Fallout 4 has now received six DLC packs, supposedly the only six it will receive. Having played through them, built with their workshop items and completed their stories, here are my general thoughts on how they were, and whether the Season Pass is a good purchase.
Please note: I am a huge fan of the workshop and building in Fallout 4. If you couldn’t care less about that, very little of the DLC is likely to appeal to you. Also please note: spoilers are afoot.
Automatron gives you a short story in which you have to take down the Mechanist, an evil character that is creating deadly robots in their hidden factory. Wasteland Workshop expands the Workshop to include stuff like animal cages and cage fighting, enemy traps and the like. Far Harbor adds a new series of quests set on an all-new island with new enemies, guns etc. Contraptions Workshop lets you create machines to automate the creation of things. Vault-Tec Workshop lets you build vaults and gives you a new Workshop location, a massive, sprawling underground cave that was intended to be Vault 88. And Nuka-World introduces another new location, an old Nuka-Cola theme park now overrun by three raider cliques.
It was great to have new places to explore and new things to do. Far Harbor and Nuka World each added several hours of new missions, in new locations. Nuka World particularly felt very much different to the base game – but it was still in keeping with the theme in general.
I loved, with Automatron, the ability to create custom companion robots, and the versatility of the creator. I found it was especially useful for creating sentry bots for each of my settlements – for extra comedy, I could then give them cutesy voices and have them work the hospitals until the base was attacked.
Memorable quests and characters littered both DLCs too – I particularly enjoyed helping an avid Nuka-Cola fan into completing a pre-war Nuka World contest, which led to a hidden mini-vault containing the depressed, disembodied, but mechanically-kept-alive head of the founder of Nuka-Cola. And who could forget the bit in Far Harbor when you hack into the all-powerful leader robot’s brain, turning Fallout 4 into an unexpected Minecraft-esque light-bending puzzle game?!
The integration of new content into the Commonwealth was good too, though it could have gone further. It was fun to see the enemies from Automatron start cropping up in random encounters, and choosing to side with the Raiders in Nuka World and systematically overthrowing every single one of your own settlements was interesting.
Many of the smaller additions to the Workshop were really, really good – arguably things that could have been in the base game, but very much welcome and added perceived value to the Season Pass. Neon lettering, electrical logic gates, armour/clothing mannequins to display collected one-off apparel, and a general boost to the variety of all things available to build were excellent and really helped in improving the number of possibilities with bases.
Far Harbor ran like crap on PS4. I swear I was hitting 10FPS in some places – generally the foggy locations. Far Harbor is a very foggy place.
Contraptions Workshop is almost hilarious in how useless it is. Its concept conjured up thoughts of automatic drilling and excavating machines, resource miners… heck, even just being able to assign settlers to go and keep scavenging copper and feeding it into a machine, giving you a Cookie Clicker-style exponential resource generator and making it never again that you run out of something when building something big. Haha, no. Contraptions Workshop does not have anything to GENERATE resources. All it can do is suck up resources you already have and create things that, frankly, aren’t necessary – maybe a gun generating machine would have been good in Fallout 3 when they kept jamming. But in Fallout 4, you’re going to have a modded, beautiful gun, and your settlers can be tossed the guns that a few dead enemies dropped. I couldn’t think of a single legitimately useful function for anything in this pack, what a waste.
Vault-Tec workshop was so, so promising, until the build limit reared its ugly head. It provides the cave which just seems like it’s begging for you to create a massive, beautiful custom vault within its confines. But the build limit caps out when you’ve only just added the basic vault walls and floors… to about a QUARTER of the entire actual map. There’s a big part of me that loved making my own places but really wanted to be able to make my own community, and this DLC seemed like it was finally going to provide that, but nope – ran out of space before i could ever do it, and like with other locations, 10 people plus your charisma stat is the maximum number of settlers you can have. Bah. The DLC is great for the stuff it gives you, but crashes back down to Earth with how it throttles you beyond that.
Nuka World felt so great for a while, but the way it wound down, I fiercely hated. To turn on the main power for the theme park (which feels like the final goal), you have to take one of two drastic measures, neither of which feels particularly good – either completely eliminate the Pack, the Operators and the Disciples from Nuka World, or guide those three raider groups into either a hostile, or persuasive, takeover of one of your settlements in the Commonwealth. While they’re Raiders, and Raiders are dicks, killing them all after they provided such an entertaining set of quests for Nuka World felt bad. And having their presence leak into the Commonwealth in a way that I didn’t want to happen wasn’t great either.
Speaking of Nuka World, I also didn’t like how the game handled certain events with the three cliques. You give each of the five zones of Nuka World to one of the cliques – I gave two to the Pack, two to the Operators, and one to the Disciples. From then on, the Disciples treated me like complete shit. I wanted to evict them from their one place and give it to a different clique… but I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell them to shut the fuck up (despite being Overlord), not an option. If I killed or injured one, every single Disciple… and every Pack and Operator member, AND my second in command, ALL permanently turned hostile on me, killing off every raider quest I had.
Every piece of Fallout 4 DLC felt like it could have done more with what it did. Every pack, to varying degrees, had a lot that I expected upon first hearing about them, but that they didn’t deliver. Automatron would have been cool if synths (even just Gen 1/2s) could be made with the station. Wasteland Workshop could have added a little more. Far Harbor and Nuka World should be easier to jump to from the Commonwealth – having to double fast travel or use a boat or train to get to their locations is a faff. Vault-Tec should have found a way to ease the building limit, even if it meant segmenting off the building area a bit more and loading the place in segments.
I feel like I got £24.99’s worth out of all of it in total – that’s what it cost me before they announced a price hike to £39.99. I don’t feel like I got £39.99’s worth – but that might be impacted by how the base game alone cost me that amount, and I got hundreds of hours out of it.
Fallout 4 deserved a little more love, I think. There is good fun to be had, and useful extra content to come from all of the DLC. But having left the base game feeling like I’d had the time of my life, to leave it this second time now feeling dissatisfied and disappointed bums me out.