I’m a big fan of Fallout 4 Survival Mode. Survival Mode forces you to think tactically, take your time and make every bullet, purified water, and scrap of metal count. Although it is a lot more lifelike there are ways that it could be improved to make the experience even more realistic. In fact, I’ve described what I think they are below. Of course, some of these may make the game completely un-enjoyable and some may in fact be technically impossible but if we’re going for realism only, then they would push the game far in that direction.
Realistic Damage Effects
This would be a big one, and in many ways could arguably suck all the fun out of the Fallout 4 Survival Mode. By realistic damage I mean that when the sole survivor experiences damage, then the effects would be the same as if you or I received them. So, a bullet in the head would kill you, for example, severe leg wounds would inhibit movement speed, and arm wounds would lower your strength and perhaps your ability to aim. Armour would be of absolute importance, as it would be the only thing between living and becoming a bullet-ridden mess. Difficulty would increase for you, but at the same time you’re enemies would have a much harder time as well.
Scars and Battle Damage
This one is linked to Realistic Damage Effects above but this time we’re looking at the effects of the constant danger that lurks within the Commonwealth. Imagine if your health is reduced by 70% due to fire, then your character would show burn damage. Get slashed across the face by a knife, then you’ll have to live with a scar. The harder the hit you survive, the more chance it would leave permanent damage on your body. Of course, you could get them all removed by a settlement plastic surgeon, but until then you had to walk around as the living embodiment of your struggle.
Decreased Level of Firearm Accuracy
It strikes me as odd, that even a complete layman straight from the vault is surprisingly accurate with a firearm, and with the right scope attached to their weapon can still make a killer headshot from hundreds of feet away. It’s possible, but really not that likely that anyone without firearms training could make such a shot. If you’re playing a male character then you do have military training, as it’s mentioned at the start that you are making a veterans speech. Playing a female character doesn’t give you that storyline. Even with military training, they may be perfectly happy with a rifle, but a sniper rifle, and making aimed shots from such a distance? Probably not. Your enemies are likely to be as inaccurate as you, unless they’re with the Gunners who are likely to have had some training or at least experience with guns.
Much Lower Carrying Weight Allowance
You shouldn’t be able to carry as much as you can, or at least the carry allowance should be based as much on size as it is weight. This one would literally break Settlement building, because gathering junk would become so laborious and slow, that nobody would do it. Imagine the junk you can find in the Commonwealth and now imagine how much of that you could conceivably carry. Let’s assume your sole survivor requires both hands for his weapon and is wearing a military style backpack. Now, I would have thought that with this in mind you could carry about twelve glass bottles or tin cans, or a teddy bear and three boxes of Abraxo Cleaner. We’re really not talking about much at all. How many firearms could you realistically carry? Not to mention the size of a box of ammo. If you were to try to build a wooden wall in a settlement you’d have to carry each plank separately, and each wall is made of about ten of those and each house has at least 4 walls. Settlement Building in Fallout 4 Survival would be a boring nightmare.
I think the above list goes some way into showing that realism is not always fun. There has to be a line drawn, where realism stops just so it’s still fun to play the game. Games aren’t reality and that’s why we play them. If a game was 100% realistic you know what we’d call it? Life, or at least virtual life. So, in short congratulations Bethesda Softworks you’ve done a good job at getting Fallout 4 Survival Mode kinda where it should be.
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Jim Franklin is a freelance writer, living in Derby UK with his wife and his player 3. When time allows he likes nothing more than losing himself in a multi-hour gaming session. He likes most games and will play anything but prefers MMO's, and sandbox RPG's.