I’m always on the lookout for new mods to try in Fallout 4, so when I kept hearing mention of Insane Ivy in various Reddit threads and other discussions about companion mods I was intrigued.
Admittedly I was a bit skeptical of the mod being featured on Lovers Lab, since I’m not interested in turning Fallout into a sex sim. But with enough people praising the writing of the mod and claiming the Ivy is a great companion in her own right, I decided to give it a try one weekend. (And then more recently, the newest version.)
After all, some people have badmouthed ThuggySmurf’s mods like Depravity and Prokect Valkyrie, but I really enjoyed those. Perhaps, I hoped, I’d be in for another pleasant surprise.
Rest assured, I’m writing this review because indeed Insane Ivy is more than a sex mod or something dismissable like that.
Mod link here. You’ll need a Lovers Lab account to access the download page. From there, you download the 7zip files from Drive and can either use the mod manager of your choice to install from file or do them manually.
If it’s your first time with the mod, a manager like Vortex is probably fine. In my case, even though I’d told Vortex to deactivate and totally uninstall previous versions of this mod that I’d tried, I discovered leftover files were still in my Fallout\Data directory that were causing issues, and a manual install resolved them.
Thank you to Star for bringing that to my attention, since I was playing what I briefly thought was v6 and was actually a borked earlier version.
One clue to whether this is the case is whether you find her in a bunker called “Ivy’s Place” or whether she’s still in the storm cellar in Sanctuary. In the new version, she’s not in the storm cellar.
Praise Where It’s Due For Insane Ivy’s Voice Acting and Story
I’ll say it straight off: Insane Ivy features the best voice acting I’ve heard on any Fallout mod. Others have been good — probably the closest to this I’ve heard are the NPCs in Tales From The Commonwealth and characters in Depravity.
In terms of acting ability, tonality, and recording quality, everything about Ivy is top notch. No kidding.
I’d say it’s indistinguishable from vanilla game characters but I almost feel like that’s a disservice since Ivy has, in many ways, much more personality.
Earlier versions of the mod seemed like there were story bits trying to make this more than a mod about a sex bot, but I didn’t totally latch on. Parts felt a bit undeveloped in my opinion.
In this latest version, though, that has totally changed.
I can say this without spoiling anything you won’t learn in the first 5-10 mins of the mod anyway: this is essentially a story of a conflicted woman searching for answers through her adventures with you, and a series of quests.
She is what she first seems to be, but she’s also more. What exactly that more is isn’t even clear to her for quite awhile, and how you show up for her throughout those quests can affect how everything ends up.
Maybe she leaves, or maybe she stays because your relationship has grown into something more significant than it began.
There are some optional add-ons, including Nuka World content that I definitely recommend you check out. Most people probably have all the DLC at this point so that’s not a troublesome requirement.
The writing in general is thoughtful. The dialogue and quests, especially parts near the end, are totally unlike anything in the vanilla game, and I mean that as a compliment.
Some of her memories are unlocked by bringing her to certain locations, and I like that in this latest version she briefly gives a few hints in an early dialogue about where you can start looking.
Cool and Fairly Unique Features
But Ivy also gives you a remote commands item that you can bind to a hotkey, which allows you to command her without having to get up close and hit the activate button like you normally would.
This is a great feature, and something I always felt the vanilla game needed.
I did have a little trouble getting it to work properly early on and occasionally throughout playing so it was somewhat unreliable. When it didn’t work, my character would just say “over here” but she would stand there and not do anything I said.
However, I’ve read enough other people praising the mod that evidently didn’t have this issue that I have to assume it’s a mod conflict on my end.
Luckily it didn’t derail the story or the bulk of the mod experience.
Ivy also provides a holotape you can load at any time and change some basic settings, like what her combat style should be and how close she should follow you.
Lastly, you can change some settings talking to Ivy, such as toning down the profanity and sexual content, making her more like a normal companion. I dig the story and am not against part of her story being that she’s programmed, at least partially, as a pleasure bot.
But it doesn’t have to be thrown in your face constantly.
I appreciate that, because this mod has a lot to offer beyond that and she’s a solid companion in her own right.
The Author Calls This a “Prime Companion.”
This mod is not compatible with AFT or other multi-companion mods (more on that shortly), and the author says you should intend to play Ivy as a singular companion throughout the game.
She has a lot of dialogue and content. I believe Reginald, the mod author, refers to the sheer amount as DLC-sized. I wouldn’t disagree.
She has a lot of comments that are quirky or funny, such as after battle, when enemies are near, when you visit certain places, etc. Where some companions only comment about places you travel occasionally, she’ll be more active as a participant in your adventure.
A Couple Drawbacks, In My Opinion
These are neither technical drawbacks per se nor objective issues, but I’ll share in case you play Fallout in a similar way and would feel the same.
This mod is not compatible with AFT or other multi-follower mods.
I normally roll every game with AFT installed. I just think it adds a lot of value to the game beyond just being a multi-follower setup, and not being able to use it while playing Ivy is unfortunate.
AFT uses scripts and those don’t always play nice with mod followers; I get that.
But I like to also use more than one companion, at least intermittently, and for me it’s a big ask to have to abandon AFT.
Some people say they’ve used AFT with Ivy with no issues, but the mod author insists it will cause issues. I ran Ivy without it, and it was my first play through in years without.
Two other small things that play into this in a semi-related way:
- Ivy’s personal weapon feels overpowered to me. It’s a scoped 44 magnum, and since you get her in Sanctuary in the very beginning a lot of the early battles felt trivial to me. Sure, you can give her a different (and weaker) weapon, but…
- She doesn’t have unlimited ammo with other weapons like mod followers like Heather Casdin do, and since you can’t use AFT, you can’t use that simple setting to make that so.
For me the simple workaround was to use console commands to give her a ton of .38 ammo for a pipe rifle I gave her early on and it was ok. I also realize there are other companion infinite ammo mods out there, but I can’t speak to whether they work well with Ivy or not.
But for how fully featured Ivy is in so many ways, it would’ve been cool to have a simple toggle for this — either in her holotape or via dialogue.
These things seemed worth sharing in case they are deal breakers for you.
But if you don’t mind any of those things, I can’t really point at anything else that’s a glaring issue with the mod.
It’s very well put together in general — especially in v6.7 now.
Don’t let this being a Lovers Lab mod stop you from trying it. Yes, there are components of this mod that are pretty adult-themed. But it’s all optional, and most of it can be disabled in her settings.
If you do disable them, you end up with a companion who is still unique and quirky in an endearing way, and the voicing is top notch.
The sheer amount of effort put into this mod, in terms of dialogue, story, and features, make it stand out against the horde of simplistic follower mods.
There are a few mods that stand as peers on this level, but in my opinion they are rare.
She has a cool story and a few compelling technical features that I really must praise the author for, and as long as not being able to use AFT isn’t a deal breaker for you, I recommend you throw this mod into your next play through.