Warning: this review contains minor spoilers. I do not spoil plot points, but some gameplay-related items will be mentioned, such as certain mechanics used or items found.
I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t expecting this DLC to be this good. Sure, the closer it got to the release date, I found myself riding the hype train like everybody else. But I was still cautious, wary that the expansion would carry many of the same problems that the base game contained. Despite my skepticism, though, I played through the expansion and found myself enjoying it.
Automatron is the first of many DLCs for the famous Fallout 4. The premise is simple: save the Commonwealth from the terror of the Mechanist, all while you build and customize your own robot companions. You can even upgrade existing robot companions, like Codsworth, to have different legs, voices, and weaponry.
When you boot the game with the DLC installed, you’ll get a new quest in your Pip-Boy (if you’re level 15+) which will send you off to meet Ada, my current favorite companion in the game. You’ll then have a series of quests to complete, all the while unlocking upgrades for your impending robot army.
First, I’ll get some of my complaints out of the way: the quest plot is pretty thin; if you want the most that this DLC has to offer, you’ll have to put in some effort and dig through the terminals for that. You’ll have to go digging through terminals if you want more lore. On top of that, the actual climax of the story was a bit disappointing, but the ending reward was worth it. (Just be prepared with a power armor and lots of Stimpacks!)
Another complaint is that the voice acting seemed off; the voice lines were delivered somewhat hastily, leaving less-than-realistic pauses in conversation. It’s a minor complaint, sure, but it ruins the immersion. Finally, the voice acting seemed quieter than usual; even with all of the volume levels turned all the way up in my game, the voices were still difficult to hear.
That out of the way, let’s touch on what the expansion did right.
Automatron gives you a pretty decent set of loot throughout the course of its main quest. Right from the get go, I picked up an X-01 Power Armor (though, that may not have been linked to the DLC… either way, it was nice) and some new perk magazines. I also managed to pick up a Tesla Rifle, which is a sweet arc-based lighting weapon.
But of course, you didn’t come here to hear me ramble about loot and voice acting. You’re here for the robots.
Early in the main quest, you unlock the ability to build the robot workbench. Once built, you can custom-build your own robots or modify existing robot companions. The parts/mods selection is limited at first, but you can unlock new mods by looting parts off of fallen robot enemies (or wait until the end of the quests to have them all unlocked at once). Also, some mods will be locked behind perks; you will need to have high points in the Science!, Robotics Expert, Blacksmith, and Armorer perks to get the best ones. In addition to the mods, there are now Robot Repair Kits that you can pick up to heal your mechanical companions.
In addition to the awesome robot mods and the capability to create robot companions, the expansion introduces THE best robot companion: Ada. Seriously… without spoiling too much, I will say that she’s practical and has a decent personality. She’s not as snooty as some of the other companions.
Automatron took me less than four hours to complete; this included the level grinding I had to do to get perks, along with the time it took to hoard supplies and build some customized robots. Considering that, perhaps a smaller price tag would have been better. On the other hand, though, it gives you a huge amount of customization options for your robot companions.
All in all, the DLC was actually pretty decent; it didn’t fix all of the problems that the main game had, but it did bring back a sense of weirdness and fun that the Fallout series is known for. While I wish it was a little bit cheaper price-wise, I recommend giving it a try. I mean, come on. Battle robots. What’s not to love? I’ll definitely be bringing my upgraded Ada with me throughout my future DLC expeditions.
Price: $10 on its own; $50 if bought with the Season Pass
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4