As my Fallout 4 playthrough goes on, more thoughts accumulate on the back of my mind.
There is one, especially, that I wanted to express & explore, and it is about Survival Mode.
Since Fallout 3 I always tried to play these games with the Survival Mode activated, because it gave me a better feeling of tough life in the post-atomic wasteland. The whole experience changes in many ways, forcing the player to pay attention to hunger, thirst, and other needs. It gives more importance to some items that, otherwise, would be just scrap stuff, like drugs or crafting materials required to create precious antibiotics.
Without Survival Mode elements, Fallout to me is kinda boring. I love the lore, and the gameplay is fantastic nevertheless. However, the lack of survival elements cracks open the fourth wall, disrupting the suspension of disbelief and reducing all my actions to pure mechanic redundancy. While noticing this, I also realized that Survival Mode contextualizes a dynamic familiar to many, many open-world games, namely procrastination.
‘scuse me sir, do you have time to talk about our lord and savior, Beefus?
How many times you found yourself gathering ten herbs for a random guy, in order to complete a secondary mission (and therefore grind to higher levels) completely ignoring, like, a world to be saved? Let’s take Final Fantasy XV as an example: at some point Noctis has to reach a really important place, and you know it’s super urgent. But you stop nonetheless the Regalia next to a juicy enemy and beat the crap out of it, because there is a hunting subquest to achieve.
Survival Mode forces you to stop, and help the random guy or kill the juicy enemy: you either need to trade something the guy has, to save yourself, or the juicy enemy drops some very good meat. So the whole playthrough goes on, (necessary) secondary adventure after secondary adventure, kinda coherent and credible. The way I like it.