There’s always one question which surrounds each Fallout/Elder Scrolls DLC release: Will it be a Knights of the Nine or another Shivering Isles? Even all these years on, the stark contrast between those two Oblivion expansions seems to define player expectations, fitting either into a lacklustre new release or a sprawling new storyline. This has been true throughout Fallout 3, New Vegas and Skyrim, but Automatron seems to be the rare exception. While it’s hardly about to set the world on fire, it offers more substantial gains than just a new, shiny gun or two.
The story here follows the inclusion of new, killer robots to the Commonwealth wasteland. Unlike the leftover automatons from the military or odd household, these are newly built monstrosities, cobbled together from leftover spare parts but nevertheless surprisingly deadly despite their design. Headed by the mysterious Machanist, your task now is to help the traders they besiege and end this threat for good.
Let’s focus on the obvious first: Yes, this is one big rehash of an old Fallout 3 quest, The Superhuman Gambit. You’re taking on someone who has let a few comic books get to their head and has donned an old superhero costume in an ill-advised attempt to do good. While lacking a woman backed by a horde of giant ant minions, much of it ultimately plays out the same way you would expect, note for note. This is a continuation of a big problem Fallout 4 suffered from, where it merely repeats Fallout 3’s past successes, and recycles anything it can for a new generation. It results in a sadly insubstantial quest, and would have damned this latest release were it not for its new mechanics.
It’s clear at first glance that just about all the effort went into the new killbot options, from the new foes to the ability to build your own man-sized tanks. Reworking and restructuring older builds, you’re given the opportunity to create hybrid designs, mashing together the best elements of both worlds. Forget the settlements, playing hours of “Pimp my Codsworth” will become your new time-sink in Fallout, and the sheer variety of combinations on offer means there’s no end to what you can assemble. Really, so long as you have the parts for them, you can quite happily have several nuke lobbing hybrids defending your personal castle. The fact this extends to your more robotic companions, with some very helpful unique upgrades, also means you might find yourself switching favourites for the first time since the game’s release.
If you’re invested in big killer robots over story, give this one a look but don’t expect a truly revolutionary release.
FALLOUT 4: AUTOMATRON DLC / DEVELOPER: BETHESDA GAME STUDIOS / PUBLISHER: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS / PLATFORM: PC, XBOX ONE, PLAYSTATION 4 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW