Fallout 4: Nuka-World DLC Review: Empty Calories

Fallout 4's final piece of DLC reflects the game's broader weaknesses.

Review by Kat Bailey, .

Disney has long been ripe for parody. Bethesda is only the latest in a long line of creators to tackle the self-described "Happiest Place on Earth" - a list that includes The Simpsons and Banksy, among others.

Fallout 4's take paradoxically casts you as the bad guy, which makes for an effective contrast with Disney's sugary sweet fare. And speaking of sugary sweet, Nuka-World is a theme park built entirely around the Wasteland's famous Nuka-Cola, making it even more marketing-driven than Disney's famous parks. Despite the differences, though, Nuka-World is very much a recognizable parody of Disney in the way that it's divided into various themed areas, and it fits right in with Fallout's darkly humorous take on the apocalypse. It's just a shame that the actual quests don't quite measure up.

Nuka-World begins when a radio broadcast directs you to the decimated theme park, which lies just outside the Commonwealth's eastern boundaries. When you step into the park for the first time, it quickly becomes apparent that you're walking into a trap, and you're forced to run a trap-filled gauntlet culminating in a battle with a Raider Overboss. When you defeat him, you are crowned the new Overboss, which means managing three Raider gangs - the money-hungry Operators, the sadistic Disciples, and the Pack, who are seemingly into animal cruelty.

Once you meet all of the gangs, it's off to clear out the rest of the expansive Nuka-World. Each themed world brings with it a different challenge; though, sadly, most of those differences amount to having to kill different enemies. Of them all, only Kiddie Kingdom, which is home to a magician ghoul named Oswald the Outrageous (a tip of the hat to Disney's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), is especially interesting. The rest are rather dry shoot 'em ups, or in the case of the Galactic Zone, fetch quests. Hope you like hunting around for 20 Star Cores for the mainframe!

Outside of exploring the park itself, which is loaded with fantastic nods to Disney as well as a large amount of crafting resources, the main reason to play Nuka-World is what comes after The Grand Tour quest. In essence, it affords you the opportunity to become a full-blooded Raider and start looting settlements, which puts you in direct opposition to Preston Garvey's Minutemen. If you've ever wanted to go full evil in Fallout 4, then this is your best opportunity.

The rub is that there's no "good" option here. You can't reform the Raider gangs or get them to leave peacefully, nor can you incite an armed revolt. Rather, your best option is to kill every single one of them, which is quite the chore even if you're a very high level (I'm level 50 and I got rolled by the sheer numbers). For those who like a little more nuance in their RPG design, it's a disappointing way to end Fallout 4, particularly after in the wake of the excellent Far Harbor.

Still, if you're like me and really enjoy Fallout 4, then there's good reason to pick up Nuka-World. It features a number of high-level dungeons, some of which are quite difficult; a solid new Raider companion in Gage; a number of strong weapons, and the opportunity to go crazy with a gang of bloodthirsty Raiders. In that sense, it's an expansion in the truest sense of the world - a piece of companion DLC that builds upon the game's existing structure.

But as the final chapter of Fallout 4, it's kind of a disappointment. While I was playing Nuka-World, I kept thinking about how limited it felt. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to subvert the Raiders; I would have liked more quests along the lines of Kiddie Kingdom, and I would have liked a greater sense of depth in general. It doesn't begin to offer the nuance of Far Harbor, which built upon one of the game's best characters while introducing a number of wonderful new quests. In the end, Nuka-World's focuses on the dullest aspect of Fallout 4: the actual shooting.

In that respect, Nuka-World could have been a whole lot more, ultimately reflecting Fallout 4's broader weaknesses, specifically the fact that most of its choices come down to who to shoot. As a content pack, though, it offers a good 5-10 hours of new material, some new gear, and some interesting roleplaying opportunities. Just make sure you take care to kick Preston Garvey out of your main settlement before going full Raider. Preston does not forgive, nor does he forget.

Nuka-World's fantastic new setting and cool new opportunities belies its overall lack of depth. There's a lot to do in this expansion, but not a lot of it is all that interesting. It could be worse, but it could also be a whole lot better.

3 /5

Fallout 4: Nuka-World DLC Review: Empty Calories Kat Bailey Fallout 4's final piece of DLC reflects the game's broader weaknesses. 2016-09-02T20:00:00-04:00 3 5

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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #1 cldmstrsn 2 years ago
    Looking at my steam account it shows that I have about 68 hours into Fallout 4. Thats doing basically everything and the main storyline along with Far Harbor which was the only time I actually enjoyed the game due to the atmosphere. To me I obviously enjoyed it enough to play 68 hours but when I look at New Vegas or even 3 I have hundreds of hours on those. Fallout 4 to me just has no heart or soul and I dont think Ill be picking up this latest DLC. Ill just be hoping to hear about ES VI in the next few years.
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  • Avatar for brianbalcer08 #2 brianbalcer08 2 years ago
    Does the writer not know there is a quest to get rid of the Raiders and have the settlers there take over nuka world?
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  • Avatar for brianbalcer08 #3 brianbalcer08 2 years ago
    @cldmstrsn that sucks, I'm well over 100 hours. I have most the areas cleared but I spend a lot of time building up the settlements and that did take a lot of time.
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  • Avatar for brianbalcer08 #4 brianbalcer08 2 years ago
    @cldmstrsn that sucks, I'm well over 100 hours. I have most the areas cleared but I spend a lot of time building up the settlements and that did take a lot of time.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #5 cldmstrsn 2 years ago
    @brianbalcer08 Ya I really wanted to like it! and its a good game just not a good fallout game at least for me.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #6 Kat.Bailey 2 years ago
    @brianbalcer08 Yes, I know. I mentioned it in the review.Edited September 2016 by Kat.Bailey
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #7 WiIIyTheAntelope 2 years ago
    And thus concludes the most disappointing season pass in recent memory... unless you like bad Minecraft clones, which in that case it was probably pretty decent.
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  • Avatar for Shorap #8 Shorap 2 years ago
    @cldmstrsn I was gonna post something damn near identical. While I put in roughly 150 or so hours total with this game, I found myself getting burnt out on it.

    After playing Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout NV (different dev but same style of game), and Skyrim each for at least several hundred hours I am at a loss to why I didn't want to play anymore Fallout 4. Having meaty dlc in an already bought season pass didn't even rekindle my interest.

    That being said I am really looking forward to getting back into Skyrim when the remastered version comes out next month.
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  • Avatar for Ghopper101 #9 Ghopper101 2 years ago
    This might be our last piece of official Bethesda Open World Content until the next Elder Scroll is announced. Enjoy the ride and remember that mods will add so much more to this game than you can imagine.
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  • Avatar for mike43 #10 mike43 2 years ago
    I really love this game..
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