consumption of water or food for the Simple Survival mod above, or to change weaponry with a tap to better suit your new-and-improved fluid combat.
Give it a try. With all of these mods — and the extras if you’re a PS4 user that can swing both Spotify and the Pip-Boy app — Fallout 4 honestly becomes an entirely new journey. Let us know what you thought of your modding endeavours in the comments section below!