Fallout 4’s revamped Survival Mode sounds like it will be brutal

Fallout 4 has a whole host of quality gameplay features, and Bethesda is hell bent on working to polish and make each and every one as close to perfect as they can manage. Part of that is overhauling Survival Mode, one of the biggest disappointments in the game for a number of fans. While details have been scarce about the actual changes we can expect to see, a number of industrious data miners over at Reddit have managed to crack deep into the recent Fallout 4 1.4 Beta Update to give us a sneak-peek into what Bethesda's new difficulty setting will mean for fans of the series. The information regarding the new mode has since been deemed accurate by Bethesda, so only read on if you want to know what Survival in Fallout 4 will entail. 

At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified…And Then I Wasn’t

Survival mode in Fallout 4 should be a challenging and intriguing difficulty setting to explore the Commonwealth under but, for reasons unknown, Bethesda made Survival mode almost identical to the other difficulty settings in the game.

Traditionally, players on Survival difficulty gain access to more legendary items and deal with higher damage scales against them personally, while watching enemies eat double or sometimes triple the damage you'd expect and spit it out like we just served them a tall glass of Quantum. Yet, in Fallout 4, any elements that you would expect to see from a survival game are noticeably absent. Neither hunger, nor thirst, nor the need to sleep stopped the Sole Survivor from traversing the Commonwealth, but a Deathclaw that requires over 2000 5mm rounds to scratch its chin had some words to give our intrepid hero.

The Importance Of A Good Night’s Sleep

Fortunately, the new Survival mode seems like it's going to be a huge change-up from the default – integrating all the elements you'd expect from a Survival game like Hunger, Thirst, Fatigue, and Sleep Deprivation, but also overhauling damages so that anything and everything takes more lethal damage. In addition to that, we'll see a new perk called Adrenaline come along that gives us a boost to damage levels with the more enemies that we kill, which will be balanced out by our relative fatigue levels. Sleeping will reduce the Adrenaline bonus, but going without rest can seriously deplete your AP as the horrors of the Commonwealth take their toll.

Perhaps the most interesting, but simultaneously worrying feature is that you'll reportedly only be able to save the game by sleeping in one form or another. It's interesting because it will likely make the game more punishing any time you die, but it's extremely worrying to see any Bethesda game relegated to a strict manual saving function. The number of times frequent, well-timed saves helped me avoid a particularly game breaking bug, or simply help me get back on track when some other glitch murders my player outright, is almost too numerous to count.

Another option would be to relegate players to a cool down for quicksaving or manual saves. A single quicksave an hour, in addition to the ability to save at a bed, would do a lot to reduce save scumming, but also give players a way to circumvent bugs and get right back in the action without a huge amount of hassle. It would also mean that players could actually leave the game whenever they need to attend to things like work and real life.

Here's a full list of new features:

  • Both manual and quicksaving will be disabled. The only way you can save your game is by finding a bed and resting for at least one hour.
  • Damage that the player both deals and takes is increased.
  • The ability to fast travel is completely disabled, which means you’ll have to venture to any location you want to visit the old fashioned way.
  • All types of ammo will have a weight value associated with them, which means stocking up on bullets, shells, fusion cores and the like can actually encumber you if you’re not careful.
  • The compass will be less useful. Not only will points of interest not appear until you’re much closer to them than normal, but enemies won’t appear on your compass at all.
  • A new Wellness modifier will start to negatively impact your stats if you don’t regularly eat, drink, and rest.
  • Going for extended periods of time without sleep will also build up yet another new modifier: Fatigue. The more fatigue you build up, the fewer action points you’ll have in VATS.
  • A new Survival Mode-exclusive perk called Adrenaline will allow players to build up a  damage bonus by earning kills (whether those kills be against hostile or non-hostile targets). However, sleeping gradually lowers your adrenaline, so you have to decide if building up some fatigue is worth keeping your damage bonus.
  • The amount of time you can sleep for is determined by the type of bed you’re sleeping in. While all beds will at least allow you enough rest to save your game, sleeping in an actual bed will be much more beneficial than sleeping on a cot or in a sleeping bag.
  • A new Sickness modifier means you’ll have to take extra care in what you consume and which enemies you fight. Eating raw meat, drinking dirty water, and getting hit by radiated enemies like ghouls and radroaches now has a chance of afflicting you with an illness that imparts various negative effects.
  • To cure illnesses, you have to use Antibiotics, a new form of chems which can be crafted at chem stations.
  • Crippled limbs can only be cured with a Stimpack.
  • When you’re encumbered, not only do you move more slowly, but both your Endurance and Agility stats take a hit, and if you remain encumbered for too long, you can lose health and even get crippling effects on your legs.
  • If your companion is downed during combat, they’ll no longer automatically get up afterwards and must be revived using a Stimpack. If a companion is left in a downed state for too long, they’ll automatically return to their home location.
  • Loot and enemies will repopulate at locations you’ve cleared at a much slower rate.

There’s still no word on when Survival Mode will be added into Fallout 4, but it looks like players who are looking for the ultimate survival experience won’t be disappointed when it does.