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Bethesda’s stealth fix drastically improves the performance of Fallout 4’s DLC on PS4

Bethesda has been pumping out Fallout 4 DLC this year at a steady clip, and the latest release is the biggest yet. The $25 Far Harbor DLC takes the player to a new location off the coast of Maine, and adds a thick layer of radioactive fog. Not only does this awful mist slowly chip away at your health bar, but it causes the frame rate on the PS4 to drop in a big way. Thankfully, Bethesda has already released a new version of the DLC that significantly improves performance.

When Far Harbor launched last month, it received a positive, if subdued, critical reaction. The PC and Xbox One version received a metascore of 79/100 while the PS4 version averaged a slightly lower 75/100. On our sister site IGN, the PC version of the DLC scored an 8.3/10. In comparison, the base game ranged from 84/100 to 88/100 on Metacritic while IGN gave it a 9.5/10 on all platforms.

If you absolutely loved Fallout 4, this add-on is undoubtedly what you’ve been waiting for since launch. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the works of Bethesda Game Studios, but I played through the entirety of this DLC in the last few weeks. Most of the strengths and weaknesses of the core game remain, but I did find myself smiling while solving a cheeky murder mystery inside a newly discovered vault.

Sadly, that small joy didn’t last long. After spending a couple hours in the fog, the atrocious frame rate on the PS4 turned my smile into a frown accompanied by a deeply furrowed brow. My expectations were already low thanks to the choppiness of last year’s release, but the fog seems to have caused the frame rate to fall off a cliff. My gameplay experience was sub-par to say the least.

To their credit, the development team responded quickly to the outcry over the PS4 release. A few days ago, Bethesda pushed out a new build of the DLC that seemingly solves the problem. In the video embedded above, Digital Foundry found that the updated version of the DLC typically runs at a solid 30fps now.

You’ll still occasionally see dropped frames, and it seems like the overall presence of fog has been reduced, but the difference is night and day. The only major downside is that players like me have already slogged through a dozen hours of stutters and hitches.

If you already have the DLC installed, getting the new version seems to be slightly tricky. Polygon has a six-step walkthrough that seems to work for some people, but you might have to delete the entire installation, and re-download everything to get it to work right now. Bethesda plans to release a mainline patch to fix this issue in the near future, so you can simply wait it out if you’d prefer.

Not only does this revised build hold up well compared with the original PS4 release, but it now outperforms the Xbox One version too. While Microsoft’s console seems to bounce around between 20 and 30fps, the PS4 release looks significantly smoother. Still, it’s not nearly as bad as the initial release on Sony’s platform.

Mind you, it’s not all bad news for Xbox One players. Select Fallout 4 mods made with Bethesda’s official toolset are now available for download on the Xbone. If you’re a PS4 player, you won’t get access to this functionality until later this month.

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