Paul is an old fool who recently moved into my Fallout 4 camp in Sanctuary Hills. I figured he’d hang out, farm, maybe work on his house a bit, and basically just be another dude that I walk past without even looking. Like all my other settlers.
But he just ran towards me in Concord. This is surprising, because it means he left my colony, something that sets him apart from all the other settlers I have ever met. He also has news: looters have taken some of my Sanctuary settlers hostage.
I already know that raiders sometimes attack settlements, but in addition to learning that Paul can decide to leave the colony on his own, that raiders can actually kidnap people is new information. I rush to deal with the hostage-taking and find the pack of looters in the woods pointing guns at some of my settlers. Raiders are angry that I killed several in Concord a few days ago, but I think I can get out of a bloodbath as there are dialogue options for negotiation.
Without saying too much, I will just inform you that the negotiations were short and that a group of my settlers were shot in the head. These new developments are, wonderfully, all part of the Sim Settlements 2 mod, which not only gives you tools for building and managing colonies, but a hell of a story, quests, new characters and surprises. So far, they’ve all been great.
Fallout 4 turns five today, and if you’re planning to jump in and start over, do yourself a favor and install Sim Settlements 2 first. our favorite mod of 2017, Sim Settlements 2 expands the settlement building system and adds many more, including French Bulldogs. Don’t want a French Bulldog running around your camp? I guess you do.
Like the original mod, Sim Settlements 2 revises Fallout 4’s settlement building process in a new way. Rather than building each structure and placing each piece of furniture yourself – which, don’t get me wrong, can be quite fun – this allows players to zone their settlements instead. Label the areas for residential buildings, industrial structures, agricultural areas and vendors, and arriving settlers will construct these buildings themselves. The building system relies on a pool of assets, so each building will be a little different, and over time it will grow and change, giving your base (s) a vibrant quality of life.
It’s just great in itself – it feels like your small community is making choices on its own and continuing to work while you’re out of town. And nothing prevents you from building stuff yourself like in the vanilla game. How practical you really want to be is up to you.
Where Sim Settlements 2 goes beyond the original mod is with the new characters, quests, and systems it introduces. Once the mod is installed, a rather handsome stranger appears and offers you new equipment, called the ASAM sensor. This allows you to zone areas on your colony for construction and, if you wish, decide more precisely what type of building to build.
The voice acting is awesome, from the stranger to old fool Paul (my first modified settler) to the other comers, which even include an Assaultron robot that’s haunted by memories of everyone he killed. There are dialogue options in most of your conversations, so you can play a part in your chats with the changed characters. And these unique and named settlers even have their own stats, which you can increase by building special structures for them. There is actually a reason to care about the citizens of your colony now.
And the colonization quests aren’t just dumped on you in big piles. The stranger leaves you – he has his own life, you know – but he will come into contact with new developments and missions from time to time. The slow growth of your colony and the intermittent nature of the new quests mean that Sim Settlements 2 integrates perfectly with a new part of Fallout 4, although it also works great with any ongoing game you play.
So far I am absolutely charmed and extremely impressed with the mod. More stories and quests will be added episodically, but there is a lot to start in the first chapter right now.