You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel 

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

For a couple of days now, I've been trying an experiment with Fallout 4 — and it's completely transformed my experience with the game.

Last week, I read a thought-provoking piece by Tom Chick, who lauded Fallout 4's geography but lamented that the game's mechanics undermine that landscape:

Bethesda has no interest in addressing the difficult problem of meaningful geography, which is ironic considering how good they are at creating geography. Their worlds are carefully calculated so that there's something interesting over every hill, so that landmarks are noticed, so that vistas happen, so that traversal is a delight. And then Bethesda subverts it all with fast travel. Once you've gotten somewhere, there's no reason to ever travel there again, to ever delight in the going, to ever care about distance. Instead, you just teleport through a loading screen. Everything is as close as everything else. Convenience is the prime directive.

After reading this, I reflected on my own experience with the game. I noted that there was a stark difference between the start of my adventure and my Commonwealth map was empty, to what it's like playing Fallout 4 now, after I've discovered a ton of locations. After my map filled up, I fast-travelled everywhere. Of course I did. Fast travelling got me where I need to go; it's a handy convienience. But was it possible that fast travel was ruining the experience for me somehow?

I decided to play the game with no fast travel for a weekend, to see how I like it. I started out on my Red Rocket settlement, and I set a mission down south. Then, I walked. Slowly but surely, I made my way down to the marker, making sure to take everything in along the way.

Here's the thing about Fallout 4: yes, there are a ton of locations on your map. But there are just as many locales, events, and general things that aren't noted on your Pip-Boy, too. I knew this going in — special environmental stuff has been a part of every Fallout game, pretty much — but the point was really driven home for me after this weekend. Walking around Fallout 4, I came across unmarked graves, hidden treasure, errant terminals in random abandoned buildings, a travelling bartender, some hidden caves. I came across randomly spawning enemies, who had ridiculous battles in the middle of nowhere. I walked past an area full of rabid dogs, and in the middle of the canine den, there was a brutally murdered corpse. The skeleton was lying next to a couple of dog collars, dog armour, and a dog bowl. There was no mission there, no marker. It just existed in the wasteland.

But perhaps the most astonishing thing I experienced last weekend was a mysterious building full of Saw-like horrors. There I was, making my way to a mission on Jamaica Plains, when from the corner of my eye I caught some arrows:

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

Curious, I went inside. What I found was...more arrows:

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

Eventually these arrows led me into a fucked up maze full of traps, puzzles, spooky tableaus full of corpses, and enemies. Tiptoeing carefully through the entire mess, all I could think to myself was, "who the fuck BUILT this?" Why was it there? What was the point? How many people had died trying to make their way through this sick labyrinth? And the best part was, whoever made the thing seemed to be mocking me! Arrows would point to dead ends, with giant question marks reminiscent of the Joker. Things that could murder me seemed to be placed almost playfully, with a wink. The puppetmaster had a deadly sense of humour, and I had become their plaything.

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

It freaked me the hell out. Despite that, I still made my way to the top of the parking garage anyway. I had to know what was up there, or if perhaps I would meet whoever made this thing. I wanted to talk to the psychopath that made me go through so much. Instead, I found this:

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

Two cells, rigged to some cables. Each one was bursting with goodies that I could take. Here's the thing, though: the second you open up one of those cells? The other one explodes. Whoever built this place wanted to give the survivor a prize for enduring the fucked up game, but they wanted the loot to come with a twist.

It's one of the most amazing experiences I've had in Fallout 4 thus far. And I would have missed it entirely had I fast travelled, especially since this maze existed in-between a couple of places I thought I had already explored thoroughly.

So here's my advice to you: if you want to get the most out of Fallout 4, try playing it without fast travel. It doesn't have to be a permanent thing or anything, and if you're trying to do a supply run or deliver a bunch of junk to your settlement, then of course fast travelling is the most convinient thing to do. But if you're doing a quest or exploring? Walk there. And don't be afraid to re-explore places you've already discovered, too. Even if you think you've seen all there is to see, chances are good that you missed something, or that something novel could happen along the way. Fallout 4 is best when it surprises you, and you diminish the opportunities for that to happen when you choose to teleport everywhere.

Oh, and if you want to experience the house of horrors I found while wandering? Here you go. It's more or less at the arrow.

You Should Try Fallout 4 Without Fast Travel

Have fun!


    I've only used the fast travel a couple of times as it was very late/ early in the morning and I had to finish a quest (can't put the damn game down once it's started :p ) but I agree with the walking about the place, find all sorts of random things.
    I might have to start recording my sessions :)

    Currently, and I'm only 10 hours in so it's not really representative, I'm only Fast Travelling to Sanctuary. Everywhere else I'm walking to. Gives me a real feeling of exploring. "Ok, yesterday I went from Sanctuary and walked East. Today I'll walk South and then turn West and make my way back North along the edge of the map."

    I always do a pretty lazy playthrough on my first attempt, then a more in depth one later on. I've finished the main story on my first playthrough now and, after taking a day off to refresh, I am ready to start a second playthrough where I plan to scour the map for secrets.

    Problem with not fast travelling is I will never finish anything in this game, it's so easy to get distracted.

      that's half the fun :)

        For sure. I see something interesting in the distance, get curious and see what it is.........then I see something interesting in the distance.....

          yeah that's how I found the quest of the dude with the mine's broken water pump... wondering what will become of that now the pump is working again. ;) somewhere else to explore :D

            I'd had nearly 100 hours played before discovering that guy with the quarry/mine on my second character... And considering how relatively close it is to Sanctuary, it was sort of mind blowing that I'd missed it before.

            Yea I fixed the pump too. Does anything ever come of it?
            I need to get the aquaboy perk (no rad damage in water and unlimited breath) and search that pit; I feel there is something really good down there. That or dirt and darkness.

      ugh, i'm like 35hrs in and haven't even reached diamond city yet! haha love the distractions

        Level 46 before setting foot in Diamond City. Obviously couldn't give 2 shits about my son. c.c

          Dam, i've totally forgotten about him! I wonder what he's up to?

            I'm guessing that there's actually a plot twist there.
            Tinfoil hat spoilers:
            My guess is that he's actually old, now. You've been in stasis for 200yrs, but after they took the child and shot the partner, they put you back on ice while they made their getaway. It SEEMED like it was only for a few moments, but who's to say it wasn't like... twenty years?

              Yeah, I can't work out why that hasn't dawned on him yet? I honestly thought he was in denial about finding his son, then I slowly realised he's pretty serious......but settlements aren't going to build themselves!!

          hahaha when you said that i was like 'what son' hahahahahah

          To be honest, I don't pay much attention to the overall story of the game, its the little stories/missions that sink in I think

    Since my game gets stuck in an infinite loading screen when using fast travel I dont have much choice.

    I stopped reading after the first arrow. I dont want to spoil it. I still havent started to play this as i am currently obsessed with Warframe. I will try not to use fast travel in this game once i buy it though. Nice article.

      Warframe is so good. The only thing I regret about having such excellent other things to play is not earning enough ducats to get the rare thingeys every couple weeks from whatsisface in the relay.

    The weight limit is the main reason I fast travel and in the event my settlement is under attack. Without fast travel this game would be even longer than it already is!!!

      Yea this, I keep trying to not fast travel but it's like 'my bags are full, I could walk back to Sacntuary to drop everything off, but then I will probably run into a bazillion more things to pick up on the way, and then I'll be walking back at 2km/h...'
      What we need is like some kind of portable storage you can call and send back to base for you, like a summonable brahmin or vertibird so you can send your load back and keep adventuring without needing to fast travel.

    I wish we could start focusing on something new now. We get it, Fallout 4 is important.


      I had to put up with all the bloody Smash, Splatoon, Mario Kart, Titanfall, Destiny, Pokemon, etc, etc shitty games news barrages, so you will all put up with the media over-saturation when it's finally about something that I like! *shakes fist*

        I haven't played any of those games you mentioned and I'm sure they're all just as shitty as Fallout. Which sadly stands out from a coverage point of view.

        I hope a new hype train comes through this town soon. Choo-choo.

        Last edited 24/11/15 12:34 pm

          On the plus side, the Fallout 4 hype train was really short, with the game coming out only a few months after release.

          It also knocked the shit out of Call of Duty's record-breaking game sales.

          "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is no longer the biggest entertainment launch of 2015. Bethesda’s Fallout 4 sold 12 million copies and generated over $750 million in its first 24 hours at retail on Nov. 10. Those numbers obliterate the over $550 million in 72 hours that Activision-owned developer Treyarch earned with Call of Duty: Black Ops 3."

          The best part of that news story is the potential shortening of hype trains.

          Schramm [an analyst for EEDAR] says the company’s new strategy of officially announcing Fallout 4 after four years of development and then shipping it five months later could impact both the way ZeniMax markets franchises in the future as well as the entire games industry.
          “ZeniMax and other companies may build AAA schedules in the future to surprise players with more finished titles from trusted studios, rather than showing relatively unfinished work early,” Schramm says.

          We can only hope.

          Last edited 24/11/15 12:38 pm

            Agreed. And yay for slapping CoD. At least.

    No. Just no. If you're a pack-rat like me, fast travel is essential (as is max rank in Strong Back).

    There is SO MUCH RESPAWNING CRAP VALUABLE TREASURE in the wasteland that if you walk everywhere, you'll never actually reach your destination before being encumbered and having to turn back to dump shit into a workshop. "Time to go from A to C! Oh, I only made it as far as B before having to turn back and empty my inventory at A. OK, LET'S GO DO THE SAME THING AGAIN and see if I get any farther this time!" Newp.

    Yes, the joy of discovery is fantastic, but you can get the same thing by following a few points of fast travel discipline.

    1) Don't fast travel to the actual intended location. Go to the nearest 'safe' one. Trade hubs, city hubs, settlements, whatever. Fast-travelling direct to hot-spots can result in teleporting into the middle of a Supermutant dog-pile, but also allows you to encounter all those random encounters on the way.

    2) Follow gunshots. You'll hear them every now and then... over the horizon. Doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing - suspend your original mission and follow those gunshots! Either to intervene and save an NPC (who may or may not actually be functionally invincible), or scavenge from the corpses. Sometimes you'll get lucky and get a side-quest out of it.

    3) Get the perk that lets you set up shops in your settlements, then set them up, so you can vendor whatever you don't want to dismantle without having to fast travel back to sometimes the furthest possible point away on the map, up in middle-of-nowhere-Sanctuary Hills. Add workbenches so you can dismantle all those pipe weapons, combat rifles, and metal raider armour, too, and dump the materials into your supply-line shared workshop. (You'll never be short of wood or metal ever again.)

      Just don't pick up tons of crap, and walk everywhere. Problem solved.

        Don't... pick up all the things?

        I don't understand what you're saying.

          I wish I could do this lol no bucket, extinguisher, ashtray or coffee cup shall be left behind!

            I found a fish packing plant that had a whole room full of aluminium trays. In piles on shelves, on the production line conveyor belts, just everywhere. I picked that place CLEAN.

              haha reminds me of the robot factory I visted, conveyer belts filled with rods, caps and gears... all of which only broke down into steel... but all of which I collected lol took me about 4 trips back and forth, but it was raided clean lol

      First thing I'm gonna do.when I get the game is find a mod to help with junk encumbrance.
      Cheating maybe but better than having to unload every 10 mins.

    I tend to avoid fast travel when it's semi local travel.. but there's no way I'm not using it when a mission requires you to travel across the map.. the games big enough already!

    One of the interesting points though is that a lot of the really characterful locations and set-ups (be it comically-posed teddy-bears or simply bodies placed in positions that tell a story about the unfortunate skeletons' final days) aren't actually 'locations' with map markers. They're only places you'll see on the way to places. Settlers and traders etc. There's a guy has a shop set up just north of that lake where a poet/author hung out, and his place is full of cats and cat paintings and four tiny cat graves. No map marker.

    There's a lot you can miss if you don't cover all the ground.

      I do take time to stop and smell the roses, but it's on a case by case basis.

      Fallout 4 practically requires you to fast travel, especially when they have missions like Nick Valentines 10 holotape mission that are in ten separate locations.

      There is a astoundingly big number of skeletons with alchool bottles lying around them, while fishing, reading, just sitting down etc. . It's like they knew the end it's gonna come :)

      Last edited 24/11/15 10:33 pm

    Part of me is like, "Yeah, cause I'm not already time-poor as it is", but this does sound appealing. Some of my most epic, post apocalyptic moments have come from me sneaking - then bolting - through occupied areas, desperate to reach my destination on the map.

    Maybe rather than fast travel there could be a "loot dump" option where the screen goes dark, your character goes back to the safe house, dumps the stuff you don't want to carry, then comes back to the exact same spot?

    I took your advise and 10 minutes in i came across a bunch of synths attacking a behemoth. I ran like a little bitch and hide in a house and killed it. I would of totally missed that if I fast travelled.

    Last edited 24/11/15 11:21 am

    There's no way I could do it physically , you'd have to be picking up next to nothing and if you plan on doing any building or weapons crafting you'll be picking up so much stuff , I found myself going back to deposit junk at sanctuary after almost every second moderate building explored.

      Every second building? Every building that has its own zone I used to have to make at least two trips for - I'd find a container close to the entrance and that would be my hoard to stash stuff at while I cleared out enemies and looted everything that wasn't nailed down.

      Then I got the perk which lets you fast-travel while encumbered. Now it's only one trip back to settlements!

        lol you seem to play exactly like me

          I should probably get that skill next. I'm still gathering skill points since I hit level 54 last night. I have 0 perk in boosting weapon damage to keep battle challenging. No more sniping headshot on enemies now at the south. Pure scavenger build lol.

    Just thought I'd point out that fast travelling is essential when in power armor, because the journey doesn't use your precious fussion cores.

    Other than that do what you bloody well want. It's a Bethesda game. You're meant to play it the way you want.

      Ahh, power armour... one of those things that I think I will use at some point, but haven't yet because I'm afraid I'll use it all up. Like hi-potions and phoenix downs in Final Fantasy.

      I think I have around a hundred and thirty fusion cores. Still terrified of exhausting them.

      (It's got so bad that I actually save-scum until I can pickpocket them from power-armoured enemies, forcing them to hop out and try to figure out what just happened.)

      Last edited 24/11/15 11:55 am

        I have a whole house filled with power armour. Same with you, I'm saving it for a special occassion... just like all those mini nukes :P

          I regret saving the mini-nukes. After a while they stop being as powerful as my sneak-attack sniper rifles or some up-close tricked-out combat shotgunning. The only things that I've ever wanted to use them on are powerful super-mutants and they just laugh and say it tickles like a radroach bite. And anything less powerful than a supermutant is a piece of cake to kill with small arms.

          The usefulness of the fatman has passed, for me. :( On the plus side, a great source of cash and parts.

            Don't have to worry. Get Big Boy and problem solved :P

            haha yep, exactly the same... and I've done it in every fallout too, i save them until they get obsolete... and yet here I am doing the same thing again lol

    Funny I just came to the same realization yesterday. Though I'll never give up fast travel when it comes to returning to base to dump shit, I'm more and more starting to walk everywhere. It's been very cool, especially with the game/world still so new and unexplored.

    Yeah, i fast travel only to drop off junk, then fast travel back to original location and continue to explore.

    Worth noting that there are three types of places, primary locations, seconday locations (that aren't shown on the map), and then points of interest (which also aren't shown on the map). So there really is a lot to explore! The secondary locations are places like a house, or a caravan, or something like that, where as points of interest are small locations, like last night I came across a trailer with a few raiders staying there. Cleared them out, then noticed they had a strange amount of manikins strung up around the place... it was disturbing to say the least lol

    Thats what i've always loved about faullout, you can just get lost in the world... until you become overencumbered and quickly need to find yourself again lol

      I'll follow this article's advice after mods come out and I can eliminate the weight limit.

    Having covered 75-80% of the map already by walking, I cbf to walk anymore since majority of the places are cleared.

      They respawn! Both enemies and loot! If I'm ever short of fuel, I make a trip to places like the Super Duper Mart, which has half a dozen cans of Mr Handy fuel sitting out front.

        Yeah I think it respawns after 24-72 hours in game. Don't really want to waste my previous bullets heh. After getting my Spray n pray gun my 2.5k .45 bullets are down to 1.3k now while constantly stocking at stores. I use like 300-400 to kill one mirelurk queen when capturing the castle. I've fought some mirelurk queens and a behemoth. Not to mention the amount of Legendary Alpha Deathclaws. MA BULLET IS PRECIOUS!

        And precious, precious aluminium cans. To think for so long I laughed as I walked past these pieces of worthless junk! Ash trays? Pfft.
        Now,.....................*waves hands* SHOPPING!!!!!! at Super Duper Mart.

        This spun me out once. I thought my game had glitched, and got all annoyed that I'd have to clear it again. Then realised it had respawned, and then got annoyed that I'd still have to clear it all again :P

    I think it's okay to make an exception fast travelling BACK to the settlement if you wanted to store some things and then fast travel back again to where you are up to and continue on foot. Just going all the way back the same way you came without fast travel seems a bit excessive, but indeed maybe you overlooked something so it is definitely the more fun way to play these things.
    That's why it took me 8 months to finish Skyrim and do EVERYTHING!

    I love the fact I am hopeless choosing *only* seven or eight important weapons to take out with me. But I might need a plasma rifle. That requires a .50 cal sniper. Suppressed 10mm pistol for that. That needs the trusty +50% damage combat rifle.

    I end up with like 50kg of free space which fills up in no time. Thanks fire extinguishers and hot plates.

    Companion pack mule and fast travel is essential for that. Other than that I'm one of the slowest to get through this game as I go through every inch of the map in extreme detail and I love it. It's the little things that make the game great and sadly only a small percentage of people who play the game will experience that.

    Some on my friends list are like "Bang, main story finished!" And I'm *UNFRIEND*. Sorry Dad, we should no longer talk.

      Oh yeah, so many situational weapon uses. So many legendaries. The 10mm silenced for humans, the .308 for harder enemies/longer ranges and .50 cal for the same but harder. The legendary damage Gauss Rifle for things that absolutely must die with one shot. The tricked-out combat shotgun for shitshitshitshit panic situations when something gets up in my grill. The combat rifle for things which are too hard for the pistol, but not so hard as to be worth wasting precious .308 ammo. The tricked out Chinese Officer sword for tricky stealth encounters...

      I've been using .38, .44, .45, and energy cell ammo as currency, and trading it for .308/.50/2mm EC whenever I see it, because ammo reserves dictate my weapon choices.

        Yeah that Scrounger perk is nuts thankfully. Bless those mutant hounds for conveniently carrying 15 .50cal rounds every now and then. Good Boy!

          Oh? In past games it's always been a bit wishy-washy. I'll have to pick up that perk, too.

    Only problem with exploring is you can break quests, don't know about fallout 4 but happens in pretty much every Bethesda game. Usually not an issue but sometimes it can really screw up your game

      This is true, so far i've just found that places are locked and i've not being able to break any quests. So far so good :)

      I really like that a lot of the time you're getting the option to tell quest-givers, "Oh, that thing you want done? Already did it."

    I fast travel when I hand in quests or am almost over encumbered (as is my companion) and the nearest settlement is too far.

    My 8 year old sit there watching as I run around the wasteland. She shuts her eyes when I run up against any raiders and super mutants, pleads me not to kill the doggies or molerats but gets a kick out of me stumbling across all the different locations.

    The town being run by robots was her favourite, followed closely by the crashed UFO.

    She can't wait till she gets older so she can graduate from Minecraft to Fallout. I didn't even show her the town building feature....that would have blow her little mind.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now