If you’ve been thinking the one thing missing from Fallout 4 was a figurative kick to the midsection (or lower), then Bethesda have the beta Steam update for you. The announced testing phase for Fallout 4’s new super-hard survival mode has begun, and is now available through the Steam beta updates service. Bethesda have also detailed the massive list of changes it applies to the game, from lethality to no fast travel.
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There’s a seriously massive number of changes, structured around four major pillars of design. Playing in survival mode is meant to make strategy more important, cause you to pick fights more carefully, and intensify decisions made in combat with heightened damage values. It’s also about encouraging exploration by slowing things down, such as removing fast travel. This comes with resource management, making it harder to have stockpiles of vital equipment and making scavenging that much more important, as well as forcing changes in tactics when the required materials can’t be found. Finally, Bethesda want to increase how realistic their post-apocalyptic wasteland feels.
To do all that, they’ve implemented a load of tweaks. Here’s some highlights I’ve picked out:
- Saving in the normal manner is disabled. You save when you sleep, and only then, and can only do so in a bed. The type of bed matters, with a sleeping bag on the ground providing nowhere near the benefit of a proper, home-made mattress palace.
- Fast travel is completely gone, meaning you have to go on-foot everywhere.
- Combat is more lethal for everyone, you and the enemies, and you’ll be surprised easier now that hostiles don’t automatically pop up on your compass. There’s also a new perk that gives you damage per enemy killed and goes away upon sleeping, to encourage poor decision making.
- You’ll get tired, hungry and thirsty while wandering the wasteland. Get them too low and you’ll become fatigued, lowering your available AP.
- Basically everything that helps you is now slower, less useful and won’t be as easy to find.
Do have a read of the full changelog on the Bethesda blog. The Steam update also details some more changes that are being made in this patch, of the bug-fix variety. There’s some ever-so-sexy “general stability and performance improvements” in there too, if you’re feeling feisty.
If you want access to it, all you’ve got to do is right click on Fallout 4’s entry in your Steam library, hit Properties, then go to the Betas tab. Select the Survival Beta Update and either wait a couple of minutes or restart Steam, then it’ll start downloading and be good to go. Important to note that it will likely break or at best turn off any mods you have installed - so maybe back up your various settings files if you’ve been doing heavy tinkering.