Off to the west of the Commonwealth, there’s an area you are yet to explore, no matter how much you’ve looted the world of Fallout 4. Much like everywhere else, the area contains raiders, civilians, loot, quests and lots of places to explore. This time it’s a little different though, for Bethesda have given us something rather unique.
The Nuka World Theme Park. Price of entry? £15.99, or free to season pass holders. Much like the indoor roller coaster you will eventually get to ride on, it’s full of ups and downs and twists and turns. But is this a Cedar Point experience of fun and adrenaline, or are we in for an experience the likes of which Isgyvenino Drama provides? Thankfully, much like with Google Street View, you don’t have to go there to get a taste of it. I’ve spent the last day experiencing the attractions to bring you this full report. Now, I’m not going to spoil any interesting quest lines or divulge any spoilerific information. Neither am I going to cover the basic principles of Bethesda’s Fallout games; let’s assume you understand what you’re playing here. I’m going to talk about the park, why you’re here, the things you can find here which you can’t anywhere else, and overall whether it’s worth your time.
Gaining access to Nuka World is a simple affair. Bethesda’s imagination only goes so far, seemingly always ending up at “Listen to this radio broadcast and follow from there”. I suppose it’s marginally more realistic than their Elder Scrolls approach of finding a random note stashed about your person, but still, we know the drill. Or at least, we think we do… I’m not going to spoil what happens when you reach your destination, but the opening is actually quite fun. A little too convoluted to be realistic, but fun nonetheless. After surviving this trial, you gain entry to the park proper, to discover it’s in the process of being taken over by three different Raider factions. Simply for getting in alive, you’re given the position of Overboss – essentially the Don of all three factions – and you set to work taking over the parks zones for them. This is achieved by visiting the various themed zones, and killing every hostile in them. Yes, even the worm which has glitched into the ground; good luck with that. (Your experience may vary, of course). Some zones are not all hostile though, and you will find NPCs scattered around who you can try and convince to join your Raider crew. Alternatively, you can sneak up behind them and gut them with Pickman’s Blade, which isn’t quite as satisfying as a double barrel to the face, but hey. This is a world of choice. Only after clearing the zone and selecting which gang to support will Raider NPCs move into the area.
Each Raider faction in Nuka World has it’s own agenda, and each one wants you to claim the park for them. As you make your way around the themed zones, you’re tasked with clearing out hostiles and planting a flag for one of the Raider groups. You can pick favourites here, or you can attempt to keep them all happy by balancing out the property hand out. Of course, like everywhere else in Fallout 4, tending to the needs of one faction may go some way to pissing off the rest, and you could end up with a full revolt on your hands. Once you’ve accomplished all of this, you can – if you choose to do so – go out into the Commonwealth and claim settlements for the Raiders. That’s a pretty bittersweet end game, to be honest; you can have spent hours, days even, building up a unique settlement only to go and take it over for the Raiders, or at least the Raider clan you chose to support in Nuka World. Yes, you can even take over Sanctuary, and wipe the floor with Preston Garvey’s altruism and his stupid fucking hat. There is a God, after all.
That all sounds pretty fun doesn’t it? Well, it is, but much like the introduction to the DLC, it’s endgame feels rather contrived. I own those settlements. They are already mine, and the defences I’ve painstakingly laid out – laser trip wires and the lot – have been planned to keep the Raiders out. Now I’m supposed to go and retake it from myself because the DLC gives me the option? If Raiding had been an option from the start of the Fallout 4 story, then that would have been a different matter. With the removal of Karma and reputation, there’s no real way to be a despot from the outset. Bethesda have now given us the option, but only after fans have spent hundreds of hours creating their own settlements. Where’s my motivation to destroy it all?
Whether you choose to indulge in these ambivalent activities is up to you, but in the meantime, you’ve also got a Theme Park to explore. Once the main quest is complete, the whole park will be powered up, and you can take advantage of everything from the classic tea cup ride to the roller coaster. There are a lot of mini games here, and you can play for tokens which can be exchanged for prizes. They’re also achievement related too. I’ve got to be honest, without the achievement I’d only use each attraction once just out of curiosity; the novelty soon wears off. The map of the park is pretty big though, and just like the various parts of the wasteland before it there’s plenty to loot and uncover, including unique weapons and gear, and the ability to create various potions at Nuka Cola Mixing Stations, the details of which I won’t spoil here.
Overall, the quality of the content isn’t as good as Far Harbour with it’s character driven story, and Bethesda are still way behind the curve of Obsidian’s relentlessly excellent New Vegas DLC, but just for how unique the place is, you’ll get your money’s worth out of it if you’re a fan of the game already and want something a little different to explore.
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