I paid for Fallout 4, but I ended up with The Sims: Wasteland Edition.
At least, that’s what it feels like so far. I knew shortly after buying Fallout 4 that I would be getting the season pass; previous Bethesda and Fallout DLCs have been pretty fantastic, and I always enjoy getting expansion packs for games because it feels like that universe has been vastly expanded.
And don’t get me wrong, I’ve found some of Fallout 4’s season pass satisfying. Automatron had a lot of cool and weird ideas, and Far Harbor had its moments. But it feels like most of the DLC content has been overpriced workshop content that doesn’t belong in a Fallout game.
I know, that sounds harsh. But, let’s look at previous Fallout expansions: each of Fallout 3’s DLCs had new story content, either with a new map or as an extension of the main quest. All of them added new weapons and items to the game, all of them raised the level cap, and even Mothership Zeta brought in some of the weirdness that the Fallout series is known for. They all felt unique, and they added new something to the story that the base game provided.
Fallout: New Vegas, while not developed by Bethesda, also had some unique DLCs. There were a couple of add-ons that added weapons and items, sure. But there were four core ones that added new maps and new stories, including one over-arching story spanning all four expansions. Each add-on, like in Fallout 3, increased the level cap, and some included some new perks. I wasn’t a huge fan of Honest Hearts and Lonesome Road, but I did appreciate the new locations and the fact that there was more story to explore.
Fallout 4 has fallen flat on its face in this regard. Based on what we’ve seen so far (considering what’s been released and what we know will be in the rest of the season pass), there are only two out of six add-ons that are story-based with new maps. If you count Automatron, that makes three story expansions. Already, that’s very underwhelming. Add in the fact that Far Harbor felt like it ripped off parts of Fallout 4 and the Point Lookout DLC from Fallout 3, and the disappointment increases.
But the biggest source of frustration for me has been the workshop-based DLCs. Automatron counts as one of these as well, but at least that one was fun; it had both story elements and a way to build practical robot companions. It was practical and served a purpose in the greater Fallout lore. But where does capturing wasteland creatures and pitting them against each other in a deathmatch arena fit into that? Where does building giant mechanical contraptions belong in that story?
I’m aware that people are having fun with the settlement expansions, and that’s OK. I’m glad that Fallout fans, both veteran and new, are having fun with the entire season pass. And I think that, for the right audience, the expansions are worth the price. And don’t get me wrong, I think the settlement feature is awesome. It’s felt great to build my own home base where I can keep my extra loot. In a lot of ways, it’s been very practical. But to build most of the season pass around that feature, and to include features that are out of place (how the heck does building Rube Goldberg inventions feel like Fallout?!), is rather upsetting. As someone who has played through Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, I’ve grown accustomed to having big story-based expansions, so I ultimately feel let down and alienated by the add-ons this time around.
That said, there are still two more DLCs left to help me change my mind; Vault-Tec lands in July, (most likely) timed similarly to the PC launch of Fallout Shelter. While it’s another workshop DLC, it looks like a lot of fun. Building my own Vault would be an interesting role-playing experiment. And Bethesda still has a chance to impress all of us in August with Nuka World, a whole new story-based expansion and the final one in the pack. As long as it doesn’t repeat the mistakes that Far Harbor made, it has the potential to be a great ending to the game. Otherwise, I fear that the entire season pass will leave me with tainted memories of Fallout 4.
What do you think of the season pass? We’d love to talk with you! Comment below and we’ll start a discussion!