If I could use only one word to summarize Bethesda’s new survival mode rework, it would be “brutal“.
The Fallout universe is one that I am familiar with. I had little trouble with the original survival mode that shipped with launch, so I went into the beta feeling cocky. I dealt with juggling an appetite, thirst, and the need to rest in Fallout: New Vegas’ survival mode, so how much harder could the addition of diseases and the removal of fast travel be?
Really, really goddamned hard.
Every time you take a Stimpack, you gain a point of dehydration. This easily overwhelms when you when you are far from vendors or bodies of water to replenish yourself. (Much like I was in this screenshot. Look at those stats! Ouch.) When you take RadAway, your immune system becomes suppressed and you easily gain diseases from the drugs and food that you ingest to try and make it to another battle. Oh, and drug use ALSO causes dehydration. Good luck downing the delightful combination of Med-X, Psycho, and Jet because you will end up Severely Dehydrated. You see that “fatigue” debuff? It is a disease I picked up from using chems that I do not currently have the antibiotics to cure. It forces me to continually seek shelter so my “weary” debuff does not continue to build. Plus, being Fatigued damages my Action Points and the AP refresh, so a lot of combat situations have to be done without the assistance of VATS.
As for the combat, even with the new Adrenaline perk, it is rough. My biggest enemy in early game, besides my friggin’ health problems, are grenades. It is Game Over when a Raider lobs one of those bad boys at me because I cannot get out of the way fast enough. Which then puts me back at the last place I saved, which typically is far from where I died at because you cannot automatically save in survival mode. (Your progress is only saved when you sleep for an hour or longer.) The best way I can describe early game is that you constantly take two steps forward and ten steps back. Tough combat and even the disabled save feature does not bother me, sure it can be irritating when you have to clear out a place for the fourth time because you accidentally trip a mine but that is a challenge that I expected.
As for the personal need system? I think it needs some fine tuning before Bethesda launches their live survival mode. It is much too unforgiving in its current state. I do not think there is enough water in the entire Commonwealth that could quench the Sole Survivour’s constant dehydration!
If you are up for a challenge, FO4’s survival mode totally delivers. I however, will stick to the original difficulties because it is a little too much for me.