If you’re like me and have put over 160 hours into Fallout 4, you likely should have greater aspirations for your life and might want to reconsider all of your actions, but you should also know that the first DLC add-on isn’t going to put you over 200. Automatron is now available for download and is simply a handful of new quests and some robot parts to play with, nothing more, nothing less. That's more than likely just fine for fans of the game, but it's good to know what you're getting into.
Offered as part of a season pass or $10 by itself, Automatron does give you the option of some new mechanical friends and a nice throwback to the Silver Shroud’s most dastardly enemy, but that’s all it gives you. Don’t think of this as one of the Fallout 3 DLC packs that offered a completely new area to explore (that kind of content is coming later,) although what’s here is a lot of fun.
The main quest’s story itself is… fine. When you load the add-on you’ll hear a new distress call over the radio and stumble across a caravan that was slaughtered by a bunch of maniac robots. The sole survivor is a robot called Ada who is as bereft as a being programmed to feel emotions can be about the loss of her companions. She becomes one of yours instead.
Now Ada is different from most of your other followers, because she is completely customizable. Construct the brand-new Robot Workbench in one of your settlements and you can pop her in there to swap out her head, chest, arms, and legs, affixing new weapons and armor as you see fit. Want to make an assaultron with chunky protectron legs, lockpicking skills, and both a laser gattling gun and claws to rip enemies apart? Have at it. As you destroy more robots you can take their parts and increase your options, and at any time you can construct brand new robots to create your own army. Not that I’m suggesting anyone should actually do that… but you could.
Ada will tell you all about a new menace to the world called The Mechanist who has unleashed these killer robots (Killbots, if you would) across the Wasteland. If the name seems familiar to you, it might be because you’ve been listening to a lot of Silver Shroud radio - The Mechanist is one of the Shroud’s arch enemies, a crazed man who believed that humanity should be replaced by far superior robots. This new Mechanist seems to think the same, and you’ll team up with Ada to stop him, in whatever way necessary (ie: the usual good/bad, kill/save karma lite™ we know and tolerate in games.) Here's a hint - wear the Silver Shroud armor and hat when you finally face him.
You’ll come across a few new locations, as well as a new faction called The Rust Devils, a group of criminals who act like postapocalyptic Jawas, scavenging robots for parts. For a second you think there might be something interesting about this group but really it’s just another Raider hideout.
Another missed opportunity here is a new robobrain robot you meet called Jezebel, who is the most delightfully insulting construct since HK 47 from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. If you choose to trust her and bring her back to a settlement you can have a few great conversations where she does everything she can to insult your intelligence, but after the events of this add-on she won’t become a follower for you as hoped. Having her by your side, belittling you for the rest of the game, would have been hilarious.
To change up the combat there’s a bunch of new robot enemies that are really terrifying, including some melee fighters that come rushing at you with buzzsaws, finally giving you a reason to lay down mines before entering an area. They all blow up real nice and are fun to destroy bit by bit, and a few mini-bosses offer up some epic battles.
Now, no Fallout DLC would be complete without some new goodies to play with, and as such you’ll get some appropriate new weapons and armor. The Tesla Rifle is going to stay in my inventory for a long time to come. It uses fusion ammo and shoots an electric discharge that jumps between your enemies, making it great in a battle against hordes. You can hold down the trigger to make the blast even more powerful, and I equipped it with a shotgun barrel and used it to fry anyone who got too close.
The Tesla Power Armor you can find is most likely meant to be worn along with it, because it increases energy damage and makes it almost unstoppable, even if it is hard to decide to take off the X-01. Along with that there's also some robot armor that you yourself can wear, like assaultron or eyebot helmets, and a robot repair kit that is used to revive followers during battle, much like stimpacks do for humans.
So, for people who have done everything there is to do in the game, Automatron offers a bit more. It’s perhaps a bit more scant than you’d hope for (especially for 10 bucks) but it offers you a good four hours of gameplay, and robots for the rest of your Fallout 4 experience.
This is only the first bit of DLC, of course. In April Bethesda is releasing the Wasteland Workshop, which gives you new options for your settlements (taxidermy, which allows you to put stuffed Deathclaws around the place?), and in May comes the massive expansion we're all hoping for - Far Harbor. They're claiming that is the "largest landmass Bethesda Game Studios has ever created for post-release content," but more importantly than that it will offer you the opportunity to work more with one Nick Valentine, aka the best character in any Bethesda game, ever.
That’s not all of their plans for future content, just all that they’re telling us so far, so while Automatron is just a quick fix, the future for Fallout 4 looks as bright as the irradiated wasteland.
Automatron is available now for Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $9.99, or as part of the $49.99 season pass.