The open-world RPGs from the iconic Bethesda Studios are some of the most mod-friendly games in the industry. This has helped give each of their RPGs a much longer tail as players constantly return to their worlds with slight twists, reworks, and additions to check out.
The Fallout Mods can range anywhere from new weapons or armor to additions like changing all Skyrim’s dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine. However, some of the very best are the ones that completely overhaul a game into an entirely new experience, like Fallout 4‘s stellar mod Horizon from Zawinul. Before we get into our complete Fallout 4 Horizon Mod guide, here are some of the key details you need to know upfront.
Key Info Up Front
- Mod Link: Nexusmods.com
- Mod Author: Zawinul
- Mod Overview: Horizon focuses on developing the survival elements of Fallout 4, adding depth to the game’s mechanics and introducing entirely new mechanics for players to deal with as they travel through the wasteland.
Horizon Mod Overview
The Horizon Mod includes numerous changes that players will have to adapt to during their playthrough if they are already familiar with the systems of Fallout 4. It also includes new mechanics and balancing tweaks. Horizon also helps give players more of a rewarding experience during their playthrough.
It does this by rebalancing the game’s rewards and loot to make sure that even at the highest levels of the game, players still get exciting new things and discoveries to help motivate them and make their time exploring feel more worthwhile.
Despite these changes, however, Horizon also puts effort into making everything it adds or tweaks fit into the established world and tone of the Fallout 4 universe. The mod is also still under development, but it is more than worth playing in its current state.
Horizon Mod Features
Health and Survival
Since Horizon is meant to be a survival mod, some of its most significant changes come from changes to the player’s health and survivability. Since Horizon prevents players from healing through eating, leveling up, or sleeping, players will have to devote more resources to stay on their feet.
One of the significant changes is that Bandages and First Aid kits can only be used to heal outside of combat, meaning that only Stimpaks can heal you during fights but are expensive and can get you addicted to them. Stimpaks also no longer repair limb damage, forcing players to use trauma kits to do so or by visiting a doctor.
Players can also use Adrenaline Injectors to revive fallen companions, and crafting all of these resources require additional resources. Doctors have also been overhauled to offer the player more choices.
This means that players can use the menu to either completely heal their character or heal individual status effects and health points to spend precisely as many resources as they want to make specific recoveries.
Players and enemies also have a health pool that doesn’t change when they level up to ensure that the items are always balanced.
Apart from health, players also have to manage various other conditions and resources in Horizon. The effects and rate that players gain Radiation have increased while being more expensive to get rid of. Poison, Fire, and Cryo damage has also been changed to the last longer but deal less damage.
The players’ needs to eat and drink have also been changed to require them not to have to deal with them as frequently, but making getting good food and drink more of a commitment.
Horizon also includes new difficulty options to let players better tailor the experience to their preferences. A popular Desolation mode emphasizes its survival elements, making Fallout 4 play more similar to a standard survival game with decreased loot drops and higher needs.
Beyond that, five difficulty modifiers increase or reduce enemy damage and health to make every player be able to experience Horizon.
Economy and Progression
The loot pool of the Horizon mod has been dramatically expanded to make looting containers and purchasing items from players more rewarding and immersive. It does this by coordinating a container’s loot to what type of container the player is looking in while also giving use to more crafting materials that didn’t have any in the base game.
The economy of the wasteland itself has also been tweaked to make Caps rarer and services and items more expensive. Ammunition is also more challenging to find and more costly to purchase, pushing players to utilize a broader range of weaponry during their playthrough.
These changes push players to trade more than spending Caps and survive on their own merits by crafting. The greater emphasis on crafting also pushes players to explore locations more thoroughly to get the materials and items to craft ammunition and supplies.
The player’s character progression is also wholly overhauled in Horizon. Leveling occurs at half the speed but is rebalanced to give players the same amount of variety and choices in their builds. This is helped by some new systems, such as one that gives you a bonus perk every five levels.
As you play, you will also level up skills by performing specific actions similar to how it works in Skyrim. The perks in the game have also been modified, with every perk being tweaked and some getting wholly overhauled. The perks that Horizon completely changes are:
- Hunter – Grants the player the ability to collect meat and parts from killed animals.
- Iron Defender – Grants the player new defensive benefits with each invested point.
- Medic – Grants the player recipes for new healing items for each invested point.
- Survivalist – Grants the player recipes for new survival items for each invested point.
- Technologist – Grants the player to collect various resources from killed robots.
- VANS – Grants the player additional ability points for every five levels.
To better help players tailor their character’s build, Horizon also adds new combat specializations. These give players additional bonuses on top of their perks that push them to use particular weapons throughout their playthrough or approach combat in specific ways.
Your specialization can be tweaked during your playthrough, but doing so carries a significant resource cost. The combat specializations are:
- Animal Handler – Increases the damage and defenses of Dogmeat.
- Combat Engineer – Increases your Mini-Turret’s damage.
- Cyborg – Increases the damage of energy weapons.
- Demolitionist – Increases the damage of explosive and fire weapons.
- Duelist – Increases the damage of pistols and Double-Barrel Shotguns.
- Master Commando – Increases the damage of Assault Weapons, Combat Knives, and Throwing Knives.
- Maurader – Increases the damage of melee weapons and makes power attacks have additional benefits.
The Weapon Perks in Horizon have also been tweaked to make them more impactful and increase the scope of their benefits. These perks are:
- Attack Dog – Increases the damage to dog companions and allows you to call in a Guard Dog.
- Big Leagues – Increases the armor penetration of melee weapons.
- Commando – Increases your accuracy while hip firing and gives additional bonuses to Combat Knives and Assault Weapons.
- Demolition Expert – Increases the damage with explosive and fire weapons and allows you to craft explosives.
- Future Soldier – Increases your efficiency with energy-based weapons.
- Gunslinger – Gives bonuses focused on shotguns and pistols, such as increasing reload speed and accuracy when hip firing.
- Marksman – Increases your efficiency with ballistic weapons by improving accuracy, range, and armor penetration.
- Robotics Expert – Gives you the ability to place Mini-Turrets and hack robotic enemies.
Combat and Weaponry
With the difficulty of the Horizon mod, Fallout 4’s combat has also been entirely rebuilt. These changes are also required since the health pool of the player and enemies is never increased despite all enemies dynamically scaling with the player’s level.
Horizon also uses a unique scaling system to prevent enemies at higher levels from becoming bullet sponges or low-level enemies from being too easily killed later in the game.
The increased difficulty of healing also makes approaching combat encounters with more consideration a necessity. It pushes players to take advantage of retreating, traps, and other less necessary items in the base game.
The damage resistances of enemies have also been overhauled to give each enemy more of a personality in combat. This system pushes players to prepare for the enemies or encounters that players know will be at each location by bringing the right weapons for the job.
Every enemy has weak points while their armored areas, like the torso of a Protectron, have increased damage resistances to emphasize having to hit their weak points. More enemies have also been changed to be weak to certain elements and strong against others to push players to prepare for encounters and explore more of Horizon’s weapons to deal with different enemies. The loot pool of nearly every enemy has also been expanded to make killing them more rewarding and more immersive.
To accommodate the changes to combat, Horizon also overhauls the weapons in Fallout 4. On a mechanical level, Horizon balances the damage of weapons on a per-hit priority rather than damage over time to account for how much harder it is to get ammunition.
Weaker weapons can also be modified to a higher extent to bring them more in line with higher-level gear and can even be adjusted on the field with the new Weapon Toolkit item to change their firing rate or ammo type. Horizon also adds additional ammo types and new special ammunition to cover every elemental type of damage.
Crafting and Settlements
Horizon also expands the crafting available to players through two new stations: the Tech Lab and Weapons Lab. The Tech Lab is used to craft various tools, crafting parts, electronics, and resources used to build items for your settlements. The mod adds an incredible amount of new crafting recipes.
Still, the Tech Lab includes some stand-out options like a Cargo-Bot that sends junk back to your settlement, tools to help with the new lockpicking and hacking systems, Filters used to craft gas masks, and a Portable Memory Device to let you save your game anywhere.
The Weapons Lab is unsurprisingly used to craft ammunition, and weapons and modify the guns you already have. With the new ammunition types and the limited amount of ammunition found in the world, you will likely be using the Weapons Lab frequently throughout your playthrough.
Both of the new crafting stations also have a contract work option. This option allows you to craft items you don’t meet the requirements for by spending additional caps or resources. This is a costly way to make the recipes but allows players to make ones they don’t usually expect to make more than once or twice without investing in them during their leveling.
Settlements are one of the most contentious parts of Fallout 4, so Horizon also changes them significantly to make them feel more rewarding and easier to manage when players have multiple. Generating resources at settlements has been altered to be less reliable so that it doesn’t trivialize Horizon’s survival elements while still feeling fair and worthwhile.
Horizon also adds the Resource Station that allows players to manage all of the resource generations of their settlements from one place, making it much easier to manage. New defense buildings have also been added while existing ones are tweaked to be easier to make but have new operation costs.
Settlement vendors have also been tweaked to have their inventories based on your Trading skill while offering players a new credit currency rather than trading in Caps. Horizon also adds various new decoration items while allowing players to craft and move more significant pieces that can be found in buildings like bars and diner counters.
Finally, players can also fast travel between their settlements with the help of the new Caravan system. Caravans can be started at any settlement with a Caravan Transport Hub. However, to use a Caravan, players have to dedicate enough resources to it. Still, it allows players to travel across the wasteland in the fastest way when playing with the Horizon mod.
Horizon Mod Tips
With the depth and difficulty of Horizon’s systems, every player will have to find their preferred way of approaching its challenges. However, some general tips will help you get started and figure things out for yourself.
The first thing that all players need is to always prepare plenty of healing items before going out to do anything. Healing is expensive and difficult, but failing to bring enough things will assure certain death in the wasteland. This will also help you avoid frequent trips to the doctor, which can get extremely expensive.
You’ll also want to bring more of a variety of weapons than you normally would in Fallout 4. This is because of how limited ammunition is. Having weapons for numerous ammunition types will help you avoid completely running out of options, as you’ll be able to use any ammunition that you do find along the way.
It would help if you also always had a melee weapon with you, regardless of whether or not your character is built to use it, as this will allow you to finish off low health enemies or defend yourself when you ran out of ammunition.
For combat encounters, you should also at least start in stealth whenever possible. Making an entire stealth build is not necessary, but taking out as many enemies as possible before they start shooting back at you will do a lot to help you use fewer resources and take fewer hits. You should also use explosives and traps more than normal.
It is a very strong strategy to start an encounter by taking out one or two enemies from stealth before leading enemies back into traps you set earlier. This will help you conserve ammunition while also taking out enemies quickly without them dealing a lot of damage to you beforehand.
For managing your hunger and thirst, you should also focus on getting fully cooked meals. Eating one or two full meals each day will keep you from needing more food, while it is much more effective than filling up on junk food. Eating bigger meals will also help cut down on the radiation you take from eating, as each smaller food would give you a flat chunk of radiation.
From the start of the playthrough, you should loot everything in Sanctuary Hills and Vault 111 to build as strong of a foundation to work on as possible. Then, as you progress through the game, make sure to return to your workbenches frequently. This will help you stay on top of crafting ammunition and survivability items.
You never want to be caught without enough gear, so returning to a base of operations will help keep you stocked up enough. You should also take that time to carefully consider where you are going next and what weapons and gear will help you face the enemies you expect to meet there.
Finally, don’t be afraid to run away from enemies or tough encounters. Since saving is more difficult in Horizon, surviving and avoiding losing an hour or two of progress is often better.
Question: Is Fallout 4 Horizon available on consoles?
Answer: No, Horizon is only available on the PC version of Fallout 4.
Question: Is Horizon compatible with other mods?
Answer: I would recommend only using visual mods with Horizon, as anything else would likely through off the mod’s delicate balancing.
Question: Is Horizon harder than base Fallout 4?
Answer: Yes, the changes to the game’s combat, survival mechanics, and healing make the experience harder than regular Fallout 4.
The Horizon mod for Fallout 4 is an incredibly impressive mod that is a great reason to play through Fallout 4 again. If you wished that the original game had been a bit harder, encouraged you to fully explore its environments more, or had more to its survival mode, Horizon is a must-try mod. However, you should know that it is designed to be used for an entire playthrough, so if you try it, make sure to start a new game in the mod, and after deleting it, don’t go back to that save.
Continue reading related Fallout 4 Mod guides: