Fallout 4 DLC Review

Along with the pieces necessary to build vaults, the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC also comes with more random items that you can add to your settlements, including new beds, lights, and shelves -- plus statues and Christmas trees, of course.  More options are always good, but the interface is to the point where it's getting tedious / difficult to find what you want.  For example, vault windows are listed under "doors," vault nightstands are listed under "miscellaneous" rather than "tables" or "shelves," and most lists of items are now so long that it takes a while just to scroll through them.  With a proper PC interface, this wouldn't be an issue, but with Bethesda's unholy console interface, the more they add elements that the engine wasn't designed for, the worse it gets.

My guess is most people will only build a vault at the Vault 88 site, which is located inconveniently in the southeastern corner of the Commonwealth map.  This limits the appeal of the DLC, which only applies to a niche portion of the Fallout 4 playerbase anyway.  Also limiting the appeal are some of the bugs involved in building vaults.  In particular, the lighting is all messed up.  Some lights shine through walls, while other lights don't provide enough illumination to do any good.  For example, the "atrium" of a vault is always at least two stories high, but if you place lights on the ceiling, they don't shine all the way to the floor, and so it's tough -- or, really, impossible -- to give your vaults any sort of consistent lighting so they look good.  I saw some people actually using street lamps in their vaults, which is just sad.

So overall, the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC is sort of "meh" for me.  Building a vault is fun, but Bethesda only gives you one real place to do it, and it feels like they put a minimum of effort into the endeavor, so no matter how hard you try with your vault, the result might not be great.  But I did like that Bethesda included a little campaign with the DLC.  It was nice to see an example of what you can do with the DLC's additions, and it's something Bethesda should have included with their other workshop DLCs.

Nuka-World

The Nuka-World DLC starts out with -- you guessed it -- another radio broadcast, this time featuring a pre-war advertisement for the Nuka-World amusement park.  Perhaps figuring that since computers are still powered and working after 200 years, maybe amusement parks have had the same luck, or perhaps just wondering who turned the ad on, you decide to take the monorail to Nuka-World to see what's going on.

When you reach Nuka-World, you discover that the front part of the park is being run by raiders, and that you have to prove yourself to them by running through a crazy gauntlet.  Unfortunately, this gauntlet is almost a carbon copy of the Saw-inspired parking garage from the main game, so it's not very exciting if it's a rerun for you.  It also relies heavily on floor traps, which most high-level characters can ignore.

But past the gauntlet, the DLC gets more interesting.  Nuka-World has five regions, and the raiders only control Nuka-Town USA.  You can also explore Dry Rock Gulch, the home of Mad Mulligan's Minecart Ride; the Galactic Zone, complete with its Nuka-Galaxy roller coaster; Kiddie Kingdom, where you can visit King Cola's caste; and Safari Adventure, a zoo with a giant tree house.

The amusement park is by far the best part of the DLC.  It's well-designed, it gives you lots of rides and attractions to check out, and it's completely different than anything Fallout 4 has shown before.  And by completing the main questline, you're allowed to turn on the power at the park, which means you can even go on a few of the rides, including the ferris wheel and one of the roller coasters.

Unfortunately, as fun as the world is, the quests are DOA.  For some reason Bethesda fell in love with scavenger hunts in the park -- where you have to find star cores to power a mainframe computer, medallions so you can earn a reward, tickets and tokens so you can claim prizes, hidden "cappies" so you can visit the founder's office, and even a dozen or so different Nuka-Cola recipes so you can craft your favorite flavors of the drink.  But otherwise you pretty much just walk around and kill stuff, and there are almost no meaningful decisions.

The one interesting point for the DLC other than the amusement park is that it allows you to become a raider if you want.  After proving yourself to the raiders by winning their gauntlet, they inexplicably put you in charge, and if things go well, then you can help them to expand their influence over the rest of the park -- and even into the Commonwealth.  As a result, you're allowed to create raider settlements, which give you an option other than simply working with the Minutemen.

The main problem I had with the DLC is that I didn't want to become a raider.  For that case there's a side quest where you can kill the raiders instead of working with them, but if you choose that branch then you fail the entire main questline.  So you can either be a bad guy and see everything, or you can be a good guy and skip to the end.  Bleh.  I wish Bethesda had given a more fulfilling "good" branch for their quests.

So for me, the Nuka-World DLC is fine but not great.  It has a better world than Far Harbor, but since its storyline and quests are almost non-existent, I liked Far Harbor better.  Given that Bethesda only created two "real" DLCs, it's sort of disappointing that their finale didn't turn out better.  It feels like they created the world and then ran out of time to do anything else.