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Fallout 4: Nuka-World
Score: 80%
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Introduction:

I love theme parks. I donít really care that theyíre perhaps the most artificial places on the face of the earth. When I get to visit one, Iím in heaven. Excitement, food, and atmosphere combine to produce the ultimate getaway. I also happen to love Fallout 4, in spite of its shortcomings as a role-playing game. To be truthful, Iím still totally enamored of its mix of casual shooting and exploration. Fallout 4: Nuka-World has all the makings of a great expansion. It should be the next best thing to actually setting a Fallout game in Walt Disney World, but its vanishingly tiny map and uninspired questlines ultimately bring it down.

To All Who Come to this Deadly Place, Welcome:

Fallout 4: Nuka-World leaves a fantastic first impression. After following a radio signal to a besieged transport station, you end up discovering a monorail that leads to Nuka-World, the theme park run by everyoneís favorite beverage manufacturer. One very clever Disney World reference later, and you find yourself making a grand circle of the theme park, which, to nobodyís surprise, has fallen victim to dilapidation and decay. So while youíre probably chomping at the bit to explore Fallout 4ís version of the Magic Kingdom, youíre interrupted by raiders, and promptly funneled through a gauntlet full of traps and raiders.

After a rather protracted boss fight, you suddenly find yourself appointed Overboss, the de facto ruler of all the raider camps in Nuka-World. Never mind the choices you made over the course of Fallout 4 and Far Harbor; even if every raider you saw was kill-on-sight, youíre essentially their king. Potential ludonarrative dissonance aside, this is simply a contrivance to set up the rest of the main questline, which is to secure the themed-lands of Nuka-World and assign the territory to one of the groups of raiders. Iíll save you the trouble: the Operators are perhaps the only ones who arenít total savages, and their prime concern is loot. Once youíre done liberating the sectors of Nuka-World, itís perhaps time for your motley crue to set its sights on the CommonwealthÖ


It's a Small World After All:

While I consider most of Fallout 4: Nuka-World to be a missed opportunity in terms of quest design, the theming of Nuka-World itself is quite impressive. While the economy is driven by a hub marketplace in the center, the actual themed areas are mostly direct analogues to the likes of Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Animal Kingdom. Whatís more, each one has a particular problem that needs solving. Iíll leave that to you to discover, though.

Nuka-World features a bit too much open ground and ultimately lacks the sheer concentration of stimuli boasted by most theme parks, but since this is virtual space (and post-apocalypse, at that), thereís no need to fill every square foot of real estate with stuff. Its most creative setpieces involve a behind-the-scenes boat ride infested with Nukalurks, an idealistic glimpse into the "future" that feels lifted straight from Epcotís own Spaceship Earth, and a descent through the queue of Nuka-Worldís version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Low points are where the theming gets comparatively lazy; a bothersome hedge maze is an unwelcome distraction, and the kidsí area lacks the artistic and thematic cohesion of the rest of the park.

One aspect of Nuka-World will assuredly appeal to Disneyphiles in particular. Radiant quests aside, a series of scavenger hunt activities seems to be kind of a wink to the hardcore fans who are big into finding Hidden Mickeys. Alas, it features nothing to compete with Sorcerers of the Magic KingdomÖ but thatís asking way too much.


The Final Verdict:

Fallout 4: Nuka-Worldís charms are many, and its setting shows more than a few flashes of promise. Itís unfortunate that it comes at the expense of a decent primary quest and any sense of narrative logic. Itís probably an easier buy for the "Bad Karma" players, considering the cast of characters, but even still, itís kind of a disappointment. I canít deny, however, that my inner Disneyphile was smiling almost throughout.

With Nuka-World, Fallout 4 wraps up the weakest Season Pass Bethesda has offered in years. It, along with Far Harbor, were the closest the game came to delivering the kind of content that weíre not only used to, but quite probably spoiled by. Ultimately, I recommend passing on all of it, unless it goes on sale in the future. Itís kind of a bummer, but it feels like Bethesda set the bar too high with its previous downloadable content releases, and as a result, they just couldnít reach it this time around. I hope they keep their eye on the ball with whatever happens to be next for them, because Lord knows they can still make an amazing open-world game.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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