Fallout 4 DLC Review

11 Sep 2016

Introduction

When Bethesda released Fallout 4 in November of last year, they had already decided to release a series of six DLCs for the game, and as a consequence, they immediately made a Season Pass available, where you could buy all six at once for a lower price.  This review is for the entire Season Pass, written up as a mini-review for each DLC.

Automatron

At the start of the Automatron DLC, you pick up a radio broadcast from a caravan in distress.  When you eventually reach the caravan, you discover that it's being attacked by a collection of robots called junkbots, and that only an assaultron named Ada has survived.  After helping Ada to finish off the junkbots, you learn that they were sent by somebody called the Mechanist (who was one of the villains from the Silver Shroud episodes, if you listened to them), and that they've been scouring the region for parts, killing anyone who gets in their way.

With Ada in tow, you decide to track down and defeat the Mechanist.  This involves foiling three of the Mechanist's top lieutenants and then using the information gathered from them to locate and infiltrate the Mechanist's secret lair.  This mini-campaign works pretty well, and it includes a few satisfying fights, including a challenging final battle.

Along with the campaign, the main addition in the Automatron DLC is the ability to construct and modify robot companions.  You can choose different body types (including protectron and robobrain), different weaponry (from melee to sniper rifles), and even a few different utility bonuses (like being able to heal or pick open locks).

Modifying a robot works exactly the same as modifying a weapon or a piece of armor.  You have to build a robot workbench in one of your settlements, and then you have to add or remove mods from your robot companion.  You start out knowing only a handful of mods, but as you defeat enemy junkbots and swarmbots, you find and learn more (which is much more satisfying that learning new mods from perks).

To make it easier to find mods, the DLC adds a new faction of enemies -- the Rust Devils.  This faction is a mix of humans and robots.  They're more powerful than the Gunners (the top enemy faction in the main game), and they can appear anywhere random enemies spawn, not just in DLC locations.  So the Rust Devils add some extra difficulty to the game, which is good, and along with mods, their member also drop robot armor, which is more protective but heavier than metal armor.

Robot companions work pretty well.  You can tune them to what you want, they don't make any snide comments when you pick up junk items (Ada even compliments you for doing so), and they don't have any likes or dislikes, so you can play your character however you want.  The downside to the robot companions is that they work -- or rather don't work -- about as well as any other companions.  For me, companions in Bethesda's games get in the way much more often than they help, so I only use them when it's required to complete a quest.

So if you're like me and you don't use companions, that steals some of the thunder from the Automatron DLC, but the campaign and the new enemies are interesting enough to make it a useful purchase anyway.

Wasteland Workshop

The Wasteland Workshop DLC adds a hodgepodge of new things for you to build at your settlements.  Most of these items are lights of some sort, including streetlamps to brighten the outside parts of your settlement, desk lamps that can attach to tables (which for some reason wasn't possible previously), a rainbow variety of neon lettering so you can create signs, and non-electrical lights (like candles and campfires) so you don't need to power your entire settlement -- or even any of it -- to see what's going on.  The lights are all useful and effective, especially if you're using something like the Darker Nights mod, and they fill an obvious gap from the main game.

There are also some non-lighting objects in the DLC.  Decontamination arches instantly cure your radiation poisoning if you stand under them.  Fusion reactors provide 100 units of power, which is ten times as powerful as the heaviest generators available before, and so you no longer need to litter your settlements with multiple generators to keep everything running.  Garden plots give you squares of dirt that you can place in your settlements, to give you convenient places to grow crops.

The problem is, almost all of the things in the DLC were already in the game -- just not buildable at settlements.  There are also only about 50 items total, which pales in comparison to some of the mods out there (like the Homemaker mod) that add thousands of items.  So most of the DLC is iffy at best.

 
 

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