Gaming – Fallout 4 Survival Mode

Published on October 3, 2021 at 7:53 am by LEW


I started a new Fallout 4 play through, in Survival Mode a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see what all the hype was about, and experience the hardest Fallout 4 game play mode for myself. Yes, I know, Fallout 4 has been out for around six years now. But what can I say, old guy – old game.

Waiting to Play

I find waiting six months or more before jumping into a game has several benefits.

Previous Play-through

I did play though the game initially on easy mode, and then increased difficulty on each additional play through. Also in early games I mainly followed the story line, not branching out into other aspects of the game until later play thoughts. I found that on the initial play, sticking to the main plot lines, I could finish the game in about 25 hours of play time. At harder levels and doing all side quests, I found the game took approximately 150 hours to complete.

If engaging in settlement building/management the play though time increases astronomically (there are thirty settlements in the base game, with seven more added with the DLC). You can easily spend hours in each settlement designing, building, managing, setting up supply lines, and engaging in commerce.

What is Survival Mode

Basically this mode is playing on a hard level with quite a few additional restrictions in place. The theme is making a more realistic in game experience (I find that to be somewhat of an oxymoron for a game set in the post apocalyptic future of an alternate timeline). Some of them are not obvious or not generally talked about when discussing Survival Mode. I think I have most of the additional restrictions listed here.

My Opinion of Survival Mode

Playing survival mode is interesting, at first. Your initial scramble for resources is quite a bit more hectic, as once you leave vault 111 you will start getting the nag messages for rest, food, and drink.

Once you leave Sanctuary, you will have to start planning your encounters somewhat more carefully. Things like direction of approach, cover, and a retreat route become much more important. My experience at lower levels, I retreated much more often from combat encounters.

To do well in the early survival mode game, I suggest you need to have had at least one play through, so you know where certain resources can be located. You also need to know where some fixed encounters are so you can avoid them (I found some of the flying insect encounters particularly tough in the early game).

I also found I needed to level my weapon abilities (like Gun Nut and Gunslinger for example) early on, so I could do more than just killing Rad Roaches.

Once I got up to mid game, My character was tough enough and had enough Perks that I was no longer in danger of being killed by some random Raider encounter. It is here that I started to have a problem with Survival mode. This was the shear repetition of the eating/drinking/sleeping that occurs at regular intervals.

There is a lot of repetition in most of of these styles of games. However Survival Mode took it to an entire new level. I understand the intent, and it does really make you think a lot more about what you are carrying around. It also makes having settlements close by almost a necessity. However it is going to take a certain mindset to get through the game in this mode.


I did survival mode once, and realized quickly I needed to do a straight fast as possible play through. And I will not be doing survival mode again. While presenting some unique challenges to overcome, survival mode quickly becomes mind numbingly boring with all the repetitive tasks.

If you have Fallout 4, I would recommend trying survival mode at least once. However be forewarned, it is going to take some mental resolve to stay at it for a really long play through.

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