There’s still an impressive community playing Fallout 4, and all the sweeter that nearly 6 years after the game’s release authors are still creating new mods.
Let’s talk about a Fallout 4 quest mod called Hearts of Darkness.
This one came out in early June 2021, and while early versions reportedly had a few bugs those on the Nexus commented about, I’ve had success with it. I’ll note a couple things as we get further in that will hopefully help in case you run into any minor blips.
Note also: this mod is marked as having adult content on the Nexus. I haven’t noticed anything unusually graphic in terms of violence or sex, but I figured I’d point that out anyway in case it matters to you.
The Gist of the Hearts of Darkness Quest Mod
Without any spoilers, Hearts of Darkness is essentially a mod about your character running into a group of raiders, and ultimately working with them on a long series of quests.
I call them raiders because that’s the word they use to describe themselves, though working with them does not entail your character having to raid settlements. This is not like Nuka World.
In fact, other than their briefly mentioning having slaves, their group spends most of their time attacking other raider camps and Gunners. Their primary mission is, in fact, to wipe out all the Gunners in the Commonwealth.
The story is very character-focused, and it’s an interesting change of pace for your character to be assisting a group that also actively works at its own goals.
All vanilla factions come off as rather helpless, like everyone stands around and nothing gets done if your character isn’t doing it. Hearts of Darkness creates a much stronger sense that this group have lives of their own. Your involvement fits into that, but you come to join them mid-mission and it’s believable that they would’ve continued that mission had you never entered the picture.
Over the course of the story your character can build friendships with various characters and make choices about who to trust. Each member of the group finds meaning in their lives in their own ways battling Gunners and raiders.
What This Fallout 4 Quest Mod Does Well
The voice acting is solid, probably among the best I’ve heard in Fallout 4 mods. For the most part I find the audio quality indistinguishable from the vanilla characters, which for me is a big one.
It’s very jarring when there’s distortion, or if the volume level of mod voices don’t match the game’s characters. And likewise, it’s great when none of that happens and the characters believably blend into the game.
Characters seem real and unique, often having strong personalities explained in their backstories. I also find it refreshing that, since your character is helping a group that already has a leadership hierarchy, you’re often following them on their missions rather than them being tagalongs to yours.
There was a section where it seemed like one of the story characters died, and I genuinely felt frustration over it. That’s not typical in many mod quests I’ve played.
Mild But Honest Criticisms
Character reaction lines can be a little limited/repetitive, such as what companions say when you finish a battle. For instance, Kat almost always says, “I knew we’d win!” after battles. It’s cool at first, but feels a little weird after a dozen fights and you might wish she’d occasionally say nothing rather than constantly saying that one line.
Bugs. I didn’t encounter many of these and for the most part the mod ran well for me. Early on in the mod there are a few scripted scenes that, like I’ve seen with other mods with scripted scenes, need to play out in a very specific way.
Any time something interrupts that, such as your having a companion not from this mod walking around or attacking a hostile NPC you’re having a dialogue with can hang things.
Also, one time just as I was returning to the raider base at the end of a mission a random radscorpion attacked the base. We killed it easily, but it seemed like when I went inside to talk to people to progress the mission, they would say a canned line instead of a real dialogue. It took some playing around, and in one case reloading a previous save and fast traveling to the base without encountering the radscorpion, for the dialogue to trigger properly.
The only other minor complaint I can think of as I played this mod is that a good chunk of the mod quests chain right into each other, and many of them involve a degree of urgency where it makes no sense for your character to do anything else.
I began the mod with a new character at level 5, and was almost level 20 before there was a point in the story where it made sense that my character might do other things and explore on his own. If I were hoping to see other parts of the game in the early levels, I guess a criticism would be that this mod assumes its own story is more important or urgent than everything else.
That may not bother you, but if you like to be able to pick and choose what to do next and take quests in small chunks, this may not be for you.