Fallout 4: Far Harbor

19th Jan, 2023

Fallout 4: Far Harbor

Fallout 4 Far Harbor is an expansion pack that Bethesda Game Studios has published. Far Harbor was released as downloadable content (DLC) on May 19, 2016. It was available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game takes place in 2287 after a nuclear war that decimates most of the United States. The expansion sees the player character recruited by a detective agency to investigate a disappearance of a young girl who lives in a remote location.

The game can be played either in first-person or in third-person. In each case, the player controls The Island, a Maine landmass, throughout their investigation. Far Harbor's main gameplay is comprised of puzzle sections and quests. The player will be rewarded with Nuka-Cola bottles caps (the franchise's main fictional currency) and experience points after completing the quests. There are many game mechanics to the puzzles. Some require you to hit targets with lasers while others allow you to build using blocks.

Three months after Fallout 4, Far Harbor announced its plans. The expansion was influenced in part by feedback from players about the dialogue system in Fallout 4. It was not considered as successful as other game mechanics. The development team noticed that players were interested in releases that included large areas of explorable territory. Because of the expansion's sheer size, Fallout 4's season passes were more expensive. The expansion received generally positive reviews from critics. Although the addition of new quests was well-received, there were mixed reviews about the expansion's atmosphere or use of fog. The puzzles were the most criticized, with many claiming they were time-consuming, inefficient, or frustrating. Guillaume Veer accused Bethesda in July 2016 of copying his Fallout: New Vegas mod named Autumn Leaves. Veer stated that he wasn't upset even though Bethesda had intentionally incorporated material from Autumn Leaves into Far Harbor.


The expansion has puzzles and quests that the player must solve. There are many ways to complete quests. Each has its own challenges. Although peaceful resolutions can be reached with characters or factions, these can have negative effects such as releasing secrets and worsening relationships with other factions. Although they may be quicker, violent completion of quests can lead to weakening alliances between the factions and the player. Some puzzle sections require that the player direct lasers to hit targets. Others require that the player build with blocks, such as Minecraft. The base game did not include puzzle sections. The assisted factions give the protagonist nuka-cola bottle caps upon completion of quests. This is one of the fictional currencies found in the Fallout series. The player character also earns experience points. Some quests include solving disputes, finding missing items, solving mysteries, and clearing out areas infested by monsters.

V.A.T.S. is one of the gameplay mechanics that has been carried over from previous iterations. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). V.A.T.S. slows down real-time combat, allowing the player the freedom to choose where to shoot an enemy. Shooting enemies in the head will usually result in death, while shooting their legs may slow them down. To disarm the enemy, weapons can also be shot at. V.A.T.S. V.A.T.S. lowers the player's stamina (Action points, or AP). If the player's stamina is not sufficient, some actions are inaccessible. In this case, the player must wait for their AP regenerate. The player's AP will be used at a faster rate if they use power armor during combat. The Pip-Boy is a small computer that is attached to the wrist of the character. It also plays a part in Fallout 4 as well as Far Harbor. It has a menu that the player can access to view data, maps, and items. When the player visits Far Harbor, the Pip-Boy will be given a signal by Valentine's Detective Agency.


Setting and characters

There are three main conflicting factions in the expansion. They all reside in separate areas: the Harbormen of Far Harbor, the Synthetic Humans colony of Acadia, and the Church of the Children of Atom. Captain Avery is the town leader and the Harbormen of Far Harbor seek to reclaim The Island. The High Confessor Tektus leads the Children of Atom, who live in an old nuclear submarine station called the Nucleus. Tektus, a follower of the Church of Atom, is a fanatic who seeks to disable and destroy the fog condensers. The abandoned observatory at The Island is the refuge for the synth colony of Acadia. The group is led by a mysterious prototype synth named DiMA. The Harbormen and Children can be friendly to DiMA as long as Acadia is autonomous and isolated from the rest.

The Sole Survivor arrives in Far Harbor to find The Island locked in a tense standoff between the children of Atom and the residents. The Sole Survivor discovers Kasumi in Acadia thanks to Old Longfellow, a local hunter, and one of the Harbormen. Kasumi believes she is a synth and has fled to Acadia to hide from the evil intentions of DiMA. Kasumi orders the Sole Survivor to investigate DiMA. He gradually discovers that he has consciously chosen not to store his memories on his body. He has kept them in a computer simulation at the Children of Atom's Nucleus base. However, he is becoming increasingly concerned that the Children will be able to access the memories and destroy Far Harbor.

The Sole Survivor approaches DiMA's memories to retrieve them. He reveals that he had put in place a series of failsafes to protect Acadia and maintain the balance of power between Far Harbor, the Children of Atom, and Acadia. These codes provide the access codes to a nuclear weaponhead that is stored in the Nucleus. They also allow the use of the fog condensers to destroy Far Harbor. The Sole Survivor discovers that Captain Avery was murdered by DiMA and replaces her with a synth in order to keep peace between Acadia and Far Harbor.


There are eight possible outcomes. The Sole Survivor must choose between destroying Far Harbor or the Children of Atom. Or, inform Far Harbor of DiMA's crime and start a feud between Acadia and the Harbormen.

The Harbormen will assume control of the island if the player detonates the warhead. However, if the player destroys fog condensers, then the Children will be dominant. Acadia will be spared in both cases, but DiMA will not approve of the player's actions. Acadia might become hostile if the player confronts DiMA about Avery's murder.

The Sole Survivor can establish a more permanent peace among all parties by assassinating, chasing away High Confessor Tektus and allowing DiMA the opportunity to replace him with a synth who takes a more moderate stance toward the Harbormen.

The Sole Survivor has the option to inform the main factions about Acadia's existence. If so, The Institute (a scientific organization that created the synths) will send agents to reclaim them, while the Brotherhood of Steel (a quasi-religious organisation rooted in the United States Armed Forces) will launch an expedition to exterminate them. The Railroad, an opposition group to The Institute's existence with the goal of liberating sentient synths, will send a operative to contact Acadia, but Acadia will reject their assistance.

The Sole Survivor is returned to the Nakano family in the Commonwealth in the aftermath. Kasumi may, depending on the player's choice, return with the player character, or remain in Acadia.

Development and publication

Todd Howard is Bethesda director

Bethesda Game Studios developed Far Harbor. It was announced three months after Fallout 4's official release. The May 19th release of Far Harbor was made available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 (and Xbox One) versions. Far Harbor was the most expensive expansion of the three. It also included new dungeons, self-contained quest locations, quests, creatures and other miscellaneous features. The expansion was included with the Fallout 4 season pass. This includes all expansion packs. Due to the extensive amount of content added, the price of the pass was raised from US$30 - $50.

Feedback from players about the Fallout 4 dialogue system, which "didn't work as well" as other features, influenced the expansion. The dialogue system in Fallout games allows players to interact with non-player characters and make them feel better. Far Harbor's dialogue options were created to allow players greater flexibility in bringing the game down. The expansion offers more dialogue choices. The development team discovered that players were also interested in visiting new locations. This added inspiration to Far Harbor, but at a higher development cost and slower completion.

The PlayStation 4 version was re-released two weeks after its official release to correct performance issues. Eurogamer's Digital Foundry performed a performance analysis and found that Fallout 4 could run at 30 frames per second (fps) when the player was outdoors and in Far Harbor's fog biomes. This could drop to 15 frames per second during action-oriented events like firefights. The Xbox One version ran at 20-30 frames per second, but had issues such as stuttering or software lock-ups. The update reduced the fog and made the game more stable.


The fog and atmosphere received varying opinions from reviewers. Stapleton was happy with the majority of content, except for the fog. However, Matt Wittaker felt the fog was not too bothersome if the character was designed to reduce radiation. Both Christopher Livingston (PC Gamer), and David Ambrosini, (IGN), praised the atmosphere. Livingston said that "you can literally smell [it]". The storyline was also controversial. Game Revolution's writers praised the story and the new characters, while Peter Brown found them boring.

Some reviewers didn't like the expansion's repetitiveness. Nic Rowen (Destructoid), was disappointed by the lack of uniqueness. Chad Sapieha (Post Arcade), stated that he was tired of repetitive tasks such as managing loot and traveling between settlements to dispose of it. He also said that he was done playing Fallout 4 and its DLC, and was ready to move on to the next installment. David Soriano (IGN), while he appreciated the large size of the map, felt that it was somewhat wasted. Alice Bell (VideoGamer.com), and GameCentral reviewers praised the value of Far Harbor. Bell stated that Far Harbor was the best expansion pack for getting "the most bangfor your buck", even considering design flaws.

Similarities to Autumn Leaves

Mat Paget (GameSpot) discussed other similarities, such as the fact Far Harbor and Autumn Leaves both allow the user to hear the voice of the character to determine if they are a robot. Veer said that he wasn't upset by the similarities and that he draws inspiration from other games: "I seriously believe this is perfectly fine. There are many Autumn Leaves inspirations... and being influenced by them is part of the writing process. Veer stated that it would be helpful to have the names of modders acknowledged in the credits. He stated that he was happy even though Bethesda had deliberately used content from Autumn Leaves. This is absolutely fine, I think.