VIDEO GAME REVIEW

Mods revitalize older games into masterpieces

More than a year ago, I wrote a review on the fresh release of Fallout 4. I want to make it clear, I absolutely loved the game when it first came out. There was so much potential, so much possibility in Fallout 4 over Fallout 3 and New Vegas. But after a couple of months, I guess I just ran the game out of content. Even with the downloadable content, it just wasn’t enough. So now, after buying a cool NVIDIA GTX 1070, I’ve bumped everything to ultra and installed a ton of mods, giving me probably another hundred or so hours of fresh gameplay. But before I go into the mods, let’s touch on why it all became stale.

The settlement building mechanic and sheer size of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Fallout 4 made exploration feel limitless. But after I put in about 80 hours in, the gameplay felt repetitive. “Go defend this settlement” or “rescue this settler” became boring after the tenth time. I also exhausted all the points of interest in the game (isn’t that something, considering the size of eastern Massachusetts). It also didn’t help that, beyond the main storyline, there was no reason for me to create a new character and choose a different faction. The sides were so polarized that picking one felt like a personal choice and choosing anything else would be wrong. This one fights for freedom or this one seeks mankind redefined. Almost parallel to today’s politics, now that I think about it; that’s I why I said to heck with it and joined none of them. Which probably explains why I found little replay value.

Now that I have a powerful GPU, I bumped the settings and downloaded over 30 different mods—all of which can be found on nexusmods, a hub for Bethesda game mods. The first two that are, in my opinion, absolutely worth it if you have a hefty GPU, are The Enhanced Wasteland Preset by razed and Vivid Fallout – Landscapes. For EWP, you’ll have to download ENB separately and finagle the EWP files in your steamapps folder. It’s a bit of work, but they both make the wasteland look absolutely gorgeous.

Another mod I installed was Ellen – The Cartographer. This is what I love about the modding community; someone out there voiced over a thousand lines for this character, Ellen. She’s available to be a companion and even has her own personal quest when you adventure with her. She’s been all over the former United States and even makes references to previous Fallout installments, which I find immersive. And hey, she’s not too shabby at using a rifle.

The last mod I think is worth noting is almost like a completely different game; it’s called Frost Survival Simulator. If you’re up for a challenge, then this is your cup of tea. The mod is relentless. Like actually surviving in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world, the player must worry about eating and drinking, more serious injuries from wounds, and even mental health. Taking place not long after the bombs went off, weapons and especially ammunition are scarce. You will always feel like you are on the edge of your seat when playing this mod. I know I jumped up from my chair when my half-starved, paranoid character rounded a corner and was immediately clobbered by an insane, bat-wielding raider.

If you’re feeling bored with your installment of Fallout 4, Fallout 3, Skyrim, what have you, just slap on some mods and you’ll probably be good for another hundred hours of gameplay.

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