This week, we’ll take a look at how a little bit of effort on the part of devs can turn a bad game into a great one.
Two years ago, we were blessed with a mighty gift: A brand new Fallout game, straight from Todd Howard’s oven. Hundreds flocked to their local game stores while hundreds of thousands flocked to Steam and other digital storefronts, just so they could play this new game with a voiced protagonist and a British robot that could say your name.
About a year and a half ago, most people were left disappointed. The shooting was better than most Bethesda games, and it the graphics were passably better as well, but the story felt weak, the settlement system was a mess, and the DLC (while enticing) felt a little lacking. Sure, we got Far Harbor and Nuka World, but everything else was a glorified update-turned-DLC.
It also didn’t help that the difficulty scale was very ancient (I mean, come on, it was practically ripped from old shooter difficulty sliders), and Survival mode was an utter joke, especially after New Vegas stole the show for such a great mode.
Snore to Score
Luckily, after finishing off all the cocaine and fanboy tears, Todd Howard and Co. decided to answer the pleas of the masses.
Survival Mode promised a basic needs system, fewer opportunities to save (to a fault), fewer resources, and increased damage from both your and enemies. The world rejoiced, and… it worked. It gave me an additional 200 hundred hours (and counting) to my playtime.
The introduction of survival mode gave me a reason to do all that other annoying shit, but actually managed to increase the fun of those annoying things. I wasn’t just clearing out a settlement location, I was gaining access to a new base of operations. I was gaining new farmland, more water, better supply routes.
I believe it also solved the problem with pacing. In the original difficulty options, it was agonizing to deal with the Minutemen, because you were on a time-sensitive mission. With Survival mode, however, getting to Diamond City and surviving around that area is dangerous. It makes sense to stick around the small area of Sanctuary, gaining friends and supplies, and growing stronger.
Survival Mode worked to make this sub-par Fallout game into a hidden gem (obviously once it’s modded to shit, but that’s true for all Bethesda games). Now all Bethesda needs to do is get their post-launch system in better shape. Maybe that’s an addon in their store for the low, low price of all the money in the world.