The Fallout 4 Season Pass Season has begun. Bethesda promises a series of three DLCs to be released over the course of three months, with the recent Automatron to be the first and ending with the much-hyped Far Harbor which boasts the largest DLC landmass in any Bethesda game. While Automatron doesn’t have the same ambitions it does offer, in addition to a new quest line and a few encounters, two new voiced companions and a new crafting station for your settlements which you can use to build custom robots or modify your existing ones. Yes, you can turn Codsworth into an intimidating killing machine.
Automatron (Fallout 4 DLC): Windows PC [Reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: 22 March 2016
Price: 9,99€ [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
Automatron of possibilities
The recommended level for this DLC is 15. As the Cosmos (or is it Kos?) would have it, I had a save file precisely at that experience level, so I was able to jump right in and I can say it was adequately challenging. You receive a distress call on your Pip Boy because of course you do leading you to a destroyed caravan and some highly customized robot fighting the sole survivor: an automaton named Ada. She tells you of a person calling himself “The Mechanist” whose eyebots spread a message of peace across the wasteland all the while, his other minions seemingly kill humans on sight, indiscriminately. Acknowledging her personality module as the cause, she asks for your help in finding the Mechanist.
The first step is to build a new type of workbench at one of your settlements which allows you to build or modify your existing robots. This is undoubtedly the main new feature of the expansion. At the start your available frames and mods are limited, but you can now loot parts and components off of mechanical enemies, allowing you to build more and more complex and creative companions. This also allows you to break from the standard models and replace a Mr. Handy thruster unit with a set of gigantic Sentry Robot legs and there’s little anyone can do to stop you.
The main story and characters are nothing revolutionary, but I’d say that it stands comfortably among the stronger quest lines in the main game. Ada is an interesting character displaying more emotion than your classic robot, as are the few other characters in the DLC. Of course, as is always the case with Bethesda Fallout games a lot of the more interesting little plot and lore details are in the environment or off the beaten path, such as in terminal logs. We find out several interesting details about the Mechanist throughout the experience and about the special nature of the Robobrains.
The dungeons in Automatron are interestingly designed, with the final area being one of the more creative in the game. The DLC itself is relatively short, clocking in at about three to four hours, if you don’t count the time spent dicking around with robots, but I’ve always valued quality over quantity, personally. I just feel that compared to other Fallout DLCs throughout history (even the worst ones) it lacks a strong enough conceptual foundation and feels more like a series of mods rather than an expansion.
As the first chapter in a Season Pass (even a Season Pass whose price was sneakily raised ahead of release) I suppose Automatron is adequate. It lacks the punch I expected from a Fallout DLC, and your mileage may vary in terms of value for money (the DLC being priced at 9.99) but in its own right is an ok experience and a lot of the players that enjoy the sandbox and settlement parts of Fallout 4 (and there are a lot) will probably get much more of a kick out of the robot building module. Worth checking out.