Bethesda’s first DLC for Fallout 4 may not entertain us endlessly but like the base game, it doesn’t have to.
So you’ve played Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout 4. Some players have completed the single-player campaign or risen well past the 60s in terms of levels. They’re essentially roaming the wasteland in search of more powerful opponents to take on, even if that Legendary drop isn’t going to necessarily be all that great half of the time. Rather, it’s for the thrill of the hunt and for wanting something to do. But there are plenty of things to do in Fallout 4, right?
Well, here’s the thing. Perhaps more than its predecessor, there’s an unhealthy amount of things you can do. You don’t have to necessarily hunt down Deathclaws or Mirelurk Queens – rather, one could simply micro-manage their wide range of settlements and just make them as snazzy as possible. Maybe you want to kill everyone you come across? There’s plenty of opportunity for that as well.
"Here’s where things get a little harder to predict – we really have no idea what Bethesda could do in future DLC. Heck, we had no idea that Fallout 4 would be what it actually turned out to be at launch so good luck guessing what the future holds."
You could also simply grind for the best loot. You could embark on completing every single quest out there (good luck on that, by the way), collect every Bobblehead and Power Armour and magazine to outfit your collections. You’ve intervened in wars between Super Mutants and Brotherhood of Steel members. You also went and located Shaun when you were feeling particularly bored. But what if you’ve really done everything you want to do? What if you’ve experienced all the possible content, explored every inch of the map? What’s next?
The easy answer is DLC. Bethesda Softworks already announced a Season Pass and judging from its recent releases, it will likely release expansions to introduce new areas, perks, weapons and whatnot into the mix. Here’s where things get a little harder to predict – we really have no idea what Bethesda could do in future DLC. Heck, we had no idea that Fallout 4 would be what it actually turned out to be at launch so good luck guessing what the future holds.
That being said, it’s not hard to think about the limitations Bethesda may face. Fallout 4 isn’t like the Witcher 3. That game had significantly slowed down rate of gaining levels past level 36. This led to the introduction of New Game Plus mode with higher level loot and enemies, which subsequently carried over to Hearts of Stone. Fallout 4 isn’t like that – you can level up endlessly and essentially unlock every single perk available.
"The reality of the situation is that Fallout 4 isn’t nearly as infinite as many thought it would be but then no game can quite be like that."
It may just be a case of slowing down but given the rate at which players have managed to keep going, it’s highly likely that Bethesda designed its entire game to allow players to max out there levels without requiring any additional content. Long story short: New Game Plus like content is looking unlikely, unless Bethesda sees fit to give more ranks to stats, higher ranks for perks and even more powerful enemies.
This brings the focus back to actual story content, though we’re sure there will be additions like new loot, settlement structures and much more. It would be incredibly easy to fall back on these quick but small little additions to the game but thus far, Bethesda seems to be concentrating more on fixing bugs. When actual DLC arrives, will it be enough to fill the void that’s currently present for most hardcore players?
The reality of the situation is that Fallout 4 isn’t nearly as infinite as many thought it would be but then no game can quite be like that. Not Skyrim, which included a bevy of new features and additions along with DLC. Not The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with its huge expansive world and litany of quests. Not Just Cause 3 with its enormous land-mass and range of activities. At the end of the day, there is a certain amount of finiteness to every game. What really matters is if the gameplay was fun enough for you to come back to.
"Upcoming DLC can throw a new city and faction at you, revamp the base game or simply rework everything from scratch – it’ll never be enough in the long run, especially when you have other games coming up soon."
And thankfully with Fallout 4, the gameplay is entertaining enough to offer multiple ways to play. Maybe you start off playing as a heavily-stealth based character that relies only on melee kills. Why not up your Charisma and Luck entirely to make you both likeable and extraordinarily lucky when you’re not taming Deathclaws to do your bidding? The overall design of the game means you can enjoy only the content you’re interested in, thus producing varied results depending on the perks you’ve chosen. No, it’s not the long-winding, unique story scenarios dependent on one’s answers and actions throughout the adventure. But maybe it doesn’t have to be.
Fallout 4 isn’t the kind of experience that will easily be forgotten for years to come and Bethesda knows it. Along with official DLC, it will releases its mod tools to fans so that they can tinker with the game endlessly and come up with Skyrim-levels of unique content which will hopefully hold fans over until the next major Elder Scrolls game.
The biggest move we expect the developer to take is to introduce a new standalone title like Fallout: New Vegas to further scratch that itch for more content in the coming years. As it is, Fallout 4 lets you make what you can of it and there’s a whole lot of freedom in that regard. Upcoming DLC can throw a new city and faction at you, revamp the base game or simply rework everything from scratch – it’ll never be enough in the long run, especially when you have other games coming up soon. What is important will be just how much fun the actual content we have (and that which we’ll be getting) is rather than the endless replay value of it all. Because really, even if you only get 400 hours of fun out of it all, at least you had fun, right?