“The Closing Chapter”
The final conversation I had within Fallout 4 was a subtle, yet powerful encapsulation of the many hours I’d spent in The Commonwealth. Conversing with a trader in the Nuka-World market following a bloody altercation, we talked of the future and the opportunities therein. It was an honest and sincere exchange of dialogue that reflected the nature of the surrounding world in hurt. Based on the urge to look toward a better tomorrow, the interaction brought with it a realistic sense of blanketing somberness and confidence, illustrating life would continue within The Wasteland, in spite of my own journey coming to a close.
When Fallout 4 released last fall in the wake of one of the strongest market=ing campaigns the industry has seen, I praised the RPG for its astonishing attention to detail, complex systems, and emotionally charged storytelling. Flaws and all, Fallout 4 stood as one of my favorite games of last year, so naturally I was eager to see what Bethesda had in store with DLC plans moving forward. With five expansions under their belt, the sixth and final piece of DLC, Nuka-World, brings to a close the post-launch content for Bethesda’s showpiece role-playing game. Having been somewhat disappointed with the offerings thus far, I remained hopeful for the final add-on to Fallout 4’s season pass. Certainly not without its polarizing elements, Nuka-World manages to bring enough variety in terms of new content and narrative merit to the table to rightfully top off one of the stronger crafted games in recent memory.Just as in Far Harbor, the Nuka-World expansion begins with the activation of a radio signal once having reached level 30. Summoning the player to the Nuka-World transit center, the story begins as you run into a lone traveler claiming his family is held captive in the Nuka-World Amusement Park. With sights set on the park, it soon becomes apparent your visit entails more malicious attractions than a pleasant ride through It’s a Small World. Stepping off the tram you’re violently met with a sadistic game known as The Gauntlet, a series of deathtraps to navigate in order to enter Nuka-World. It’s an abrupt, yet tense peek into what’s to come, ending in a confrontation with the “Overboss”, the man in charge of the amusement park’s three raider gangs. Having slain the leader, you’re crowned the new Overboss title, put into the leadership position of maintaining control of the gangs: The Operators, The Disciples, and The Pack.
Each faction is built on their own methodology and is supervised by a group leader. With the exception of sharing violent practices, the three gangs occupying Nuka-World set themselves apart from one another, instilling a believable essence to the overall ecosystem of the park. Providing an interesting political situation, assuming the leader role over the park is a creative touch, yet is one that feels at odds with the way many of us played Fallout 4. Ultimately, you’re encouraged to become the bad guy, a clunky character transition that is poorly presented. This obtuse setup will surely push people away from the expansion, exhibiting the fact one’s enjoyment of Nuka-World is extraordinarily circumstantial. If off-put by the narrative formula, it can seem like the add-on has nothing to offer you. However, some of the best tools and weapons in the entire game are tucked away within the park, giving reason for players not necessarily thrilled with the main quest to stick around.
NUKA-WORLD IS SIMULTANEOUSLY A SUBJECTIVE AND STERLING CHERRY ON FALLOUT 4’S EXCELLENT CAKE
As someone who deeply valued the public perception and moral impact I brought to The Commonwealth when making my way through Fallout 4’s mainline story, concluding my journey by sitting on the raider throne was certainly not in the cards. Fortunately, Nuka-World gives you the choice to decline holding the position for long. In a nutshell, things didn’t work out so well for the ruthless raiders inhabiting Nuka-World. However, there was more to the inevitable rampage than the bloodshed that painted the streets. The optional path of destruction I chose manifested into a smartly constructed mirror image to the ideology of solving problems with violence. For all its fun and games, Nuka-World lent me a poignant and maturely orchestrated note to leave the title on, a resolution I valued greatly.
The rampage was a hard hitting illustration of Fallout 4’s ability to present itself with morally consistent grey footing. I felt uncomfortable killing the members from each respective group of raiders. While I firmly believed it was the right decision for the betterment of the common survivor, it didn’t stop me from feeling a slight tinge of remorse as the bloodbath continued. The entire ordeal carried a hefty emotional weight, often taking on an uneasy vibe that consistently challenged my motive for committing such an act. These moments of complex self-analyzation are why Fallout 4 is such a superb game, with the Nuka-World DLC providing the most harsh, gruesome, and bluntly proposed vision of questioning morality yet.For a game that already excelled when it came to burdening you with tangible guilt for your actions, my time at the park was the most intense and definitive look at the character I had put myself in the shoes of. I role-played the main game with intentions to be a good person, yet that didn’t stop me from indulging in acts of wrongful violence and destroying relationships I’d meticulously fostered. Those decisions stuck with me, permanently ingraining themselves into how I carried myself throughout The Commonwealth. Among the most haunting, was the decision to remain at the side of the Brotherhood of Steel, a choice that brought with it the merciless act of disposing of The Railroad, a coalition of survivors trying to do the right thing. Sparked by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the decision was one I deeply regret, going on to influence a large portion of the decisions moving forward, including the one to rid Nuka-World of raiders.
Nuka-World gave me the chance to stand up for principles, allowing for me to attempt rectifying the wrong I’d done in the past. Rooted in moral ambiguity, the satisfying and open-ended resolve of my last hours within Fallout 4 won’t soon escape me. Akin to the many ethical conundrums raised in the main game, the choices presented within this final piece of DLC are significant. Despite feeling occasionally limited in scope, the available choices are ones of great consequence, giving merit to the finite nature of the expansion. In addition to strong narrative characteristics, the new location is also a joy to explore with fascinating and frightening attractions to tour. Above all, Nuka-World gave me the closure I had been in search of since first setting foot in The Commonwealth nearly a year ago. It allowed me to close the chapter on one of my favorite games of this generation in a powerfully cathartic manner, gifting me with an invaluable resolution I will undoubtably hold onto for sometime to come.
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