A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Fallout 4: Far Harbor is a paid downloadable add-on to Fallout 4, a postapocalyptic first-person role-playing game, and that it contains much of the same mature content. Combat against human and nonhuman enemies with guns and explosives results in some extremely gory slow-motion scenes where enemies often explode into bloody chunks or are completely disintegrated. The player's character can use alcohol and drugs to improve their abilities (though they risk becoming addicted and needing medical treatment), and several characters use strong language, including "f--k." The open-ended story touches on many mature themes, ranging from discrimination to cult-like religion but leaves players to form their own opinions and deal with these concepts -- and indeed almost every situation -- in their own way via compassion and understanding or intolerance and violence. The player's character also has the opportunity to romance and sleep with a cyborg, though without nudity.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
FALLOUT 4: FAR HARBOR is the third piece of paid add-on content for Fallout 4, a postapocalyptic role-playing game that puts players in the shoes of a cryogenically frozen hero (male or female) who wakes up after hundreds of years in a Boston ravaged by radiation and populated by a mix of humans, mutants, robots, and bizarre animals. Far Harbor's story begins with a call for help at Valentine's Detective Agency in Diamond City. A girl has gone missing, and the clues she leaves behind take players to an island where the human inhabitants have been forced to live on a large dock due to a strange radioactive fog that covers the atoll. As we explore the island, we discover various groups, including a radiation-worshipping cult, a cluster of synthetic humans offering refuge for their kind, and a village of isolationist islanders who are mistrustful of mainlanders. New settings and side characters aside, the rest of the game will be familiar to returning players. The core of the experience -- first-person combat, open-ended storytelling, endless looting, and ability-altering leveling -- remains more or less the same.
Is it any good?
This open-ended role-playing adventure doubles down on what players were provided in the original. That means more great stories -- including a terrific whodunit set in a posh hotel populated by centuries-old cyborgs -- filled with interesting characters, a new world full of secrets to explore, and dozens of new quests to complete. While it's mostly just more of what we've previously seen, the main storyline introduces a couple of novel ideas, including a set of Minecraft-inspired puzzles that have players building code inside a virtual environment. Speedier players can churn through the main story in maybe five hours, but add in optional quests and you can expect around 15 hours of fresh content (depending on how you play) -- plenty for a full boxed game, let alone a piece of DLC.
That said, Far Harbor does little to correct many of the problems in the base game. It's still one of the ugliest big-budget releases for next-generation systems, thanks to its often flat, monotone textures. Plus, nothing has been done to alleviate the original's seemingly endless inventory-management tasks. And you can still expect lots of immersion-killing bugs, including characters who try to leave a room but instead endlessly run in place against a wall. If you can look past these problems, though, you'll find in Far Harbor a vivid new world full of interesting tales worth seeking out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. This is a massive add-on that could add as much as 20 hours to an already huge game with over 100 hours of content, so how do you ensure such a big and engaging game doesn't negatively affect other parts of your life? Do you prefer limits on how long each play session should be or limits on how often you play throughout the week?
Talk about discrimination. Several characters and groups of people in this game are viewed unfavorably by other characters, and you're often allowed to choose how your character reacts in these situations, so what decisions did you make? Do these decisions reflect how you feel?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: May 20, 2016
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.