The Fallout 4 Season Pass Season continues this month with Wasteland Workshop. After a rather lukewarm start last month with Automatron due mostly to its feeling more like a series of mods rather than carefully crafted content, fans who wanted something more this time around might find themselves wanting. Fans who had to stop playing Dark Souls III (not naming any names) for it might be especially disillusioned. To be fair, Wasteland Workshop never promised anything more than several new items and mechanics strictly tied into settlement building and customization, but it’s even less gracefully introduced than the Automatron radio transmission. You just go to any settlement workshop and the content is just…there.
Wasteland Workshop (Fallout 4 DLC): Windows PC [Reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: 12 April 2016
Price: 4,99€ [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
The Wasteland Workshop of Wonders
So having done away with the introduction and the lack of any sort of story from Wasteland Workshop let’s get right into what it brings to (or rather around) the table. First off, I was very happy to see concrete pop up as a building material. I like the makeshift nature of post apocalyptic structured made from bits of plywood and metal sheeting but sometimes I want to create something with a bit more structure to it (pun not intended). Concrete buildings look cleaner, more carefully planned and actually constructed rather than cobbled together from scrap. And if you feel that concrete is too gray and boring, then it has you covered, because in addition to many new interior and wall decorations, Wasteland Workshop introduces custom lettering and signs both regular and made from neon tubes, along with a myriad of new options for lighting.
Traps never were my thing in video games and Fallout 4 was no exception. I preferred good old-fashioned armed forces and turrets to keep the peace around my settlements. It’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted. If you were into the little devious devices previously, however, Wasteland Workshop gives you the possibility to make your assailants run veritable gauntlets worthy of a remarkably sadistic Dungeons and Dragons adventure with spike traps and giant buzz-saws. It just takes a lot more time and precision to set them up than I’m willing to invest in my settlements.
Probably the key selling point of the DLC was the ability to trap wasteland creatures and NPCs and have them fight in a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome because saving your son can wait a while longer, can’t it? The mechanism is regrettably contrived requiring you to first build cages specific for the type of creature you want to capture. It will be sprung in a matter of days regardless of whether or not it’s accessible. After that, you can open a cage and meet your new Deathclaw friend which you can use as a companion. Haha! Just kidding. They attack as soon as you open the door unless you’ve invested 9 (NINE!) points in charisma and purchased two specific perks in order to build the Beta-Wave Emitter which turns them docile. At which point they just awkwardly hang around your settlement and do basically nothing. So if you want to make the most out of your investment (and the Sunken Cost Fallacy demands it) you need to complete constructing your Colosseum so that they might earn glory in some way. You can assign any creature or NPC that you can command to one of two competitor platforms and have them battle while you watch on like a decadent Roman Emperor.
And then if you’re lucky and no one glitches out, one of them wins and maybe you feel something other than empty.
The entire creature trapping aspect feels like a missed opportunity in that it does not allow you to use the creatures as companions. Having them fight or just keeping them around is contrived, time and space consuming. The traps and cosmetic features are very interesting with the caveat that you have to really be into that sort of thing. In fact the entire DLC comes with this caveat. It’s a very niche product for a very narrow niche of players. It’s definitely worth it if you’re one of those players and you own the game on a console where you can’t just download a bunch of mods that do pretty much the same thing, but for 4.99 [currency] on PC it’s probably just barely worth it. However, it’s half as expensive as Automatron which I deemed “adequate” and if you’ve already purchased the Season Pass you might as well give it a go while we wait for Far Harbour. Fingers crossed.