Fallout 4’s Survival Mode is arguably one of the most grueling difficulty settings any modern RPG has implemented. In a game that is normally not too challenging, this mode is for those looking for a bit more challenge out in the Commonwealth. For those that don’t know, Survival Mode is essentially as real as living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland can get. Your Vault Dweller will need to constantly eat, drink, and maintain a healthy way of living unless you want to be penalized with stat affecting perks. You will also need to craft antibodies and all types of ammunition now have a weight associated with them. Did we mention the only way to save is by sleeping in a bed? Yeah, it’s pretty brutal out there.
For anyone looking for the ultimate Fallout 4 challenge this is it, however, we have found some mods that could ease the experience up for some. Now, when crafting this list we tried to avoid all mods that will reduce your damage taken, give you an infinite amount of something, or just plain ruin the experience of having Survival Mode no longer be a challenge. These are meant to enhance your play experience and further the roleplaying aspect that this game type seems to excel at. Sadly, there will be no Macho Man randy Savage Deathclaws running about or lightsabers, we can save that for another list.
If you are looking to make your Survival Mode experience even more difficult, these are the 15 mods we recommend you try.
15) Craft Your Own Ammo
Made by SamusKnight2K, the ability to craft ammunition can be a life savior if you’re roaming the wastelands. This can add a layer of depth and give better value to some of the junk you may find in an office building. Given you want to use all the resources around you, making ammo can certainly help put all that junk to good use.
14) Strong Body Perk
Sometimes you are just to weighed down in Fallout 4, especially since the only perk to increase your carrying capacity is the Strong Back perk. If you are constantly running into this issue, the Strong Body perk by Jalaris should be your go-to choice. This mod adds a 10% reduction in equipped armor weight for each level of Strong Back. Why we like this perk so much is it can ease up one of the most grueling parts of Survival, but still not remove the idea of maintaining your weight entirely from Survival.
13) Hardcore Purified Water
For those looking for even more of a challenge make sure your check out ArtN’s Hardcore Purified Water mod. Since producing water is fairly easy to abuse in Fallout 4, this mod reigns in some of the more troublesome aspects. This includes certain purifiers requiring players to level up their Science perk and some pumps giving you slightly dirty water. If you find yourself with an over abundance of water and some of the challenge sapped away, make sure to pick this one up.
This is arguably one of the most well known Survival based mods out there, as Campsite lets you bring some much-needed gear with you. Created by fadingsigal, this add-on allows you to bring not only a sleeping bag and tent with you but some other camping gear as well. Given that sleeping is the only way to save in Survival, being able to bring a sleeping bag with you anywhere is always nice. However, the weight and crafting around this mod does make it feel quite balanced. It’s a fine balance, but fadingsigal did a fine job with this mod.
11) Improved Map
Fallout 4’s basic map is okay, but it does leave much to be desired. With the Improved Map mod by mm137, some much-needed improvements have been added in. In Survival Mode, you always want to understand and use the terrain to your advantage, as a lot of the times avoiding engagements is for the best. Thanks to this mod, you will gain more enhanced knowledge of not only the terrain itself but the various roads and alleyways littering Boston. Given how easily it is to get lost in the ruined city, these roads are a life savior and can certainly help map out your journey.
10) Wearable Backpacks and Pouches
Another one of those “I can’t believe this isn’t in the core game” mods brought to you by Aldebaran 90 and Stndmuki. This craftable equipment offers users not only a better sense of immersion but a carrying weight bonus. Since this only helps increase your actually carrying ability, it really won’t break any of the important dynamics in Survival Mode. Fallout 4 is very much a game about embedding yourself in the world so this mod only helps to enhance that experience. It also helps explain how I am able to carry 20+ typewriters back to my settlement.
9) Immersive Vendors
Have you ever wondered where all those vendors store their goods? If you are looking for a better visual experience in Fallout 4, consider grabbing Xgrufijury’s Immersive Vendors mod. Though it really doesn’t add anything to the overall Survival experience, it can certainly help you feel more a part of the world. It will show off the various goods and items each Vendor sells and make them look far better than just barren counters with a bored settler behind them.
8) Pip-Boy Flashlight
Fallout 4’s world can be very dark, both literally and figuratively. It doesn’t help that the “flashlight” you are initially given at the start of the game really doesn’t help much when you are going through some deserted, dark area, Thanks to Akkalat85, you can now own a flashlight that actually works properly and won’t leave you stumbling around in the dark. This will not only enhance the atmosphere of actually searching through areas but not give the world around you a sickly green hue.
7) Customizable Targeting HUD
In the heat of battle, it’s easy to accidently shoot the wrong person in VATS. Given that some engagements can include both enemies and allies, figuring out who’s who in all of the chaos can cause some problems. Enter C4PON3’s Customizable Targeting HUD that helps highlight enemies, allies, and bystanders in different colors. Since you need to make sure every shot counts and being quick about your use of VATS, this can certainly help improvement your engagements.
6) Basement Living
Out of all the mods for Fallout 4, this is probably my personal favorite. Creator fadingsigil makes his second appearance on this list with a mod that allows you access to 10 different bunkers throughout the Commonwealth. The best part of these new locations is that they can be completely scrapped and rebuilt to your design without having to worry about attacks or settlers. In Survival having these little home away from homes can be crucial to you not ending up as Deathclaw food. While this does make Survival mode a bit more forgiving, it certainly doesn’t take away the challenge of always needing to find a bed in some bombed out building.
5) Easy Hacking
Hacking, in concept, is a really interesting idea that offers a bit of critical thinking to break up your bloodshed. However, after the first dozen or so computers you hack through you will probably find yourself bored and over having to keep playing this mini-game. Especially since the only real determining factor for hacking is a single perk. Thankfully, Zliav has made hacking far easier in that it only shows you the correct answer. You will need to upgrade the perk in order to actually hack the computer, but this mod removes the time-consuming aspect of this game mechanic.
4) Old World Radio
Given that Survival Mode removes your ability to fast travel there is no doubt you will exhaust all of the songs that Diamond City Radio has to offer. However, with Brandoman’s Old World Radio mod you will not have a plethora of music and stories to listen to as you make your way to the next objective. The sheer amount of talent and quality that this mod delivers is amazing and really should be downloaded by every Fallout 4 player, regardless if you play Survival Mode or not. By adding more songs to Fallout 4, it certainly makes exploring and scavaging for life-saving resources that much better.
3) Survival Chems
One of the newest features in Survival Mode was the inclusion of your Vault Dweller being susceptible to parasites and various diseases. While there are a few herbs and medicines you can craft to combat this, user MadMAX713 took it one step further. By adding better and more detailed Survival Chems, it will allow you to craft some new herbal remedies for surviving the wasteland.
2) Crossbows of the Commonwealth
Sometimes you just want a new badass weapon to deal death within the Commonwealth. With these new crossbows, by TrickyVein, you will now have another silent weapon option. Since in Survival mode remaining unseen while picking off enemies is always useful, the ability to use a crossbow before the actual engagement starts could be life-saving. Not to mention Vein has also included a varied amount of bolts and types of crossbows for you to choose from and fit your playstyle.
1) Rich Merchants
Honestly, nothing is more frustrating than when you have an entire backpack full of goods to sell and you end up having to constantly wait for vendors to get more caps. This can be especially troublesome in Survival mode since waiting for long periods of time will give your character a ton of negative side effects. If you keep running into this issue make sure to download OverClocked56’s Rich Vendors mod. While this may break the immersion of Survival Mode a bit, it will ease the pain on one of the games more annoying features. Now you can sell your dozen pipe pistols all at once, huzzah!
Rebalancer – Gameplay Balance Center
This is a comprehensive mod that allows you to fine tune your gaming experience to get the exact challenge you want. You can make some aspects easier, some more difficult, and mix and match as you see fit.
Survival Quick Save – No Sleep Till Bedtime
Saving is only possible at a bed while playing Fallout 4’s survival mode, and the save is deleted once you pick the game back up. If that’s a bit too much of a challenge for you, then this mod will allow you to create a permanent save wherever you are.
If you’re looking for more ways to gain more power but don’t want to necessarily “cheat” in order to give yourself an advantage in survival mode, this mod adds challenges throughout the world that give rewards like XP and new skills while still maintaining the game’s difficulty.
Homemaker – Expanded Settlements
Just because you’re living off the land doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a pretty house. Homemaker gives you the tools you need to make stunning homes and settlements.
War of the Commonwealth
Finding the game to be a bit too easy? This mod will change that by adding tons of aggressive enemies.
Better Warning for Settlements Being Attacked
Having your settlement being attacked sucks when you’re doing everything you can to survive. It’s even worse when there’s no easy way to know when it happens or what kind of enemies to expect. This mod fixes that with clear notifications that even tell you what kind of fight to prepare for.
Nothing like turning off the lights to add a bit more tension to your experience.
Power Armor Overhaul
This mod turns your Power Armor into an actual suit of armor that must first have a part destroyed before you take any type of damage to your health. This will be useful for those who find Fallout 4’s survival mode a bit too challenging.
Create Your Own Difficulty
Create Your Own Difficulty allows you to adjust parameters in all available difficulties to fine tune your Fallout 4 experience.
Realistic Survival Damage
Fallout 4’s enemies can sometimes feel more like bullet sponges than living things (though that’s understandable for robots). However, adding realistic damage changes the experience for the better.
This mod makes things a bit more challenging by making the game a bit more realistic. It will allows all settlers to die with very few exceptions (in order to not break the game).
Disable Auto-Heal on Crippled Limbs
Now you’ll have to actually heal your limbs with proper items and rest, just like real life.
Explosives have always been a bit meh in Fallout 4, killing you and often times just tickling enemies. This mod adds a lot more boom to them making them much more realistic.
You will now have a smaller chance of surviving radstorms as they quickly ramp up the amount of rads you receive. This mod makes proper armor and items necessary or you will most certainly die.
Horizon – Survival Mode Expanded
This is a sort of catch-all mod that works to rebalance every difficulty in the game as well as the world itself with changes and new additions to make the game more immersive and engaging.